Wednesday, October 3, 2012


I have certainly learned first-hand the true, raw meaning of grief. 

It sucks, and I wouldn't wish it upon anyone. It's a very lonely feeling.

One card I received following Franklin's death said it well: "It's hard to think about peace and heaven and angels when there's a huge hole where your heart used to be." That describes perfectly the feelings after losing a child.

I consider myself a realist. Not overly optimistic but not overly pessimistic either. So I haven't been desperately searching for something great to come of this loss. However, I have been trying to make the best of it. And I've done a lot of self reflecting and along the way I have learned some very valuable life lessons.

One of those has to do with grief. I feel incredibly grateful to have learned these life skills, because most people don't get it (and I used to be one of them)

Here is what I've learned:


The grieving process does not end when everyone leaves the funeral. Or even a week later. Or even a month later. Or even 4 months later. Life continues on, yet you feel like you want it to stop so you can continue to grieve. 

Before this experience, I spent the days/weeks following a loss thinking about the affected family and friends and thinking about what I should do or what I should say. Should I bring food? If so, what food? Should I send a card? If so, what will the card say? After thinking about that for weeks, I then would decide that too much time had passed. I now know that no amount of time is too long. The loss is very real and very fresh for a very very very long time. And just because you don't get that fresh baked lasagna delivered within the first 48 hours after the loss doesn't mean your window expired. Truth is, immediate family is the support system in the short term. It's after everyone goes back to their normal life that gestures like this are arguably more important. Next time you know someone suffering a loss, mark your calendar for a month or two after the loss and send them a card, send them an email, or a meal (or even an email). Let them know you're still thinking about them.


"I didn't know him/her well enough." "She would think it would be weird if I sent a card." "I had never met her dad." 

I am guilty of all of these absurd thoughts. This is the farthest thing from the truth! Some of the most impactful cards I received after Baby Frank's death were from those that I never would have expected. And some of those family and friends that I would have expected to hear from, I didn't hear from at all. 


The elephant in the room. Pretending like the situation didn't happen can be perceived as being insensitive. This is a big one - and is especially applicable as time passes. Human nature is to decide to say nothing because you don't know what to say. But that's not always the right thing to do.

In our situation, we want Baby Frank's memory to live on. We talk about him daily with the boys and will always do so. If you're ever not sure what to say to someone but you feel like you should say something, say this: "I know this is difficult, but know that I am thinking about you."

That's it! I wanted to take the time to write this in hopes that just one person takes some of my advice and that they make one person feel just a little more support during the journey of grieving the loss of a loved one.

Grieving is a life long journey. The memories, the dreams, the what-if's, and the what should-have-beens go on forever.


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