Grief is wild. It’s a roller coaster. The first time we went out to dinner a few days after losing Blakely, I was triggered by so many things. I felt like I was literally living in a bubble watching other people live their lives. I was caught in between “Find joy and step forward” and “How dare them be so happy when I just lost my daughter.” Also… completely recognizing NONE of them knew our reality.
It was quite eye opening, and I found myself thinking about how the world is full of people with their own stories. Their own stories of sadness or loss. Their own experiences that need compassion and grace today. We are all walking our own journey full of both joyous mountain top moments and the aching depths of heartache. I urge you today, as we walk into our days, remember we are all dealing with our own things. Be the kindness somebody needs who may have just lost their baby or a family member or whatever their story of grief entails.
Anyways, today, I wanted to share a list of things people did for us over the last few weeks that truly helped me navigate grief. We were so overwhelmed by people’s kindness in the days before and after losing Blakely. I have even just this week received gifts from YOU in the mail, honoring our sweet girl and letting us know you’re thinking of us. I found some things particularly helpful, and I wanted to share those with you. We all know somebody right now who could use support as they navigate something difficult. I hope this helps you be a pillar of support to somebody you love in the sometimes awkward journey of grieving.
- What To Say:
“I know nothing I say can help, but just know I am so sorry and I am grieving with you.”
Everybody’s experience is their own. However, in my own journey, I found the people who said something like this to be the most validating and encouraging. Grief is a speechless place to be. Join us in that speechlessness.
- Meal Train:
My best friends set up a meal train for us when I was put on bed rest, of course with none of us knowing in the following days we would also all test positive for COVID in my home and also lose our baby from my subchorionic hemorrhage. I have never felt so cared for. We had people deliver food to our porch, have something delivered, or VENMO us money to order dinner for weeks. It was a relief to us both with our time, efforts, and financially.
I can’t tell you how many people sent us gifts in the mail or left things on our front porch. Flowers, gift baskets, personalized items for Blakely for us to remember her by. Heartfelt notes that brought me to tears. Every single gift made me cry. It meant so much that people would care to say “Hey, I see you grieving. I love you and I care about your situation.”
I received texts from so many people who started their sentiments by letting me know I don’t owe them a reply. This immediately relieved me from feeling overwhelmed by the looming expectation of owing people a response. Every single text, whether beginning with this or not, made my eyes water. A text to say “We love you, we love Blakely, we are praying for your heart today” meant the world to me. It made me feel a little less like everybody around me’s life was moving on business as usual while I sat stuck in my sadness and loss alone.
- Support with Each Step Toward “Normal”:
Every step taken toward feeling “normal” will be a different pace for every single person facing grief. For me, sharing about Blakely was sickening but I needed to do it as quickly as I could. I had kept her a secret for 8 weeks. And then, also secretly lost her after two weeks of bed rest. It was all overwhelming. Grief told me talk about it. Then, when I wanted to start going to stuff again at church or with friends, I needed people to treat me like me… Make sense? I didn’t want to be the center of people’s sad stares or be asked “No really, how are you?” I just wanted to be hugged and told they loved me and were glad I was there – wherever “there” was.
I could go on and on with the amazing things people did for us. But, I felt these 5 things stuck out the most in my grieving that I didn’t know I needed but once I did, I knew it was good. I have never lost anybody or been in a situation like this personally until now. And I know I now have different responses to people in their grief than I did before my own personal loss.
Thank you for continuing to love my family through this season. Oddly, in our grief, I have felt a sense of liberation and freedom I never have had until this life experience. Good can come from all bad. The Lord promises beauty from ashes. I see those ashes rises up into new blooms and gardens.