How to Respond

You will notice that in place of not knowing what to say, people will say just about anything. Most times, it is not to be uncaring or to discount your feelings. It is literally that they try and fill an empty space in an effort to ‘help’.

I have found that by saying “You don’t need to say anything. Your thoughts and prayers are enough. There is honestly nothing you can say.” will stop alot of the ‘stupid’ comments. But, just in case it happens anyway, below are ways that some bereaved parents have delt with them.

How many children do you have?

  • I have two children. One is 18 years old and the other is in heaven.
  • I have 3, my girls are 11 and 15, my son is forever 19, I lost him in 1997.
  • I have three children, two on earth one in heaven.
  • I have 3 great little boys (then here comes the look of confusion from the people), 2 living and one sweet one in heaven.
  • I have seven children, one is in heaven.
  • I have one living and one in heaven.
  • I have 3 children. Two daughters ages 15 and 11 and one son, forever 7.
  • Two living & one precious baby in Heaven.
  • Four. Two that walk and two that soar.
  • I have 3 children, Two are with me ages 13 and 7 and my other is in heaven.
  • I have had 3. Two are still here with me, Jeffrey 6 and Jessica 4. My first son, Kevin, died at 18 months.
  • I have none that run and two that fly.
  • I have Three Beautiful Daughters, One still here with me and Two waiting on the other side for me.

I know how you feel.

  • I am sure you may think you do, but honestly there is no way to imagine this pain.
  • No you don’t, but let me help you understand.
  • I usually look them in the eye and say “God I hope you don’t”.
  • No you can’t possibly, and by the grace of God I hope you never do.
  • Oh, you’ve lost a child, too?
  • I’m sorry, have you had a child to die? The loss of a child can’t be compared to the loss of any other family member.
  • Do you really? I am so very sorry! What happened to your child?
  • Really, then tell me how I feel right now!
  • How can you unless you’ve lost a child? No matter how many memories you make with a child, the pain is still the same whether they were here 22 years or only 4 months like mine.
  • Perhaps, but unless you’ve lost a child, I don’t think you do. Grief for the loss of a child is very different from grief over the loss of your parents/spouse/pets.
  • This one I usually just walk away from. People honestly believe that because they have lost a parent, spouse, or even a pet, that they have a concept of the loss of a child, and no amount of arguing is going to persuade them otherwise.
  • Have you lost a child also?

You need to get over this.

  • I don’t ever see myself getting over this. “This” is my son/daughter, a part of me.
  • Having your child die is something no one should ever “get over”.
  • Funny the entire country is allowed to mourn the death of Elvis 23 years after his death, yet you ask me to get over the death of my child. I will never get over his/her death but I will go on. Walking through the door of grief and not over or around it.
  • And just how do you propose I do that?
  • He/she was my son/daughter, he/she was real, this is something I’ll never get over.
  • Uh, you wouldn’t say that if you had lost your child.
  • I will never get over it. Would you if you lost your children?
  • There is no time line to getting over a loss of a child. It will be with me forever.
  • You don’t get over the loss of a loved one, especially a child. It is something you live with for the rest of your life.
  • This is not a cold, this is the death of our only children.
  • I’m sorry, I will never get over the loss of my child, I have learned to live with it.

It’s time to let go and move on.

  • This is my first time dealing with the death of one of my children. Grief doesn’t come with a handbook on how is the right way to grieve. I do what I have to do to get through each day and until you have spent one day or even on minute in my situation please don’t tell me what I should do or how I should be acting by now. My life has changed forever, it will never be the same again, I am doing the best I can to keep moving forward and yes there are times when I fall backwards and have to start all over again. So please just be patient with me and try to understand my loss.
  • I am moving on, I get up everyday.
    Where is this manual on grief where you can see that time line?
  • I shall hold my son/daughter in my heart forever. So there is no letting go.
  • How do you know? Have you been in my shoes?
  • I have been moving on.. but let me tell you its hard to let go. They were my children.
  • Letting go? No, you can’t let go of a person you loved. You carry that love with you always. Moving on? Every day we “move on”, but that doesn’t mean we forget!
  • I have no choice but to “let go”, but moving on is a slow process.
  • Would you let go of your child that is living, I think not.
  • I choose go on and embrace the wonderful memories, keeping her alive.

