when you don’t know what to say
the other day i ran into a lovely friend of mine, not a close friend, but a friend who i was lucky enough to meet through my son’s school. i hadn’t seen her for a few weeks and wanted to check in on how she was doing with taking care of her boys and managing the first few months of pregnancy–the exhaustion, nausea….and so much more.
sadly she had unexpectedly lost her baby just a little past 18 weeks (for those of you who don’t know this is almost mid-way). my heart broke for her and there was little i could say to comfort her except listen, share a hug and shed a few tears.
there are no words to right this wrong–platitudes and placation’s beyond i am so sorry are woefully inadequate and yet that is sometimes all we can say. trying to find wisdom in your words is akin to holding water in our hands.
with loss comes the deepest of sorrow and when we are able to mourn those whose lives we have shared we can remember times of happiness and take comfort in those moments we shared together. however, the loss of potential opens as chasm that words often can not bridge. the promise of a baby brings dreams and possibilities that will forever change our lives and although a different loss, it is as a deep and heartfelt as any other.
saying the right thing is hard, it is a tenuous path to walk on uncertain ground… especially if you have not walked in those shoes. i will offer this… “it is for the best (is it?)” or “you already have one child (or any number),” or perhaps “you can just try again” really don’t make the grade. i know i didn’t hit it out of the park, nor probably will i ever, but a simple i am so sorry and a hug seemed to work.
they say with age comes great wisdom and although i’m still waiting for the extra dose, i do know as we grow older we experience more and know more….perhaps the knowing and the abundance of ‘stuff’ we carry overtaxes and over complicates. the older i get i realize some of the sagest advice can be picked up by the youngest i know.
on the playground kids play their hearts out, bouncing, screaming, laughing and jumping just because they can. if they should get hurt, a simple hug and an hand up from their friend evaporates avalanches of tears and that simple moment of kindness leaves bumps and bruises far behind.
i’m not sure if i can live in the moment as my five year old does..but i am awed by the simplicity of how they move forward. it is without a doubt it a trait i cherish and am trying a little harder to develop.
loss is complex and not to be diminished, but to comfort those closest to us perhaps we need to say less, listen more and just know that a steady hand to help them up may be what they need most.