Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Dwarves of Grief

I just read in the latest Oprah magazine an article about a couple who lost their first child at birth - stillborn. The baby came early while they were still in France on vacation. Neither of them spoke French very well, so when the nurse asked the husband if they would like to speak to a nun, he thought she said would he like to speak to a dwarf. His wife asked him later why he said "yes" and he said that he thought maybe they had a dwarf/clown on staff that tried to cheer people up who were grieving. Of course, a nun came instead of a dwarf and the couple did not laugh about this until much, much later when their grief had subsided somewhat.

Grief is so unbelievably painful. No one can really believe it the first time they experience it. It's common to think you're going crazy or that you're going to die. But, no, it's just grief - more painful than childbirth, more painful than anything I can think of. My grandson's girlfriend's sister's husband was killed in a terrible wreck on Friday. He was only 25. They have a 5 month old baby. My grandson and his girlfriend's family are in that tortured phase of grief when they can't talk so they can be understood. When I talked to them on the phone, I mostly just said, "I'm sorry, but I didn't understand what you said." What I had to offer was my experience, strength and hope - you are not going crazy and you're not going to die. All of you will get through this even though it seems impossible right now. It will get better. The love you have for each other will help.

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