A month or so ago I went to lunch with a dear friend I had not seen since The Accident. She loves me and loves my kids. She is one of my dearest friends even though we live far apart and only see each other every couple of years. I know she would do anything for me and I for her.
She has read my blog and has seen posts like “What NOT to say to bereaved parents” and “What Bereaved Parents Want You to know (but may not say)”. And yet, she said nothing about Andrew until brought him up. “I wanted to say something but was afraid it would upset you,” she said in love. I know she loves me.
My response to her? “I LOVE you for that! But I love to talk about Andrew and all my kids. I will be glad to tell you what happened. Thank you for loving me and caring. Please feel free to ask me about it and mention him.”
Then I probably talked about him too much. But she let me go on and on and on because she loves me!
We had a wonderful supper together filled with joy and laughter and fond memories. I look forward to seeing her when she comes to town again.
My point – even those who love us very much and care deeply may not mention our pain, our loss, our child for fear of upsetting us, hurting us, or causing tears to flow. They do not intend to offend so they don’t ask about things related to our child or his death. They never want to hurt us! Never! They only intend love and compassion.
I have friends who have gotten offended when someone did not mention their loss. I chose not to be offended as she meant the best. (And, yes, I believe we choose whether to be offended or not.) Why would I ever be offended by someone who does something meaning to love me?? It really is the thought that counts sometimes. If I think someone means well I’m less likely to be hurt by them.
I will not be angry or bitter when others don’t know what to say or do. For I did not know what to say or do for those who had lost a child before my own loss. I choose to not be easily hurt by those who try to do the right thing but miss the mark. After all, they are trying. That counts for something. Doesn’t it?
We all have much to learn. Let’s help each other along the way! And let’s give each other lots of grace when we flub it up.