Saturday, January 3, 2015

Things That Are Helpful And Things That Are Not

The last few days have been awful.  It's an extreme roller coaster that no one wants to be on.  A multi-dimensional set of ups and downs that strikes at any moment.

Some things we are doing seem to help.  Some things others do seem to help.  And then there are things that don't help and are from moderately irritating to full blown awful.

Knowing that everyone is different and everyone grieves differently, we still thought it would be helpful to share the things we've found so far.

Thinks That Have Been Helpful:
  • Talking about the good moments with Obie
  • Gathering and going through all the awesome Obie pictures
  • Memento gifts / cards / messages - even though we don't always have the energy to respond, these are greatly appreciated.
  • Donations in Obie's name
  • Thinking about how to memorialize Obie
  • Food delivered to our house that we don't have to request or think about
  • Chris and Elizabeth cuddles
  • Sometimes - distractions
  • Sometimes - doing something useful - cleaning, organizing things to give away, running errands
  • Sometimes - doing nothing
Some of the wonderful mementos we have of our precious Obie, thanks to friends and family.

Thinks That Have Not Been Helpful:
  • Telling us to let you know if we need anything.  The thought obviously comes from a good place, but offers of specific help are muuuuuuch better!  Saying yes/no to a specific offer is much easier than identifying a need, figuring out who to call, and reaching out to ask for it.  If you can't think of anything specific to offer, then check in from time to time to ask if there's anything needed or anything you can do right then.
  • Being asked "How are you?" We're grieving the loss of our son.  We're the worst we've ever been.  We're fucking terrible.  How do you THINK we're doing?  Don't ask this!  Figure out something else to ask if you must ask questions.  Better yet, avoid asking probing questions like this and let us tell you if we feel like telling you.  Simple messages of "I'm thinking of you" or "I love you" are enough to open the conversation door if we want to talk.  Please don't prod.
  • Mentions of prayer, baptism, angels, afterlife, etc - While we realize that religion is comforting to many, it is not a part of our lives and we have expressly said that religious symbolism is not comforting to us.  While these comments can be interpreted as well intended, they come off as downright rude, tactless, or patronizing if you know us at all.  None of these things are helpful to someone who is grieving.
  • Getting Flowers.  They are beautiful, but we have cats that try to eat them, so they are a chore we have to deal with.  Even if we didn't have cats, we'd have to deal with them when they die.  Unless you know someone really likes having fresh flowers, we suggest you find something else to do (like donate for Obie!!!)
  • Even though you might be sad too, we can't take care of anyone else right now.  We have to put our needs first.  This means we might not be as responsive as you'd like.  Please don't take our silence as a sign to stop reaching out.  In the coming weeks and months, we will still need support.
We know that all contact is coming from a place of love and support, so thank you.  If you've made it through this post, here's a reward of a few pictures of Obie!

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