You need to find a hobby.

  • I have many wonderful hobbies. But not a day passes where I do not miss my son/daughter.
  • No matter how many hobbies I have I’ll never forget my son/daughter.
  • You don’t replace a child with a hobby. I do have ways to keep me busy, but my child is always on my mind.
  • I have plenty of hobbies, but that still doesn’t make me forget my child.
  • I have a hobby, don’t you? I help other sad mommies what do you do?
  • How can you suggest that a hobby could replace the love and loss of a child?
  • Such as?
  • Oh I have, talking to other Mom’s who KNOW the pain we all feel.
  • I have many.

Shouldn’t you be over your crying now?

  • I don’t know, this is the first time I have had to deal with something like this. But I don’t cry as much as I used to.
  • Yes I do and I thank God for them every day, but I gave birth to 3 and I want 3 here with me. Guess I am selfish.
  • Maybe I should, but this is the best thing I can do right now.
  • I don’t think I’ll ever be over my crying, and I wouldn’t want to be. It helps me heal. And if I didn’t cry, I’d explode.
  • My love for my child will never end, neither will my tears.
  • I don’t think I will ever be over crying until I see my child again.
  • I will always cry over my children, they should be here not there.
  • The crying will ease over time… but there is no time limit on grief.
  • Maybe, but their isn’t a day go by that I don’t think about my girls, and my grandson.
  • Here is a very unfair, judgmental question, I choose not to explain my reason for tears over my child to you at this point.

At least you have other children!

  • While that is true it doesn’t stop the pain and sorrow of losing my son/daughter.
  • I know that, but they have to be patient and give me time to grieve, they are probably grieving too, (if old enough to understand the situation.)
  • And my son/daughter is one of my children, I miss him/her every day.
  • Yes, they are not interchangeable. I still have all my children.
  • Yes, but he/she should be here, too.
  • I am thankful for all of my children but my heart aches for the one no longer with me as well.
  • Yes, I do, but there is an empty space at our table every night where my son/daughter should be and an empty spot in my heart.
  • So what if I have other children, they needed their siblings as much as I do.
  • Yes, I do, but my missing child was just as special and should be here with me now.
  • I’ve had other children. They are a blessing, but they do not replace the one that died. There is always an empty place in our family.
  • Since we have no other children, yet, no one has said this to me. Closest was “There will be other babies”, which my cousin said to me at the foot of Michael’s opened grave at his service.
  • Yes, but another child doesn’t take the place of the one you lost. They each have their special places in your heart.

He/She is in a better place.

  • Yes he/she is and it does help knowing that he/she is, but I want him/her here with me.
  • Yes, the Christian in me knows that but the mother in me wants to hold her son/daughter here.
  • I am sorry but I think the best place he could be is here with his family.
  • There is a better place, but the best place is in my arms.
  • Do you really think I don’t know that?
  • My child is in Heaven, but I’m a Mother and I feel that no place is better than here with me.
  • Who’s to say he is!?! He should be here with us where he belongs.
  • No, they would be better off in my arms. Not in some cold dark, deep grave!
  • How do I know that for sure? Have you lost a child? Do you know if he/she is better off not with you?
  • Yes, I believe in heaven, but it doesn’t ease the emptiness of the here and now.
  • There is no better place for a child then with its mother.
  • Yes they are, I have no doubts. But I would rather they be here with me.

He/She only lived two years, my son/daughter lived 22. I lost more.

  • You may measure the amount of love you have your child with time, BUT I DON’T. I love my son/daughter as if he/she were alive for 100 years.
  • With an older child you have so many more memories and sometimes the memories are the only thing that keep me going. The pain is the same. We were all cheated when we lost our children, but the ones who lost little one were cheated out of so much more.
  • Loosing a child is loosing a child, no matter when they were lost.
  • Love for a child has no time limit. Seconds, days, years, its all the same.
  • I still love my child just as much as you love your child.
  • I am sorry, for your lost, but please don’t diminish mine, its just as painful.
  • No matter what the age, the grief is just as intense. You cannot measure one person’s grief against another’s — everyone grieves differently.
  • You have 22 years of memories to comfort you when you miss your child. I have 33 weeks. No matter the time you had with your child, you never fully got to know them, and that is the sharpest cut of all.

