Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Is There Anything I Can Do?

Since Morgan died, most people ask if there is anything they can do.  The short answer is no, unless you know how to turn water into wine and raise the dead, then there is nothing you can do for me.  The nice answer is to just love and cherish the those around you, especially your children.

Last week, I attended two different perinatal loss support groups, and in each group, women talked about the reactions of friends and family to the loss.  It seems that everyone recognizes that there is truly nothing they can do to comfort you.  However, some folks don't know what to say or do, and so say or do nothing.  I myself have been guilty of this in the past, especially for more distant acquaintances. 

I now know how important it is to acknowledge the loss, especially a pregnancy/infant loss.  As her mother, know one knew Morgan like I did; not even my husband.  She was with me every moment of every day.  Both of us need her to be acknowledged.  She didn't get to live in the world she was born into, but she affected the world she was born into just the same.  For the women in the support groups, failure to acknowledge the losses resulted in alienation of previously close friends and family members.

I write this this particular post because it struck me today how people really are dumbfounded on what to do when you lose a baby.  I went out today, and when I returned there was a tall stack of frozen meals that had been delivered while I was out.  There was no card or message, but after a little investigation, I found out that the delivery was from my classmates.  In the reply to my investigative email, it hit me how truly difficult it is for people to express their condolences in this situation.

You see, while we were dealing with our own loss, another classmate lost a parent.  As relayed in the email, it seems that there was no hesitation in deciding to send something to this person, but there was a lot of deliberation on sending something to us, along the lines of "nothing we do will make it better".  Again, unless you're BFFs with Lazarus, nothing will make it better.  But that is no more true for us, than it is for my classmate.  Unless I am just truly disliked by my colleagues (I hope not!), I want to say this is because of the difficulty of the situation. It's a lot easier to say "I'm sorry about your Mom" than "I'm sorry about your baby".

A hug and an "I'm sorry" go a long way.  I've even surprised myself at how touched I've been at condolences that have mentioned Morgan by name.  I guess the point of this is acknowledgement.  It goes a long way.

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