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I am feeling a bit judgmental and beastly today as I am sure this post will show; but please know that this rant is meant to be constructive (for myself and my readers), not harmful or mean-spirited.

Please use care when choosing what to say to a bereaved parent. Tread lightly, speak gently, and even though (most of) you cannot even begin to understand, know that it is a thousand-fold worse than any pain you have ever experienced. Do not pretend to know what is best for a grieving friend. And do not fancy yourself so wise as to know which words will and will not hurt. Offer your love and assistance, share in tears and remembering — that is more than enough.

When I hear friends who have also suffered the death of a child tell me some of what strangers and ‘friends’ have uttered, it makes me ill. I too have heard many of the same things and do my best to ignore them. Yet, some still spin around in my head. So, today I will share them in an effort to purge and to hopefully help others in the process.

Words I have heard that are not comforting, useful or helpful, and which can instead be extremely hurtful:

‘She is at peace and happy now.’ – She was also happy and peaceful while alive, so all this does is make me angry.

‘God wanted her with him.’ – Oh, I see. And did he tell you this? Keep your religious fairy tales to yourself please.

‘I am sorry.’ – Really? What for? I am a fan of sincerity and honesty, not regurgitation of platitudes for the sole benefit of the person speaking them.

‘Find God if you want to be with her again.’ – This to me is the worst of the worst. We all have different beliefs so why do you feel that it is okay for you to force yours upon me, especially when I am so fragile and in such intense agony?!

My gratitude to all of you out there who read my ‘Songs & Sorrow’. May you know great peace, love, joy and gratitude in your life.

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2 Comments

  1. *hugs*

    I think as a whole humans just don’t know what to say a lot of the time. Sometimes it is best just to say nothing at all but “I am here for you.”

  2. Huge hugs, Caitlin.
    No one could have said it better than you. i think you speak for alot of us ( bereaved parents )I am weary of the platitues and “time heals “…. time heals nothing, it’s what WE do with the time. It’s who we surround ourselves with and the choices we make…. to go forward in pain and love or to just stay stuck. Too feel, to reach out and to love , depiste the ache and to transform our broken lives.

    Love you and bless you,

    KK


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