October is recognized as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. As it happens, infant loss is why I know about The Hope and Healing Place. Our youngest son Ethan, passed away at the age of 7 weeks. Without really understanding the need for "coping skills", we knew we wanted to provide emotional support for our young family. The then, "Family Program", would meet in what is now the "Library" for a pot luck meal, before dispersing into the various age groups throughout the house. That is about as much as this particular blog post has to do with our library, but I digress.
My recommendation today is not a particular book. It is simply to tell you that the reading, writing and singing of words is healing. And to offer a few insights about those book habits...
My battle cry, you ask? It is "It is well with my soul". It was sang in it's original hymn version at Ethans funeral. And, I love the story behind it.
"This hymn was written after traumatic events in Spafford's life. The first was the death of his son at the age of 2 and the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which ruined him financially (he had been a successful lawyer and had invested significantly in property in the area of Chicago that was extensively damaged by the great fire). His business interests were further hit by the economic downturn of 1873, at which time he had planned to travel to Europe with his family on the SS Ville du Havre. In a late change of plan, he sent the family ahead while he was delayed on business concerning zoning problems following the Great Chicago Fire. While crossing the Atlantic, the ship sank rapidly after a collision with a sea vessel, the Loch Earn, and all four of Spafford's daughters died. His wife Anna survived and sent him the now famous telegram, "Saved alone …". Shortly afterwards, as Spafford traveled to meet his grieving wife, he was inspired to write these words as his ship passed near where his daughters had died."
- Per Wikipedia
The most common question from those in the inner circles of the bereaved is undoubtedly, "What do I say or do, to bring comfort?" Our intuition is that with a quiet hush we can ease the sob, or with a gentle swipe of our hand across their cheek, we will dry up of the tears. It's healthy for our loved ones to grieve. It's entirely possible all they want and need is your willingness to share the same space, to not speak in clichés and that you just offer your support.
Here's what our friends at Still Standing Magazine have to say on the matter.
This is a raw and emotional article written by our friends at "What's your grief". In it, the writer shares about the death of her father at the hospital verses the death of a friend in her home. She came to realize that it was memories of her fathers life that consumed spaces in the home. But, when it came to remembering her friend she was overwhelmed with visions of his death.
"But until John died, I hadn’t thought about how a death itself can live in a space. I didn’t realize how completely similar but totally different that is."
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