Wednesday, 23 May 2018

What Not to Say to a Greiving Parent.

It's been just under four months since we said goodbye to Jonah. When I reflect back to that day it seems like years and year ago, but at the same time feels like yesterday. So much has happened since our boy was born. And I'd now class myself as becoming an expert in grief - not something I'd ever wanted to build my skills in. With that in mind, we have had every cliche comment over the past few months. More often than not, people talk to me about Jonah in ways I could never have imagined doing. They ask me about him and let me share my story with them. But very occasionally someone will say something really unhelpful and I know I'm not the only one to have heard these things, so I've put together a little list of what not to say to a grieving parent (or any grieving person). 


Everything happens for a reason

I hate this phrase. Thankfully it's only been said to me once so far. At the time, I was so shocked I couldn't reply. On reflection, I should have replied with "would you have said that had it been my husband that had died? Or my toddler?". I would love to know the reason Jonah isn't here and why I almost lost my own life. 

At least you have Violet

Believe it or not, this was said to us by lots of health care professionals in the hospital. At least we have Violet...yes we do have our beautiful girl, but that doesn't make up for our boy not being with us. You would never chose one of your children over another, so why should we be expected to. I'm so so thankful we do have Violet, she's given us a reason to keep going through all of this but that doesn't make up for the fact that Jonah is not here. 

I know how you feel

No, you don't. You have no idea. Everyone deals with grief in completely different ways, so how could someone really know how I feel? This unhelpful comment has come up on a number of occasions and I find it incredibly difficult to not snap. Something along the lines of "that sounds like you've had a really difficult time" would be far more appropriate. 

Nothing

If I had a pound for eveytime someone says "I just don't know what to say", I'd be a very rich lady. Say something. Please acknowledge our little boy existed or at least acknowledge this huge event that has just completely changed our lives. There is nothing I love more than hearing Jonah's name. On a few occasions I've been ignored by people that know what happened, but clearly don't want to acknowledge it and that damages a relationships forever. 

He's in a better place

I'm not sure if this is a helpful comment to people that believe in Heaven or an after life. We're not religious so this offers no support what so ever. I don't want him in a better place, I want him here with me. 

And the best thing to say to a grieving parent? "Tell me about your baby". 

Katie xx
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