Friday, June 5, 2015

Dealing With Platitudes

by Christine Russo
So, we talk a lot about what NOT to say to a bereaved parent and ways on HOW to support the bereaved parent, but what happens when the insensitive remarks are already said? How do we, as vulnerable as we may be at the times, respond?

We've all been there-that moment when the insensitive remark come spilling out of a person's mouth. You are left feeling dumbfounded and leave thinking of everything you SHOULD have said. Most times this person means well, but just has no way of grasping the finality of your baby's death because they've never experienced it themselves, so they say these things to try to comfort you when, unknowingly, it's made you incredibly UNcomfortable.
Sometimes we leave in tears or feel angry or embarrassed with our own response. It's hard to know how to respond in the heat of the moment, but here are a few intelligent responses to get you by.

**The Following is from the MISS Foundation's website.**
Please head over to their website to read the original post, Responding to Insensitive Remarks

"It Cuts Like a Knife..."

pla-ti-tude: a useless remark; something spoken without thought

If you are a grieving parent, you can probably rattle off a list of a dozen "platitudes" or cliches you have been bombarded with since the death of your child. When you are tired of remaining silent, and wish to educate well intending consolers you may consider some of the following pieces of information.

P = platitude (unintelligent)
R = response (intelligent)

P "It was God's will."
R "How do you know?"
R "So God did this to me?"
R "I prefer to let God whisper His will to me, not you."

P "Your child is with <insert spiritual being> and in a better place."
R "As a mother, there is no better place than in my arms."
R "I still ache to have my child here with me."
R "I am sure he/she is, but it doesn't take away my longing or my sadness."
R "That really hurts and I would appreciate it if you would let me come to my own conclusions about my child's afterlife when I am ready to do so."

P "Better now than one month/six months/one year from now."
R "So then that means you love your older child more than your younger child (to those with more than one child)?
R "There is never a "better time" to bury your child."
R "If God came down and told me, "I am taking your child: Do you want me to take his/her life today, one year from now, or 40 years from now, what do you think my response would be?"

P "It's probably better. There might have been something wrong with her/him.
R "If she/he was less than perfect, I would have loved her/him even more."

P "It will make you a stronger person."
R "I would rather be weak and shallow and still have my child, thank you."
R "I'd prefer not be so strong."

P "Everything happens for a reason."
R "Can you list one reason why a child or baby should die?"
R "Tell that to my broken heart."
R "The death of a child before his/her parent is never reasonable."

P "At least you have other healthy children."
R "Children are not interchangeable. I have always been grateful for the children I have. That does not mean I should not grieve for what I have lost.
R "My other healthy children have nothing to do with my grief."

P "You're young. You can have another child."
R "I don't want any child. I want _______!"
R "You don't really think that another baby could take the place of ________, do you?"
R "This child is special to me. I would never try to replace him/her with another."

P "Aren't you over it yet?" "When are you going to be over it?" "How long are you going to keep talking about this."
R "You get over being laid off from a job, or breaking a leg. You don't ever "get over" the death of your child."

P "God has a plan for you."
R "That is easy to say when His plan doesn't include your child."

P "You have to be strong."
R "Says who?"
R "I am being strong. Just being here means I am being strong."

P "At least you didn't have to bring him/her home."  (never use "at least")
R "I would have given anything to have had more time."
R "Are you suggesting I loved my child less because he/she didn't get to come home?"

These are just some ways to respond. How you YOU handle insensitive remarks?
 ~ ~ ~
The MISS Foundation is a wonderful resource for any bereaved parent/family. Please take the time to check out all the support on their website:, and like them on Facebook: MISSFoundation. ~ ~ ~

Christine Russo is a wife to an amazing, supportive husband, and a mommy to Angel Gianna Marie, and her little brother, Romeo. She carried Gianna after receiving a fatal diagnosis halfway into her pregnancy. Through the love and spirit of their special daughter, who means the world to them, they wish to help support other families who have to say goodbye to a piece of their heart.


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