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Kindness Korner

Avoid Saying This

Avoid Saying This

Recently I talked with a young mother whose six year old daughter had died a month earlier. The little girl had been born disabled, both physically and intellectually. At age six she was still infantile in all ways, needing constant care for all her needs.

Her mother confided in me how much she resented the words repeatedly spoken to her in the aftermath of the death. Person after person said “well, she’s better off now.” Hardly anyone realized how deeply this mom loved that little girl, and what an empty place there now was in her life. All the friends saw was the girl’s disability, and the enormous effort it took to care for the child. They saw a burden. They saw relief. The mother was feeling devastated at losing her child.

Their words, “well, she is better off now,” carried the message that she, the mom, shouldn’t feel so terrible because the child was now whole and happy. They totally overlooked her attachment, her investment, her love for her daughter, as limited as the child was. They projected themselves into the situation and saw only enormous hours of hard work. They failed to see a mother deeply invested in her child, now empty-handed and sorrowing, because her child has died. They failed to see the mother's love and their words were not helpful.

Grief guidance-1.

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