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.