“What Should I Say?” Comforting the Grieving Heart

Yesterday I posted an article from a grieving mother, who lost her baby at six months’ gestation, and whose grief was compounded by the evident joy of her sister-in-law, whose baby was due at the same time hers was to have been born.

C.S. Lewis writes about grief:

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is liike being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness …. Other times it feels like being mildly drunk, or concussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or, perhaps, hard to want to take it in.  It is so uninteresting. Yet, I want others about me. I dread the moments the house is empty. If only they would talk to one another and not to me…” (A Grief Observed, p.1).

In the calling of Extraordinary Motherhood, there are ample opportunities for grief and loss. For some of us, it is the relinquishment of fertility; for others, an adoption disrupted or (in recent months) a placement lost. For others, it is the actual loss of a loved one, whether to some horrific disease or sudden accident or even permanent estrangement.

And so, I’d like to invite you to share … What have your experiences with loss taught you about dealing with the sufferings of other people? What have those experiences taught you about yourself?

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3 thoughts on ““What Should I Say?” Comforting the Grieving Heart

  1. well, as I tried to express in my comment on that post. My loss and the losses of those around me have taught me to look before I react.

    Someone may act insentively toward me (or another) but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t care….it may mean that they are simply not handling the situation well enough themselves to be able to be sensitive. (well, that sounded befuddling…I hope I’m making my point here)

    As we are each caught up in our own greif, we tend to forget that life does go on around us…in spite of our grief….and that is to be celebrated.

    Here’s a clearer thought. give the benefit of the doubt in every situation. EVERY ONE. That’s really hard, but long term beneficial. And know that the day either will or has come when you’re the one who seems insensitive to another and needs that benefit of the doubt.

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  2. So mightymom, when are we allowed to not let people walk all over us, disregard our feelings, and expect simple human decency? I don’t think it’s unreasonable for family members to acknowledge a loss and show a little sensitivity.

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  3. Dear Parent: I don’t think that Mighty Mom meant that we should let people “walk all over us.” That tends to build resentment … as does wallowing.

    The thing is, taking offense tends to magnify the “icky” feelings the inital encounter caused. Trying to see things from the other person’s perspective is a way of helping ourselves release the anger and restore peace. It also helps us to discuss the conflict without the “heat” that tends to shut people down and make them stop hearing us.

    If we just stew in our own juices, we hurt ourselves. I know this from personal experience. How often do we punish ourselves by holding on to an offense, when the offender walks away relatively unscathed? Where is the justice in that?

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