After my last post, of things to do to HELP someone who has lost, it seemed only fair that I dedicate an entire post to the flip side: How to NOT help someone who has lost.
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It’s sad to say that I have had personal experience with almost all of them. It goes back to the fact that people are uncomfortable with grief and loss and therefore, want to fix it and make it better. Can’t happen.
For each of these points, I will include “So you’re my friend. And I love you. But I’ve just lost.” It needs to be repeated over and over and over and over because people FORGET sometimes. It’s crazy. So keep that tone in mine while I lay down some real sarcastic stuff after. Because I want to still be your friend, but I am in a delicate state right now. Got it?
1. DON’T TRY TO MAKE IT BETTER. So you’re my friend. And I love you. But I’ve just lost. This should seem fairly obvious, but as humans, we hate to see those we love in pain. So naturally, we want to make people feel better. Right? Guys, it doesn’t help. It REALLLLLY doesn’t. Put simply: You cannot fix this situation. Period. So stop trying to cover it with a band-aid. The wounds are too fresh, they need the attention and air to heal properly. So while your good intentions are there, just know that no matter what you say, you’re not bringing back the one I lost. PERIOD. Don’t fix. Just sit here in my pain with me and cry/be angry/etc. Mimic my mood and you will be just fine. But seriously.
2. DON’T BE STUPID. So you’re my friend. And I love you. But I’ve just lost. I wish I could list all the stupid things that a person could say, but it’s not possible. There’s not enough time in the world or blog space on the internet. Please, use your brain. Think before you speak. Don’t be stupid. I beg you.
3. DON’T TRY TO ONE-UP. Guys. It’s happened. “Oh, you lost your baby? Well I know I girl who lost her baby then her husband then her dog…..” Yeah, that really freaking sucks for that girl, is that supposed to make me feel better? Just refer back to #1: You can’t make this better. Talking about how it could be WORSE is not helping me out right now.
4. DON’T TRY TO RELATE. So you’re my friend. And I love you. But I’ve just lost. Unless you’ve recently lost someone, please don’t say you “know how I feel.” That really is the worst. Yes, there are a handful of people who know EXACTLY how I feel, and for that I am sorry. There are others who might have a small idea who I might feel, but really? This is not the time to pretend you get exactly where I am in my life.
5. DON’T SAY ‘TRY AGAIN.” So you’re my friend. And I love you. But I’ve just lost. I’m in pain and I’m hurt. Then you come alone with this genius answer, “Try again.” WOW. I had never thought about that! Forget about grieving or letting my body heal, just try again and this will all be better. Ouch. Going back to #1: Why are we trying to fix this?
6. DON’T RAG ON YOURSELF, YOUR HOUSE, OR YOUR KIDS. So you’re my friend. And I love you. But I’ve just lost.Let’s be honest, you’ve showed up at my door and while I’m happy to see you, I feel like crap, I look like crap, my other kid looks like crap, and my house looks like crap. My heart is aching for the little one I’ve lost. This is NOT the time to be ragging on yourself, your weight, your life, your house, etc. Trust me, not cool. Most importantly, don’t rag on your kids. Again, the thing I want more than anything is to be holding my baby. I’d be happy to have a baby right now, please don’t proceed to tell me how your kids are driving your crazy. I don’t want to hear it.
7. DON’T AVOID THE PERSON. This is awkward, but it goes back to the fact that people don’t know how to react to those who have lost. Obviously, you need to be tender in your interactions with me, but you don’t need to ignore me or avoid me entirely. That just ticks me off.
8. DON’T ANNOUNCE: So you’re my friend. And I love you. But I’ve just lost.So you’re pregnant – congrats! But tell me later. Really. I can barely take care of myself right now, let alone my other little. The last thing I need to hear right now is how you’re expecting. It’s another reminder that I don’t have a baby anymore. I had several close friends, who had also lost, confide in me when they were pregnant, and it was different. For these sweet women who had experienced loss, just like me – I felt nothing but joy, not a hint of jealousy or anger. Unless you’ve walked where I’ve walked, be delicate when you announce your big news to me.
9. IF YOU ARE PREGNANT, BE SENSITIVE. So you’re my friend. And I love you. But I’ve just lost. More than likely, I don’t want to see your perfect round belly with a healthy heartbeat. It’s nothing personal. I’m not in a place for that.
10. IF YOU HAVE A BABY, BE SENSITIVE. So you’re my friend. And I love you. But I’ve just lost. The LAST thing I need to see is your perfect bundle of pink skin. Breathing. Healthy. Ok. Again, it’s not you. It’s totally me. I flat can’t handle it right now.
11. IF YOU HAVE SMALL CHILDREN, BE SENSITIVE. So you’re my friend. And I love you. But I’ve just lost. Right now, the LAST thing I want to do is to have you come over and watch as your toddler destroys my house. Not kidding. It’s happened. Leave your sweeties at home or have them sit by you.