Having dealt with a little time of overwhelming heartbreak and grief, I've learned a few things. I hope you'll stay with me on this b/c I think it's important for all to know.
What NOT to say:
God is in control (meaning everything that happens is God's will). 1). It's insensitive and 2) it's not true. What kind of loving God would have rape, murder, infant death, etc in His will? God, in His infinite and loving wisdom, allows us to make our own choices...what we'll do, who we'll marry, if we divorce, if we have children, etc..and sometimes those decisions lead not only ourselves but others to dire consequences. It's not that I don't think/believe Abba is in control of certain things/situations; it's that I know it's not His will for evil to flourish and we can put ungodly things on Abba.
They can have more children. 1) It's insensitive and 2) You don't know that to be true
Loss is Loss 1) insensitive and 2) not true. The death of a infant (particularly still born), is not the same as the death of a grandparent, an parent, even a younger child or miscarriage. Though the differences do not negate the heart break, pain, grief of any type of death/loss they are still very much different. I had time with my grandparents. We laughed together, made memories together, they lived full and (though they had their share of heart aches) good lives. We never got to do anything with Vincent David except say goodbye before we even had a chance to say hello. One of my friends put it well when she said, I don't understand your grief, but I understand grief. Everyone grieves differently but to have someone say they undertand grief puts it more in perspective and lets us feel less alone.
I had a feeling something was wrong. Just insensitive to the grief.
Call me/let me know if you need anything. While it is very thoughtful and sweet and I can't speak for everyone, I think I've learned most people are not going to call or tell you that they need something. They may not even know themselves what they need. I did ask a great sister/ friend if she'd make sure we had food for the day of the memorial but other than that, I'm just not going to pick up a phone and call, text, email for help. I can barely function most days so..yeah enough said.
It was their time. Really? Insensitve to put it mildly.
Even saying 'he/she is with God now" is not helpful..at least not right away. We know where Vincent is. That doesn't help our confustion, hurt or anger at him being taken away before he was even really here.
SO WHAT DO YOU SAY?
I'm sorry, I'm praying for you, I love you always works.
Share your story if you have one..it helps people not feel alone in their grief and heartache. I had a friend who shared about when her sister had a still born child and how she 'broke down'. That was helpful in an emotional way for me.
Ask how you can pray specifically..another sister/friend did that and it made a world of difference.
I don't know what to say. We are okay with others not knowing what to say..that they acknowledged our hurt and pain is important. My sister called and she said she didn't know what to say or even what to pray really, but she was praying for us. We talked and cried and I couldn't tell you what we said. I doubt she could either, but by calling and telling me that, she let me know she was there for me.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Bring food (even after a week or so). We are so grieved that the though of figuring out what to eat is a chore..much less having to fix it (especially,if like me, you have so much more going on). Those who brought food really touched our hearts. One friend even brought the stuff to make food in the crock pot--got it all started, told me how to finish it off (easy to do) and left 'fixings' to go with the main meal. Those who brought food for the day memorial brought, not only what we needed for a meal, for extra so we'd have leftovers and some things for 'snacking or light meals".
Pray (and, again, let it be know you are praying)
If you know the person/people are strapped financially, and you can help, do so with money, gift card, etc. This has been life saving and just miraculous for us.
Allow the person to vent and/or grieve in their own way. Everyone is a bit different so be understanding that grief doesn't have a time period and certainly not a short one.
Know they may not want to talk about what happened for a long time..and maybe they will. Allow them to do what they can/need to do.
If you have a unique way of helping, offer to do so. One of the things that has really helped with our healing already is a friend took flowers from the memorial and made beads from them. She took a bead and lace and made angels for us to have and her son took the flowers and beads and made 'small pirate' jars for us. It was unique, heartfelt and wonderful.
Know they will thank you when they can. A couple who are friends and who understand the death of a baby b/c they had their share of heartache in that area sent a gift but wrote 'no thanks' needed. I will thank them at some point, but not feeling I needed to do it soon has relieved a burden.
Understand grief may not be the only thing they are dealing with. In my case, I'm still taking care of Stephen b/c of his surgery, taking care of Little Cutie a good deal (she comes in to sleep with me every night so I'm not getting even less sleep than normal), trying to make sure my son and dil are okay, trying to make sure others are okay, cleaning, doing chores and just trying to survive the day without passing out.
HOPEFULLY, THIS GIVES YOU A LITTLE BIT OF A GLIMPSE INTO THE LIFE OF SOMEONE WHO IS HEART BROKEN AND GRIEVING AND WAYS YOU CAN TRULY 'BE THERE' AND BE HELPFUL.
THOUGH I'VE NEVER SAID THE 'DON'T SAY' THINGS AND HAVE SAID 'THE DO SAY' THINGS, THIS HAS TAUGHT ME I NEED TO BE MORE PRESENT, MORE HELPFUL IN THE FUTURE WHEN FRIENDS/FAMILY FACE GRIEVE OF ANY KIND.
FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO WONDER, NO, I PERSONALLY, AM NOT ANGRY WITH ABBA. I AM CONFUSED, HURT, DISAPPOINTED, BUT I HAVE NOT LOST MY FAITH OVER VINCENT'S DEATH. I HAVE NO IDEA WHY ABBA ALLOWED THIS TO HAPPEN AND WE (ABBA AND I) TALK ABOUT IT ALL THE TIME. I DON'T EXPECT ANSWERS THIS SIDE OF ETERNITY BUT I DO EXPECT TO STAND BEFORE HIM, ONE DAY, FAITH INTACT AND SEE THE LOVE HE HAS FOR ALL HIS CHILDREN.