Comforting Others

One of my fears or anxieties that I’ve developed since Brielle has died, is the fear and knowledge that people will assume I’ve never had children. I’m young and I’m not toting around a baby. I find myself wondering how I’ll react when someone says, “Oh you’ll understand one day when you have kids.” Or “When do you plan on having children?”

Even before Brielle, these statements always sounded incredibly condescending or prying. And now I have to navigate them with an additional layer of pain. I’m really not sure how to properly respond. And I find that when I’m not prepared I generally blurt out whatever comes to mind. For instance, my first thought is to say, “I do have a child and she’s dead.” And that really isn’t the best way to handle a situation like that.

I did do well the other day (at least I think I did) when a waitress asked how old my daughter is. She asked because I mentioned I could finally eat rarer meat. I told her, “She would have been one month.” The waitress caught what I was saying and left it at that.

I find myself wondering how to freely talk about Brielle without upsetting other people with the reality that my daughter died. How to be polite about death. This really wasn’t something I ever envisioned having to think about or prepare for. This whole situation is strange. And I still want to talk about Brielle. But I don’t want to console others either. People get so upset when they find out and I just want to tell them about Brielle, I don’t want to have to tell them it’s okay and effectively make them feel better about the situation.

I wish we weren’t so uncomfortable about death. It happens all the time. And we (myself included) go about life acting like it doesn’t happen. Or it couldn’t possibly happen to us. We get uncomfortable around people who have just experienced it, like it’s contagious. And instead of accepting it, we push it away and when it does happen we’re left wondering how to handle it. And here I am, wondering how to make others comfortable about Brielle’s death. Strange isn’t it?

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