Thursday, April 17, 2008

Grief & The Attitude of Others

The stuff written in black is word-for-word from the book, "I'll hold you in heaven" by Jack Hayford. The stuff written in red are my comments.

The attitude of many bystanders toward the loss of a child through miscarriage…can sometimes verge on outright insensitivity. You probably know the kind of people I’m talking about. These people may have responded to your child as a nonentity. These same people may have downplayed your grief, leading you to feel abnormal for experiencing deep grief and a sense of loss for the baby you never really got to know.

People are often bewildered by completely false ideas and speak of God having “taken the child from them.” How often it is suggested that God “took back” the life He has earlier “given from heaven.”…However well-intended, such misguided words both miss the mark of truth and build walls of fear. You may say, “If God took my child, how can I trust a God who cares so little for my deepest, most fragile needs and emotions?” But listen, loved ones: God didn’t and doesn’t “take babies because He needs them in heaven.”

Ouch, Ouch, Ouch! Both of these happened to me and it's such a sad instance. People don't know what to say, so they say cliche things that they think will help. The problem is, they are pouring salt on the wound when they say the things they do. Here's a few examples, "God must be teaching you a lesson through all this" - "Trust me, you'll be better off in the end" - "Everything happens for a reason" - "God's must have a better plan for your life" BLAH, BLAH, BLAH - I could go on and on. Ouch! These comments stung almost worse than what I was going through! And then there were the people who had miscarriages that seemed unaffected by it entirely. Most of them work in the medical field and see things like this everyday. It must be nice to treat it with such carelessness. I don't mean to sound bitter, but people PLEASE THINK before you speak about such matters...especially when the person you're talking with is right in the middle of it. This is complicated and confusing stuff and we will never know the truth of it all until we get to heaven. But for now, take care with others' hearts. You're experience may not have been as traumatic as theirs is, but to them, the experience is real and extremely devastating and your words and actions can sometimes heal and comfort or can sometimes put fuel on the fire.

Please be comforted. Just as Scripture has evidenced the reality and significance of the life once nurtured in your womb, your loss is also real and significant. Don’t be surprised if you experience the same general cycle of grief as anyone who has lost a loved one. Indeed, the depth of feeling may not be as great or the season of grief as prolonged, because there are few, if any, memories to deal with. But so often there are dreams that became unfulfilled and anticipated joy that was suddenly quenched.

As soon as you found out about your pregnancy, did your heart begin to love and encompass that new little life? Let none of us ever be surprised or embarrassed by such deep emotions over the passing of an unborn child. The loss is a real one. And when grief is present, it needs to be accepted, acknowledged and responded to.

Now that you have a little background on what I experienced from others during this time, you can see how relieved I was to read this part of the book. I finally felt validated (which we all know is an issue for me) in the grief I was experiencing. It made it okay to feel that. And it pushed me just a little more towards opening my heart to Christ again.