She meant well, the girl who was trying to be enthusiastic about the future when I was really stuck right in ‘the now’. I remember it like it was yesterday even though it was 23 years ago. I was so wishing she would just leave me alone but in my foggy state didn’t have the presence of mind to excuse myself. And then it happened! As I moved off I came face to face with Pauline. I can see her look of concern now. “Oh Veronica!” she exclaimed. “You lost your little Grandson, I am so sorry; I don’t know what to say.” In those very words she had said just what I needed to hear. She had identified with my pain, she had showed she cared, and in admitting that her words were inadequate she had touched my heart and shared my grief. I promised myself that I would never forget what that meant to me.
So, what do you say when you don’t know what to say? I’m not academically qualified in any way to tell you or give you keys to use. However, I think generally speaking words are not what a grieving person needs. They just need someone to appreciate where they are at, to listen and to genuinely care.
L to R: Shane, Brianna and Fiona celebrating Ben’s second birthday.
(Ben was with us for eight days before he passed away. See ‘ice creams’ page 294)