What to Say Wednesday: How to Support Grieving Parents

What to say Wednesday 1When we lost Esther, we were thrown into a world we knew little about. We found out many other people didn’t know much about it either. Every interaction between us and someone else seemed awkward. They didn’t know what to say. We didn’t know what to tell them.

While I am confident that everyone around us meant well, some of the things people said were helpful and some were hurtful, simply because they were so misunderstanding. What do you say to someone who has just experienced the death of a baby? We all know that really, no words can fix it. But there are some things that are certainly BETTER to say, and some common things that should NEVER be said to bereaved parents.

Before this happened to us, I would have made some of the same mistakes that I mention here. I didn’t understand because I hadn’t been there. Now that I am here, I want to offer some reflections to help outsiders see into the world of loss and understand how they can best offer support.

If, upon further reading, you discover you have said something that was probably not best, please don’t feel bad. It’s hard to know what to say or do in situations like these. Here you will find tips for next time.

What to Say Wednesday will be a weekly post giving a simple suggestion of something to say or something to avoid saying to parents who have lost a child. It will also give examples of other helpful ways to support a family going through a loss.

 

Here is the first edition of What to Say Wednesday…

Hearing someone say, “Esther Kate” is one of the sweetest sounds I can hear. It is so hard that she is not here. But when someone says her name, it tells me she is not forgotten, and it touches my mommy heart in a special way.

Many parents choose to give a name to their baby that died, especially if the loss was later in the pregnancy.  If you know that someone has named the baby they have lost, say the baby’s name. Names are always special, but even more so when a loss has occurred. A name validates a baby’s existence, demonstrates their value as a real person, and is given in love by the parents. Many people seem afraid to speak the name of a baby that has died, for fear doing so will bring more pain. In reality, the opposite is true. The more you refer to the baby by name, the more healing and honor it brings to the parents.

 

Be watching for another tip next Wednesday!

Comments

  1. Adam Waller says:

    I love it!
    Great post honey!

  2. kris langworthy says:

    We named our baby “Jesse Lane”. It has been extremely helpful. Even though it has been 17 years (actually would have been his bday this weekend) we still remember and speak of the day we will meet him again in eternity. I met your mom and brother Lucas in MN ATF and found your blog through Lucas. We have been praying for you since we discovered about your loss. I pray that you know and sense the Lord’s closeness in a fresh new way as you work through the grieving process. I know the best advice someone gave us was to remember as spouses and family you will grieve differently and at different rates, but to be patient with each other. There will be days you are “better” when Adam is not…give each other grace… (I know you know this but it was helpful for us to have that reminder…) I could write you a book…but mostly, know you are loved and being prayed for by people you have never met! be blessed!

    • kalyn.waller@gmail.com says:

      Kris,
      Thank you for sharing about your baby Jesse. I am so sorry for your loss. Your words of advice are very wise. We have to remind each other regularly to be patient… I am so grateful for your feedback, support and prayers.

      Blessings to You,
      Kalyn

  3. Kira Braun says:

    Thinking they will be forgotten is the biggest fear of all, isn’t it?

    • Kalyn from Mommy's Heavenly Dream says:

      Kira,

      Yes, it is a huge fear. I want so badly for everyone to remember her as much as I do. She is so important. On that note, I don’t think I’ve ever told you how sorry I am for the loss of your son. I’m sorry for everything that you have been through and still go through without him here. I think about you often now, and when I picture your family, I always picture your whole family. Thanks for your support here…It really means a lot.
      Kalyn

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