Today the 15th of October is PAILRD2018 -Pregnancy And Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
A few months ago we lost an angel in our ‘family’. I say family in quotes because this family is one though we are not related by blood has become more than blood family to me, to us. You know those people you meet and something happens, a connection that you cannot explain that binds you for life – yes – that is my ‘family’. There was a meme doing rounds a few moons back that said if you have been my friend for more than five years, you’re my cousin – you are officially my family. During the mourning period lots of words meant to comfort I presume were being said left right and center. But I felt most of these were not helpful at all, took me back to my loss of children and it would seem some of these phrases are standard – sadly so ???
As happens when a loved one, a friend, a colleague, a parishioner or a neighbor has lost life appropriate words are not easy to come by. Many people feel the urge to break the silence and in so doing end up saying such injurious things to the bereaved that it would have been better if they kept quiet. There is something in us humans that deceives us that we are only consoling the bereaved when we are talking: that was me until I was on the receiving end of such talk. I learnt the hard way, silence is golden!
Here are the 7 things to never tell a grieving parent.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, 4 who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
A couple of years ago (2011) I had my second miscarriage. To say that I was devastated is an understatement: I was a wreck, emotionally and physically. I had fought so hard to keep that baby and still lost. Walked in the hospital pregnant, left unpregnant (is that even an English word) and without a child ???
This was the statement that was to change the course of my reproductive health forever.
I had met my dear friend and gynecologist of 8 years now a few months before this statement was made. The reason being I was planning to get married and needed reproductive health advice. Like many millennial couples my soon to be husband and I wanted to delay getting children until maybe a year into the marriage (This statement/idea/way of thinking makes me see the presumptuousness of human beings! You would think we were in charge, in control and able to give ourselves children!).
The year was 2009.
Elijah the prophet of God is a man who experienced a dry spell in his ministry right after the highlight of his prophetic calling. The chapter before our reading this morning Elijah is back after 31/2 years of draught he had declared on the land. He summons the people onto Mount Carmel for one of the greatest show downs in history. He entreats the people to once and for all chose whom to worship Baal or YHWH. The contest is simple the God who answers by fire is the true God. YHWH answers by fire and the people slaughter the 350 prophets of Baal.
4am – I am not feeling so well anymore, actually I am in acute pain so much pain I am groaning.
Around 4:30am – The pain is too much, I can smell death fast approaching. I struggle out of the hospital bed and kneel down dragging my saline bag holder next to me. I repent of all my sins and ask God to forgive me and take me home.
Immediately I am overwhelmed with so much peace and the pain begins to reduce.