I haven't had a miscarriage. I haven't had a still birth. I haven't lost a child to a fire, a car accident, a drowning, or any other horrible tragedy. And I can try - so can you - to imagine it, what it feels like, what those parents must go through... but I can't. I know I won't even come close. So why bother? Because I have to remember that as much as I might want to ignore it, to pretend none of that can ever happen, it does. And my ignoring it does not help my friends. Talking about it, about the angles taken too soon, about what happened, even... those are the things that help. How do I know this? My friends have told me. They've told me the best thing we, as supporters, can do is to talk, to remember, to be a shoulder, to listen, to hug... and if we need to shy away, that's ok - they wish they could ignore it, too. They understand. But they need people who won't. They need people who will, on some days, hunker down in the trenches with them as much as they need us to haul them out on others. Is it hard? Is it heart-wrenching? Of course it is. But what I, as someone who's never gone through the loss of a child, will feel absolutely pales in comparison.
Why am I writing this today? It seems like there have been a lot of babies leaving us lately... I attended the funeral of a playmate of my 2 year old daughter recently. She was only 3 weeks older than Casey. Just a few days ago, I heard of a 3 year old who was lost. A local family lost 2 young daughters to a house fire. Newtown. And these families, and the countless others like them, need us to support them correctly, and not to just ignore it. Don't just ignore and offer painful platitudes... help by facing the pain with them. From what I'm told, it helps more than we can know.
One of my amazing survivor friends told another recent survivor to ignore everyone that kept telling her to "just take one day at a time". She said that one whole, long, excruciating day was too overwhelming. She should take one minute at a time, one breath. That can be handled. And you just take it from there. If that doesn't help with our understanding, I don't know what will.
Take a look at this Still Standing Magazine... let these wonderful people help you help others. Please... do not ignore or push aside the loss of a baby, whether they were born or unborn when they got their wings.
And then... go see Return to Zero when it's released. You will help so many families by breaking the silence.