Death makes everyone uncomfortable. There is never the perfect thing to say. Some people just don't say anything because they're unable to find the words. Over the years I've heard in person and read on social networking sites, comments people make to friends who've lost loved ones. Brothers, Sisters, Parents, or Children. I think it's in everyones nature to try to ease the pain of the person that is grieving. You want to make them feel better, but we need to realize there is absolutely NOTHING that will make someone stop grieving and say "oh, why didn't I think of that, now I feel better".
The comments I've seen, I know are of the best intentions, but reading from the outside, seem so cold. You cannot say to a mother who has lost their child "God doesn't make mistakes, it was in His plan", "She's in a better place now", "Everything happens for a reason", "At least you can have more children", "You will see this as a blessing one day", etc.
As a mother who has been faced with losing their child, I can assure you that pain and fear was NOTHING in comparison to someone who HAS lost their child. Step back for one second before you write that comment and ask yourself, "Would I be thankful right now if God took my child from me"? If you answered anything other than NO, you're lying to yourself. No one cries when people die because they're happy they're in heaven. They cry because they are sad, and they will miss them, and they realize they'll never be able to talk to that person, hug that person, kiss that person, and in some cases see their children grow up..
Again, I know people say these things to be supportive, but in speaking with a mom who lost her child, I realized that the way I feel about it, others feel about it too. That mom told me when people said things like that to her, she just said thanks, but it honestly just offended her. I assure you, if I ever lose a child, I WOULD let you know just how rude you were being if you told me that he's better off dead, which is essentially what your saying when you say "he's in a better place". To a mother, the best place a child can be is here, now, and with me. No two ways about it. Eventually, you can come to terms with death, and accept that your baby, sibling, or parents have died and may be in heaven, but hold off on those comments until the grieving person mentions it first.
So you're probably wondering, since I keep talking about what not to say, what I think is acceptable. I am by no means an authority on this. I personally feel like there is absolutely nothing you can say to change how someone is feeling. The first step in dealing with someone who is grieving, is to validate what they are feeling. Show that you care. Show you are there for them. Show them that they are NOT alone, no matter how alone they may feel. For instance you can say "I am so very sorry to hear of your loss. I cannot imagine the amount of pain that you're in right now. I want you to know that you don't have to be strong right now. Take time to grieve and please know that I am here for you and praying for you and your family. If you ever need to talk to, or cry to, someone, please call me any time of the day or night."
Let's just learn to be more caring and less cliche...
- Some of you know me from my old blog "Moving to Morocco" where I wrote about meeting my husband and, you guessed it, moving to Morocco. Well, we're back now, and I want to write about other things (but yes, we're still happily married). There's no real subject to this blog. I just want to write. If you have a subject you'd like my opinion on, just let me know. I also plan on doing advice posts. If you have something you'd like an outside opinion on, e-mail me anonymously at firstname.lastname@example.org! Thanks for reading!