What do you say to someone for whom the worst has already happened?

This weekend a dear woman I work with lost her baby in utero. She was born still at (by my rough calculations) about 36 weeks along. Two days earlier she had a normal check-up. And then her baby died. No explanation, no reason, no rhyme. Just horrible.

I watched this sweet petite woman struggle through “all day sickness” for weeks and weeks, heard the excitement and anticipation in her voice as her pregnancy progressed and rooted for her throughout this hot, hot summer. And now she is a childless new mother.

They say that to have a child is to have a large piece of your heart walking around outside of your body, and I have to say I agree wholeheartedly with that description. But what about losing a child? A baby you grew and cared for inside you but didn’t get a chance to know? A baby you birthed, but didn’t get to hear cry? A whole lifetime of anticipated memories that were taken before you could make them?

Thankfully there are organizations like Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, and Faith’s Lodge and Faces of Loss/Faces of Hope for people facing this type of tragedy. And there’s good information about what to say and what not to say.

I want to tell this woman that this is horrible and unfair and crappy and that in time I hope she feels better again. Whole. Comforted. Safe. For now, I will leave it Mumford and Sons:

And there will come a time, you’ll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see what you find there,
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.

Hang in there, sweet mama. We’re pulling for you.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “What do you say to someone for whom the worst has already happened?

  1. I’m so sorry for your friend’s loss. This is a beautiful message.

  2. CJ Dickinson

    This is such a sad story. Not surprisingly, it made me think of a personal experience that helps me relate in some small way to your friend. Before you were born I lost a baby at six months. Not an answer to be found. I can only imagine how three more months of pregnancy would worsen the grief. We were devastated but able to move on and get pregnant again with you.
    Thank god we did.

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