Friday, February 10, 2012

Sustaining Faith

This has been on my mind for a long time now, and it's time to step out in faith and write about it.

Sometimes I get asked, "What can I do for my friend who just lost her baby? I hurt for them so badly, but I have no idea what to do or say."

Someone wrote to me recently describing perfectly those who have walked beside us the past 2 1/2 years. We've had "the sustaining faith of family and friends" carry us when ours lagged. This is what you are to your friend. Sustaining faith.

I made a list of things that family and friends and several of you did for us right after Reese went to be with Jesus. I'm sure I've left some things out, but this is a start. ; )

Everyone is so different in their grief, so I'm by no means speaking for every woman. From what I've observed though there are several common themes among families who have lost children.

Of course you know your friend the best so think about what she likes or what would mean a lot to her. Make whatever you do personal and unique to her and her family.

Start a name gallery for them. I started one for Reese, but anyone can do this and even make a book with pictures of their baby's name.

Make a meal for them one night and/or organize friends to bring them meals for a few weeks. Our church had two people deliver the meals so we didn't have to deal with seeing a lot of people. This was a wonderful thing.

Be there be there be there. Do not shy away. My friends wanted to be there for me so badly but had no clue what to do. They felt helpless, but there really is a lot you can do.

Hug, cry with them, listen, and let them say anything to you. Their emotions are everywhere and will be for a long time. You feel such loss for your friend. Tell her this.

Be there with them in their pain. It's a hard place to be but this is where they need you. Remember right now to them their lives are over. They have lost their most precious treasure. 

Music was very healing to me. I received a few cds like Selah's "You Deliver Me" and Steven Curtis Chapman's "Beauty Will Rise." They are wonderful! I also love Kari Jobe's music. 

Several friends sent me cards with Scripture on them. I still have them up in my bedroom and use some of them as bookmarks.

This is truly one of the best things you can do.

I cling this verse like a lifeline. Insecurity and fear gripped me like never before after Reese went to Heaven, and this one verse constantly reminds me of GOD's deliverance.

I received jewelry with Reese's name or initials on it. I wear something almost every day that connects with Reese in some way. A charm necklace or a bracelet is a good idea.

Those close to me shared what the LORD was teaching them through our loss. Your friend will be seeking truth, and GOD's word is the only thing that will provide this.

Do NOT EVER EVER say, "Everything happens for a reason or good will come from this." It is not comforting to anyone and usually just shuts people down. Some things should just be left to the LORD to instill in hearts. I'm SO thankful no one said this to me. 

Do NOT say, "GOD never promised an easy life." Unfortunately people did say this to me, and all I could think was, "I never said He did." 

Let them know you will always remember her sweet babies. Did she name them? Did you see pictures? Say their names often. I know this can feel strange, but to them it isn't I promise.

Talk about how handsome/beautiful he/she was (if you saw them or pictures), and how special they are. I love how people send me pictures of Reese's name for her name gallery. It's so special to me.

Affirm what wonderful parents they are to their babies.

Call, text, or email every day or every other day just to say I love you. Send a card in the mail to let them know you are thinking of them.

Remember every month the exact day their baby was born and passed away (especially the first year) and let them know you are thinking of them. Donate to something important to you in their honor.

Always be available. This was one of the most important things to me. Several people offered to go to lunch or coffee. Know your friend may not ever accept, but it's still important. Just knowing people are there gives some security.

I hope this helps! All of these things validate the precious life that is in Heaven. Follow your heart as you know your friend. They need family and friends now more than ever.

Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from GOD and not from us.

2 Corinthians 4:7


m&msmommy said...

What great ideas/points you've made! After my sister lost her triplet sons, I feel as though people just shut down and turned away (Not our family, but her friends). I wish they had read posts like these! Hopefully this will be read by someone who really needs this sort of information. I always talk to her about my nephews and tell her how I think of them daily, because after 3 1/2 years, I know she needs to hear this...that people still think about them and miss them. Thank you for sharing! :)

Becky said...

To the previous poster - There is a support group on 'The Triplet Connection' forum for those who have lost one or more of their triplets. Not sure if she has ever been introduced to that, but she may find it helpful/comforting.

Katie - Our pastor shared a story Wednesday night that reminded me of you and your sweet spirit. A woman from a previous church he was at, who worked for an attorney, had a little guy who was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She did loose her son and about 6 months later the attorney approached her and said he wanted 'what she had'. She was baffled and then he told her he saw her go through this loss with such faith and hope and he needed that in his life. Thank you for sharing Reese with us and for the hope that still remains, in spite of such a huge loss.

Kristi said...

