Sunday, July 10, 2011

Caring for the grieving mommy

Go to college, become a successful buyer, marry a rich man who loves me for who I am, live in NYC and have two kids by age 25. 

Um, yeah. That was my "goal" as a senior in high school, and it's recorded for all to see in the Collierville High School 1994 yearbook. Wow. Only one of those things came to fruition. I went to and finished college. When Jeremy and I got married we didn't have 2 pennies to rub together. Then we had plenty of pennies. Then we had no pennies. But he married me and that's all that counts. I digress.

My plan for having kids at 25 clearly did not come about. I birthed our first child at the ripe old age of 32, thank you very much. The second one at 34. I lost a baby at 28 and one at 30. This was definitely nowhere on my radar as a 17 year old. I never thought I'd be in that club. The membership card for this club comes with incredible pain and heartache that you really don't ever "get over". And unfortunately, it's not a club you can age out of. You're a lifetime member.

These thoughts are on my mind tonight as I have learned of a precious friend having lost her unborn little one. I weep for her. The pain and emptiness she is bound to be feeling is excrutiating. I'm heartbroken every time a mommy loses a baby because it's like a little bit of innocence is lost. There's such a loneliness there. As I'm remembering the loss of our own babies, I am thinking back on the days before I knew this type of hurt. I'm remembering how I responded when I would hear of a baby lost. Mostly, I didn't know what to do or say.  I'm also thinking of the responses we received and wanted to give a little insight into how to show a grieving mommy the support she needs. This is just from my experience of course...every mommy handles this in her own way.

Don't say "if you need anything, call me". 
She probably won't. Do things before there's a need.  

Words don't help:
Trite words or inspirational sayings meant nothing to me. All I wanted to hear from anyone was "I'm so sorry". When in doubt, just say that and move on.

If she's up for company, ask her if you can come sit on the couch with her:
This was the best thing anyone did for me. Take a girly movie or just sit in the quiet. Nuf said.

Don't make her feel like she has to talk about it or give details:
I still don't talk about baby Andrew that often. If she wants to talk about it, she will.

Take a meal:
Don't ask. Just take it. Or gift cards for restaurants. She may not be eating, but her husband needs to eat. 

Send a card:
Something simple. Not too wordy.

When she's ready...take her shopping for something sparkly:
Maybe I'm simple, but this worked for me.

Don't neglect her husband:
He is experiencing loss too. If you're married, have your husband give him a call and let him know he's there for him. This meant a TON to me for Jeremy. 

Ministering to a grieving friend is difficult. Be genuine. Be selfless. Be faithful. And above all, be patient.

Thank you for reading.

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