Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What Not to Say to a Grieving Parent: Part 2

Have you cried? At all?

Most of the insensitive things people have said are not, as I mentioned in the preface, deliberately hurtful and this one is no exception. The problem is that the person who said it is someone I haven't seen in years which means they said the words to me in a pocket of time, on the phone, several weeks after Garrett died. I was telling them the usual things I tell people who ask how I'm doing...about the people who have rallied around us, how much I miss him at strange times, how we are closer together, how glad we are that we didn't move away last year, etc.

Because I was in the middle of explaining how I can cope with life, I was pretty much speechless when they asked if I had cried at all. I mean, what I wanted to do was start screaming: Were you there the day they told me there was no heartbeat and they needed to take measures to save me? Were you there that week in the hospital when I cried every. freaking. day. because I couldn't bear to think of the empty spot at the dinner table? When I sat in the hospital lobby, waiting on mike to bring the car around, weeping because I should have been waiting while holding a baby in my arms? How about when I got home and cried again because I saw the empty spot where I was going to hang Garrett's newborn picture alongside Autumn's? Were you there when I couldn't stop crying after seeing my baby's tiny casket? No. No, you weren't. Their words were almost like a physical blow.

I didn't do any screaming, though. I did ask them if they were crazy, because fortunately that friend was someone I could say something like that to. I told them I had cried plenty but that, in all seriousness, what did they want me to do? Cry all day, every day? I could if I wanted to, probably. But the reality is that no matter how much I want Garrett here or how incredibly unfair it is that I have to go on without him, I will, in fact, go on. He's waiting on me (us) in heaven because, for whatever reason, he's served the purpose God had for him on earth and I haven't. So, I go on. I go on for myself and Mike and Autumn and everyone else who loves us and loved Garrett because of us. Will I cry sometimes? Absolutely. Will my grief always look like other people's grief? No. But it doesn't mean I'm not grieving.

What Not to Say to a Grieving Parent: Preface
What Not to Say to a Grieving Parent: Part 1

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