The most comforting words I heard at my son’s funeral service were, “What was his personality like?”
It was a dear friend from years ago I had not seen in over a decade. She obviously had never met my son and I am not sure she was even aware I’d had a child until she’d heard of his passing.
I immediately smiled, hugged her, and proudly described in detail my unique, determined, sweet and beautiful three-year-old.
No one really knows what to say to a grieving mother. Unless you have experienced that type of loss, and even if you have, the emptiness is different for everyone. One important commonality I observed when I went to a grief support group is everyone’s child is the most special child to have ever left this Earth and every parent is suffering just as much as the next.
But we all want to talk about our children. Yes, sometimes it might bring tears and the conversation may be uncomfortable momentarily. But we live it every single day – it is our reality. Not one minute goes by that we don’t remember we lost our children. There is not one single moment in time where they are not on our minds, in our hearts, on the tips of our tongues.
So, please, I beg you, ask. Ask about our children. We know you are sorry. Express condolences if you feel you must. But we know you would never wish this on us. We know you share our pain and our sorrow.
When you see me, even if it’s every day, please tell me how you remember my child and how he touched your life. Ask me what he smelled like, how it felt to carry him, the sounds he made as he fell asleep.
Because all I have now is a memory. And we can all keep those memories alive.