Unfortunately, I have been in the position to receive many condolences. In the past year, I have lost my papa, my husband’s grandfather and our first-born child. Only until now, do I realize I have been guilty of ‘what not to say’ to those grieving. So let’s just say I have been inspired by my own past stupidity.
I have days where every little single comment can make me cry and I have days where I can smile and laugh at some of these comments. Today is one of those good days as I recall the ‘comforting’ phrases I have received over the last two months.
What NOT to say someone who has miscarried:
God has a plan/it happened for a reason: The number one comfort phrase used for any tragedy. Just for the sake of not sounding like everyone else, avoid this. Our church leaders and religious grandparents have this one covered. Yes, we know deep down there is some higher calling to our loss but we don’t want to hear that 100 times.
At least it was early: Yes, phew! So glad it was early. I am ready to hop into the saddle and start making a fresh batch of children! A common misconception is that because it was an early loss, it wasn’t that hard. Do you know what the body goes through during and after a miscarriage? I labored for 12 hours and delivered my stillborn son at 18 weeks. I bled for 8 weeks and 4 days after that fact. But yes, SO glad it happened early. (Not to mention the emotional, spiritual and mental pain.)
It was a bad egg/it wasn’t going to be healthy: Do you also hunt down Dalmatian puppies and skin them for fur coats? The Cruella DeVille of all terrible comfort phrases. I polled my friends with children that have downs syndrome, autism and cystic fibrosis asking them if they knew their child’s health outcome would they terminate the pregnancy? Crazy, all of them said no, in fact ‘hell no.’
At least you know you can get pregnant: I’ll let LC respond to this one.
What to say to someone who has miscarried:
I am thinking of you/sending you love. The one size fits all of comfort phrases. Easy and simple, can’t go wrong and timeless. Goes well with a heart and kissy face emoticon.
I wish could take away the pain. What I love about this phrase is that you understand and acknowledge I am in pain. Physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Thank you for realizing this, this means more than you know.
Do you want some more wine and ice cream? Yes, please. Feed me, provide me my favorite wine, give me hugs, send me a card, go to a movie with me. Cry with me. Make me laugh. Tell me about the latest celebrity breakup. Just be my friend!
I don’t know what to say. Good, that makes two of us. And now we can sit here and just shrug until one of us laughs at the awkward silence.
If you are like me, you are a fixer. You want to fix your friend or loved one when they are in pain or need help. However, when someone is grieving, there are no amounts of words that will heal someone. Words and actions will only comfort the griever, not heal them. So think before you speak and give that friend a squeeze.
Can you think of any other comments you don’t or do like to hear during your time of grief?