Day #6: What not to say
No one really knows what to say and I quickly learned I needed a way to make comments roll off me so that I didn’t let them eat me up inside. I started my own top 10 list of things you should never say as kind of a way to make them funny…like “Ha! I can’t believe someone actually said that!?!?!” For me it worked and now I have a list that I go back to and can say, yes some of these things aren’t really bad but in the hours, days, and weeks after Clara’s death the words hurt. Some on the list will never be okay.
~”When I heard about Clara’s passing, I thanked God is wasn’t my child.”
Someone called to ask if I would like to go for a walk just a week after Clara passed away. This is what she told me on our walk. You know, I completely understand the feelings but I don’t need to hear them. It felt like such a stab at the heart for someone to offer to walk with me just to relay this message to me. I was shocked and didn’t know what to say.
~”God only gives us what we can handle.”
While this may be your beliefs, it made me wonder what in the world did I do to “handle” this because I will gladly change what I did so that I don’t have to! I heard this so much and every time I did, a little more doubt would creep in and make me wonder what I did so wrong to deserve to lose my baby. I found myself more angry at others who didn’t take care of themselves during pregnancy or who smoked around their kids or didn’t spend time with them. I wanted to know how a mother who wanted only the best could deserve this when others don’t care and their kids maybe shouldn’t be with them.
~”Sometimes we slip off God’s path and He has to do something drastic to bring you back.”
So, I screwed up and God took my kid away so I would listen and follow?? I can think of 100 better ways for Him to bring me back and this isn’t one of them. Far more people stray from God during a tragedy like this than come to Him.
~”God spared her from something more serious than He felt you could handle.”
For any of you out there that are pastors…don’t say this! I thought God had a plan for each of us and that plan is never to harm? I don’t think God changes his plan for a child and decides to bring them home early? In my mind Clara’s life was supposed to be short. She taught us so much in that short time. Her life and passing has opened doors to wonderful people and let me be more open with my heart and to be there for others who are suffering. I don’t think God was sparing her from cancer and I certainly don’t think this was a mistake.
~”Had you not baptized Clara her funeral would not have been a celebration of her life but rather a plea for God to allow her into Heaven.”
Pastors beware… This will push people away from the church. We found a new, more loving church to visit. I believe my God to be one of love, mercy, and forgiveness… not hate.
~”SIDS only happens when parents fail to be attentive to their child’s needs, fail to visit their doctor regularly, or fail to find proper daycare facilities.”
This was said by my friends pediatrician. This is why SIDS is thought to be the fault of the parents. Clara had great parents, a woderful doctor, and a loving daycare that we are still attending 3.5 yrs later.
~”Better luck next time.”
While this is something I would never think to say, I did hear it from a very loving older couple. They visited my work several times after Clara passed. I found out that they themselves had lost a newborn baby and a toddler to childhood illnesses. They also had several relatives and friends lose children. “Back in the Day” it was so common to lose at least 1 child and this phrase was often one that was spoken, not out of malice but more as “we hope your child gets better next time”. Either way, don’t say it or think it. It isn’t a game!
~While we are sad that we weren’t a part of Clara’s life, we think it is because God felt we didn’t have anything to learn from her life and passing.”
There isn’t much I can say here except that it was said by someone who only saw my baby the day she was born. If anyone should have learned anything, I think it would have been this person. I am deeply saddened to know that this is how some one feels. It makes me feel like Clara’s life wasn’t important to them at all. This comment was the most hurtful thing anyone said to me ever and there are days I still struggle to deal with it.
A couple of others that didn’t make the list but can be hurtful are:
~”I know what you are going through, I lost my: spouse, mom, sibling, pet.”
Those are in no way anything like my loss. Same goes for a SIDS mom saying that same phrase to a mom who miscarried or had a still born baby. No 2 losses are identical.
~”Are you getting back to life yet.”
Living life after such a profound loss is never the same. You are never completely whole. Each person deals with loss so differently and I don’t think you ever get back to normal, you are left to continue living with a part of you missing.
~”You need to just get over it.”
Again, there is no getting over it. When I used the same phrase back to this person on a far less serious matter, she flipped out and said you can’t just forget things and that I was so callous to think something like this. Okay…so why is it ok to say it to me. Her reply, because there are things you just have to get over and move on with. Alright then!