Wednesday, December 19, 2007

So here's something I really want to know, and I know you can help me.
So how far should you go when you know someone has lost a baby and
you want to help them? And by this I don't mean that I have any answers that they don't, but just that inherently it IS helpful to be friends with people who have also had a loss. And that I really, truly like and enjoy having friends who have also had a loss because they see life the way I do.
But in trying to make these friends and offer support when they are in their trench of new grief I never want to go to far. But how far is too far?
Clearly this is completely dependent on who you are dealing with. But what do you think?
Here's an example of late. I sent a card to a family-- I don't know when I write the card who they are, but I know the circumstances of their loss. They sent me an e-mail yesterday thanking me for my kindness and say, after a pretty long e-mail remarking on our story, theirs, and the hope of a subsequent pregnancy, "Thanks for the phone number and contact info, and the offer of support. I hope we meet someday and can share happy baby stories." So I guess I think to myself, this means they do not want to hang out right now, they are politely thanking me for my gesture, and maybe when they are in a different place, they will want to be friends.
But then, at the bottom, he signs his name, and then puts both of their full names (which I hadn't known) and their address and phone numbers and e-mails.
So I wonder, what should I do?
Of course the idea of making friends with them is completely appealing to me. I want to just write back immediately, but this seems too pushy. So I won't.
But should I ever contact them again?
I guess why I ask is because in the depths of despair (which I am not in anymore 4 1/2 years later) I don't remember how this would have felt. All I do remember is that I was too tired and sad and insane from grief that I never called any of those numbers people gave me because I didn't know what to say. Hi, my baby died, please help me? So I think maybe I might have thought it was nice if someone called me, maybe?
But what are these people trying to say to me? Call someday? Call next year? Recycle the piece of paper with our address on it?
Any thoughts?


Birdies Mama said...


Perhaps the writing back to you and what was said was simply a way of saying thank you, and when we are ready we will call you?

Or maybe, you can just send a follow up email...saying that when they are ready or want to they can contact you. Something like that?

I am thinking that you probably already did write something like that.

It was hard for us at first to reach out into the world of others who had has a loss. For me, I just had to call you as soon as I felt I was ready to. I needed to be friends with you, you who had been right there in my shoes. You have been like a rescue for me.

Then there are just some people who don't know that it is ok to reach back when a caring and compassionate arm has been extended...I have experienced this sort, a few weeks ago we reached out to the sister of good friends of ours who lost their pregnancy after IVF. I have not heard anything from them.

So, maybe they are not ready, or they just don't want to talk to me about what happened? I don't know.

There are also those who just, MOVE ON ASAP! They think that they have to put what happened behind them, move on and close the door.

Do you know what I mean?

Your gesture was so super sweet and kind my dear. Please don't feel too bad about not knowing what you should do. If you really want to email them, then you should. Remind them that you care & understand, and they can talk to you. But, that there is no rush.

Bon said...

i think you're right, it all depends on the people. i'm coming on three years since my own loss, so i too don't remember exactly what i felt like then. i'm not by nature a person who finds it easy to reach out when i'm in need...i'm more of a hibernator. i did try reaching out a few times during the early dark days, because i was SO alone, but those attempts bore little fruit. i still wonder if i came off as too raw, or if the strangers i reached out to (people who'd also had a loss, whose number was given to me by a friend of a friend) were just far enough along in their journey of healing that going back there with me just seemed too threatening.

either way, if there had been someone like you who sent a note, and i wrote back and left my number, i would have been, passively, asking YOU to call. because basically, when two parties don't know each other, someone has to take the risk. and the big risk is in picking up that phone and exposing yourself.

the way i see have little to lose by a quick call. the worst they can say is "no, not now" or "not yet," and you will know it isn't personal, they're just not ready. whereas, in the throes of grief, they risk a great deal in trusting you enough to call you. and they may just not be able to summon the togetherness to do that, no matter how much they may want or need a friend like you. i say call them. don't push, but call...offer coffee, bridge the gap. from there, it's on them.

you have a good heart, i think.

MamaKat said...

From my perspective, if I'd written that note back to you, it would absolutely be a plea for a call back. I never knew how to start the conversation, like you mentioned early on 'hi, help me' but I certainly welcomed any phone calls to me that I could just answer the questions asked and talk about my babies.
I thought I wouldn't want to talk to anyone, and sent out an email to everyone saying so, but then after the first initial dark dark days, I felt abandoned since everyone gave me so much space and I just couldn't pick up the phone. So I say, call, and they can always choose not to answer. Or email, because they can choose when to answer and how much. I also appreciated hearing people's own stories so I knew where they were coming from.