Tim & I have had so many well meaning people offer their (unsolicited) advice/opinions. Some have been useful & some have been hurtful. There really are things that shouldn’t be said to a grieving parent . . .
Please don’t tell us to move on. Please don’t ask us to stop talking about our child. Please don’t remind us how different we are. Please don’t tell us how you miss the old us. We will NEVER “move on” or “get over it” – we simply learn to move forward. One step at a time. We will talk about our child(ren) who are in Heaven, just like we talk about our children who are still on this earth. We don’t stop being their parents – EVER. My Heavenly children are just as much apart of my daily life as my living children. We know we are different – looking in the mirror & not recognizing the person in the reflection is harder for us than anyone else. We didn’t plan to change, we don’t even like the change, we are learning to know the new us just as much as you are. We miss the “old us” too. Most of all please don’t judge us in where we are in our grief work. There are hundreds of millions of parents who have lost a child – not one of them has walked in our shoes & experienced our trauma & loss. It isn’t a comparison game. No matter how similar your circumstances may be – you have no clue so don’t expect our journeys to be the same. Similar maybe, but never the same.
Please understand we are where we need to be in our journey. Know that we don’t want to be “stuck” there forever, but it is a long journey & we all walk it at different paces & often different routes. Please mention Truman. We love hearing his name & listening to your stories. You mentioning him isn’t a painful reminder – not a minute goes by that we aren’t already thinking about him anyway. Please show the “new us” mercy when we fall apart, take it out on you, are insensitive or self absorbed in our own pain. Please show us grace & don’t take anything we say or do (or don’t say/do) personal – chances are it isn’t about you. Please continue calling, continue sending text, continue posting messages, continue visiting, continue being our friend – even when we aren’t a very good friend back. Please just love us. Love us all the way through this. And trust that even though we are often hurting so deeply & it can be difficult to reciprocate your love – we love you right back!
For those who haven’t left, those who have shown us more mercy, grace, & love than we deserve (or may ever be able to give back) – THANK YOU!