When You Don't Know What to Say


Last week, a dear friend of mine received some very sad news that she had lost the sweet baby she was carrying. It is her story, not mine, so that's all I am going to say about it specifically, but for me personally, it's been hard. This comes a few days after reading Steph's post about losing her baby; Rachel blogged about losing her baby this past fall, and Cassie shared about hers last summer.

Those, of course, aren't the only ones. With statistics like these, I'm sure we all have known someone who has had a miscarriage. This is hard for me for obvious reasons being that I am currently 22 weeks pregnant but also because I am just so incredibly sad for my friend.

This post is not about how to comfort a friend after miscarriage, because I don’t really know how to do that yet. This post is about what to do when you don't know what to say. Because I understand even more now why it's hard. Everything sounds trite and cliche. You want to be sensitive and not accidentally say something hurtful, but you also don't want to say nothing.

And I just really don't want to say nothing.

I had written a few posts for this week already, but I just can't move on with normal content yet. I've gone back and forth about it, but it just doesn't feel right. I know everyone handles grief differently, so each situation, each person, is unique, and what one person finds comforting might not be so for someone else. But I thought about what I would say even when I don't know what to say, and I decided to share it here.

I by no means am any kind of expert at comforting a friend going through something like this, and I freely admit that I don't always know the right thing to say. In fact, a lot of times I say the entirely wrong thing. But I hope this is a comfort in some small way to my friends, both those close and dear to me and those I only know online.

* * *

Dear friend,

I’m heartbroken over your loss, and I’m so terribly sorry.

I don’t know whether you told a lot of people about this baby yet or only a few, but no matter how many knew about this tiny life, I want you to know that this baby was very much loved and very much wanted.

You didn’t get to officially meet this baby, and I know that you wanted to so badly. But that in no way makes this baby any less real or this loss any less significant.

I want to give you space but also hold you close. However this process of grief looks for you, that is the right way, and I will do my best to support you in whatever way you need.

I'm here if you want to talk and I'm also here if you don't. Know that I'm going to check in on you, but don't feel pressure to respond to my calls and texts unless you want to.

And if you want to talk, I’m here too. I promise to try not to say any of those unhelpful things people sometimes say when they are trying to be comforting after a loss, and I want you to promise to tell me if I accidentally say or do something hurtful.

I want you to know that God is very much saddened by your loss. (If you need proof, look no further than Jesus grieving the loss of his friend Lazarus. It is the shortest verse in the Bible: John 11:35, "Jesus wept.") I always find it a comforting thought that God is never surprised, and nothing has ever happened or will ever happen that God doesn’t already know about. But that doesn't stop me from wondering why certain things happen. 

Because honestly, I hate this.

God is faithful, and he is good; but sometimes he doesn’t seem good at all, and it's okay to be sad and it's okay to be angry. Those feelings are normal, and God is not offended by them.

I am praying for you, dear friend. Praying for peace, for healing, and for your marriage as you walk this journey together.

Most of all, I don’t want you to feel alone. I can imagine it might feel like you are very much alone right now, but we all loved this baby, and we all love you very much. I know you won't forget about this baby, and please know that I won't either.

I'm here for you.
I love you.

Your Friend

*I thought about turning the comments off, but I think it would be good to allow response. Whether or not you have experienced a loss of this kind or been the friend trying to comfort, please feel free to share your story. I think it's important that those going through something like this know they are not alone, and I personally would like more dialogue in general about how specifically a friend can be a comfort during this time. Thanks for reading.

Recent Reads


I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh - 4 stars
A 5-year-old boy is killed in a hit-and-run. This book follows two plot lines: the investigation to find the driver of the car and the mother whose life is changed after that fateful night.

I thought the first half of this book was a bit slow and I wondered how the author was going to make an entire book out of the plot, but I kept reading because I liked the story and the characters. (Liked being a relative term, of course, given the subject at hand.) The second half of the book picks up a lot and I couldn't put it down after that. There are some swear words and a few sex scenes, but it was not gratuitous (in my opinion). I would recommend this if you like a murder mystery with a good twist! However, know that there are some hard scenes (the story is about a 5-year-old boy being killed, after all, and another difficult subject matter that I can't say because it would give some of the plot away).

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware - 4 stars
A journalist on a cruise ship swears she is the witness to a murder when she thinks she sees a body being thrown overboard during the night, but a search of the boat reveals that there are no missing passengers.

I read this book in basically a single day. It was a quick read with an interesting plot, and I definitely did not guess the ending at all (but I never guess endings so that's not saying much). I was worried initially that this book would be too similar to The Girl on the Train (which I really didn't like), but I actually didn't mind this narrator for the most part and found this book a quick, fun read!

Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham - 3.5 stars

Lauren Graham, aka Lorelai Gilmore, shares stories from her childhood, her career in acting, and a journal she kept while filming Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.

I enjoyed this lighthearted read, especially coming after two murder mysteries. Lauren Graham is a good writer, and I enjoyed little bits she shared about working in Hollywood and on the GG set. To me it did feel like if you read this book in a few years, it would be outdated. So much of it comes across like Graham is sitting across the table having coffee with you or something, which is fine for the most part but was a bit overdone in some places (so many parenthetical remarks!). That style seems to be popular for celebrity memoirs right now, and it's just not my personal favorite, but it worked pretty well in this one.

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith - 3 stars

A well-known novelist goes missing, and his wife calls in Detective Cormoran Strike to find him. As Strike investigates, it becomes clear there is much more to the disappearance than anyone thought.

I didn't like this book as much as I liked the first book in the Cormoran Strike series (The Cuckoo's Calling), but it was still a very creative and well-written murder mystery. My main reason for not liking this quite as much was because the murder itself was a bit gruesome and grossed me out. However thankfully it isn't a huge part of the book, so I sort of skimmed over it. Like the first book in this series, there are a lot of characters to keep track of, so that got confusing in some places. I honestly most enjoyed following more of the personal lives of the detective and his assistant.

The Inheritance by Louisa May Alcott - 3 stars

Louisa May Alcott's first novel, written when she was seventeen years old.

The plot is basic and predictable, the characters are pretty one dimensional, but the writing is just lovely and flows well. The style reminded me of Jane Austen more than that of Alcott's Little Women, but I can see themes and characters she used in her later classic. Since I love Louisa May Alcott, I enjoyed this one. It is a quick read!

Mrs. Sherlock Holmes by Brad Ricca - 2.5 stars

Historical nonfiction telling the story of Grace Humiston, one of the first female detectives in New York in the early 1900s. She worked on many cases after the police had given up, one being the case of a missing girl, 18-year-old Ruth Cruger, who disappeared on Valentine's day 1917.

Overall this book disappointed me; however, I found the story itself very interesting, and there were parts that I really got into, so it wasn't a total bust enough for me to quit reading before the end. I just don't think it was organized or written as well as it could have been. It was annoying that the author sometimes focused on very minute details that he obviously came across during his research (example: describing multiple items on a minor character's desk). I was very impressed by the author's clear attention to detail and research, but in the end I really can't recommend this book. Check out Erik Larson's books if you want really good historical nonfiction!

What's been your favorite read so far this year? I need to know what to add to my list! 

Have you read any of these? If so, what did you think?