Comforting those who mourn

It is difficult to know how to comfort someone in the midst of grief. I have been there many times, at loss for what to say to a friend who has lost a father or a mother or a child. Particularly if you have not experienced this particular grief, if you have a healthy father or mother or children, it can feel like walking on eggshells. What if you say something wrong? Would the affected party rather you leave them alone? Does your attempted comfort only make them uncomfortable?

Now that we are sitting in our own grief, I am realizing that while advice is rarely needed, love is always comforting. I have treasured the texts and emails from friends who are just checking in on me to see how I am doing, or just wanting to say that they love me and are thinking about me. They have offered  no advice, just their love and presence. They have been willing to cry with me or joke with me depending on my mood. And it has meant so much.

With the texts and emails came gifts and cards. I wish I had taken a picture of all of them, because each one has been so meaningful. Here are the ones I did photograph:

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These flowers came after we thought we lost the baby the first time (before the miraculous heartbeat). They were so beautiful, and they helped fill our house with life when all we felt was death.

 

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This beautiful necklace came from a group of my closest friends. We know each other through a message board, and I have only met a handful of them in person.  But they have walked with me through our entire journey, and they were the first ones I told about our pregnancy. They nicknamed our baby “blueberry” once she reached that size, and this necklace was given to me by them when she was still alive but her days were tenuous.

 

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This was recently sent by a couple who walked a similar path as ours for many years. It was given to her during their years of infertility (they now have a beautiful baby boy) and she wore it every day for comfort. The bracelet is stamped with, “Your sorrow shall be turned to joy. John 16:20”.  It has already brought me comfort, and I hope to pass it on to someone else one day.

I treasure these gifts, and all the others. The baby gifts given in hope, the cards chosen with care, the fresh-baked bread to ease my nausea, the pictures of cute animals to make me smile; every gift has been precious, and every word has been savored. I know it is hard to know what to say, but thank you for trying. Thank you for being sensitive yet intentional. You have reminded me that when I see others grieving, I should not hold back, and that words of love and hope are never unnecessary. Thank you for reminding us every day that we do not walk alone. 

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