We all know that as grieving parents we are very sensitive to what others say to us early in our grief journey. I often hear from other grieving dads that tell me about things that people, that are trying to help, have said to them. Things that are said that are meant to provide comfort often, unknowingly, inflict pain.
I remember when I was deep in my grief and overly sensitive, I had a very good friend of mine tell me that my wife and I could always adopt a child. He continually mentioned this to me until I finally asked him if he could replace his two sons if they died. Of course he said no and apologized for implying that I could.
I hated when people would tell me, “Your children would want you to be happy”. My first thought was “how do you know what they want”. I knew what they meant, but I had gone through the loss of two children over 18 months and I just couldn’t reprogram my mind to act like nothing had happened. As many of you reading this can attest, it just doesn’t work like that. It can take years of mentally processing the events and circumstances surrounding the death of your child. I believe some sense of happiness cannot return until the processing has taken place.
I also liked the comment “I am worried about you; you don’t seem to be doing well”. Really? What gave you that idea? The fact that I haven’t smiled or laughed for the last year or is it the dramatic weight loss, changes in my physical appearance, my attitude of not giving a shit or is it the lost stares that appear to be looking at nothing. They were right, I wasn’t doing well.
These are just a couple of things that people have said to me. I could go on for quite awhile, but I would like to hear from others that have also experienced pain from well intended statements. Feel free to share your experiences.