What if we simply didn’t know how to support someone who is grieving?
Two women, close friends who love one another. Sally had a miscarriage. The baby she already loved deeply was never to be born. She had died. Her friend Joan did her best to support Sally. Imperfect to be sure, but she did her best.
Down the road, Joan suffered a miscarriage. Heartbroken, truly devastated by the loss of the baby she would never hold in her arms.
Sally understood. She was there for Joan. She listened with an open heart. They cried together and shared a new understanding of what the other was experiencing.
Now Joan understood in a new way what Sally had felt and experienced so long ago. She apologized for the suggestions that she had made, words she had said that she now realized were not helpful and might have even been hurtful. Joan now understands that while she had made these suggestions and said these things with good intentions, it was possible that they were not what her friend had needed.
With tears rolling down her cheeks, Joan said again and again, ‘I’m so sorry, I didn’t know’.
Sally responded ‘I know you didn’t know, you did your best. I always appreciated your intentions. I could feel your love.’
This is a conversation that I witnessed. A few details changed to honor the privacy of both women. It was beautiful, forgiving and so very loving.
If you have a grieving heart, if you are supporting someone who is grieving – I encourage speaking, and listening from the heart.