Thank you, thank you, ten thousand thank yous :) I've been reading for a while now but have never commented until this post. My husband and I had a set of twins almost three years ago and our daughter passed away the day they were born. Although our son is just fine and such a joy, he has not, cannot, will not take any pain away from holding a precious life and watching her leave this world to be with Jesus. Your words are SO incredibly true and for this momma, you've said what I've been thinking for years now. Although people don't know what to say or do, saying or doing nothing isn't the best thing either. Thanks for being faithful to share :) Hearing Addison's name is one of my greatest joys and those that mention her are those that do so never knowing how it will be received but want to remember her alongside of us.

Happiness Is... said...

These are wonderful, wonderful tips. While the loss we suffered was totally different (a miscarriage), I would still agree with all of your advice. Mourners just want to be comforted in His word and know that no one has forgotten about their precious baby. Sometimes it feels like people don't remember, but I think it's because they don't know what to say. You give such perfect ideas for how to love, honor and support a friend through grief. Great post, though I am so sorry you have become an expert on this :(

Marisa said...

Oh Miss Katie...just loved this. I hear you, sister friend.

Bev said...

Katie, you are such a blessing. Yes, it is painful to come alongside someone who is grieving but letting them know you are heartbroken along with them can be a healing balm, however small and insignificant it may seem at the time. Family and friends never forget. Thank you for sharing your heart so others can help.

Bourg Family said...

I cannot fathom carrying one of my babies for 9 months and not being able to take him/her home with me. I lost a baby at 10 weeks and still to this day, after 2 healthy, perfect, babies, my heart aches. I heard all of the typical responses. "It's for the best." "Something was wrong with the baby." "At least you can get pregnant." All well-meaning responses, none intended to hurt. Unfortunately, each and every one cut me to the core. I am certain I said some of these or something just as stupid before I had the miscarriage.
I am so sorry you had to go through this trial, but I am so glad you are able to share. Praying for you and your family.
I saw a picture a friend had taken at Christmas and thought of you. It's a new baby girl named Reese in a socking. It's absolutely precious. :) I was going to send it to you, but then thought that may be kind of strange...

Deanna said...

Thank you for writing this post. I just had friends lose their baby girl during a routine delivery this week. I want to do something for them, but wasn't sure what. You gave me some wonderful ideas. Thank you.

Nicole Rodriguez said...

Perfectly said. From another mom who has lost a baby - perfect.


this was so helpful for me today, thank you!!

Jaina said...

Thank you for writing this, Katie! You did a great job. So many times I have wished that our family and friends could better understand what we need from them - not just in the beginning, but throughout the valley.
You're a blessing!

Margot said...

Thank you so much, Katie. Every word you said is true. We want our babies to be remembered, cherished and honored. These are great ways to do so and will help our loved ones do the same.

Maegan Hill said...

Thanks so much. This is perfect timing. I have read your blog since linking on from Kelly's Korner when you lost Reese. My sister lost a baby last weekend.
Your words are absolutely perfect timing for me in knowing what to do. I have felt so helpless at times and this gives me some direction! My sisters blog is She has also blogged about her journey with her son, Elias.
Thanks again!

Carolina Girl said...

Thank you for sharing, Katie.

Amanda said...


Such wonderful things to share with people. As always, thank you for sharing your heart.


Forever missing Gavin 4/7-5/3/08

Mara said...

Thanks! Sorry to say, I need this right now for a friend and your blog has helped me other times. So helpful.

Jennifer said...

Thanks so much for sharing this. So proud of you! I wish so much that you didn't know these things from personal experience and hadn't walked this journey, but I'm so thankful for the way God continues to use Reese's story and life to minister to others.

Kayla said...

Thanks Katie. A friend just lost her baby I keep hearing people say "everything happens for a reason" it just crushes my heart no one deserves to be with out there baby.

Lara said...

Thanks for sharing your heart on this. Shortly after reading this post I "accidently" came across who is currently writing a series about "When a Child Dies" - it is so powerful. He writes out of personal experience from a Christian perspective and said some very similar things to you. Not sure if the series would be something you are interested in reading or not, but thought I'd pass it case.

april said...

i received news this morning that a dear friend's wife just delivered their son last night and he passed away this morning. your family and reese, and particularly this post is the first thing i thought of when i got the news. thank you so much for taking the time to write this and share it with those of us who might not know what to do, but feel called to do something - anything! Blessings and Prayers for you and your sweet family!

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Lilly, Reid, Matt, and Sara said...

Thank you for this post. Our neighbor's little boy went to be with Jesus and my friend Rebekah told me about this post and has helped me come along side them and love on them. I really had no idea where to start so this post was such a blessing.

I am praying for you and your famliy.

jillsloothaak said...

I just had a friend tell me about this post. I have been the friend who feels helpless as I've watched my dear friends struggle with losing their sweet babies. Thank you for this post. It brought me to tears and made me feel encouraged.

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