Updated: Aug 26, 2020
Empathy is a hard thing to write about right now - because while a lot of people want to listen and want to help in any way that they can - not many truly understand. And sometimes in people's attempts to help - they say or do something that has the completely opposite effect. I know that it comes from a good place, but in our fragile states right now - it's hard to not let that effect us.
Throughout these last 2 months - there are 2 groups of people I've found to be extremely helpful to be around:
(1) The people in our support group. Although we've all experienced a unique loss - we're all in the same stage of grief. We've all lost a child - an experience no parent should ever have to endure - regardless of age or consequence. These people not only listen without judgement, but they validate our feelings and emotions - because they often feel the same way. They share their own tragedy and pain and sadness in a way that can only feel real to people who have walked in those same shoes. They share things that have helped, things that have hurt, and asked questions regarding the unknown. We've shared our tears, our anger, our confusion, our fears for the future, our insecurities, and our guilt. We have shared our children with each other - not just in their death, but their life too through the memories that we are holding onto. Feeling like we're going through this journey with others has been so helpful and their empathy and support of us has been so needed. I've found it pretty incredible that even in my current broken state - I find myself crying, worried, praying, and even sometimes happy for another couple in the group. We've all discovered that we still have more to give to others and to life by helping each other through this time.
(2) The second group of people that have shown empathy is those that can listen and not try to relate or to fix it or to offer up some advice to try and make it any better. It's the people that want to ease my pain and calm my fears - but know that they can't. They don't say things about "God's plan" or "time heals" or "atleast you'll have another baby soon" - but they acknowledge the awful, they cry with me and they ask me questions to try and better understand. They do things and reach out with no expectation of a response and they keep trying. They don't take it personally when I don't answer the phone or reply to a text or thank them immediately for a sweet gesture. They just keep showing that they're there when I need them or I am ready and displaying their love and concern in the most selfless way. In a situation where so few can realate - this is all you can really do.