Watching a friend experience the loss of their baby and the grief that remains can feel so helpless. Unfortunately, there isn’t a “one-size fits all” approach to support a grieving friend through loss, but there are many ways to be supportive. When my daughter died at 33-days-old, it was the first loss of this type…
They noticed when you stumbled,
Yet no-one gave a hand,
Not to help you up,
Not even to steady you.
They looked away when they saw you crumble,
They were mortified by your weakness,
They turned away and left you weeping on the ground,
They talked about you when you weren’t in their company,
They called you feeble and powerless.
They recoil from you when you got back up.
Your progress was too minimal to be acknowledged.
They saw your scars and pretended it didn’t exist,
They saw your heart break and bleed and they ignored it.
Everyone else’s sadness was greater than yours,
Yet they have never borne your pain,
after all this time,
When you walk away from them,
They blame you.
They forget their own actions,
They forget what led you away in the first place.
But this day I bid goodbye to you,
Acquaintances, old friends even family,
I have harbored this hurt and anger toward you, for far too long,
I release you.
I cannot change you,
I cannot hold onto you,
My anger made me ill inside.
I only ask that you remember why,
As I will I never forget,
You are forgiven.
For the longest time I harbored anger toward some of my family and friends. I couldn’t understand why they behaved the way they did post the loss of my daughter. People called once and never again. People attended the funeral but never stopped by. Why couldn’t they see the hurt? It was written all over my face, they should be able to see it? Why couldn’t they notice that I was drowning? Why did no-one offer a helping hand to me? It hurt more than I could articulate. So as time went on, when asked if I was okay, I gave them the age old answers: “I’m getting there.” “Some days are better than others.” But in the beginning, there were no better days; I was going nowhere slowly, struggling to keep afloat. It was just my husband and I and we could barely hold each other up. It hurt to open your heart to people only to have them forget. They did forget. They may never admit it but they did. I can count on my one hand the people that sent me a message on her still birthday. On the one month mark, two people sent us a message, on the one year mark only one person came to visit and today I can tell you that one person is one enough. I wonder if I should have told them I was hurting, but the truth is, it is difficult for grieving families to reach out. There isn’t really a manual to deal with grieving families but I can tell you from experience that sometimes all it takes is for you to make your presence known. Instead of keeping away and thinking that they are fine. Check if they are! The chances are that they will never take you up on that,” if there is anything you need,” offer.
I’ve had four years and the subsequent loss of both my parents to think about this. Grief is not a plague, grief is not contagious. Grieving families need love and support. You may not always know what to say or do but sometimes just your presence is enough. Knowing that you care enough to take time out of your day to text or stop by, that is what counts. I promised myself that I would never care again when that happened to me but in all honesty, that is not in my nature. I cannot change the way people reacted to my losses but I do hope that families and friends reading this, keep this in mind when the time comes. That these words, written honestly and with sincerity help you help them. Many took this journey before me and sadly, more will join me but when they do, will there be a hand to hold? Will there be someone to steady them when they feel like the storms of life are carrying them away?
When I wrote these words, I felt a deep sense of relief in my heart and soul. These were things I wanted to say for such a long time, things I had carried with me since that fateful day when I lost my daughter. It was a feeling of euphoria I have not felt in a long time. I looked at my journey no longer in fragments but as a whole and I realized that it is time to let them go. It is time to let them go.