It has been two weeks since we lost Shiloh. I will be honest it feels weird to write another “normal” blog post and act like everything is fine. We are doing ok. There are hard moments, there are good moments, and there are many in between moments when life just feels … hard.
In the last 13 mos my family has experienced our share of death. We have grieved the loss of my father-in-law, the loss of a baby through an ectopic pregnancy and now the death of Shiloh. This last one definitely being the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced. But we have had a bit of grief this past year.
So… I thought I would write about what to do when a friend is grieving. Bc if you’re like me, you usually have no clue what to say or do when someone is struggling. And I can tell you – we/I have been tremendously blessed by friends and family through all these struggles. It has been amazing how God has blessed us in each hard time through His people. I could not ask for a more supportive group of friends and family.
This is how I felt – other people may respond differently. But if you’re like me…
1. Just let me know you are sorry I’m hurting. I always wonder about what to say and what not to say when someone is grieving or is hurting. I didn’t need many words from people, just a quick “I’m so sorry for your loss” is a great thing to say. It lets me know that you are aware and that you care.
2. Hugs are a gift to be shared. Physical touch is an important part of connecting with people and a hug can feel very nice when the heart is breaking. Don’t worry that everyone is saying or doing the same thing. Sometimes there really is nothing else to say or do.
3. Your tears are ok. Don’t worry about crying in front of me. I was touched by how many people had tears in their eyes when talking to me. It was incredibly sweet to know my pain and loss was affecting so many others who were hurting for me. Don’t fake the tears but if they do come – it really is ok.
4. Depending on how close in friendship you are with the person – just sit and cry with them. Several times now I have sat with different friends and we have cried together. I cannot tell you what a gift that was. They didn’t need to say or do anything. They just cried with me. Sometimes there are no words, just a pain, and it was nice to share it with someone.
5. If you want to do something, just do it. Don’t ask me first if you should 🙂 Chances are I’ll tell you no even if I’d really appreciate it. I’ve had some food, a gift, flowers, cards, a date night with Bry… all greatly appreciated. It isn’t the amount of money it cost or the time it took to do, it was just nice to know people cared and did something.
6. It’s ok if I’m crying. My heart was completely broken 2 weeks ago, tears were a daily occurrence for awhile, and I didn’t care. If you see me crying, give me a hug, pat my shoulder… You don’t need to say anything or act like I have leprosy 🙂 We both know I’m crying. It’s ok to acknowledge it.
7. It’s ok to ask questions. Who doesn’t love to talk about themselves (usually), and something huge has just happened in my life. I’m thinking about it constantly, processing, grieving… I don’t mind sharing parts of it. It lets me talk about my baby boy and what parent doesn’t want to talk about their kids. If it’s not the right time I’ll tell you, but I’m glad you asked. It lets me know you care.
8. Don’t be afraid to mention names. As time passes I love to hear people mention Shiloh. He only lived for 4 mos inside of me but he is still my baby boy and I am still his mother. His life matters to me, and it is incredibly sweet to know you remember him too.
Again, this is what I appreciated but everyone’s grief is different. The biggest thing – just let me know you do care. Relationships are an amazing gift.
Erika, even though we've never met, my mother's heart has been aching with yours. I am praying…along with many others who deeply care about your family. May you and Bryan sense the tender healing presence of Jesus moment by moment.
Love you Er, and as you read every morning, I'm praying for you.
I really do understand what you feel as I lost my fourteen-year old daughter less than two months ago. I really feel lost. I pray the Lord to heal us my husband and I and heal you too.
Blessings to you, Erika. I have prayed for you and Bryan from afar. My heart ached along with yours as Wes would share how we could pray–both for your father-in-law and particularly for Shiloh. Know you are loved and cared about from Nebraska. Blessings to you.
Cherifa, I cannot even imagine the pain of your loss. I am so sorry. I am praying for your family.
Beautiful, Erika. Thanks for helping all us awkward people out. Praying for you! Hope you had a good break at the camp this past weekend.
We love you sweet girl and your precious family! praying for you today!