Inside a Grieving Mom’s Mind
Most of you may…or may not know, I lost my youngest son on February 27th. Most of you may…or may not know, my heart is in a million pieces. There are so many things that go through your mind when you lose someone you love. I can’t begin to even convey this. I lost my daddy fifteen years ago. Those were some painful times…they can’t even come close to this. Here’s what this grieving Mom wants to say:
When someone dies…Remember, they belonged in the heart of someone else. They were loved, and cherished. They aren’t gossip, they aren’t the “latest story”…they were someone’s world!
I made this for me…but feel free to download and keep for your personal purposes if you like:
Luke was 28 years old. He was my only biological son. I have two step-sons, that I helped raise, and a biological daughter. Luke was the youngest of all three of the boys. He was a wonderful son, a fabulous father..and apparently an amazing friend. He was gentle, and kind-hearted. He was stubborn, and set in his ways. He was quick to smile, laugh and love. He was LOVED.
What many folks don’t know..till rocketed into this atmosphere, is: You expect to have to bury your parents…it’s completely unnatural to bury your child.
I’m not quite ready to go into details about my son’s death, it’s still a very painful and open wound. I may never be ready. What I do want to go into details about, are some things that I have experienced with this tragedy. I want to share about what you DO and DO NOT DO when someone has a loss.
- First, I’ve learned…I’m not nearly as tough as I would like for everyone to think. I’ve always prided myself on being the strong girl, that everyone can come to, and cry on. Not now. I’m the melted little meek cry baby that I never saw as anything but weak. I cry, every day. Don’t assume that a grieving Mom…or Dad…or anyone for that matter, will automatically feel better in a week or so. They won’t. There are sometimes so many questions, that may never get answered. This makes the grieving process…even harder. They feel so many emotions, guilt is a biggy…don’t make it worse, by making them focus on the painful details of their loss. They MAY..or MAY NOT, want to talk to you about it. Don’t push…just be there. Let them know…you have an ear, and a heart.
- Don’t ask about details. A. That’s none of your business! B. That’s really so hard to talk about, until you’re ready. C. It’s rude! If a grieving person wants to talk to you about this, they will. Everyone eventually gets to a point where they want to talk about things, not generally right away. Don’t push for details…no matter how bad you want to know. Unless you are very close to the family, they may not want to share everything yet. Ultimately, does it change the way someone feels? NO. Does it change the way you feel about the person that just lost someone? If it does…SHAME on you!
- If you know the intimate details of a death…keep it to yourself. You can let that person know…but hearing outside opinions, and gossip, only serves as a very painful reminder, that people aren’t there for you…they are there to get the goods on the story. That’s really not something you want to know when you’ve just lost someone who means so much to you.
- Try to put yourself in the family’s shoes. What would you need, or want at this time. It’s impossible, to really know what to say or do for a person, or group when you’ve never really experienced what they are going through…and it’s okay to tell them that you don’t know. But, try to imagine yourself, COMPLETELY paralyzed. It feels much the same. You really don’t want to get out of bed. You don’t want to cook, bath, wash, eat, sleep…anything. Those are the things that people need. They need the daily things that have to get done. They shouldn’t have to worry about dealing with life. They can’t deal with life. They need someone to straighten up the house…to run errands…maybe do a load of laundry.
- I’ve never really thought about this…I’ve just always taken something when visiting a family of loss. DON’T show up empty-handed. Take food, supplies or anything. You can’t imagine how many mouths eat at the family’s home. There is a constant flow of people, that eat…eat…and eat more. That’s good. There is something very comforting about feeding your friends and family, BUT…you run out of food in a hurry, if people continue to show up with nothing…and then eat. What happens is…the family gets to pay for the funeral…and they get to buy food for the neighborhood/town for a week too. Not funny.
- Go home. It’s always good to check on a friend that has lost someone. The grief is immeasurable. The pain of a quiet house, is almost unbearable. So go, go often. Call, Text and generally, make a nuisance of yourself. (I can’t tell you how blessed I am with friends that call or text me daily) BUT…when 8:00pm rolls around….GO HOME!!! (Close friends aside) Unless they BEG you to stay, you’re WAY past your welcome. Most folks, don’t sleep well shortly after a death. They can get exhausted, and need to be left alone in the evening, to rest. Unless you know for sure that this person is a night owl, they probably need to go to sleep….or at least bed/rest.
- Give hugs. Hugs, hugs and more hugs. They are the one thing, that just feels good when you are grieving. I don’t know the statistics on this, but I can tell you, they have to be healing….I just know it. Nothing told me, “I love you” more than a hug from friends. Just a simple, long-winded, quiet hug.
- Tell something wonderful about the person that died. One of the most comforting things I heard about my son, were the stories that friends and family told me about him. It was so wonderful to hear the different ways he was loved…and that he loved. Nothing did my heart more good, than to know he really was special to everyone he encountered. I have so many questions that will never be answered, the fact that my son was loved by everyone…is not one of them. The fact that so many memories of him were shared, revealed to me that he was truly an unforgetable person.
- This is for my virtual friends. I feel like I’ve been blessed beyond deserving with my blogging buddies. They showed me EXACTLY what you do when you have a virtual friend with a loss. They have messaged, checked and taken complete care of me….just like my real life friends. But, something they did, that my real life friends couldn’t…is took care of my blog. It was really the last thing on my mind. I didn’t care if it actually fell off of the planet when all of this happened. BUT…they knew I WOULD when the dust began to settle. They took care of my little corner of blog land. For this, I’m so grateful. They posted links, tweeted, shared, pinned and blogged about me. They raised money for me…because they knew that we were having to pay for two funeral home expenses. They guest posted on my site, and LCI. They caught me online every day…and chatted with me. Some of them listened, some of them talked…some…just made me smile. (You know who you are). They were actually just exactly what I VIRTUALLY needed. 😀
- Lastly, Pray. I can’t say enough about the power of prayer. This is one of the most powerful tools anyone possesses in their friendship toolbox. God can, and will answer prayer, and there is an amazing and supernatural occurence when prayer, is said in numbers.
Here’s what I really want to express, more than ANYTHING else. Everyone has their own timing. What takes one person a week to deal with, might take someone else a year. Expect nothing, as far as timing goes. It really is an individual person/situation thing. What took me a couple of weeks to get back into life when dad died…is very obviously going to take me much longer with Luke. It’s been almost a month…and I really, really don’t want to go anywhere that I know people…because I’m still not ready to talk about it with anyone other than very intimate friends. I might give some details…but I’ve been pretty vague about it…and that’s really all I’m ready for right now. Just generally, be a friend…for as long as you are needed. You really, never know what life is going to hand you…you want to be the type of friend, that you would like to have in the same scenario.