Feeling Crushed Today

[deleted account] ( 15 moms have responded )

One of my friends had a son that was born 5 months ago with two very serious heart defects. He had surgery at a few weeks old and was at home awaiting his next surgery, which was to happen at 6 months. Unfortunately, his little heart just gave out over the weekend. My friend is so angry (justifiably) and says he is having a hard time "finding the lesson" in this. I am trying to be supportive of him through a very difficult time. My personal opinion is that sometimes there just isn't a lesson -- sometimes life is just flat-out cruel and unfair, but I don't think that is particularly helpful. Any words of wisdom I can share with him?


[deleted account]

Life is life. There is no lesson. There is no greater purpose. We are simply egotistical animals who wonder why our lives seem more important than the ant we just crushed. It simply is. That does not always make it easier but it does for me. I know that when tragedy strikes, its' because nature and life is completely even handed. It hits everyone, good/bad/indifferent. It just is.

~Jennifer - posted on 01/23/2012




I'll add one thing....

Do offer to help in any way you can, but it's really going to get much harder AFTER the services / funeral / memorial - whatever they choose to do.

There is so much to do to plan a service, a reception, choosing clothing, caskets etc.

It's after everything is 'over' and you walk into the house that is missing a baby that the whole thing really hits.

That's when they'll need you the most, and when the grief will become the worst.

The hardest thing I had to do after my daughter died was take all the things I had for her, and all the plans I made that would never happen....and pack them away.

Denikka - posted on 01/23/2012




I agree with Tracey. Right now, there is NOTHING that you can say that will make him feel better.

The best thing that you can do is be there to support them. If they live nearby, you can bring over a premade dinner for them one evening. I'm sure no one feels like cooking. Just stop by, ask how they're doing, mention that you felt you had to do something to make things slightly easier for them and ask if there's anything else you can do. I would advise against actually going in, just make it a super quick visit.

You can do any number of mundane things to give them time and room to grieve. Making a meal for them, helping clean the house, watching any other children they have while they make funeral arrangements, etc.

But the most important thing is to be there if they feel the need to go to someone. Make yourself available and ask them what they need from you.

It's never easy losing a child, especially in a situation like that. There's so many questions. Why did this happen, what could I have done differently, etc. There's going to be a lot of anger and blame. On themselves and on whatever powers they may believe in.

If your friend brings up finding it hard to *find the lesson* in this again, perhaps suggest that it may not have been their lesson, and so they aren't supposed to learn or understand it.

Good luck. It's so hard to stand back, knowing someone close to you is hurting and knowing that there's really nothing you can do to make it better.

Krista - posted on 01/23/2012




That's just awful. And I agree with you -- sometimes life IS just flat-out cruel and unfair. I think all you can do is be there for your friend and let him vent. He'll have enough people giving stupid but well-meant platitudes about the baby being better off, or some such thing. I think that the best thing you could do as a friend is to let him know that he can say whatever he wants in front of you -- he doesn't have to put on a brave face and can vent however he needs to, and you won't judge him for anything he says. Sometimes the best gift when things like that happen is to be allowed to let the mask drop, and to just let out your rage and grief with someone who will hold your hand and not expect you to "be brave".

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Sarah - posted on 02/09/2012




Sorry, I meant that to say, God doesn't ALWAYs have a lesson for us to learn.

Sarah - posted on 02/09/2012




I asked my pastor this question not that long ago, as I was struggling with some life difficulties. He told me that sometimes God doesn't have a lesson for us to learn. That we live in a broken world and sometimes these things happen with no reason and little understanding. We can turn to each other and to our Lord to heal our hearts.

Lyssa - posted on 01/24/2012




my advice to you would be, just be there to listen and be a shoulder to cry on. everybody likes to say things like, "everything happens for a reason," or "he's in a better place now." and when you're that angry, those statements only seem to make it worse. just listen and offer any kind of help you can whether it be cleaning and cooking for him, or crying with him, etc. that's the only think i can think of that may help him feel a little better. because as you said, the truth is, life sometimes is just cruel and unfair, and there are a lot of things we have no control over. good luck to you and your friend, and my heart goes out to you both over such a devastating loss.

Mary - posted on 01/24/2012




I have to disagree with the mindset of "Don't bring it up unless he does". I'm not saying you should constantly harp on it, but avoiding the topic can be just as painful for that person, and make them feel very isolated. I know of more than one person who has experienced the loss of a child who has felt like others have either forgotten, or are just too uncomfortable with the topic. It can make that parent feel as if they can't talk about it either because others find it too awkward or discomfiting. Often, as time goes on, the kindest thing you can do is to give them (subtle) permission to do just that. Around those "special" days that can be painful - Mother's day, Father's Day, birthdays and anniversaries - it is a kindness to acknowledge that child, and to let that parent know you are aware of their feelings. If they don't want to talk about it, or bring it up, they usually have no hesitation about letting that be known.

As for there being a "lesson"? I'm not really of that mindset. I do, however, believe that every life serves a purpose. Every single being that is created touches another, and in some way changes those around them. Some of us need a lifetime to achieve all that we were meant to, and for some of us, we don't even need to take a breath outside of the womb. Just their mere existence, no matter how brief, is enough to irrevocably touch the hearts of those we were meant to. For me, it has always helped to focus on the time that I had, rather than to lament that there was not more of it.

Sylvia - posted on 01/23/2012




Oh, how awful :(

No, there's no lesson. Sometimes horrible things happen, and the only thing you can do is try to go on -- not as in "forget it and move on" but as in "you can't go back, you can only go forward".

I don't think there's anything you can say that will make things better. (Although I can think of plenty of things people will probably say to him that will make him feel worse. Like "you'll have other children" and "he's in a better place" and "G-d doesn't give anyone more trouble than they can handle". Feh.) The best thing you can do, probably, is listen and hug.

Merry - posted on 01/23/2012




Don't try to help, just be a friend and listen. And don't bring it up if he doesn't, sometimes you just want a person to talk to about normal stuff cuz everyone's all in your face when you experience a death

Hope - posted on 01/23/2012




Has you have all probably read, my little niece Lexi Louise lost her fight for life on 19th of August. It was and can still be very hard. Just when you think you are handling the loss something happens and all your emotions come flowing back and you relise you still have a long way to go.

I would have to agree with Tracey on this one. Those first fews weeks are not easy and when you do start talking to someone about the heart arche and lost that you feel all you want is for them to listen. You don't want them to solve the problem.

The best thing you has there friend can do is be there for them. When they are crying, cry with them. When they are laughing and remember the joyous times, laugh and remember with them.

All you can do is be there for them as they go through there grieving. Remember also, there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Just be a shoulder them in this hard time.

Anna - posted on 01/23/2012




I am so sorry this happened.

I agree with the others, just let him know you are there if he needs anything.

I don't know his life situation, but if this were another SAHM I would tell her that I wanted to bring a meal over for her and ask what day would be best. I think an action like this reinforces that you sincerely want to help, and aren't just saying so out of awkwardness or whatever. Don't be pushy or anything and if a meal isn't appropriate maybe there is some other little service you could do.

[deleted account]

I think that's good advice, Tracey. I just hate feeling helpless. But I don't think there is anything anyone could say to make things better.

Janice - posted on 01/23/2012




How awful! I'm so sorry for your friends loss. I wish I had helpful words but I feel much as you do -about the situation being cruel an unfair :(

Tracey - posted on 01/23/2012




At the moment he wont hear any words you have, just listen and be there for him.

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