I'm still reeling from reading everyone's 'What Not to Say' comments on Facebook from yesterday, Day 6. I have to say in summary, the most hurtful thing is NOTHING. Agreed by many people in the group. I know it's hard for people but literally ignoring the fact that I had a daughter called Isla at all is the most incredibly painful thing from people I know. To be fair, it hasn't happened a great deal amongst close friends. Work colleagues, yes. But not close friends and family who know and love us.
So, after a hard one yesterday, it was also really difficult to think of things that have been especially good to hear. I picked 4 phrases I wish people would say more often actually. Thank you to those people who say these things in all genuineness.
(Click on pic to enlarge)
1. How are you, Sara? I really want to know. What lovely words. Not just an empty 'How are you?' but a simple prompt that means you really want to know. You actually care and want to hear whether I'm having a good day, a bad day or a so-so day. If I'm having a bad day, you are going to listen. If I'm having a so-so day, I may not want to go into it, and that's fine with you. If I'm having a good day, you won't assume I'm over Isla and can laugh and joke guilt-free, because that's not the case. If I'm having a 'good' day it just means I'm coping better that day. It means I'll probably go home and have a cry and feel terrible that I managed to have some fun for a while.
2. How is Dan? Dan has been my rock but he is grieving deeply too. Again though, please don't ask if you don't want to actually hear how he's doing!
3. Please tell me about Isla. I'm afraid my brain is completely obsessed with Isla. I could talk about her all day every day. I spend a huge majority of my day thinking about her. She has impacted my life like I never believed possible. Thing is, when I get going, I might not be able to stop. I have to try to hold myself back when I realise people may have heard enough. But, if you are brave enough to ask and are genuine in that, please do. I even have photos!
4. I don't know what to say. This is so much better than Nothing. I respect this response to my grief. Who on Earth really knows what exactly to say to someone whose baby has died? How can you really have the words for someone who gave birth to a sleeping baby, heard deafening silence in that moment, cried as she held her newborn baby girl and buried her amongst the meadow flowers?
I think what it boils down to is HONESTY. Please don't say Nothing, just be HONEST.
A simple text, an invite for lunch or drinks, a quick phone call or even stop in. All these things I crave. I don't want to have to call you for these things. I will never feel ready to do that and if I do, it's because I'm desperate for company.