A few years ago– in the early years of grief– after having one too many clichés flung in my face, through a mess of tears, I wrote this. Then I daydreamed about the next time someone clichés all over me– instead of nodding and smiling while crying inside, or kindly educating them about a more comforting and helpful way to talk to a bereaved parent– I’d have enough grit and grace to recite this instead.
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Easy for you to say God needed another angel—
since God didn’t ask you for yours.
Easy for you to say God has a plan—
if all of God’s plans for you have precisely tailgated your own like a lovely fairy tale.
Easy for you to say everything happens for a reason—
please tell me one good reason my son is forever buried deep underground?
Easy for you to say trust God—
if you’ve never felt betrayed by the heavens themselves.
Easy for you to say hang on to hope—
if you can still find your rope.
Easy for you to say time heals all wounds—
if time has already made perfect heart-shaped scabs of yours.
Easy for you to say be thankful for what you have—
would you like to switch places with me and feel how little I have left?
Easy for you to say God needed another flower for his garden—
if none of your ‘flowers’ have ever been plucked before their time.
Easy for you to say find peace and move on—
if you haven’t had to hold your dead child’s hand inside the curves of your living one.
Easy for you to say he’s in a better place—
if you still get to hold your child in the best place there is.
Easy for you to say you’re young, you can have more—
would you be willing to exchange your living child for those you might someday have?
Easy for you to say every cloud has a silver lining—
if you haven’t been asked to walk through this never-ending storm of mine.
Easy for you to say it was God’s will—
if the plan you got currently includes all of your children rambunctiously romping around your living room.
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Note: Often phrases that are intended to comfort grieving parents can unfortunately bring more pain to an already aching heart. Clichés can sting and further isolate. Walking the road of child loss is painfully lonely. Instead of trite clichés, try offering a hug instead, say their child’s name, or ask about their favorite memory of their precious child. Ask what they miss the most. Ask a question where they can talk about their child’s beautiful life, not their death. Most of all, grieving parents want to know their child is remembered. They want others to remember they lived. Child loss cannot be prettied up or watered down. Be compassionate and acknowledge the truth of what is. It will go a long way in offering true comfort to a grieving parent.
xoxo, Angela Miller
Angela Miller is an internationally known writer and speaker on grief and loss. She is the author of You Are the Mother of All Mothers and founder of the award-winning online community ABedForMyHeart.com. Angela’s piece 7 Things I’ve Learned Since the Loss of My Child has been shared almost 1 million times. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Psychology Today, CBS News, The Huffington Post, MPR, BlogTalk Radio, and FaithIt, to name a few. To date Angela’s writing and her book have comforted the hearts of millions of grieving parents around the world.
Join her compassionate village at A Bed For My Heart.
Text and images © Angela Miller A Bed For My Heart 2012-2017. All rights reserved.
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