Dear < insert name here>,
Please don’t take offense and know that I am sorry for your loss but I ask that you kindly do not compare my journey to yours. Please do not quote from the bible or a Hallmark card something you think might lighten my burden. Please don’t tell me how long you have been holding on to your pain. AND please do not put the loss of your parent, sibling, spouse, pet in the same category as mine. And lastly, don’t give me unrequested advice.
- I don’t want to hear ‘it never gets easier‘ or ‘brace yourself , the second year was so much harder.’ Harder??? Really??! How much harder can it be? I have cried so hard, my gut twists in pain! My heart hurts so much, I feel as if a thousand pounds of lead is sitting on my chest. I have wondered how easy it would be to fall asleep and never wake up! I have screamed at the top of my lungs so hard that my throat is raw! Fragments of broken glass surround me from me throwing things out of anger! Harder?! So, are you telling me that this is just practice to and get myself ready for the real thing?!”
- Don’t tell me the degree or length of your pain unless I ask. I call this form of information PWSO.. “pregnant women syndrome overload”. When someone we know tells us they are pregnant the first thing out of our mouths is “OMG…wait ’till you go into labor!” The stories of unbearable pain, crazy symptoms, moment of panic, start to roll of our tongue’s. We are eager to share the atrocious things that our bodies go trough. We go into such graphic details that we leave the mother to be in a state of fear! The poor mother has to sit through all the gory stories that we endured through our own pregnancies We leave them to wonder if having a baby is really a good idea. Thing is, all pregnancies are different. There is pain, but some women have handle pain better than others. There are difficult stages that though we may not like, one way or another, we made it through. Some labors lasted hours, while others days. I can not expect your pregnancy to be just like mine was just like you can not expect your grieving process to be like mine.
- DO NOT for one inkling of a second, expect what you are going through after the loss of your beloved spouse be comparable to my ordeal. Not that your pain isn’t grave and deep and I and sorry….but the pain of losing a spouse is merely touching the surface of what my pain is. You may fall in love again, you may remarry, you will once again be in the loving arms of someone who is to be your partner in life. I can never replace a child.
- Don’t let the words “He is God’s child. He lent him to you and wanted him back” escape your lips! UUUHHH Excuse me?? My child is not an item that can be returned or exchanged. God lent him to me??? If God wanted him back, he should have taken him when I was already there to greet him! Why did he need him back now??!
- Heaven needed another angel’. What the hell for? Did the angels union go on strike? Is there somehow a shortage of angels and all of a sudden and God decided Joey would be drafted?
- Don’t assume I am ready for pictures you found stored somewhere in your cell or photo box. Trinkets that you came across that once belonged to my son could very easily open raw wounds. By all means , in a short sentence, let me know you have them but please refrain from wrapping them up in a pretty little box with a bow. The pain may still be too unbearable. I will politely accept it, but they will quickly go into some drawer as if I am putting away a tax bill. I truly do not want to hurt your feeling when you don’t see your gift to me displayed. If and when I am ready, I will accept them and cry happy tears that you kept something so valuable to me.
So I end this with, I am sorry. Do not take offense. That isn’t my intention. This is MY reality and what I have experienced. My intention is to merely point out that our paths, our journeys, our pain and grief are as different as night and day, ice and fire, love and hate. We all are trying to navigate this unknown territory however we can and the best we know how….I know you love me and are trying comfort me the best way you know how. You want to dissipate my pain however you can. But sometimes, I just need you to listen, hold me and understand.
In times of doubt, always remember…Listen and Silent are spelled with the same letters