Wednesday, October 16, 2013

How can you help a loved one suffering from losing a child?


It has been less than 4 months since the terrible night our little one left us.  Many may think I “write too much about her,” but I can’t help it.  Like it or not, she’s a part of our family, and this is about our family. For us, a big part of our healing is in remembering her.  Suffering from the loss of any child is hard, and I offer these tips, from my own experience, to you for how I feel you could help a loved one going through a similar loss: 

1)  Sympathize and Empathize - Don't just say you are sorry but truly try putting yourself in his or her shoes.  I sympathize with anyone who has suffered a miscarriage at any stage, but I also think our pain is a bit different just like I think it is likely harder to lose an older baby or child who you have known and loved longer in life.  I don't think the hurt is necessarily more or less, but I think there are differing levels and types of pain.  I still have the evidence of our daughter on my body as well as in my heart.  The sight of my “stretch marks” sometimes make me want to break down in tears because they remind me of her.  Don’t be afraid you will “stir up bad memories” by offering your love and support at this time because chances are good your loved one really does need to hear it. 

2)  Continue to offer help and encouragement in the months ahead - I have felt that after the first month or two, the messages of love and sympathy dwindled to basically nothing.  I have reached out the best I can to friends and family for comfort, but what is there to say?  Do people think I am too needy?  The offers to “help out” never materialized for us.  The only food that was brought was from my work and my sister-in-law.  Eddie and I have basically felt about as alone as any two people can feel.  My advice is to make a definitive plan to help and just do it.  Plan to take the kids for a night if you can so the couple can have a much needed break and time alone together or maybe give the couple a gift certificate for a dinner out.  Chances are pretty good that your effort will be appreciated and much needed.    

3)  Don’t tell or act like your loved one should just move on and that he or she should not bring up their little one - Our kids basically just have us so we’ve had no choice but to “move on.”  I don’t think anyone can say we haven’t “moved on,” but I guess the world thinks it is already time for us to forget her as well.  We have two boys.  She was our only little girl.  Our house and hearts were ready for her arrival.  We may never have another daughter.  She will never be replaced.  I carried her for over 9 months so how could I just forget her in less time than that?  I only got to hold her for a little while, and I can already barely remember the feeling of her in my arms.  In my opinion, people who lose their little ones need to talk about them.  They need to know the world won’t just forget them.  Yes, there is a special day (yesterday) that was made to honor and remember them, but I didn’t see too many signs in my corner of the world that people did remember.  It just made me feel more alone than ever. 


To the friends who do care and do show it (you know who you are), I love you dearly, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being there for us no matter how far apart we may be.  I want to be like you to others!  May God bless you all!  

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19 comments:

  1. I'm soo sorry you guys had to experience this. You go ahead and talk about her. She's still very much a part of your lives and all of us who are invested in your blog!

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    1. Awe, thank you, Nicole! While I love talking about her, I don't want to sound all depressed and gloomy all the time. We really are thankful for our blessings. I just want to offer any advice I can from my own experience that may help others who may feel alone in their grief.

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  2. Oh Sherry! I wish I lived closer! Never stop talking about you sweet angel! I love how you are keeping her so close!

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    1. Thank you, Tracy! You know you are one of the ones who has truly been there for us. Love you, friend!

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  3. My heart is breaking for you. I have no idea what you have experienced, but I do appreciate your openness. I am glad you talk about Mattie. She is well-loved by her parents, for sure.

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    1. Thank you, Celia! Yes, she will always be loved by us and her brothers for sure. And we know that the Lord and time heal all wounds if we trust in Him!

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  4. Sherry, my sweet friend, definitely do not stop talking, or writing, about Mattie. She has had a huge impact on your family, both joyful and sorrowful, and that should not be erased. I love how you share what she might have experienced each month through the outfits she would have been wearing.

    I also hold you and Eddie in my prayers. If I lived closer I would be bringing meals and taking your boys.

    I'm so sorry you are not feeling supported in your grief as you mourn your precious daughter. I wish there was more I could do.

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    1. Oh, Natasha, I definitely know that you would! I think that it is a matter of most people just not knowing what to do or say and thinking that they'll do or say the wrong thing so they just stay silent. I understand that so I thought maybe this little piece would help others going through the same thing to express what they need from their loved ones.

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  5. Hey honey, please know that your little bloggy friends love you. I enjoy reading posts about little Mattie. I see a lot of strength in your blogging journey these last few months. Stay strong, and please know that you are very loved!

    Sometimes I actually ache to know you and Natasha and Tracy personally! I love y'all so much! I better go, I'm crying now...

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    1. Awe, I love you guys too! It's crazy what this crazy blogging journey has done for us!

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  6. Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog. I am so sorry for your loss. I read a little bit of Mattie's story in "All About Mattie", although I honestly could not read it all because I am 32 weeks pregnant with baby #2, so it was difficult to read, but as difficult as it was for me to read I can't even imagine how difficult it was for you and your family. Thank you for sharing your story on your blog. RIP sweet angel. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Now following you via Bloglovin'

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    1. Hi, Jackie! I've been meaning to respond back to you. I can only imagine the difficulties of reading stories like this while so close to giving birth to your own little one. I pray for peace for you and a very healthy pregnancy and delivery. Thank you for following along, and I hope you enjoy as I do mostly post about all the good times we experience as a family! :-)

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  7. It breaks my heart that you are even writing this post! But I'm so glad you did. Keep talking about Mattie, remembering her, loving her. If people think you should stop, it's because they are uncomfortable. I love reading all your posts about her. Y'all are still in my prayers all the way here in Texas!

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    1. I can totally see how the situation could make people uncomfortable. No one enjoys reading stories that show that there is pain and loss in this world. I just hope that through the stories, people will also glimpse hope as well. Hope in a brighter future and the promises of God that he will bless us even through our suffering and after (just like Job). Thank you for your prayers, Texas friend!

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    1. You are very welcome, Lindsay. Hope you will keep reading as we continue sharing about all the blessings that God gives us even after tragedy. You have been an inspiration to me as I have witnessed God's miracles and blessings in your life.

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  9. Sherry, I am so sorry if anybody has given you the impression that you write about Mattie too much or that you should be "over it" by now. That is unbelievable and cruel if anybody has even hinted at that.

    I have never lost a baby so I cannot give you specific advice about that grieving process, but as you know I did experience months of grief with Elliott's health crisis, and from what I learned with that I can offer this advice: you have to be able to tell people exactly how they can support you. There were days when I had to tell my friends to absolutely just leave me alone and there were days I had to call my friends and tell them to come over and just be with me. Supporting a grieving person is difficult and a lot of times when a person doesn't know what to say they just don't say anything. So don't be afraid to speak up with your friends and loved ones and give them specific directions on what they can do to help.

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    1. Well, I think it is the silence that often gives the impression that people have stopped caring. Although it is likely untrue, it can still feel that way when you are grieving and does feel like the world quickly forgets. It is human nature to want to move past tragedy and dwell on happier things. We have done that too, and it has helped us get through these last few months. Yes, I know that your horrible scary ordeal with Elliott put the frailness of life in perspective. It does truly make us thankful for our blessings. I also know that you have been a pillar of support for your friends who have been suffering because you know a little of what they are going through (like Megan). Thanks for your advice and support!

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  10. Love this... thank you for saying the hard stuff so gracefully! Praying for you, friend :-)

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