|My girls and me!|
When something like this happens to a family member or a friend, we are often eager to offer support and encouragement. But we are sometimes at a loss as to how to help or what to say.
May I offer a little advice based on our experience?
Respect the family's wishes
While we were in the hospital, as Jill said, " waiting for my baby to die," she didn't feel up to visitors. She asked her closest friends not to come. I asked our closest family friends, people who have watched Jill grow up, not to come. A general announcement was made requesting no visitors.
Despite knowing this, a woman from the church Jill attended at the time, a complete stranger to the rest of the family, indicated in a Facebook message that she was bringing flowers but needed to know the room number. When my older daughter Bethany replied to the message, saying again we didn't want visitors, this woman played victim with an "I guess you just can't do something nice for some people" response. Jill was upset; I was appalled.
The nicest thing anyone can do in a situation like this is to respect the family's wishes.
Choose Scripture carefully
Numerous well-intentioned people chose to share this Scripture with Jill while we were still in the hospital hanging on to the tiniest thread of hope that the inevitable would not happen: "The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away."
Yes, we know the verse is true. But in this circumstance, it feels flippant and brings no comfort. The words only scraped our raw hearts.
"I'm sorry" and "I'm praying for you" may seem like cliches, but are the best words for showing compassion and concern.
Keep hurt feelings to yourself
This is directed to one individual, a woman in ministry who will most likely never read it, someone I've never met (and hope I never do).
Not long ago, she confronted Jill at church, complaining to my still-grieving daughter how hurt she was that Jill didn't come to her to be consoled.
Jill has a mom (me!) and an older sister (Bethany). We were the women she wanted with her during that tragic time. That a woman who was only an acquaintance with Jill and a complete stranger to our family had the audacity to whine about her hurt feelings makes my blood boil.
If any of our friends were hurt by our request to go through this in private, they've never said so. To them, Jill's desires and feelings were all that mattered.
This morning, I told Jill I planned to write this post. She asked if I'd read Bethany's.
"Because she wrote a post, too."
I didn't read Bethany's post before writing the above. But I'm going to now. (And having done so, added the photo you see above that also appears on her post.)
So here you have the Mama Bear perspective. You can also read Big Sister's viewpoint on Bethany's blog.
Thanks for letting me share advice that came at a high cost. And for letting me vent.