With the loss of a child? A loss I would not ever in the deepest darkest pit of hatred wish on any person.
Recently my cousin and his wife went through this loss. Their son was 6 months old. I never, ever want to have to watch and bare witness to such grief ever. This happened at the beginning of August. I have only now gotten to the point of writing about it. The utter stripping of someone’s emotions in that way was more than I could take. And if that is the way I feel by it being someone else’s child, I think if I was in their shoes, it would break me. Completely and utterly break me.
When I spoke to my cousin that night I was speaking to a man who looked to be defeated by life. He just sat outside, in the dark, all alone. His wife had been sedated and was in a restless sleep in the bedroom.
What I saw in those eyes I couldn’t begin to explain. They say the eyes are the window to the soul and, think what you want, I could see a broken person on the inside. And yet outwardly he projected the role of a strong devastated husband and father with the standard “God knows best” and “in time we will heal”. No! I wanted to hit him right there. Instead, I opted for bare honesty.
I looked him square in the eye and I said you don’t have to do this anymore. You don’t have to be the strong devastated father and husband. What you are right now, is a inconsolable, grieving parent. And if you continue on this path of being sanctimonious about it, then youre going to make this harder than it already is. And if you need help then dont think anyone will judge you if you do. Its none of their business anyway.
My fragile calm was slipping. I hugged him tightly and went home to my husband and two children, crying in the car on the way home.
Chatting to my mom later the evening, she indicated to me that my cousin finally broke down. Finally. I couldn’t tell you if it was my words or just the fact that the day had finally caught up to him, but silently I prayed a thank you. I sent a msg to his wife later that evening and the thank you I received was more than enough.
Grief is handled differently by different people. However if there is even the slightest way of helping someone, even if it is a short moment during a hug, then do it. It could also just be me, but I find the usual cliché sayings at funerals to just be so grating. “It’s God’s plan”, “He/she was too good for this world”, “I can only just imagine how you must feel”.
Regarding that last statement in particular: Unless you have gone through that situation or something really really similar before this, then NO, you cannot imagine how that person feels! Not in a millions years will you ever be able to imagine how that person feels at that moment. Rather, perhaps, go with “Im not going to pretend to know how you feel, but just know I am here if you need me”. It’s not forceful and it’s not condescending. But hey, as I said, it could just be me. And no, Im not being a complete sanctimonious asshole either. I can kind of see how the above might look that way. We are tested. Daily. How you deal and who you rely on during those tests is entirely up to you.
Sometimes we go through life doing our everyday business and not stopping and smelling the roses as it were. Time could be on our side or maybe it won’t be. Good thing we don’t know. All the more reason to try and do right the first time around. And as a spanner in the works, its also never too late.
A Little Less Fluff