You want to offer consolation to someone suffering the loss of a child and don’t know what to say. Here are 5 things you should never say.
Loss Of A Child
Losing a child is like someone ripping your heart out of your chest while it’s still beating. Most parents I know see themselves in their children. We feel their pain when they fall and scrape their knees. We cry for them the first time their heart is broken. We are elated when they truly fall in love and start their own families. We feel responsible any time something goes wrong.
What do you feel when they die?
I’m not supposed to witness that. Why did this happen? What did I do wrong? Why me God?
Your child dying defies the natural order of things. When speaking with someone suffering the loss of a child, keep in mind that all of this and more is going through their minds. Even years later.
5 Things You Should Never Say
- I know how you must feel.
- At least you had time with him/her.
- At least they didn’t suffer.
- They’re in a better place now.
- The sun will shine again.
I know what you must be feeling?
REALLY? This wasn’t your child and you weren’t in my circumstances. Even if you lost a child yourself, you can’t have any idea what my circumstances are and how the loss of my child altered my reality. Every situation is very unique.
At least you had time?!
We watched our son fight for two years so that his three year old daughter would have time to know who he was. Going from competitive soccer player and weight lifter to being unable to get to the washroom without help. Other children affected because they had to get their heads around their 22 year old brother dying. It changed all of us.
At least they didn’t suffer?!
Our nephew died suddenly a year later. I couldn’t imagine saying to his parents that at least he didn’t suffer. They lost their son. No opportunity to say I love you or tell him how proud they were of the young man he had become. Their situation is different than ours. Not worse. Not better. Just different. This is their reality and has been drastically altered.
They’re in a better place now?
I have a strong faith but my son would be 29 this November and he should be a policeman living with his family. I know he’s with God now but he should be home with his family. Selfish? I would give anything for my son to have a chance at life. Don’t tell me he’s in a better place.
The sun will shine again?!
Nope. Never. At least, that’s how I felt when he died. Yes, the sun came up and life is improving. There is a new “normal”. No, life doesn’t go on. Life is altered drastically when you lose a child. Yes, the sun is starting to shine again but there will always be a cloud that throws shadows now and again.
What can you say?
- I’m here if you need anything.
- Just give a hug.
There is really not much you can say right now. Letting me know you are there for me reminds me that I’m not alone. There will be a period of time when the best thing you can do is listen as I work through my confusion.
Sometimes the best thing you can do is just give me a hug. That tells me you’re here, and right now, that may be all you can do for me.
Before you say anything, understand that you can’t understand and be prepared to do what you say. Don’t offer to be there if you can’t. Life is an incredible journey but some of the bumps are doozies.
Thanks for listening.
Make it a great day,
P.S. What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful for all those who have listened to me without judgement. I’m thankful for God in my life. I’m thankful when I can be there for someone else.
What are you thankful for today?
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