Where Whine Meets Wine

Loss & Remembrance

on September 12, 2011

God has you in his arms, I have you in my heart.

So yesterday was a day of remembrance as much as it has been a day of loss.  Which got me to thinking about loss and what it’s meant in my life. Things and people I’ve loved and lost over the years. My grandfather, an adopted grandmother, and beloved family friends.

This time of year is especially hard for me and is always a sign of loss because it was when I miscarried. It has been two years. It seems to be one of those things that unless you have experienced it, you don’t understand it. While you can certainly sympathize and know that it was sad, you can’t imagine the magnitude. I am often reminded with the fact that I have Littlest E, my miracle baby, and how he wouldn’t be here if the baby I lost was. I know it is always well-intentioned thoughtfulness that promotes this comment from people, but I just have to say, one baby does not take the place of another. Does is ease some of the pain and bring new joys? Of course it does (and thank God for that!). I am so thankful for Littlest E and his wonderful life. I can’t imagine our life without him in it, and can hardly believe he’s only been a part of it for a year! But even my sweet chubby-faced boy cannot take the place of a sibling we never met, of eyes we’ve never seen, of arms we never held, or cheeks we’ve never kissed. Some days it’s heart-aching-ly painful to think about.

10-25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage, so this is obviously a bigger issue than most people realize. I myself know lots of women who have share this unfortunate event with me. I know this subject is not often talked about, and it’s often just brushed off in conversation. “I had a miscarriage…”  “Oh, that’s tough.” “Yeah, but that’s how it goes I guess. So what’s new with you?” Ok, so maybe every conversation isn’t like that, but I have been a part of and witnessed handfuls that really have. I get it, you don’t know what to say and they don’t know how to respond. Do you tell them that your heart is breaking in a way you didn’t know it could? That all you see is babies everywhere around you and none of them are yours. You can’t have yours. And how do you respond to those feelings? You just can’t. In most cases, when trying to share my feelings, I walked away wishing I hadn’t because the person I was confiding in, did not respond with “the right thing.” Here are just a few things not to say when a friend is hurting and suffering over the loss of a baby:

  • At least it happened while you were pregnant and not after you had the baby and had gotten to see it and hold it. (Thank you for rubbing it in that I can never see my baby or have baby in my arms.)
  • At least you have other children/can have more children. (No child replaces another child.)
  • You wouldn’t have/couldn’t go/couldn’t do a, b, or c if you’d had the baby.  (It doesn’t matter if it it’s true, it’s not helpful.)
  • It was probably for the best. (Yes, I’m sure…the best often comes with tears and heartbreak. It doesn’t matter if things “worked out” outside of the miscarriage and life continues, it does not mean that it was “for the best.”)
  • There was probably something wrong with the baby, this was probably easier. (You mean easier for you, right?)
Here are things that are helpful when you know a friend is struggling.
  • A phone call, e-mail, text, card that says I love you. I’m thinking about you and praying for you. My heart hurts for your heart. Let me know if there’s anything you need. (Sweet, simple, and leaves it up to her, because we all deal with loss differently.)
  • A gift card… to her favorite restaurant, coffee shop, bookstore, massage place, nail salon… Something where it’s all about what would make her feel good.
  • Babysit! If she has other kids, take them, or go there while she gets things done or goes and does something!
Some days will be good, some days will be sad, and some will be very, very bad.  Just remember husbands, girlfriends, sisters, family… she is not going to forget about this, and neither should you. A reminder that you remember can be a big comfort as well. Otherwise it can feel like you are all alone in your grief. We’re not talking really grand gestures, just the little ones. Because loss is such a delicate thing and no two situations are exactly alike… it’s hard to find the right words sometimes. And if you’re like me, you just want to know that someone knows and understands that you’re hurting. And that if you needed one, there’s a shoulder to lean on along the way. And as with all loss, it will be a lifelong road.

4 responses to “Loss & Remembrance

  1. Maggie says:

    I love you. I still remember the day you told me about your loss. I will never forget about your sweet baby.

  2. mirjoyce says:

    I feel your pain. It’s hard to talk about, and even harder to bring up. I reacted differently to different people; some people could try to offer support and I just didn’t want to hear it, others said the wrong things but meant the best and that’s all I needed. There just are no “right” words. But as I read this, I felt like I could’ve written it myself. This December will be two years. I can’t imagine a life different than the one we live now, but that doesn’t make it any easier. Hugs to you, girlie.

    • yes, I think that’s what I meant to infer more than anything- there just really isn’t any “right words,” but offered support is really all that matters. I’m sorry, my dear, that this has to be something we have in common!

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