Wednesday, February 13, 2013

showing love - child and infant loss mama

Fawne blogs over at Beauty in Weakness.  She has experienced a great amount of loss and heartache in her life but her faith remains unwavered.  She has been such an encouragement to me to keep going even when life it hard.  No doubt you will be encouraged by her words.

When Sarah asked me to write something about "how to best help a friend in need" I had to smile to myself because the honest truth is I feel like one of the least capable people on the planet to write such a post. Compassion isn't one of my strengths and empathy is something I can't understand naturally. In fact one of my best friends, who has the gift of empathy, was trying to explain to me how it is to be able to hear about someone's pain and feel what they feel. I have a hard time imagining it. 

However, I certainly know that I need to grow in this area and I find it rather ironic that God continues to give me "best" friends who have the gift of empathy and so rather than drawing from what I know by personal experience (or giftedness) I will share with you what I have learned through their example to me.



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As a mama who has lost children I do understand the pain of loss and I also know a bit about what grief looks like. It can be so lonely sometimes can't it?


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I know that grief is personal. Even though there are aspects we can all understand there are also aspects about our own grief that no other person will ever understand. The healing gifts given to me by friends and loved ones may not touch your heart in the same way they have touched mine. There are so many meaningful ways to bless a friend who is suffering the pain of loss but I will share just two things that I have found the most healing for me. 

First of all: Don't forget! 


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Forgetting is so easy when you're not the one who lost the child. I know . . . I've been on that side of the fence too. Life goes on. The initial pain and shock you feel when you hear your friend lost their child grows dim and gets lost in the craziness of life. It may not be your calling to remember every parent you know who has lost a child (at least for me that becomes terribly overwhelming . . . there are so many.) But remember one . . . or two. 


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I feel so blessed to have a couple of people in my life who always remember the "important" dates. If you have trouble remembering dates (as I often do) write it down on a calendar so you'll remember to send a note or flowers to that person every year. 


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We have dear friends who have sent us flowers every year on the anniversary of Wyatt's death. It means the world to me. 

Second of all: Ask questions. (This one is huge for me)

If you've never lost a child you might think that it's too painful to bring up the subject of your friend's lost child. Not true! We desperately want to talk about our missing child(ren). 

Last summer I went to a writer's conference where I met with a publisher. She asked me what made me want to write a book and I told her about my son Wyatt, who God had used to change my life (Wyatt died a couple months before his fourth birthday). 

She said, "Tell me about your son . . . what was he like?" 

Rather embarrassingly, I burst into tears. Wyatt had been gone for two years and it was so rare for anyone to ask me about him anymore. She gave him value by wanting to know about him. I can't explain why but for some reason when we get to talk about our missing children it makes us feel as though their lives had meaning and purpose. 

Doesn't each life, no matter how short, serve a unique and special purpose? 

As a mother, I want people to see that my children are special, even if they only lived for three years or three hours or three weeks in my womb. 


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That said, there will be times when parents don't want to talk about their deceased children but I find that those occurrences are rare. Most of the time, in the same way that we enjoy talking about our living children, we're dying to talk about our "heaven" children as well. One of my friends (who had a stillbirth) said that even the foolish and insensitive questions were better than the people who said nothing at all. 

Don't be afraid to blunder your way through.
Don't be afraid of that awkward feeling . . . it will be there but that's okay. 
Don't be so afraid of "not saying it right" that you say nothing at all. 

If you remember to do just one of these two things (even one time) it will be a huge encouragement to a mama or papa who has lost a child. 


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To those of you who have lost a child, my prayer is always the same . . . that you will know without any doubt whatsoever (whether you feel it or not) that you are fiercely loved by the God who knows you intimately and calls you by name.




3 comments:

  1. I love this post, thank you Fawne. I try so hard to remember those dates, and need to be better at writing them down so that I do actually remember and can do something about it. I love seeing Eva's name on your calendar <3. I know Anella is touched by that. Praying always to be a help and encouragement to momma's who are missing faces to kiss.

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  2. beautiful and so very true. thank you. several years have passed for us and sometimes it hurts a little that no one remembers but John and I. But you're right - we can't expect everyone to carry our losses with us. God remembers. <3

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