It is something we hear often in the aftermath of losing a child.
“Let me know if you need anything.”
This statement is dripping from well-meaning eyes and the sincerest intentions, but these words are often met with a blank stare and bewilderment. Because, as grievers, we hardly know what we need. The only thing we needed is gone.
Needless to say, asking for help isn’t even on your radar. You’re looking at this monster of grief and wondering how you’ll even make it through the day.
But the truth is, we need help.
We need someone to bring us chocolate, help us to remember to eat, make us a cup of tea, hold our hand, listen to our stories and broken hearts. We need someone to help us remember things, because memory is foggy and the only significance in time is that we are that much further from holding our babies for the last time. We need someone with an endless stream of tissue boxes. We need someone to be a good listener, fold our laundry, check our mail, bring us groceries because the grocery stores are FULL of new babies and pregnant bellies. We need someone to let other well-meaning visitors that now isn’t a good time to visit. We need someone to help us unsubscribe to all the baby magazines and newsletters. We need someone to support all the different ways we plan to celebrate the life that was lost. We need someone to listen to our babies’ names months and even years later. We need someone to help us carry this love we long to express.
We need help.
So this, dear grieving mama, is your homework.
Find a pen and paper. Or whip out Notes on Your iPhone. Whatever it is, write it down.
What is it you need? Distance and space? Someone’s company? An errand you cannot find the energy or motivation to complete? Setting an appointment, or maybe asking someone to go with you? Maybe you’re wondering why you’re left alone in your grief, and you’d like others to say your child’s name, include them in the holidays somehow.
Be brave. Be vigilant about your heart. Don’t let others guess at what you need. If you’re like most people, you are surrounded with at least a few, if not more, wonderful people who would do anything to help you. The truth is we just aren’t very good about speaking up for ourselves, especially in grief.
So be that voice. For yourself. Advocate for your needs. Your child’s life is more honored in your self-care and healing, than your suffering.
If you are enjoying this series, you might also want to check out Facets of Grief, a donation-based art therapy workshop for grieving mothers.