They knocked on the door just as I awoke from a nap–two women from my church. One carried a ceramic teddy bear they’d both worked on. The other woman gave me a sympathetic smile and attempted to offer verbal comfort. “Perhaps the Lord was telling you that you have enough children already.”
You’d think I had five sets of twins or something. Instead, I was in the middle of a miscarriage. Baby four.
Seriously, the most loving and well-meaning words those two women could come up with were also the cruelest to me at that moment. I wanted to tell them exactly what I thought of their so-called sympathy.
I just couldn’t do it. Because you see, they meant it. They grieved with me even as they wounded me.
Look, people don’t know how to deal with loss. I’ve said it a dozen times in various books, but I firmly believe we weren’t designed to deal with death. We were created for a perfect, death-free world. We messed up that plan, and now it’s harder on us than we could ever have imagined.
I learned my first lessons in how to deal with grief when someone said the wrong thing.
My next lessons came when a dear friend’s husband died while she was pregnant with their fourth child. My friend told me, “Just say you’re sorry and that you can help by doing…” She offered a weak smile as if realizing it sounded like she was demanding help herself. “–whatever it is you can do.”
Everyone handles grief differently, but there’s something about the loss of a child–preborn or one who is fifty and dies before his parent that holds an extra measure of pain and difficulty. What do you say?
When I received a free review copy of A Precious Loss, I hoped to learn more than just “what not to say” which is where I’ve hung out for the past twenty-seven years. Just hanging around in the “What don’t you say” camp and hoping to master THAT.
Note: affiliate links are scattered throughout this blog post. I receive a small commission from purchases from those links, but they don’t cost you anything extra. Additionally, I requested and received a free ARC of the book and chose to review it.
How Do You Comfort the Horror of Child Death?
It’s my opinion that you really can’t. However, I do believe you can try, and I believe that trying means something to the one grieving.
That said, I know that this is just my opinion. Everyone comes at the topic of grief from a different perspective, and we all offer our own experiences mingled with personal preferences in what we offer.
I think perhaps that’s why A Precious Loss is so encouraging to many other readers and yet fell flat for me. It’s just a personality thing. While the book was well written and edited, the content read very clinical and almost like one of those pamphlets you might get from a doctor’s waiting room or the hospital when you go home after birth (or loss).
It’s not that the content itself is horrible. Rather, I found the presentation of it written in a rather authoritative, almost demanding tone. “Talk out your grief. Do this. Think that. Go here. Don’t do that.”
I’ve made that rather simplistic, and the author isn’t that harsh, but the sections and advice still do come off very much like that.
One strength the book offers is how short it is. The last thing grieving parents need is a tome to wade through when all they want is someone to tell them it’s okay to grieve. It’s not crazy to miss a child they never held, and it’s okay to feel guilty for wanting to try to have another baby right away or to never get pregnant again. Ever.
In the end, I’m sure there are many people for whom this book would be encouraging and a balm to aching hearts. I recommend it especially for church libraries where people can thumb through to see if it’ll be a good fit.
Book: A Precious Loss
Author: Sharon Fox
Genre: RELIGION / Christian Living / Death, Grief, Bereavement
Release Date: July 8, 2016
Losing a child is the worst tragedy a parent can experience. And yet it happens to many from various causes, including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), death from illness, stillborn birth, or miscarriage. A Precious Loss offers those who have experienced such a death a window into the grief process. It presents the biblical grief model and the emotions to expect after a loss, and it includes the steps to move forward toward peace and contentment.
While each parent’s experience is unique, this book is written with deep insight and strong compassion. It provides grieving parents with:
· Concrete steps to coping and recovery, including how to care for your health and your relationships and how to cope with emotions and behaviors you can expect to experience
· Biblical support for finding comfort and hope in your darkest hours
Recognition of the hard questions you may have, such as these:
· Why me?
· Was this my fault?
· Is someone to blame?
· Is this some sort of punishment for things I did or did not do?
· Is there a purpose for my child’s death?
· Can I trust God?
If you or a loved one is grappling with the devastating loss of a child, this book will provide hope and encouragement to press on, knowing that God will sustain you through this painful experience.