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What NOT to say to a grieving mother… Words by Tuschka Reynders

I thought long and hard before I posted this, since I don’t want to offend anyone. I know in my heart everything said to me is said with compassion and with the best intentions. But I came to the realization that people simply don’t know what to say. They are scared to hurt me, they feel uncomfortable, they want to make me feel better…

But after hitting rock bottom again last week, I thought I’d give everyone a quick peek into my world of losing a child. There’s some do’s and don’ts. Even with the best intention, the moment someone says one of the following below, it’s like picking at a huge, thick scab that suddenly rips from the flesh, causing blood to flow like the original wound. It hurts. It hurts so bad that I get lost in the darkness

Please don’t say

• Gidi is now an angel. No he is not. He is my son who has left his earthly body to join our Father in heaven above, and he’s waiting for me to join him. He didn’t sprout wings

• God has picked the most beautiful flower for His garden. I don’t believe my Father would give me the most important gift in my life, just to take Gidi back to display him in His garden. It also implies all children left behind must be rather ugly or even a weed

• He’s in no more pain and better off. I KNOW that. But it doesn’t take away MY pain and darkness. I want to hold him, hear his giggle, swim with him and spoil him

• Gidi is looking after me. No. Just no. I am the parent, I was supposed to take care of him

• Why don’t you consider having or adopting another child? Do you really think Gidi is replaceable? And that another baby would lessen the pain?

• Look at the silver lining. Gidi was your only child. You will only have to experience this pain once in your lifetime. This is just wrong on so many levels

• Tell me that it’s been 8 months already (or how many years as time goes by). I will mourn and miss Gidi for the rest of my life

• Compare his death to someone else and tells me it will get better. Firstly, time doesn’t heal. Secondly, my sister, my father, one of my closest friends, several pets that were like children to me… All died. And the pain and loss of them do not even come CLOSE to this pain

• Tell me I’m selfish when I want to be with my son, who was my whole life. I comprehend all the other implications, but selfishness is not one of them. It is a no win situation. Everyone tells me how much they love me and how much they will hurt when I’m gone. So when I’m here, everyone is happy and occasionally gives a thought or send a prayer my way. But I hurt like hell every single moment. I cannot breath. I have to remind myself to stand up out of bed every morning. I need to remind myself to try and breath and eat. And I welcome each night to escape this drowning reality. Doesn’t that make everyone around me the selfish ones? When I’m not here, I’m with my son and God, no more pain, no more tears, only light. But those who stay behind hurt. See? No one wins, I’m not the only one that’s selfish

• Send me scriptures and tell me something good will come out of his death. NOTHING good can come out of this. This is only destruction, confusion, darkness, pain and chaos. I have a close relationship with Father God. And He knows and understands my heart. My feelings are not a surprise to Him, He knew the day Gidi was born what his death would do to me. At this moment scripture and remindings of God’s love just doesn’t mean anything. I converse with God, sometimes I sit on His lap and cry, sometimes I argue with Him, and other times I bargain. But this is between God and me. This is how I’m trying to cope. My strong faith equipped me with all the passages that is supposed to help me. I don’t need reminding – it sounds judgemental and it hurts

• You just have to find your new normal. Nothing will EVER be normal again.


• Say absolutely nothing. NO words can make me feel better. A nod, or quick hug says so much more

• Just be there for me.. If you want to say something, send me a heart or hug emoji. I’ll know you’re praying or thinking of me

• Talk about Gidi and the memories you have of him. Even though I may cry, I love that you remember him. I just miss him so much that my longing spills over into tears

• Don’t feel bad to cry with me. I know how much it hurts

• Be happy with me when I share the signs I believe he sends to me through the grace of God

• Understand when I isolate myself. In that time I try to remember and hold onto his smell, his voice, his moods.. Everything

• Accept me as I am and that I’m broken

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