I came across the following quote on the blog of another angel mother:
If you know someone who has lost a child or lost anybody who's important to them, and you're afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died, they didn't forget they died. You're not reminding them. What you're reminding them of is that you remember that they lived, and that's a great, great gift. (Elizabeth Edwards)
I couldn't feel it is more true. I have not forgotten about Luke or his death -not today, not tomorrow, not ever.
I guess I can see why people wouldn't want to mention him -it's obviously a sensitive and emotional subject. I can't really blame someone for not wanting to bring up something that will leave me with tears in my eyes. Something that's potentially really awkward.
But why? What's so wrong with shedding tears over a loved one? Would it really be that bad to to embrace someone as they remember their loved one? Perhaps instead of an awkward moment, it could be a beautiful, sympathetic, grief-sharing opportunity.
I think it hurts me when people don't mention it.
I went to a party with some old friends from high school. I honestly didn't know what to expect going into it. Perhaps not everyone knew that I had been pregnant and that Luke died, but I know some of the women did know. It wasn't my party, so I didn't expect attention to ever be turned toward me, but I thought at least someone would quietly turn to me and express some sort of condolence. Nothing was ever said. It was strange -walking away from there . . .wondering . . .Do they care? Do they know? It was kind of an empty feeling. Perhaps one that comes from neglect.
The Lord has blessed me with a forgiving heart, so I don't hold it against any of those woman. So if you were at that party and now you're here, doing some internet surfing, perhaps after you've finished a late-night feeding with your own baby - I really don't hold it against you for not saying anything. I can't blame you, if you thought it would be awkward so you held your tongue. Or if you just didn't know. I don't blame you or hold it against you. But I can't deny the way it made me feel to not be acknowledged.
I beg and I plead with anyone that reads these words that in the future when you know someone is grieving or going through a hard thing that you do say something. Even if it's the words "I don't know what to say..." or "I've been thinking about you" anything really would help a grieving person know that you care. Because when your world is turned up-side-down because of the death of your child, the care and love of others is sometimes the only thing that sustains you.
It's healing to know that others care. It's healing to know that others haven't forgotten about me. It's healing to know that other's haven't forgotten about Luke.
I am so grateful to you--friend, family, or even stranger--who has gone out of your way to acknowledge us and our son. Your compassion helps this world be a wonderful place.
I have had these same moments where people don't know what to say, and to be honest sometimes I am that person where I don't know what to say. But aftergoing through grief i am way more compassionate and understanding to heartache. sometimes i thinks its best to do what you did and set your boundries, let people know how you feel and what you want! I have found that to be the most helpful in my grief! Sending you and Luke love!ReplyDelete
I know that I still don't know the right words to say to other people experiencing grief. And I don't always know what to say in response to people talking to me about it.Delete
It's definitely a learning process...one I never imagined I'd be a part of!
I wish I was close enough to give you a hug right now... Love you!ReplyDelete
My husband's grandmother counted the great-grandchildren outloud (there's only 3 of them, so it's not hard) but she left my little Scotlin out. I about burst into tears and went into a crazy,"don't you know you have another great-grandson" rant on her, but I didn't. Later, I asked my mother-in-law to talk to her about it and all she said was, "I thought it would upset her if I included Scotlin since he died". How little she must know me.ReplyDelete
I can only imagine how it might feel to have your son left out of the count of grand-children.Delete
And perhaps even more frustrating because she was trying to be sensitive to you. Hopefully others can learn from these experiences.
I love you, Shelley. And I think about Luke a lot, and every time I think of you and Trevor. It is hard to know when to say anything and when not to - especially when I know you're experiencing something I may never fully understand. Just know I love you, and think about you often. Thanks for this post.ReplyDelete
Jenni, I think you do a great job of showing love and support and it means the world to me. You seriously are the best.Delete
Shelley- I am one to understand the "never forgotten" side of death. My brother passed away at age 12, as I have mentioned before, and I was only 2, but my family will always embrace the effect of his life on our lives. And when anyone asks how many siblings I have I always have to include my Andy, because he is still a part of my life, just as Luke will always be a part of yours. I look up to you for carrying on with such a mature attitude! I am here for you and think of you often! Thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts! :)ReplyDelete
So very true. I have the hardest time at church because 3 months out only one person has acknowledged that we lost the boys and then I think about myself before-loss and wonder how many times I did or said nothing because I thought it would be awkward. I will never forget about my boys, I will never stop missing them or not be reminded of them. . . I think having people acknowledge them makes me feel less lonely. When people say nothing I feel incredibly lonely and I think as a grieving mother I feel that enough already. I love the quote.ReplyDelete
I enjoyed reading this post because even as your sister-in-law, I have a hard time knowing what (or how much) to say. When we were snow shoeing and I made the comment about having Luke there, I wasn't sure how that was going to be received. But now I know that I was okay bringing him up. Love you, Shell!ReplyDelete