Sunday, June 1, 2014
Responses To Bereaved Parents
People may say something to you that you feel is inappropriate to say to a bereaved parent, but I don’t believe the majority of people understand us. They believe what they are saying is “comforting” when it is just the opposite.
The following is my most common list of inappropriate responses to bereaved parents. Try to be understanding when you hear these phrases that will probably “rub you the wrong way.” Or if you feel strongly, you may want to say your reaction out loud. Think of the consequences before you speak. Sometimes it is best to be silent or just walk away.
Below in quotes are responses from others. Following each quote is my silent reaction in italic red type::
“Your child is in a better place.” No, she’s not. She should be right here with me.
“Aren’t you over it yet?” I’ll never get over this. In time I may be able to learn to live with the loss, but I’ll never get over it completely, nor will I ever forget.
“I know how you feel. My dog died last year.” Please don’t compare your dog to my child. You may have loved your dog very much, but a dog is not a human being, born and nurtured from your body.
“You can have more children.” Maybe I can, maybe I can’t; maybe I can’t bear the thought of ever going through this again, but having another child would not be to replace the one I lost.
“God never gives you more than you can bear.” Why did God do this to me at all? Am I being punished for some reason?
“Time will heal your hurt.” Time may ease the pain somewhat, but heal me completely? NEVER! I will always ache for my child and what we have both lost.
“I understand.” No you don’t, unless you have also lost a child. Nothing compares. A child should never die before a parent.
“At least she isn’t suffering.” She is suffering. I am suffering. She had so much more living to do, things to accomplish. No matter what would have happened to her physically; she would have dealt with it and continued living a full life.
“Crying won’t bring her back.” Crying is a healthy emotion to cleanse your body physically and mentally. No, I won’t get her back, but to hold back emotions is known to cause more damage. If I want to scream and rant, that is okay also.
“It’s time to get rid of her clothes and belongings.” When I feel it is the right time, I’ll take some action. It could be a month, a year, 5 years, or a lifetime. I will do whatever I want in my own time. I will never get rid of everything. There are some items I could never part with.