From my own personal experience with a child in the NICU, and now having had a miscarriage, I’ve compiled a list of things to say when someone is dealing with these types of events. I would assume this could apply to many difficult situations.
- I love you.
- I am praying with/for you.
- I have no idea what you are going through.
- I understand and am mourning (or praying, depending on the situation) with you. (only if you have been through the same situation, not if you just know someone who has gone through it)
- I am bringing you dinner or I am going to watch the kids for you or I am coming over to help you clean, what day/night works best for you?
While there may be more sayings that are OK to say to different people, I believe these are the basic sayings. You will never have to worry about how you might make them feel during their difficult time with these options.
Through these situations, God has opened my eyes and spoken to me about how to react when others are going through hard times. Comments were made to me, I believe mostly out of love, that did not sit well with me. God reminded me that most of those people cared deeply for me, and were only saying what they thought would help.
I, too, have been guilty of saying these very things, which is why I formed a list of things not to say, as a reminder. *If you have said any of these things to me, please do not take it as a personal attack at you. It is not written to anyone in particular, just a general rule of thumb.
- I understand what you are going through… from someone who has never been directly in your situation.
- Just trust God is with you and knows what He is doing… or other Christian sayings. While these may be true, it is OK to grieve, deny, be angry, etc. As a Christian, we know these things, to be reminded of them causes guilt in our feelings and the way in which we are grieving.
- It was God’s will… to imply every act is God’s Will means we have no free will and that He has a hand in all things done. Some things He just allows, rather than prevents, from happening.
- There is a reason for everything… really?!? So I am grieving over the death of my baby; do I really need to hear there is a reason my baby had to die???
- Let me know if you need anything… It is a safe bet that someone going through any type of grieving or drastic life change will need help, and they will probably not tell you what they need.
This is for me too! Looking back, I know I have not done everything I could for people in need. I pray I will stop and think before I speak and that I will reach out to say and do what I can to make their lives better.
While going through my grieving process, I came across a blog that was started just because of “Things People Said After My Miscarriage.” Can you believe that?!? How sad that our society can say such hurtful, insensitive comments after such a traumatic event. I laughed and cried as I read through her posts.
When writing this post I also referred to this blog, with lots of helpful advice on what to say and not.
I was reading another blog post, thanks to Krystle, of a woman who was talking about her feelings of anger shortly after her husband passed away. I cannot imagine what she was, and is going through as a single mom now, but this quote stuck out to me! I felt this way when Elias was in the NICU, and I feel it now.
“I wish everyone got the memo. I wish people knew so I wouldn’t have to explain it. At the same time, I’m so relieved to walk into a place where no one knows my situation and gives me that look. I hate that look. I don’t want anyone to treat me differently, and yet I do. Does that make any sense? No pity, just sensitivity.”
Wow! That quote sums it up for me!
Ok, so part of me needed to vent, but in reality, this is true. Our words are powerful. We really need to watch what we say to people. Sometimes it’s best to say very little, but to say something, so they know you care. Then? Listen.
What things do you like to hear? What do you hate hearing?