I want to recommend to you a wonderful post by Ashley-Anne Masters called “Diary of a Death Diva.” This blog has been much more focused on the joys/frustrations of parenting and super-cute photos of Caleb recently, but there will always be the element of grief and loss, as losing Micah and Judah is a huge part of my journey toward fatherhood.
I knew Ashley from seminary, and I so appreciated this post of hers, in which she shares a list of things that you should never to say to grieving parents. Ever. Ever. Got that? Well, you may still say them…but remember this list, and try as hard as you can not to share sentiments similar to any of these:
- “You can always have another one.”
- “Only the good die young.”
- “God needed him/her more.”
- “I know how you feel.”
- “He/She was only on loan anyway.”
- “God needed another angel.”
- “At least you were able to have a child. Some people can’t.”
- “This is all part of God’s Divine plan for you.”
Read her post here, as she elaborates on why all of these are horrible things to say to grieving parents. As she shares in her post, what people need is simply to know you’re there for them, that you care, that you love them, and that you’ll be there to listen whenever they decide they’re ready to talk. For me, getting cards and flowers (things that, normally, I don’t really care for and sometimes don’t see the point in getting) was one of the biggest things. And I don’t really know what it was. But the sheer volume of cards we received, and the flowers that brightened up our home as we grieved…that was one of the biggest things for me. In addition to the generosity of friends; one couple had a vacation home they offered to us for a long-weekend…which was such a blessing, to just get away from it all for awhile.
Anyway – all this is to say that there are things you can do…but really, there isn’t much you can say. Just be with the person.