Being able to reach out to others....

One of the greatest gifts I got from Kathleen's life was the feeling that I was better able to understand other people's pain -- especially when it involved the loss of a child. There is something about being a member of this "club" that provides a bond with others who have shared at least a similar experience. While I would give anything to not be part of it, I have to admit that my life seems a lot richer for having met so many wonderful people ... people that I got to know only because we shared the loss of a baby.

I know that especially for those whose loss is more recent, the thought of having the energy or even desire to be pillar of strength for someone else is not high on your list of things to do. But I hope you will consider how much the understanding and compassion you can offer others with similar stories means to them.

For those of you who have been a part of a support group, you probably can better understand what I'm saying. Sometimes just being in the same room with other bereaved moms and dads can help with the loneliness and feelings of hopelessness. While there will be a time when you know it's right for you to move on from that group, you will have likely gained a lot of strength from the stories you heard, the outlooks on life you witnessed, and the wisdom that was shared.

Almost 20 years after Kathleen's stillbirth, my nephew and his wife experienced the full term stillbirth of their daughter, Lillie. The circumstances were eerily similar and there was no doubt that it was difficult to have so many painful feelings brought to the surface once again. But ... I honestly believe that they received the outpouring of support they did because of the things we, and our entire family, learned from Kathleen's death. The bond that we now share with them is one that no one else can completely understand, and that makes it incredibly special.

Have you found yourselves relating to others in a way you would not have prior to your loss? Does it make you angry that you know how they feel, or does it feel good to know you are there for them?


  1. I have definately felt closer to some people because of similar shared experiences. At first it made me very angry, just that we had suffered, and I was still in such deep places of grief. Now, I'm grateful that I can share my experience and perhaps help someone else. It seems most beneficial to me that as a Christian, I've been angry with God, have worked through it and am now on the other side. I find that most people were like me in that they didn't feel comfortable with that anger and tried to deny or repress it, but having someone to talk through it made it much easier to navigate!

  2. None ever wants to be part of this "club", but I am a more kind, gentle, giving and understanding individual as a result of my loss. I feel deeper and grieve along side those who are hurting and have a strong desire to hold their hand along this difficult journey. A very good friend said something to me post loss that I will NEVER forget, she said "do unto others". I took it to heart and feel its my duty to help ease anothers pain, just as those have eased mine, as the "outsiders" don't understand, but the insiders walk with you.

  3. I just discovered your blog tonight, though I have been a customer and frequent "advertiser" for A Place to Remember for many years. Your resources were such a comfort to me through our many losses and I frequently share your link with other parents. Thank you for this wonderful resource, though I hate the pain that brought it about.

    You asked about relating to others. I would have had no clue about the pain of grieving parents had I not walked this road!!! My faith is a very important part of who I am, and though it was critically tested through the fires of grief, God proved to be my own constant when all else was askew. A passage found in 2 Corinthians 1 seems to best express what loss has done for me in how I relate to others, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows."

    It was out of our pain and heartache that I saw the pain of others with new eyes. I count it an honor to come alongside others and share their burden of grief because of Noel, Joel, Hannah and the children born in our hearts but never officially part of our family through adoption losses.

    If we had never been wounded, we would have probably walked through life unintentionally wounding others in our ignorance. Instead we have been able to start an international support ministry, I have written a book, and one-by-one I'm been blessed to share in the stories of strangers-become-friends through the common bonds of bereavement.

  4. I must say it took me along time to realize that I needed help. I lost my daughter in Nov 2004 (stillbirth) and my son in June 2006 (stillbirth). After the loss of my daughter I tried to fight through the pain all by myself and bury it as deep as possible. But later to experience depressive episodes, despair and lots of tears.

    Once I lost my son, I couldn’t hold it together any longer and realized I needed help. I joined support groups and realized that I was starting to feel better. Talking about my experiences and being around other helped me feel “not so alone” in this journey.

    I know do what I can to help other dads through grief with my project at project. I have been able to reach men all over the world that have lost children from all backgrounds. Being able to help others helps me.

    Thanks to Tim for such a great resource and providing a place for people to go after a loss.

    Kelly (Bereaved Father of Two Beautiful Babies)

    PS: Tim – I hope you don’t mind, but I added your blog to my “blog resource” list.