Knowing what to say

Since we found out about the pregnancy problems we faced, the support we have received has been brilliant. This ranges from the kind thoughts of friends to the care of the NHS.

Following Tilly’s departure, we’ve also been pointed in the direction of organisations that support parents in our circumstances, such as Sands (the still birth and neonatal death charity).

I’ve read a lot of leaflets and other information from Sands, and it’s all been useful. It’s ranged from the practical (securing birth and death certificates and arranging a cremation service) to the emotional.

However, it can feel overwhelming trying to take this information in, not least as it comes so quickly after a traumatic and emotionally draining event. However, one piece of information struck a chord and has stuck with me throughout. That is, to not take offence by the things that people say.

It’s a small point, but it’s invaluable. It’s invaluable because you quickly realise that people don’t know what to say. You know this for two reasons – one, because they often tell you and two, because nor do you.

But the very fact that people point this out shows you that they care.

If people do say something that doesn’t feel quite right; that hits a raw nerve, you know that they’re unlikely to be doing it deliberately. In my case, I tend to be thankful that they’ve reached out.

And ultimately, unless they’re downplaying the situation Charlotte and I have been through, it’s unlikely to offend us.

A month on from the death of my daughter, what I can say is that you do want your friends to get in touch, you don’t mind if they don’t know exactly what to say, and you certainly don’t mind if they ask how you are.

This is because talking definitely does help. It helps me cope with the grief, it helps me understand how I am feeling and coping, and most importantly, it ensures that Tilly continues to be remembered.

But as for an answer to the ‘how are you feeling’ question – I’ll get back to you when I work that one out.

Published by Ian Curwen

Communications professional and a bit of a foodie that wants to travel more. Sharing my observations on life.

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