My grandmother had two sisters who didn’t have any children.
They were often tapped as babysitters when someone in the family needed to leave their kids home for an extended period of time. And while my aunts meant well, and certainly were never hateful or cruel, there was a giant gap between what they THOUGHT they knew about children and what they ACTUALLY knew.
So many sentences began with, “If you were my child….” But I wasn’t. And the boundaries set between me and my parents had been hashed out through trial and error in real time in real life-not some hypothetical perfect world.
It’s like that in my grief journey as well.
There have been many well-meaning but woefully uninformed people who offered advice. Some of it was helpful but most of it was predicated on misinformation and lack of real-life experience.
The MOST helpful advice has come from fellow bereaved parents.
They share their hearts and their hopes, their failures and their victories, their fears and their faith. They don’t have to-they could simply focus on their own pain and refuse to offer aid.
But moms and dads a few steps ahead of me in the Valley turn back and hold out a hand and say, “This way. I’m right here with you. You can make it!”
And for that I am oh. so. thankful.