I saw a client today. This was the first time I had seen her since my boys' birth and Eli's death. She asked me how they were. I gave her the short story of my boys. I said Nolan was at home and growing well and that Eli had died at 11 days. Tears came to her eyes. "I have read books on this and I know that people often say stupid things in these types of situations. I want to make sure I say this right...... I am so happy for you and Nolan and I am so sorry for you and Eli." I was so touched by her desire to be respectful of my experience and to honor both of my sons. With tears in my eyes I responded "Thank you my dear, you said it perfectly." She told me her sister had a baby born still a number of years ago and she had seen how the wounds of thoughtless words had hurt her. We hugged.
Over the weekend I was sitting with a group of new and old friends. I spoke something about how children know of siblings who died and a friend spoke up. She began to speak of her oldest son who had died as a child many years ago and how her youngest child told her that she knew him, had met him and he had played with her when she was younger, even though her son had died years before her youngest child had been born. The story itself was amazing and beautiful, what I saw was the difficulty my friend had as she spoke of her son who had passed many years ago. She spoke with grace. Her pain obvious and still raw. She began to cry and excused herself. Later I saw her and thanked her for sharing a story about her beloved son. She thanked me for allowing her to feel safe to talk.
I am thankful for those who have shown me compassion and love in my grief. It is a gift to me to honor others' grief with compassion and love. It is my hope that I do.