If it were my child I would no longer be on this earth.

  • So now you love your children more than I love mine because I didn’t kill myself?
  • There was a time when I didn’t think I would survive this either, I used to feel the same way as you, but I don’t have any choice. I love my children just as much as you do.
  • Well I am sorry you feel that way. I on the other hand do not.
  • I thought the very thing at one time. But we have no choice but to remain here, that is one reason it is so difficult!!
  • I’m sorry you feel that way and at times I felt that way, but somehow we go on.
  • Well, that is good for you, but I have other children that need me just as much.
  • You survive the only way you can… by the grace of God and the support of your family! Your other living children help you to get through each passing day!
  • That thought crossed my mind many times. Thankfully, I was expecting my second child and I knew that he deserved a loving mother also.
  • Perhaps…grieving is as unique to a person as fingerprints.
  • What do you want me to do commit suicide?

But he/she is finally really happy!

  • He/She was happy here.
  • And why would he not be happy here with us?
  • Oh, my daughter/son was very happy with her/his family, really happy.
  • Yes, but my child would be happy here with me, too.
  • How do you know that!?! Maybe my child would rather be here with us.
  • He was very comfortable with us here on earth and I only hope he is just as happy where he is today!
  • My child was happy. He was the happiest baby! I could only imagine him/her crying, being separated from me and the ones he/she loved, as much as we cried being separated from him/her.
  • They were happy with their family here also.

He/She was an Angel on Earth – not meant to be here.

  • God doesn’t make mistakes. He/She was meant to be and I am so thankful he/she was no matter how long I had him/her.
  • Yes he/she was an Angel. But I think by getting pregnant he/she was meant to be here.
  • That is truly unfair.
  • My child was meant to be! He/She was a gift to me from God.
  • Yes, he/she was an angel, but he/she deserved a life here on earth.
  • God could never punish me like that. It was by his hands that I survived here on earth than the human hands that took my child from me.
  • He/She was certainly meant to be here, even if his/her visit was but a short one.
  • They wouldn’t have been born if they weren’t meant to be here.

He/She wouldn’t want you to cry.

  • Crying is part of grieving and healing and should/must be done. (I read once that it is a proven fact that the tears of grief is a different chemical makeup than other tears.)
  • Probably not, but he/she understands.
  • Your wrong, my son/daughter knows me and he/she would say cry if it helps then smile for me.
  • Maybe not, but crying is better then being angry with everyone around me.
  • You’ll have to excuse me. I’m a little selfish and I want him/her here.
  • No, but my child knows that my tears are my way of expressing my love for him/her.
  • Perhaps, but crying does make me feel better.
  • I think my children, understand that momma is sad and momma is going to cry.  Besides how do you know they would not want me to cry over them?
  • My child was only 18 months… I’m sure he/she wouldn’t understand the tears I shed for him/her, but somehow I doubt that he/she wouldn’t want me to mourn his/her death.
  • Well, I wouldn’t want him to be dead so that makes two of us out of luck.
  • I’m sure they wouldn’t.

Time will heal.

  • Time won’t heal this hurt, it only makes it easier to bear.
  • I have heard that too and I am waiting, I’ll let you know.
  • Your wrong, time only allows you the grace to find a living place. A place to go on living and carry the pain.
  • God I hope that is the case.  But you never know about time.
  • Exactly how much time would it take you to “heal” after something like this?
  • Time is endless.
  • No, time doesn’t heal, it just makes it easier to cope.
  • Well, I sure don’t see time healing.
  • Time is not what heals, though it does dull the sharpness and frequency, thankfully. But when you are newly bereaved you don’t need to keep hearing that over and over because it negates the immediate feelings that you are having.
  • Time does ease the Intense pain, but the deep scars are forever.
  • Time also punishes me.

This is killing you.

  • No it is not killing me, it is hurting me.
  • No, it’s making me a stronger person.
  • No, I’m very much alive. It isn’t that simple.
  • Maybe slowly, but somehow I will manage.
  • Yeah its killing me , I should have died first not them!
  • Yes, in a way it is a death inside to have one’s child die.
  • It already did. The person I was before my children died with them.
  • There was a time I wish it would, truly. But no I am alive, at times the walking dead, but alive. As time passes you shall notice that a part of me died with my child, you will mourn the “Old me” you once knew, accept the “New me,” or choose not to.

