I get emails from people who have either lost a baby or know someone who lost a baby...whichever side of the situation they are coming from, they ask almost the same questions. What should I do/say/what helps?
And I always refer them back to this blog, from some posts I wrote shortly after Rip died or try to think of a few things that might have helped me at the time. The bottom line that I think we all know but so don't want to be true is that nothing really helps. I don't mean that in a doom and gloom kind of way, I mean it in a let's face facts, something terrible has happened and its going to suck for a good while.
I think half the battle is just embracing that fact, just saying it...I'm sad, I don't feel better, I honestly don't want to feel better, I'm tired of being sad and not wanting to feel better...that's just being honest. And I think as friends and family of someone who is going through a loss, its really just your job to nod along.
One wonderful friend did just that for me after Rip died. I remember being in the car with her, telling her that I just wanted get pregnant again and I wanted to have a baby and I wanted to do it by such and such date and this that and the other. Literally, anything that came out of my mouth, she would just say, "Yep, well, that's exactly what's going to happen." Now, of course she had no way of knowing what was going to happen and I knew deep down she had no way of knowing but I got out of the car that night feeling better than I had in weeks. If someone who just lost their child tells you that they want to sprout wings and fly to Mars and bring back a unicorn, the best response is "Yep, well, that's exactly what's going to happen."
Having people in my life that let me talk about Rip, or my pregnancy, or getting pregnant again or any number of things that probably weren't on anybody's top ten list of fun things to talk about was crucial. What goes in must come out, and all of that swirling around in my head was going to come out in one way or another. Just having friends and family that were willing to sit there and listen allowed it to come out in a healthy way.
And most importantly, you have to have hope. For me, it was the hope of having another baby, hope through faith of seeing Rip again, hope that as hard and sad as today might be that it will get better. And that is something that I can say, without a doubt, it does get better. If you had told me 19 months ago that I would be in the place mentally, emotionally, physically (well...maybe not physically, the old running shoes haven't gotten much of a workout but for one very good pudgy, happy trying-to-crawl reason!) that I am today, I would not have believed you.
So to answer those questions...say what you need to say, do what you need to do, and if nothing helps know that that's okay too. But hang on to that hope, because whatever it is that you are hoping for "Yep, well, that's exactly what's going to happen."