I realize I haven't blogged in a million months. Things are crazy and I barely even have time to brush my teeth. But, I'm taking time out now to address something major. I'm sick of sitting and cringing every single time I hear the below phrases so can we please... pretty please... band together and stop saying/doing this crap?
I'm starting this post off with some background real quick. If you are new to my blog, my daughter, Jovi Sloan, passed away to SIDS four and a half years ago. It was/is brutal and something I wouldn't wish on anyone. No one deserves to know what the loss of a child feels like. The love of Jesus and the hope of being reunited with my daughter pulled me through and continues to pull me through on the dark days. Did you catch that? I love Jesus. Jesus is my man.
BUT WE HAVE TO STOP USING CLICHE "CHRISTIAN-ESE" LINGO WHEN BABIES DIE. ALSO. WE HAVE TO STOP DOING A LOT OF OTHER THNGS WHEN BABIES DIE.
1.) God doesn't give you more than you can handle.
Um. What? This is bull sh*t. Because, while I didn't die when my daughter died, it sure as hell felt like I couldn't handle it. In fact, there's still days where I feel like I'm barely keeping my head above water. This isn't helpful. My baby who was here one second and gone the next was/is horrible. I can't even explain the weight of what I felt in the beginning and hearing that God wouldn't give me too much wasn't at all helpful. Not even a little.
2.) Jesus's arms is the best place for a baby.
What the what? Last time I checked, babies were supposed to outlive their parents. Maybe Jesus's arms are the best place for a mom... but, stop and think about this. It's a sweet thought. Don't get me wrong. I love that Jesus has a hold of my tiny tot, BUT I still want her here more than I want her with Jesus. Let's do a rephrase, "I can see Jesus rocking your precious baby until you get to her again." Nailed it.
3.) God needed another angel.
I'm still not even convinced that babies become angels. Maybe? Who the heck knows. It doesn't help thinking of her with wings and a halo anymore than it does to think of her being better off in heaven. And. He needed my baby to become the angel? Let's stop and think about this for a second... Do you want to give up your child to become an angel? You don't? Then, don't say it.
4.) God needed another flower for His garden.
Who are you gonna give up for a flower in God's garden right now?
5.) You are young enough to have another baby.
No baby can replace the baby I lost. Did you catch that? Let me say it again and just let it sink in. No baby can replace the one I lost. Okay... moving on.
6.) When my dog died....
I believe dogs are family. I believe you love your dog to the ninth power. But, a dog isn't a child. Please stop comparing the death of my child to your dog... cat... gerbil... bird....
7.) Friend request.
I was inundated with friend requests when Jovi died. Something ridiculous like 64 requests in the first few days after she died. Please don't friend request someone just to know their drama. Facebook has a little thing called messaging. Send them a message. You'll never know when they might get it. I had a mom message me 18 months ago and I just learned about the "other" folder about a month ago. It was there. And it came to me at a time I needed it. It was remarkable. She didn't try to be my "friend". She sent me a heartfelt message and she moved on. She didn't need to see the drama unfolding on my Facebook page.
8) "Do you know how she died?"
Don't gossip about a family going through hell. Does it really matter? And if you must know, ask someone who is your best friend about it. Not Joe Blow from high school.
9.) Oh man... I had the worst week...
Please don't tell me you've had the worst week ever the week my daughter died. Your broken house appliance is nothing compared to the huge hole in my heart. (Ps. You can tell me all about your crappy week now... just don't in the first few weeks/months).
10.) Run the other way.
If you see my swollen, puffy eyes in the grocery store. Stop and talk to me! I know I now sound totally unapproachable and I'm judging every word, but I'm not really.
Tell me you're sorry.
Tell me you have no words for me.
Give me a hug.
Tell me you can't fix it.
Tell me your praying for me.
Tell me you'll watch my big kids.
Tell me it wasn't my fault.
Tell me you are thinking about me.
Tell me you are there for me.
Tell me your heart is hurting with mine.
Tell me you are so sad.
Tell me you miss seeing her face.
Speak her name.
Bring me dinner.
Tell me Jovi was beautiful.
Tell me she's missed.
Tell me you think about her.
I'm speaking in "me's" here because I'm just going back to the beginning. I, honestly, don't need a dinner now. I'm remembering those first few months of sheer awful and trying to convey how to help your friend, your acquaintance, your sister, your brother.... just be there. Be present. A simple "I'm thinking about you" goes a long, long way. The people I remember the most were the ones who were just there. Those who hugged me and said how terrible this was... those who just didn't leave. Those who didn't try to fix it. Those who allowed themselves to try to think of the unimaginable. Those who let themselves go to that place for just a minute to try to understand how I felt. Those. Those people were my lifeline and those people helped me keep going and helped keep my head above the water. Be empathetic. Don't try to justify my loss. Don't try to make it seem better than it is. Because it f*cking sucks. It's the worse. There's no justification to my daughter's death that will help me feel better in this lifetime.
If you don't know me, pray for me. Tell me your sorry. Shoot me a message on Facebook. Respect my family and my privacy.
Please can we end this? Share this. Teach this. I think it's safe to speak for anyone who has experienced a significant loss... I can't just be speaking to the child-loss mommas...
Let's all throw out sympathy and embrace empathy. It'll go so much farther and impact so. much. more.