How did you live through this?

  • What choice do we have? We had to live through this or give up. I chose to live.

I don’t know how you carry on, I know if it was me that I couldn’t.  At least your child lived one-fourth of his/her life.

  • What age would you chose for your child to die?

It was God’s will. (God does not close a door without opening a window)

  • No, God doesn’t try to cause us pain, especially pain like this.
  • My God would never purposely hurt me like this.
  • Now please explain to me why God would tell you about his plans for me and not tell me?
  • It is? Why?
  • It may have been his but not mine.
  • Yes it is God’s will. Doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it, or that I don’t hurt because of it. God’s will is not our will, but I do trust that He knows what He is doing!
  • Everything is God’s will, but we don’t always like it. I realize as a child of God that I should accept His will for me in my life without question, but I am a frail, fragile being, whom He created, and I want to scream “Why” till the rafters shake.
  • A lot of things are God’s will, but Jesus himself wept in the garden.
  • Not the God I believe in.

You’re a strong person, God knew you’d be able to carry this burden.

  • Strong people still bleed and believe it or not their hearts still break.
  • I don’t know about strong, just doing what I have to do to live each day until I can see my child again.
  • I don’t feel that way. I didn’t make it through this alone. I’ve had God and my child beside me at all times.
  • Well it is no burden I wish to carry, thank you.
  • I am not strong, I am just surviving and trying to do what I am need to do.  You wouldn’t say I was strong if you see me when I really fall apart and can’t stop crying.
  • How do you know that is what he thought?
  • Yes, God did. I didn’t. Not for a very long time. It’s been years since my son died, but his death was the catalyst for many good things. But right after my son’s death I was not ready to accept that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose.” I needed to rant and rail against God. Thankfully, He was patient with me.
  • I would take innocence over that particular brand of strength any day.  Wouldn’t you?
  • First death of a child is not a burden, it is DEVASTATION, and God has seen me through, not choosing me as a burden carrier. Strong is an understatement.
  • Truly I am so very weak, torn and bruised, hiding behind a mask of some sort, one day I hope I may remove it in your presence.

I won’t ask you about your son/daughter. It makes me depressed.

  • Then you are missing out on knowing a really great person.
  • I wish you would, it makes me happy when people take the time to remember my son/daughter.
  • I’m sorry if my life depresses you.
  • I’m sorry you are depressed but telling others about my child eases my depression and lets me share him/her with you.
  • Please do, to talk about my child makes his/her memory worth having.
  • Well, I am sorry it makes you depressed, but I need to talk about them.
  • Well, isn’t that too bad! I certainly wouldn’t want to make another depressed, but talking about my child is one way to keep his memory alive. He lived, he was my son, he will always be a part of me, and I will talk about him whether you ask or not.
  • It’s too bad that you feel that way. I, on the other hand, listen to each milestone little (insert child’s name here) achieves despite the pain it causes me, because I care about you.
  • Do you enjoy talking about your children.? I want to talk about mine also, I’m sorry it makes you uncomfortable but even though their not here with me they are still my children.
  • Then please, by all means, don’t contact me for a while.

I don’t want to hear about your son/daughter or about his/her grave. I want to hear about you. How are you?

  • I am here.
  • I am sad and missing my child. Please do not act like he never existed. Cause he/she did to me.
  • My son is part of me. So, if you want to hear about me, you’ll hear about him, too.
  • My child was such a big part of me, that I can’t tell you about me without mentioning him/per as well.
  • I am miserable, because I miss my child and nothing can make this awful pain go away.
  • I am not doing good, you won’t talk about my children with me. Its not fair, how can you think that by not talking about it that will make things better for me?
  • That is a part of me. If you don’t want to hear about that, then you don’t really care about what I’m feeling.
  • People don’t want to hear how we really are.
  • How do you think I am? I lost my child.
  • Then truly don’t ask, for I am not able to take your wants right now.

I know how you feel, I lost my dad/brother/friend last year.

  • Come on. Not even close.