I joined in this project a little late this year, but nonetheless this topic spoke to me in ways that only fellow bereaved parents will understand.
Empathy – "the ability to understand and share the feelings of another".
So for me empathy would look and sound like this "Hold my hand, tell me you’re sorry I have to go through this, tell me you’re sorry my child is not here with me, tell me you’re there and truly be there or simply smile at me and say nothing, your presence is sufficient, your presence shows understanding that this great loss is just that, great, great enough for you to leave what you were doing and come and share in my sadness." That is empathy.
It is what I expected to see when I lost my daughter two years ago. That is what I wish people said to me two years ago. I did not need to hear that god would bless me with more children, you don’t know that I even want any more children, all I want at that time is my child who is no longer with me. I do not want to hear that dying was my child’s purpose in life, that god had othe rplans for her. I do not want to hear how she is in a better place now or that something worse could have happened. No, I don’t want to hear any of that.
I just want to know that you hear my cries and that you understand my tears. You don’t have to say much, just be there. In those early days after losing Zia, I would have appreciated a few more calls, maybe someone offering to take care of my toddler every now and then while my husband and I processed what happened. I would have appreciated a little more actual helping than offering to help. I mean honestly who is brave enough to ask for help especially at a time like that.