Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Elephant in the Room

I am already seeing how relationships have changed in my life in the short 6 days that Joshua has been gone. Seeing people for the first time since Joshua's birth sure creates an awkwardness that would never be there if Joshua wasn't gone.

So please let me tell you what is ok for you to do if you see me in person. I don't want our relationships to be awkward. I most definitely don't want Joshua to become the Elephant in the room that no one will talk about, but everyone knows is there.

1.) Bringing up Joshua's name will not cause me pain. You are free to talk me, Shane, and the kids about him all you want. It causes me more pain to act like he didn't exist- like his name is off limits. It's not. We loved love him. He is still our child even though he is gone.

2.) Bringing up Joshua's name may cause me to cry. If I start to cry, please don't feel awkward about it. Don't apologize for making me cry. You didn't do it. I miss my son deeply, and for as good as it is to talk about him, realize that I will still probably cry. It's not a big deal.

3.) If you ask me how many children I have, I will say 3. If you ask me their ages, I will tell you, 4, 2, and the other passed away at almost 2 months old. I don't tell you that to put a damper on the mood or to draw attention to my grief. I will answer that way simply because Joshua is still my child- and I won't discount his life just because it makes people feel awkward.



3.) If I share too much with you about him, and it makes you uncomfortable, it is ok to ask me to stop. I have shared Joshua's last hour of life with a few people in real life. It is an awful and painful story to tell (so much so that I can't write about it.....), but it's good for me to share it. If it's too much, I don't mind you telling me so.

4.) Don't preach at me. Just simply listen. Don't feel the need to apologize, don't feel the need to say anything. Just be a friend, sit with me, cry with me, pray with me. Sometimes silence is the best thing.

5.) If you ask me how I am, I'm not going to lie to you. If I'm not doing well, I will tell you so. If I'm doing alright, I will tell you so. I believe in honesty in relationships, if you don't really want to know how I'm doing, then don't ask.

11 comments:

The Empress said...

People get so scared, you make them think of what could happen to anyone.

Sometimes, it's just too close to the fire.

I am so sorry for your loss, and I pray that blogging here helps you feel connected, and not alone in this unimaginable loss.

I pray for your family, and your little baby Josh.

Erin said...

Hugs and Prayers for you and your family. If you ever want to chat please do. <3

Lauri Smit - MOPS Community Developer said...

Thanks for sharing this. I lost my dad 2 months ago and, while it can't even begin to compare with your loss, our grief group leader suggested we write a grief letter. This is a great way to show people who can't even begin to fathom what you are going through what they can expect and how you want them to respond to you. I'm going to be borrowing some of your words. Thank you for being authentic and real and willing to share your story. You are definitely an inspiration to many.

elizatara28 said...

Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. People are afraid of saying the wrong thing or causing you pain so they don't want to say anything. Joshua's story and life is going to reach people for years and years. They say whatever is put on the internet never goes away. He will never go away. He will live forever and ever..touching so many people. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I feel honored to be a part of your fan club! Of course Joshua is still your son and you have three children. My aunt lost her son about 8 years ago. He had a broken heart as well. She still considers herself a Mom..as do we. Please don't rush your healing. Forever your prayer warrior.

Annie said...

I remember a couple days after I took my first born daughter home. An incredible Christian wonderful mother (who i look very much up to) from my church came over with a meal. She had 5 sons, and a daughter who passed away at age 15 months. Her sons were my age. She held my daughter and while she looked at her she told me about her daughter, Sarah. I sat there and tears rolled down my face as she talked about leaving the hospital that day the Sarah passed away, she told me how she had thrown out her Sunday roast and took her older boys out for Mc Donalds (Even though it was a Sunday;) and how she knew she would see her only daughter again someday in glory. She didn't cry, or look sad, she just wanted to talk about her daughter too.
I don't know if this helps, but I think you always will have his story to share and you will continue to bless others with it. You will always have a son, of course you will want to talk about him.

Nikki said...

I'm happy you set these boundaries. When we try to comfort our friends who are grieving, those of us who haven't experienced loss aren't sure what to say. These parameters help.

I have friends who have lost children and they always include them when they tell people how many children they have. Not doing so would be pretending that they were never here, that they were never a part of your life.

I think you SHOULD talk about Joshua as much as you want! Even if people get uncomfortable...YOUR healing is more important. If these people are true friends, they won't feel awkward at all.

Leah Cherry said...

It makes me very angry when anyone says my parents have 10 kids. Gramma Straughan has done this, and it made me so hurt and angry, I wanted to say something to her about it but didn't. I probably will say something to her at some point. My parents have 11 children. 1 is no longer with us, but that doesn't make him not my brother, his 12 years of life are not erased.

I know how hurting and wounded you are right now. I know how fragile everything feels. Hold on tight, it's going to be really hard for awhile. And when it starts to feel not as hard, you'll feel guilty about it and make yourself feel worse. But God's grace is there for you, for every minute of it, and like a soothing balm will fill in all the cracks and cover every wound so that healing can take place. The healing WILL come. That's not my promise...that's His.

Velda said...

Hugs from a total stranger. I can only imagine how rough that is.

HipMama said...

We have never met, but I wanted you to know that you are in my prayers. At church last Sunday, I shared with my congregation what your family is going through and we sat and prayed for all of you. That you will find healing. That the hatred will end. That peace will come. We are taking our tithing funds this month, and donating it to your family. My prayers are with you tonight, and every night. God offers healing, through Christ, we are made new. I am sending you love in Christ from Portland, OR.

In Christ,
Anne Marie

HipMama said...

We have never met, but I wanted you to know that you are in my prayers. At church last Sunday, I shared with my congregation what your family is going through and we sat and prayed for all of you. That you will find healing. That the hatred will end. That peace will come. We are taking our tithing funds this month, and donating it to your family. My prayers are with you tonight, and every night. God offers healing, through Christ, we are made new. I am sending you love in Christ from Portland, OR.

In Christ,
Anne Marie

swank|mama said...

Being a mother to a 17 month old myself, I cannot begin to imagine the pain you and your family are going through. Just know that you are in our prayers and that Joshua's memory will never be forgotten.

 
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