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living in “the space between breaths” May 28, 2007

Posted by guinever in death, documentary, family, grief, healing.

Last week I told you about a documentary on grief that I will be attending on May 31st. In “Parents understand grief’s sting,”an article in the Lexington Herald Leader, Cheryl Truman writes,

If it has a point of indignation, it’s about the horrible things people say to the grieving the platitudes about God not giving you more than you can handle, about how only the truly strong can lose children.

Even now, more than 2 years after my daughter’s death, I must remind myself that people mean well. They don’t intend to hurt me. With my last pregnancy, some people assumed or just knew that I was going to have a girl. In their thinking, God had taken a girl, He would give me another girl. After the birth, when we announced our new baby was a boy, several people made the comment, “Oh, I thought for sure you were having a girl.” Another person asked me if my family felt complete now that there were 4 children in the house again.

This last comment upset me, but my husband reminded me that this was coming from a person who loves me and her question was sincere. She cares about me and was just wondering. At the time, I told her that no, my family didn’t feel complete, would never feel complete, because one of my children was missing, would always be missing.

On three occasions, I have attended support groups specifically for parents who have lost children. And each time, a common complaint was that no one understands what they’re going through and that others imply or say that they should “be over it” by now. And each time, I have offered the reminder that our friends and family mean well. I know they do . People aren’t purposely trying to think of hurtful things to say to us. Instead of fuming and feeling sorry for ourselves, why don’t we gently tell them why some things just hurt, or we can answer the questions honestly as in my example above about my family never feeling complete again.

I do look forward to watching the film, but I have no idea what to expect. Will it be a total downer, a time for dwelling on grief and perpetuating it? I hope not. Instead, I anticipate and hope that it will it be a film of comfort for the bereaved and a film of education for those who have not lost a child to gain insight and understanding to help those who have.


1. Martha Mihaly - May 29, 2007

We lost my cousin at the age of 10 in a tragic accident. He will always be ‘missing’ to me. His parents have NEVER recovered. He died almost 25 years ago.


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