Tuesday, March 22, 2011

On the Other Side of the Fence

My heart has been heavy lately. I am grieving for my sister and the loss of my niece or nephew. I am trying my best to support her and encourage her, but she does not want to hear it and I have no idea how to help her. I tried directing her to some support groups, blogs, and so on, and she refuses to even entertain the idea. I am at a loss for words and have no idea how else to help her. I know we all process loss differently and I am trying to help as best as I know how.
She did not attend my shower, but I expected that and let her know before hand that I would not be offended if she could not attend, because I have been there myself, where the thought of attending showers drove me into a fit of sweats. Well, she tried to come to the shower and had a breakdown in her parking lot. :-(. She refuses to be around me, and I know that the sight of my growing bump makes her relive those dark days. I understand, because I have been there. When we are together as a family and the talk turns to Spencer's upcoming arrival, she leaves the room. I have tried talking to my family to let them know to be sensitive, but their comments still hurt her. Again, I understand because I have been there.
I am afraid that she will not want to see Spencer or be in his presence because he may remind her of her loss. I am afraid that everytime she sees him, he will be a trigger. I am very sensitive to her grief, and I try my best to be there for her, but my being there will not take the hurt away.
I know she is happy for me, but I also know seeing me makes the process hard. I want her to be close to her nephew and not have the sight of him be a reminder of her loss.
I know of several BLM bloggers who have a sibling who is expecting, and though they are happy for them, they struggle being around their sibling and experience hurt by exposing their shattered hearts to the pregnancy.
For those of you who have had a sibling go through a pregnancy after your own loss, please help me. What would you have liked your sibling to do or not do around you? How would you have liked to be helped? How did you feel? Please help me. I love my sister - she was there holding my hand while delivering Alyssa-Joy and Evan - and I want to be there for her the best way I know how.
I am on the other side of the fence ---- it seems I can help others, but I cannot reach my own sister. :-(
Please help.
Awaiting my expected end,


  1. Like you said, she is processing her grief differently than you and doesnt want to hear the stories of others right now; that may change, but right now her pain is such that she cant go through the pain of others (or, perhaps, see their final outcomes at this stage). The similar is probably true in your pregnancy. Although she knows that you can understand what she is going through, seeing your pregnancy is a constant reminder of what she doesnt- and possibly may never- have. I'm sure that thought is in her head about Spencer too. Even with living children, it is hard for me to be around kids who are either the ages my older kids would be or those who were born around their EDDs. I do it and I can now, but it is still hard.

    Just love her and support her however you can, as you are now. One day, that will make it easier.

  2. I really wish I had a good response on this. I remember my brother announcing his pregnancy five months after we lost Jonathan and it was so hard. It made Christmas that much worse. I was happy for them, but at the same time hurting.

    I am imagining your sister is conflicted. She is dealing with her own grief, but I would think she is remembering what you went through to get to this point. I think the best thing you can do is be sensitive to her needs and just be there as she needs you. She'll come around when she is ready.

  3. You are so right Marie. We all do this so differently. My niece turned one just 4 days after my first son passed away. I showed up for her party, and had numerous break downs on the way. However, I found through holding her and loving on her I was able to express some of my pent up love & grief for Rowan. Through the last 2 years I've lost 2 children and watched as my best friends have had 1 or 2 MORE children & watched my niece grow and thrive. It is heart wrenching as you said. But I found through loving on these children that I was able to heal some of my hurt.

    I haven't been to a baby shower since losing Rowan in Aug of 2009. While I was pregnant with Levi in 2010 I was invited to several, but had to decline. It is too much.

    Now that I am pregnant again, and things seem to be going so differently...I am conflicted. I want to be excited and announce our good fortune/blessings. But, I am so aware of the losses all around us. So very aware of the ache and the emptiness. It is very difficult to know how to reach out, or even if someone wants to be reached out to. I think it's important to remember that everyone is so very different & perhaps research, knowledge, talking is how you heal...while she may need to internalize for some time before (if ever) being ready to talk about the loss. I think if you can be patient (and I think you can) that she will come to you when she is ready.

