Tag Archives: what not to say

Capture Your Grief – 2016 – Day #25

I Am…

I wish …

I would have woken Clara up the morning she passed instead of “taking advantage” of her sleeping in.  I have always regretted that decision.

I remember …

All the kindness that was offered.  I still can’t believe the amount of love and support we got then and still receive now.

I could not believe…

The things people said.  People will say some cruel things.  Do me a favor and if you hear it, don’t repeat it.  Not to someone else and not to me.  It is okay to be a filter. If you think the comment was terrible, I definitely don’t need to know what Janny said about me at the community center during bingo.

If only …

I had wondered why she was so sleepy.  If only we had waited a while longer to switch her formula.  If only we had dressed her in lighter clothes. If only she had been sleeping on her back.  These are the things that I try not to dwell on.  I can’t change these.  I do know that letting go of these regrets has helped me move forward.

I am …

 forever changed.  I am growing.  I am not sad all the time anymore.  I am able to talk to about Clara without always sharing tears.  I am a different me.




Capture Your Grief – 2016 – Day #14

Beliefs & Spirituality

One cannot experience a life changing event without some shaking of your belief system.  Sometimes the rattle is large, sometimes small.  I have found that no matter the change, one must find their own way back to their belief system, whatever it may be.

One can shout from the rooftops their beliefs but it is in their actions that it is revealed.  Today I have opted to share only that I struggled with my beliefs in religion.  I am a believer of God but not the “religion” aspect.  I think the biggest reason for that is the pastor of the very conservative church we attended at Clara’s passing.  “You are so fortunate.  Had you not baptized Clara we would have been begging for her entry into Heaven rather than celebrating her life.”  I imagine how differently her funeral would have been if that were the case. No life deserves to be mourned in that way.  It was in those words and the pastor’s actions over the next year that were what caused me to walk away from religion.

Don’t get me wrong, we still attend church just not one that has a ton of “requirements” or “rituals”.  We attend one that allows us to believe that the todays image is how Clara met Heaven.  It is one that doesn’t require me to use my words convince a griever that they must follow a certain belief.  Rather one that reminds me it is just as powerful to allow my actions to share my testimony. Love everyone, treat them with respect, smile, and share your heart.  You never know when that will be the step that leads someone out of the darkness.




The Ring Theory

Has anyone heard of the Ring Theory?  It is a great tool to help you know what to say/not say a tough situation.   Follow this link to read more about the Ring Theory:  http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-0407-silk-ring-theory-20130407,0,2074046.story

Using that article, let’s use Clara’s death as an example:

The center was obviously Clara, the the next most affected were my husband and myself, then our children and daycare provider, then our parents and siblings, then our friends, then coworkers, ect.  When the dumping went inward instead of outward was when I felt the most anger and frustration.  I could never explain very well the reason why it was so hurtful other than by saying it didn’t allow me to grieve or just that the phrase was offensive.  The Ring Theory explains exactly why I felt angry.  Outer rings were dumping inward rather than outward.  Same goes for being able to relay that things were hurtful…When I said something was hurtful to the outer rings there was no comfort, instead the outer rings dumped inward causing even more problems and hurt feelings.

It is interesting to go through the list from Day 6 of the Carly Marie Project – What Not to Say.   I can look at these and say…Yes, you can feel this way but don’t say them to me.  Like I thanked God it wasn’t my child.  Thanks but I don’t honestly want to hear that.  Say that to your friend not me 🙂

Just remember this:

“Ring Theory merely expands that intuition and makes it more concrete: Don’t just avoid dumping into the center ring, avoid dumping into any ring smaller than your own.  Remember, you can say whatever you want if you just wait until you’re talking to someone in a larger ring than yours.  And don’t worry. You’ll get your turn in the center ring. You can count on that.”


Careful What You Say…Everyday Comments

So many times people tell me they just aren’t sure what to say to someone in a bad situation. I often say just a simple “I am sorry” and a hug are plenty but what about those everyday comments that aren’t meant to be anything but small talk. I can honestly say I have opened my big fat mouth and said far more than I should have. I have gone home and thought… that was stupid, I would have hated someone saying that to me. Like the other day I told someone “We are done having kids, it is your turn.” only to find out they have been trying for several months with no luck. Blah… I felt pretty bad. No different than when someone suggested I had 5 kids because I had to get a girl. No sorry, I got a girl 3 kids ago and she died. No we didn’t keep trying, God kept them coming no matter how hard we tried not to have more. I can say that cashier felt pretty bad after that.

I completely understand that these comments are well meaning. I can’t help but be thankful for these people’s bliss and innocence to reality. I sometimes will talk about these things not as a way to complain but as a way to say “hey think before you speak” you don’t know how hurtful those well meaning words can be. Maybe it will save someone from that awkward feeling of hearing how hurtful that comment was.

For example, a cashier was ringing up our groceries and noticed our 4 boys and a new baby in the car seat. She asked gender. I replied girl. She was so excited “Finally a girl!” and followed with “Couldn’t stop until you got that girl” wink, wink. I simply explained that this wasn’t our first girl, that she died of SIDS, and that whether boy/girl we were done after this baby anyway. She was visibly embarrassed and never looked me in the eye again. When I posted on Facebook later that day about how frustrating it is to hear this whole speech and how often I hear it, rather than seeing it as a “Hey don’t say this, you might offend some stranger” I heard “people say that all the time” and “you can’t blame her for stating the obvious”.

True… I can’t blame her and I am not. I just needed to say it is not something I would say to someone I don’t know. Hey there are people who keep trying until they have a boy/girl but if they aren’t a super close friend, I certainly don’t ask them if that is their goal. Using the phrase “were you hoping for a girl?” over “had to keep trying for that girl” seems less offensive to me. That said, I also feel uncomfortable that I am put on the spot for feeling offended by what the cashier said. I just feel like there are people you can poke a little fun with and joke about their “need for a girl”…AKA your close friends and there are people who you should not. It can sometimes be a fine line.

So before you tell…
The mom of an only child…they can’t just have 1 child
The mom of no kids…when are you going to start trying
The mom of all one gender….are you going to keep trying to get the other gender
…know that just because you haven’t lost a pregnancy or a child that doesn’t mean someone else hasn’t. Talk to someone who has experienced infertility or the loss of a child. Ask them how would they liked to be asked about only having more kids. Gather the knowledge to help you keep your foot out of your mouth….at least most of the time 😉


The CarlyMarie Project ~ Day #6

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!