January 14, 2012

At Least...

The hubs and I have recently joined a care group for parents who have lost their children. God truly had his hand on this whole situation. When we first lost Isaac, I had no desire to be a part of a group like this. I just wanted to get back to "normal", not sit around in a group crying "woe is me". 

Over the last year though, I've been praying for a specific group that could help me on my road of healing. I even thought about starting one myself, but worries, doubts, and an already crazy schedule kept me from moving forward. 

A few months ago, one of the ladies from our church called to tell me about a new group that was starting, and wanted to give my information to the couple who was starting it. 
So we went. And I dragged my husband along. He didn't really want to go, but wanted to go to support me since this was something I wanted to do (isn't he so nice?) :) 
As we drove home that night, we were able to talk about the experience. 
He loved it. 
His exact words were, "We didn't solve anything, but it was just great to be able to sit and talk to people who knew exactly how we felt, and knew exactly what we have been through." Thank you Lord.
I felt the same way, and it was wonderful. I can't describe it any other way. Our group is made of parents from different ages and stages of life, but we share something very similar, and while we wish we didn't share that reason to be there, we are there longing for healing. 

This last week, we had a guest speaker who is a berevement counselor at one of the hospitals in town. She shared something that really spoke to me. Something that I have done a million times, and something I wished more people knew, so I decided to share it with you.

I've had a number of people ask me for advice on how to help a hurting friend who has lost a child. There are certain things I love to share that I found so helpful, but this is one I had never thought of before. They are the words: At least

When someone around us goes through a trial, we want to do something, anything to help. The problem is, we don't always know what to say. We try to make things better, and help them look at the positive in a world that is so filled with the negative. Many times these thoughts leave our lips:

At least they are in a better place
At least they had a full life
At least you had 25 wonderful years with them
At least they went peacfully in their sleep
At least they were young and didn't know what was going on
At least you didn't meet your baby, that would have made it much harder
At least you can have more children

The truth is, that when you are hurting the type of hurt that few will ever understand, it doesn't matter what positive things are said, nothing will make it better. 
And sometimes those things that are said to make us feel better, make us feel worse. (Believe me, I could make a list)

I've done it before myself. Even since we've lost Isaac! It is hard to know what to say, but we want to say something

I've even had these "at least" thoughts myself when I compare myself to others who've lost children. 
But the truth is, pain is pain, and there is no "at least" that lightens the situation. 

When she mentioned this, my mind was flooded with all the times I think I've said, "at least", but also all the times it was said to me, and I wanted to punch people in the face. 

So now, when others ask my opinion from my personal experience, I might include this bit of advice that I have decided to follow myself: At the very least, don't say "At least".

3 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this. One of my close friends just lost their 4 year old daughter after she fell and hit her head. This is something I needed to hear. Thanks for sharing. Miss ya all. Prague.g for you .

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  2. Is there anything that does help? A girl at work just lost her baby boy. She is one of those new moms that would just beam when she talked about him. You could just tell she was a great mom. We aren't really close but I feel like I/we need to do something! I know only God can make it any better right now, but I just want her to know we are thinking about her and her family. A sympathy card just seems so weak. Do you have any suggestions?

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  3. Kiki- I am so glad you asked. This is something I have been thinking about sharing for a while and haven't other than on a one-to-one basis when friends have asked. I posted a few practical ways that help in big and small ways in my post, "What does help?" http://justdownthehall.blogspot.com/2012/03/what-does-help.html
    I pray this helps, and blesses your friend.
    -Andrea :)

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