  4. My sister got pregnant with a little girl the same year (about 3 months after) that I lost Aubree, and I had a really hard time being excited for her even though I wanted to be there. My sister understood being that she is a therapist, but it was still hard for her that I couldn't give my all to her. She also delivered that beautiful baby on the 22nd of January which is the day that I found out my Aubree was not meant to live in this life. So..a really terrible day for me turned into the day my new niece was born. I would recommend just letting her know with short texts, emails, or whatever that you are there if she needs you, but also just to let her be..She will come around like I did, but it is just too fresh and raw right now that it is just too hard for her to be around pregnancy right now. I do believe she is happy for you because she knows what you went through, but she is just sad for herself right now. Time really does heal, and she won't be able to stay about from that beautiful son of yours once he arrives..I can't stay away from my niece, and she looks so much like my daughter did..

  5. My heart is just broken for your sister. I think probably you just sending her little texts, emails, etc, where she doesn't have to see the bump, but knows that she is constantly on your radar will be good! I know that was what I needed with so many friends, "just acknowledge my grief, acknowledge how hard this is for me, and give me some space". She will come around, but it may always be hard for her to be around you pregnant, however, I do believe she won't be able to ignore sweet Spencer once he arrives. I would make sure you offer her an opportunity to come see him with NO ONE else there, like when your hubby is home showering or something and make sure no one else comes and let her know that crying is ok and actually you would expect it. Give her a special time for her to meet Spencer where no one else makes her feel there are any expectations and then allow her to feel however she needs to and don't talk to anyone about it, so she knows you respect her pain. I know you do and you are a wonderful sister!

    I can only imagine that her loss added a dimension of panic to you too, we who have lost, can't help but feel scared when we hear a bad story! I applaud you for being there for her so fully and continuing to care so much! Sending up love and prayers for both of you!!

  6. Unfortunately, SHE has to be the one to help herself. You're an amazing person for trying to help, but you need to give her space and time to heal. She'll come around soon. Grief is a terrible process... I have such great respect for you!

  7. This is a hard one. I know you want to help and comfort, but it might be that your very presence and pregnancy is going to be exactly the opposite. Perhaps you can help most by being patient with this truth and forgiving her for making you feel unwanted at times. For frustrating you of letting you help her. This is your kindness to her: be understanding. Be forgiving. And when Spencer is there, let things develop first and then worry. You cannot know how she will react.

  8. My heart is broken for your sister....such a tragedy..and it has to be hard to be "on the other side of the fence" now. How can it not? We know there is not a single word anyone says that can "fix" it. But I did find SO MUCH comfort in knowing my feelings were not alone. That seeing others recognize my daughter meant "she still counted" when others just dismissed her. I would do what you can from afar for now. Send her flowers on the anniversary each month, or a card, or her favorite music on a CD. Things that can bring her some comfort. Order a special candle (or make one) for her baby and mail it to her.

    Im so sorry that she is going through this during a time that you are "at your expected end" You have suffered so much already. And she is too fresh in her loss to recognize a rainbow as a look of HoPE. I would say not to think too much or feel too worried about spencer being a trigger for her right now. Small steps....small goals...the only way to get through anything as a BLM xoxo

  9. Marie, I don't have any answers, but I will pray for your sister. Her loss is so fresh, it will just take time for her to heal. You are such a sweet sister...xoxo

  10. Carleigh was born March 28, 2009 and my sister had her daughter November 5, 2009. I really can't give you any answers b/c I was genuinely happy for my sister. She was guarded at first because she knew she was pregnant while I was still carrying Carleigh but waited until after she was born and after her funeral to even mention anything to me. I told her I wish she would've told me! But I understand why she didn't.

    I'm so sorry for your sister. I know her heart has to hurt. :( I think just acknowledging her hurt and loss goes a long way. If she knows you wanna be there for her in any way possible I think that will give her some small measure of comfort.