It is easy to look back over our loss of Isaiah and tell you the helpful and hurtful things said to us. I don't really remember who said each thing, and I have tried not to remain stuck on any certain thing a person said. Instead I tried to look at the intention--and people always intended to be loving and supportive. Surprisingly, the most hurtful thing said to us was saying nothing at all. That spoke volumes.
Over the past few weeks I have navigated a new role in relation to grief...from mother to friend. Sadly, some of our dear friends went through the loss of their sweet baby boy recently - and being the friend hasn't been at all like I would have imagined. The truth is that I have no idea how to support my friend. I stand beside her - grieving with her - and realize that there is not anything that I can do to help her avoid the hurt and loss. I recognize that her journey is not just like mine, so I don't know if what I've gone through or what helped me will help her. I don't want to compare or talk like I know exactly how she feels, because I KNOW that everyone grieves in such different ways.
After analyzing every option and realizing how hard it is to know what to say, I found myself questioning if I should just be silent -- maybe that would be the best choice? Who am I to act like I have the right thing to say or have the right to help shoulder this grief with my friend? But then I stopped and remembered that in our experience, saying nothing at all was the worst thing to do. It made it seem like our loss wasn't important enough to warrant attention or care (and really - know that there were very few who fell into this category). So now I find myself willing...but praying that the Lord will guide and use me - my words and actions - in His intended way...and soften whatever unhelpful things are said.
I realize that I am experiencing a glimpse of what so many of you must have encountered when trying to support me...and I just wanted to thank you for being brave and supporting me anyway. You were putting yourself out there - to maybe be the one that would say the stupid thing. But know that I was never thinking that. All I saw were people upholding us when we couldn't stand. If you would've been absent, God would have brought someone else - but he used you. Thank you for being willing to navigate uncharted territory in supporting us. You have been there in our darkest time of need - and are still supporting us through this journey that has definitely not ended. Thank you for caring and trying.
And if you were silent or absent - understand that God still provided for us. Sometimes there are reasons that one is not equipped to support another at a certain time for various reasons, but if you avoided because of discomfort, I do pray that you will find encouragement and courage to support others in the future. If you care, be faithful and support - even if it is uncomfortable. Know that we are not upset with anyone and if we haven't talked to you in a while, we aren't going to lump you in this category. We still love and miss you. :) I realize now more than ever how some might have felt...I now know that it can be tempting to back away when we don't know what to do...but God can use us if we are willing. I am praying to always be willing.