One part of the While We're Waiting ministry is a Facebook page which is dedicated to discussions about issues that bereaved parents deal with on a day-to-day basis. It is a truly vibrant group of moms and dads, all of whom have children in Heaven, and all of whom are seeking to live well while they're waiting to be reunited with them one day. It's a closed group, limited to just parents who have lost children, along with a very few others who are close friends of the While We're Waiting ministry, so it's a safe place to discuss things that others may not understand.
This past weekend, one of the moms on the page, Kimberly Hughes, whose son Drew went to Heaven this past July, posted a list that drew a number of comments from those on the page. It appears that her list resonates with most, if not all of us, who have children in Heaven. So, with her permission, I'm presenting her list to you as this month's Ten on the Tenth ...
Top 5 Things People Say That DON'T Comfort me:
5. "Everything happens for a reason"
4. "I know how you feel, I lost my grandmother, etc" Unless you have lost a child, you really don't know how I feel and that's a good thing- be thankful.
3. "At least you have two other sons"
2. "You are so strong. If I lost my child, I'd..." and you can fill in the rest. It makes me feel like you are implying your love for your child is stronger than mine. There is nobody anywhere in the world who loves their children MORE than I love mine- just FYI.
1. By far the worst one for me is "I've lost a child, too, and believe me it never gets better. People will say it does, but it doesn't." This I think is the worst. I think it implies I shouldn't have hope and it is a LIE. I AM better than I was when I couldn't breathe, didn't want to get out of bed and was completely numb and there IS hope for joy in my life again.
Top 5 Things People Say That DO Comfort Me
5. Any wonderful memories of Drew Hughes, especially stories of when he made others laugh or smile. That was his gift and I want his memory to be shared and kept alive.
4. "I think about and pray for you and your family often."
3. Lots of scripture including Corinthians 13:4-8, Psalm 34:18 and Isaiah 41:10
2. "God loves you and He is good. Trust that He will carry you through this."
1. "Drew is safe and secure and you will see and be with him again one day."
I think Kimberly hit the nail right on the head with her list, and I appreciate her willingness to let me share it with you. I've posted similar types of lists before, but I think she has a unique perspective, especially since she is still in the early months of her grief journey.
As you think of families you know who have lost children during this Christmas season, please take a moment and lift them up before the Heavenly Father. No matter how long it's been since someone's child went to Heaven, it's still a really tough time of the year. Memories of Christmases past, gifts un-bought, watching intact families merrily enjoying the season, an empty chair at the Christmas dinner table ... the presence of that child's absence is enormous, and can be overwhelming. The best gift you can give them is to let them know that you do remember their child, and that you are praying for them. They will appreciate that more than they can ever say.