"Life isn't about surviving the storm...it is about learning to dance in the rain." Anonymous

Thursday, December 15, 2011

How Elephants Grieve

I came across this the other day and found it very interesting...

"When a mother elephant loses her baby, the other elephants stand in a circle around her and allow her all the time she needs to grieve and mourn. They don't hurry her along, or push her to abandon the body. They stand in a circle and gently touch her with their trunks, a silent show of unwavering support.
Elephant mothers will stand with their babies for weeks, not eating or drinking, just holding them close and letting the reality that they are gone slowly settle in. And they are allowed that time by their family members." ~ unknown

Wow!  It makes me wonder why humans do not react that way to those around them who are grieving for their babies.  I decided after my loss that there were 3 distinct groups of people around me:
  1. The first group was very small...it included the friends or other people that sent cards, flowers, or other things, made it a point to ask about my baby and how we were doing.  Their unwavering support got me through the storm and I will never forget that.
  2. The second group was fairly larger...it included the people who were blatantly rude.  I know...it is hard to believe that someone can be rude during a time of loss and despair, but it happens.  These are the people, like my sister in law, who say things like. "Oh...you still look pregnant!"  (2 days after I delivered my stillborn daughter)  or "You were better off without that baby anyway."  (How can that be??  I would do anything to know her)  I have to believe that this group doesn't mean to be cruel, but they are.  I lost a couple of friends and one family member to this group.
  3. The rest are what I call the "in-between".  They are the ones that aren't supportive or mean.  They just are nothing, which can hurt just as bad as the mean.  They are the ones that call or come by but never ask how you are or mention your baby.  They don't remember holidays or anniversaries, they may even ask you why you are crying or why you are sad.  Do they really not get it??  This group is by far the largest...most people will just ignore my baby.  If I mention her, they just look at me like I have 3 heads.
I read a quote from Elizabeth Edwards recently that summed this up.  It read: 
"If you know someone who has lost a child and you're afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died--you're not reminding them. They didn't forget they died. What you're reminding them of is that you remembered that they lived, and that is a great gift.  If I had lost a leg, I would tell them, instead of a boy, no one would ever ask me if I was 'over' it. They would ask me how I was doing learning to walk without my leg. I was learning to walk and to breath and to live without Wade. And what I was learning is that it was never going to be the life I had before." --Elizabeth Edwards