While on a retreat with fellow loss parents after Adrian’s death, instead of asking “How are you?” each morning, we asked instead, “How is your morning going? How did you sleep?” And while it seems like a minor thing, it made a difference. It took the pressure off. It gave us space for honesty.
Asking “How are you?” of someone who is grieving
When I was new in my grief, there were a number of situations where people said or did something and I wanted to respond, but I just didn’t have the words. Now that I am further out, I have put together a set of potential scripts to use in these situations.
As a supervisor, the most important thing you can do when supporting a military member after the loss of a child is to understand this loss is significant. Regardless of planning or length of gestation, your military member has lost much more than a pregnancy; they have lost an entire human being.
I never really considered that question, “How are you?” until after the death of my son. And then it became the bane of my day. Please don’t ask me how I’m doing unless you’re prepared to hear the truth
The choice inside suicide—Before my son died I thought suicide was cowardly, escapist. I now realize there is so much more inside this conversation. Choosing to live after my son’s death is one of the hardest choices I’ve ever had to make.
I used to think that grief was this sad time that followed the death of someone you loved. I never imagined it was really this new layer, this new identity. I never imagined the loss I was grieving would include the loss and rebirth of me.