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…
When he died three years ago, he didn’t just leave behind me; he didn’t just leave behind his daddy or his brothers.
He left behind so many that already loved him.
I’ve spent the past three years of my life trying to figure out how to live without him, how to live for him; and sometimes, I forget that I’m not the only one trying to navigate this unbelievably windy road of life with grief.
Everyone wanted him; everyone was on pins and needles waiting for his arrival.
His grandparents couldn’t wait to spoil another grandson. They had waited for seven years before the first prince charming entered their lives. To say they were over the moon that in two very short years, there would be two to make rotten was an understatement.
The day had arrived, and they were ready with the plan I had so neatly laid out for them to follow. (kind of control freak) My parents were in charge of big brother. My mom was to arrive first and my dad would come a little later so their nerves wouldn’t be shot from entertaining a toddler in a hospital lobby. The in-laws were coming around the same time as my dad so that they could also help out. I had told everyone that there was no need to get there when we got there. I had a scheduled c-section and nothing exciting was going to be going on.
Our world was suddenly changed and so were the plans.
“The phone call came from Nate, in a split second my heart broke from the fear that I had lost my daughter and then for Wyatt.”
As I was frantically trying to wrap my brain around the words my doctor had just said, my mom was frantically trying to figure out what was happening 20 miles away. My mom’s world was then forever changed and so were her plans. I remember the look on my parents’ faces as they entered my room. A sadness I had never seen before was in their eyes. I remember when my mom hugged me, her chest dropped into mine, as if she was letting out a sigh. I thought nothing of it for the longest time. So much had just happened. I had enough to process.
The first time my mom told me about the phone call, I instantly understood the sigh. I understood that she wasn’t just grieving Wyatt but for me as well. They all have. My parents and my husband’s parents have all been grieving over Wyatt but have also been grieving for their children. They lost a little piece of joy that day too. They also experienced another first with their own children.
How do take their hurt away? How can I make this better?
They couldn’t. They can’t. Nothing makes it better. While we were mourning the loss of Wyatt, they were also navigating what to do with helpless feelings they had regarding my husband and me. They actually did a whole lot to help out.
Although they couldn’t take the hurt and pain away, they helped to ease the everyday worries that everyone has regardless of tragedy in their life.
My parents are much more vocal about Wyatt than my in-laws are, but they all equally miss him and love him. They all participate in any event I do in honor of him. I know that three of the four visit his grave. Cemeteries aren’t for everyone; I get it. Conversations happen more between my parents and me, but as time has gone on, my in-laws and I talk more about him.
My husband and I know that our parents have been a solid lifeline through all of this and still continue to be. We include them in most of the things we do for Wyatt. We love that he is and will always be so loved. They need certain traditions and events to help them in the healing process too.
“The greatest gift of all is love, Wyatt has mine; he will always be with me, he will never be forgotten. When I look into the faces of his brothers I know what he looks like, I know that in spirit he is right in there with them causing mischief and I know he has the loving and giant heart that they have.” – Omi
I wish that everyone traveling on this road has what I’m graced to have. Even if no one ever says it, your baby mattered to more people than just you. I don’t say this to minimize your loss. I say this as encouragement. The little life you once carried and maybe held is held in the hearts of many others.
**This article is part of a series that gives different perspectives on those affected by such a loss.