During those first weeks so many of the cards we got would start, “I don’t know what to say…” and later, so many people apologized for not reaching out because “I didn’t know what to say.” They didn’t want to say the wrong thing and make us worse so they didn’t say anything at all.
But even when someone said something that hurt (which wasn’t often) I appreciated the spirit in which they said it. They were trying to empathize with a situation that is unimaginable. We were hurting and broken, and still, so many friends had the courage to reach out to us despite our brokenness and remind us they were there. Sometimes it was just that admission, “I don’t know what to say.”
There are some websites out there for things not to say to grieving parents. I like the list from Still Standing Magazine. It provides alternatives of what to say.
But honestly? I said many of these to describe our own situation, or because they were the first things to pop into my head when a stunned person asked about our baby.
I also really connected with this article and her list of cards which I only recently found after drawing a whole bunch of mine and then searching for more ideas. “If there were Greeting Cards for Grief”
And I’ve always loved Emily McDowell’s empathy cards, though they are more geared toward illness than loss, there are parallels to each experience.
So, I guess what I’m saying is don’t let the fear of saying the wrong thing keep you from saying anything at all.
A few of the ones we got that said just the right thing….