Most of us know someone who has been touched by miscarriage. Maybe it’s a friend, a family member, or you have gone through this yourself. Current statistics show that 1 in 4 pregnancies ends in miscarriage.
My husband and I, as many of you reading this, are 1 in 4. In 2018, at just shy of 20 weeks of pregnancy, we unexpectedly lost our son Josiah. While extremely difficult as we were processing through our grief, we were overwhelmed by the love and support of friends and family throughout that time. Each person showed their love and support in their own, unique way. And each gesture equally touched our hearts.
Sometimes, when you’re trying to support someone you love through a difficult situation like miscarriage, it’s hard to know what to say or what to do. You don’t want to bombard them, you don’t want to say the wrong thing, you want them to feel supported without feeling like you are intruding. But you know you just want to do something. The truth is, there is no right thing to do, it is only what feels right to you. Below are 10 things that were done for us during our time of grieving Josiah that were especially touching. I hope if you find yourself in the difficult place of not knowing what to do, one of these ideas will resonate with your heart and be able to provide comfort to a grieving heart.
The last thing someone going through a tragedy wants to worry about is cooking for themselves. Our friends rallied around us and made sure that preparing food was not something we needed to worry about. This was done in a variety of ways. One of my friends, in the interest of not wanting to intrude during a difficult time, coordinated a meal train. However, in the interest of not wanting to bombard us with people in our home, she coordinated all of the meals to be delivered to a designated family member of mine. This was so kind and insightful because while people want to come and pay their condolences, someone who is freshly grieving often does not want to feel the need to host every person who comes to drop off food. The food included everything from our favorite restaurants catered out, homemade meals, desserts, etc. I even remember opening the front door one day and finding a plate of homemade brownies sitting out there for us.
One of the first nights after our loss, the doorbell rang and a Domino’s Pizza man came and said he had a delivery for our house. I actually sent him away because we hadn’t ordered anything. Ha! I didn’t realize a friend who lives halfway across the country had ordered local Domino’s for our family and had it delivered to our house. Even if you don’t live close, ordering from a local restaurant that delivers is a great way to support your friend with a meal.
Sticking along the line of food (am I hungry?), I had another close friend who showed up the next day with an entire stock-up of groceries. She said she didn’t want us to have to worry about going to the grocery store to get any of the basics, so she went and bought all of those things for us. This is another great way to eliminate some of the stress of everyday life for someone who is grieving.
I know sometimes it can seem like a small gesture, but it’s not. I can’t tell you how many cards we received from friends and family to share their love, support, and prayers. I still have each and every one saved in a special box because it is a great reminder of not only how much my husband and I are loved, but how much my son was loved.
After having Josiah, we had to spend the night in the hospital. While we were there, some of my family went to our house and cleaned everything. Laundry folded, dishes done, toys picked up. I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to walk into our house and find everything spotless. Obviously, there has to be a level of closeness for this to be appropriate, but if you have the opportunity, it is an amazing way to support your loved one.
5. Tree or plant
When my husband’s co-workers found out about our loss, they decided to donate us a Milaeger’s gift card so we could purchase a plant or tree in memory of our little boy. Giving a plant or tree is such a great gift because anytime we look at that tree, we are reminded of the life of our little boy.
6. Donation to a children’s hospital or organization
This might be my favorite on the whole list. One day, I got home and was checking the mail when I noticed an envelope from Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Inside was a card from the hospital, indicating a donation was made in Josiah’s name. I immediately started crying. A donation in the name of my son was now being used to help save other children’s lives. It was such a beautiful, thoughtful gift.
Having jewelry made is such a touching gift for someone who has gone through a miscarriage. It is a way to provide the parents with something they can wear to keep their baby’s memory close. I had multiple friends make me pieces of jewelry—rings, necklaces, etc. One I wear frequently is a necklace that is plain on the front but has my son’s name and birthday engraved on the back. It is nice because while I know what it means, it doesn’t draw a lot of questions. But I keep his memory attached to me.
8. Verbalize your thoughts
Sometimes as friends, you don’t know when you should say something. You don’t want to bring it up too much, but you don’t want to bring it up too little. I have found that it was most touching to me when my friends were intentional about verbalizing their thoughts. When they were praying for me and told me. When they were thinking of me and told me. When they weren’t afraid to say Josiah’s name because it told me that they hadn’t forgotten. That he wasn’t forgotten.
9. Girls night
Sometimes, it is just good to be able to get out of the house and take your mind off things. Talk about how you’re feeling if you want or don’t talk about it at all. But most of all, enjoy the company of life-giving friends. If you don’t know what to do, ask your friend if she would like to go get her nails done, go out to dinner, or have a movie night. When you are grieving, it is easy to isolate. But having safe friends to surround yourself with is so important. That friend could be you.
I think sometimes we fall into the trap of, “I don’t want to say or do the wrong thing” or “they just need space,” and we end up giving in to our fear and doing or saying nothing. And while your concern is valid, even if it is imperfect, it means the world to just know that you are there. Your gesture far outweighs the risk of their offense. Your support is valued far more than you will ever know.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2, NIV).
Originally published on the author’s blog