It’s hard to know what to do or say when someone you know loses a person who was close to them. Grief is a scary and amorphous thing, and if you haven’t experienced it, reaching out can feel like overstepping a boundary or reminding someone of something they’re trying to forget.
Tagged With grief
The conventional guideline for sharing the news of a pregnancy is that you should wait until the ceremonial 12 or 13-week mark, the endpoint of the most anxiety-ridden first trimester when most pregnancy losses are diagnosed. What the rule is really saying is: Don't get too excited. But what if you do have a miscarriage? You're left alone to navigate your tragedy, one that you did nothing to cause, one that so many others have experienced, too.
When my father died suddenly six years ago, I wasn't prepared for the waves of grief that washed over me in the aftermath of his death. In the midst of funeral preparations, I waded through decisions over flowers, services and gravestones as though in a fog. It was all I could do to keep it together as we went through the painful process of saying goodbye.
Close to 30 per cent of pregnancies end in miscarriage, by one estimate. And yet so many mums and dads still suffer in silence. How do you support a friend or family member who has lost a baby? October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and in a powerful Reddit thread, people shared what you can really do to help.
My father-in-law was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease nearly 10 years ago. His tremor is noticeable and my daughter has known there is something that makes her Papa's hands shake. For years, my wife and I chose to leave it at that because no other symptoms have been apparent to her, and she has not asked.
In the game of adulting, a herd accompanies you past the milestones. When you're young, everyone you know is graduating university, landing a first job, getting married, having kids. As you approach middle age, the milestones become less celebratory. Everyone you know is loosening their belt, losing their hair. And then comes the most disorienting loss of all: Their parents.
Let's face it. We're not always awesome at helping friends who are grieving, but when it comes to supporting children who've lost a close loved one, we often clench up and fumble even more. They're little, and can seem so fragile, and it's hard to know just how much they comprehend (spoiler: It's a lot more than we realise). And so parents are finding that many adults avoid offering kids an "I'm sorry" or acknowledging their painful loss in any way. In The Washington Post, Jennifer Bannan wrote about what happened when her six-year-old son Cypress lost his father to cancer.
I recently had to go through the heartbreaking process of saying goodbye to a pet. My cat, Rudy, was old and in pain. It was the hardest decision I've ever had to make, but it was time to let her go. Although it was a sad experience, I was grateful she was able to stay at home for the process and that I was able to stay by her side.
It was a Saturday, my plane landed, and I was all set to relax during a short weekend getaway, when an email came through on my phone. I'd lost my job. I showed it to my boyfriend in the seat next to me. "These things happen," I said, smiling and putting my phone away. "It's probably for the best. Let's enjoy our trip." I praised myself for being strong and accepting the situation. In reality, I was in complete denial that I just lost a job I loved.