But how would you know what to say? It's not an everyday occurrence that someone you know loses a child. So how? The simple answer is you don't know...there isn't a book out there on "What to Say to Grieving Parents".
I know a lot of people have been worried about if they've said or done the right things and so I thought that I would reassure you that yes I remember these things but I honestly don't remember who says them. The words sometimes are just so painful....it's like a knife ripping my heart out. But I know...with my whole entire heart that they are not meant to hurt me. These words are meant to comfort me...to bring me strength. And I also know I have been on the other side of things...before losing Reid...where I have said things like this.
So here's a couple of the things that are best left unsaid...
"I'm so sorry for your loss...but at least you have Averee." - Well sure I am beyond grateful to have Averee...she is my whole world. But one of my dear friends said it best...She said...if my 4 year old died...I wouldn't be like awwwww well I least I have the other kids. A child is a child...it doesn't matter their age...Heck it doesn't matter if they have their birthday/angel day all at the same time. They are a child and to a parent they are their whole world. So I lost part of my whole world the day I lost Reid...and it's a part that no one can ever replace.
"You know...it's better this way." - Ok. Sure...my son does not have to suffer...for that I am grateful but seriously....it is better to live without my child then with him? I want him here...with me...with his daddy and with his sister. I want his body to be healthy and I want to have the family that Ian and I "planned" for. So the pain in our hearts does not make this a better way.
"God always has a plan." - This one...this one is hard. Because I do believe that God has a plan for each of us...but this statement is not comforting...because it is a painful reminder that for some reason God picked me and not you. Why did he pick me to have my baby in heaven? Why did he pick me to see the hurt in my husbands eyes and why did he pick me to have to try to explain to our daughter that her baby brother is never coming home?
"You must be so strong that God brought you to this." - This one didn't really resonate with me until attending the support group that my husband and I attended and this was brought up. I knew that it was bothering me but I couldn't figure out why. And someone in the group stated it so simply. They said...ok so you are saying I am so strong that God sent me on this journey...so you are saying this is all my fault. You are saying that if I was a weaker person my child would have survived. You are saying I did this to my child. Crazy rationale? Well maybe...but I think this is how a lot of parents who have lost feel.
"You are so young...you can always have more children." - To start for anyone who has lost a child they want that baby and that baby only. Bottom line. It goes back to the first one where one child does not replace the next. Plain and simple. Second, there are situations like for my husband and I where we do not know why our son's body failed him. We have zero answers and included in those zeros answers is the fact that we do not know if we can have more children. We don't know if any future children we may have will have their bodies fail like Reid's did. We just don't know. So yes we are young...but we may not have more children.
This last one I heard recently and it struck me like a bolt of lightening....right through my heart. What hurt even more was I could see how pained that person was after they realized what they said. It broke my heart because I don't want to see anyone else hurt. It is someone I don't know very well but saw and they came up to me, saw Averee and said....I heard you are going to have your second baby...congratulations. As soon as the words came out of their mouth I'm sure they saw the look of shock on my face...and they remembered. I think it is common for people to put those "too painful" moments away in the back of their mind...completely out of reach from reality. I mean why would you think on a daily basis about losing a child and what it must feel like...so when someone loses a child it goes away from your thoughts. For a parent this is not possible. You are consumed with your whole being...with every moment...that the unimaginable happened. The person apologized profusely and like I said earlier...I know each and everyone of these things are not meant to be hurtful.
You see...this face...this beautifully...perfectly...angelic face can never be replaced. This face...this is the face of my son. And no one will ever have this face again.
And again...this is not meant to hurt any one's feelings...like I said...I don't even remember who has said these things. Each time I hear something like this my mind goes to a completely different place...almost like a survival instinct...where my only concern is not about who I am talking to but how am I going to keep going on with a smile on my face so that that person....does not have to feel this pain...even if it is only for a brief moment in time.