// on giving others time to grieve //
Our miscarriage was the deepest, darkest place of grief I have ever known.
There were people who wanted to “help me along” in my grieving, to make me “feel better,” or to “pull me through” in the journey. But the truth is, what I needed most was for them to sit in it with me.
For a time.
Days and weeks after my miscarriage, I wasn’t ready to move on. I wasn’t ready to start the healing process while my wound was still bleeding, so to speak.
I’ll never forget the first time I heard the lyrics to the song Not Right Now by Jason Gray. They hit home for me when I think back on this time of loss, devastation, and grieving.
You could see the smoke from a mile away
And trouble always draws a crowd
They wanna tell me that it’ll be okay
But that’s not what I need right now
Not while my house is burning down…
Tell me if the hope that you know is true
Ever feels like a lie even from a friend
When their words are salt in an open wound
And they just can’t seem to understand
That you haven’t even stopped the bleeding yet.
I know someday, I know somehow, I’ll be okay
But not right now. No, not right now.
Of course in my mind I always knew I’d be okay. Of course in my heart I always knew God was with me, intermingling all things together for good. But when tragedy first hits and grief first strikes, when they knock your house down and quite literally knock the wind out of your chest, one simply needs to be comforted in their pain, right where they are at, in the midst of their hopes turning to ashes.
In Ecclesiastes we learn there is “A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance” (3:4, NLT, emphasis mine). The truth is: God Himself created all emotions and all seasons, and God Himself has ordained that there is a time to grieve.
If you have a loved one who is grieving–from miscarriage or otherwise–here is my humble advice from my once grief-shattered heart:
- First sit with them. Grieve with them. Ask how you can be supportive. Don’t try to direct their grieving or change the pace of it. Just be with them. Cry with them. Make them laugh. Whatever they need at that moment.
- And if you are not comfortable meeting them in the way they need, you can demonstrate love for them by giving them some distance.
I’ll end with a quote from Jordan Lee Dooley’s Own Your Everyday that so beautifully applies to this tough topic:
“Purpose. There’s profound purpose in simply meeting other people right where they are, in steeping into, not away from, their struggles and sharing them. Sometimes we can be so quick to offer consoling words and dry someone else’s tears, when really the best thing we can do is let the tears flow and even absorb them. Bearing burdens doesn’t mean fixing them. It means not allowing the other person to bear the load alone” (19).