Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Are you afraid of me? How to approach a grieving mom.

I get a lot of notes from people wondering if they should do or say x or y for their grieving friend. They tell me they're so afraid of hurting their friend's feelings. That they just don't know what is right.

Especially in communities like the congenital heart defect community where sadly so many of us lost a child, others feel so scared to say something.

And for good reason, they see my rants about so and so saying such and such. Or they read other rants, which are different than mine. Or they read that something they thought could never offend someone offended a mother.

I've never in my life been so sensitive to words. Not nearly this sensitive.

I can understand the fear in approaching someone that lost a child, the fear of saying the wrong thing.

I think it's important to remember this, there is no right thing to say, so stop searching for it.

You will never find the words to take away the pain. I'm comforted and honored that you reached out, but there is no right or wrong thing to say. Because, nothing is right. Nothing someone can say to me can make this better. So, remember that and don't try to say those magical words to make it all better.

It's also hard because we're all different. Everyone that lost a child feels differently. And how I feel changes.

I know it's not easy to deal with grieving mothers. I can understand why you might just think it's better to avoid them altogether, but I will tell you this, if you approach me with love and compassion and an open heart? I'm never really offended.

Going through this, I can tell the compassionate people. The people that truly care in an instant. And, I can tell people that are more self centered as well. The second bunch usually isn't that big of a deal for me, but it's from those people the real hurt is caused.

So, if you're afraid of approaching a grieving mom?

Just approach her with an open heart and caring soul and lots of love.

And, please do reach out to her even if you fear hurting her. As long as you're thinking about her compassionately, you'll help so much.

Don't be afraid. I'm stronger than I was before this, you can't break me.

We don't have to live in fear of each other.
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