Saturday, August 15, 2009

Walking With You~ The Things People Say

Walking With You was created by Kelly of Sufficient Grace Ministries to help support those who have lost a child. Together we share our stories, helpful information, scriptures, encouraging words, prayer requests, and more. To join in on Walking With You please visit Kelly's blog.

This week we are sharing some of the things that people said to us while we were in the throes of grief...for better or for worse.

During our grief journey with Isaac, there have been many times that we have been extremely vulnerable to the words of others... words that could bring healing and hope, as well as words that could hurt.
From listening to people who have cared for Spencer and I over the last sixteen months since Isaac was first given a poor prenatal diagnosis, I have learned that it can be hard for others to know what words to even say...wanting to offer words that heal and bring hope, yet fearing sharing words that hurt. I've received e-mails from readers who have asked for advice on how to help a friend or loved one who has suffered the loss of a child because you so much want to do what will be helpful.
Unfortunately, we have also encountered people who have simply presumed to know... presumed to know how we are feeling having never gone through it themselves or even asked us how we're doing; presumed to know the "correct" way to grieve and if our grieving wasn't "correct," have in one way or another let us know; and even presumed to know how to have "taken care of" the situation. Words have the power to heal and bring hope, or the power to hurt.
I finished up reading A Grace Disguised by Jerry Sitser. Towards the end of his book, he contrasts platitudes with true compassion. I was really struck by his distinction.

Offering platitudes and cliches without having taken the time to really listen to the grieving person isn't truly compassionate. True compassion is walking along side someone in their grief, to the extent that you are able, seeking to understand that person and their loss. It's in that understanding that words that heal and bring hope can be spoken.
While Spencer and I have had words spoken, and sometimes a lack of words spoken, to us that have been hurtful, what is more is that God has provided us with numerous people who have spoken words of healing and hope to the deepest places of pain in our hearts. We are so grateful for that.
I was out on a run this morning (my first in a week!) under a crystal clear and cloudless blue sky listening to Sara Groves on my iPod. A song came on that I have never paid much attention to that captured my attention in a new way this morning...
It's Going to Be All Right
It's going to be alright
It's going to be alright
I can tell by your eyes that you're not getting any sleep
And you try to rise above it, but feel you're sinking in too deep
Oh, oh I believe,
I believe that
It's going to be alright
It's going to be alright
I believe you'll outlive this pain in you heart
And you'll gain such a strength from what is tearing you apart
Oh, oh I believe I believe that
It's going to be alright
It's going to be alright
When some time has past us, and the story if retold
It will mirror the strength and the courage in your soul
Oh, oh, I believe I believe,
I believe
I believe
I did not come here to offer you cliches
I will not pretend to know of all your pain
Just when you cannot, then I will hold out faith, for you
It's going to be alright
It's going to be alright

You see, that's just it. We've been so fortunate to have people in our lives who don't pretend to know our pain, who don't offer cliches, but who have been our support and our biggest cheerleaders. Not rushing us through our grief or pain, but meeting us in the midst of it and upholding us when we don't have the strength to do it ourselves... believing in the beauty that God will continue to make from all this when we're too blinded my the pain to be able to see it.
Those are words... and actions... that heal and bring hope. Because of the Lord's great love for us, He has surrounded us with people like this.


Kelly @ The Beauty of Sufficient Grace said...

Beautiful, Stacy...and so true...every word. Those that walk with us, upholding us with their love and prayers, not just trying to think of the perfect thing to say...that is what helps the most. There are no perfect words...and I know it's hard for people to know what to do and say. But, I'm so grateful for those who did come alongside my family when we were in our "fresh" grief. Thank you for joining us and for sharing your heart so beautifully.

Love you,

Sarah said...

Your words are so true, Stacy. Thank you for putting so much into words that I can't right now. I have felt like this already but didn't know how to explain it. You are such an encouragement to me. Please know that we are praying for you and Spencer too.


Jorden and Kristin said...

that song is one of my favorites. this was a very powerful post. thank you for sharing! you and spencer are in my prayers!

Sonya said...

Truly grateful for those people in your life that offer you comfort. There is no correct way to grieve and people shouldn't tell you how they did it because everyone is going to grieve in their own way. I am sure that even you and Spencer are grieving in different ways yet for the same person. I pray for you daily, that God will give you peace and comfort.

Jennifer Ross said...

It can be really helpful when people don't pretend that they know, or just try to say something to get "past" you. I'm glad that you have had a lot of support from friends and family. That makes it a little less lonely.

Corie said...

Well said...this is one of the hardest parts of this journey. What people say or don't or don't do. I know this can bring such a gap between people and yet God faithful raises some up to be so gifted in this area. Thanks for is needed!

Michelle said...

Such a great post. Love you:) And I LOVE that song. It is so poignant in so many ways.

Trisha Larson said...


I LOVE that song. Oh, how that has been my struggle since Nate died. I'm going to get a copy from ITunes since I've never heard it. Thanks so much for sharing.

I'm also glad to hear that you have people in your life that are supporting you while you walk this horrible path. It makes such a huge difference. I hope that God gives all those people a HUGE pat on the back when they get to Heaven. Boy, how they deserve it!


Rebecca Louise. said...

Your're completely right. Grief is different for everyone and sometimes there are just no words to say. A simple reminder to show that someone is there is just enough.

Actions speak louder than words x

Lorraine-bo said...

I cannot imagine your pain. I appreciate what I learn from the beauty of your honesty.

I am experiencing my own pain from an earthly loss. I met with a sweet lady at my church that worked with Hospice for many years and she recommended a book to me:
"Don't Take My Grief Away" by Doug Manning. It's from the late 70's, but it's still relevant today. It's a short, straight-shooting read; and speaks to anyone grieving a loved one. It has reassured me that my grief does not have to look like anyone else's, and that I may not even know what it will look like.

The Lord bless you for ministering out of your pain.

Holly said...

Such a great post and I'm so glad that you've had more support and comfort than hurt. I really like the words to that song! I have never heard of it before. Thank you so much for sharing it!!

Ruth said...