So, I wracked my brain trying to come up with the best thing to write about empathy. I kept thinking about what others have done, but nothing felt “right”. Suddenly it hit me – it’s not about others’ actions but my own.
I have become a different person since loosing Zeke. I’m more cautious about life – I follow rules, I tend to overreact to any sort of sign of illness Noel may show, I have a hard time falling asleep, I’m anxious. But….I’m also listen more, I tell people I love them more, I try harder to understand where people are coming from, I can empathize better.
[Also, my examples below are about how I relate to those experiencing child loss, however, empathy is important to show when someone experiences ANY type of pain.]
I have friends who have lost children before me, and I was always sad for them but I made the oh so common statement of “I can’t imagine”.
Now I can.
Having lost a child causes me to pray harder for friends who have seriously sick little ones, to reach out to those who have suffered a loss, to be willing to connect in a way I never would have thought to before.
I HATE that children die, that parents have felt and more will feel this pain. Loss is a club that no one in it wants anyone else to enter. But when it happens they are often the first who understand, who won’t say trite things to maybe try to help, who will listen and love you. I pray often the God will allow me to show others who are walking the path I’m on empathy, compassion, and love. That I can help them the way others have helped me.
I was reading my Bible the other day and came across a story I’ve read and heard many times. Its the one where the two moms come to Solomon, both claiming to be the mother to the same baby. He then says to cut the baby in half and one woman say ok while the other begs to keep the baby alive. Solomon knows she is the mother and the baby goes home with her.
For the first time in my life I wondered about that other mom. She had taken the other woman’s baby after finding her own child dead. I wondered if she had been suffering from PPD, if she was just so overwhelmed with shock and grief she didn’t even know what she was doing – that she had convinced herself the living baby was hers. I wondered if she just couldn’t process it and thats why she said fine – or maybe she just wanted to not be the only one in pain. I wondered what happened to her after the “trial”.
I am in NO way condoning what she did, but I do remember wanting another baby SO badly in the months following Zeke’s death. Not to replace him, but I had all this love and dreams and plans and then suddenly my arms and home weren’t as full as they were supposed to be. I poured myself into Noel and the goal of getting him home.
I’m not perfect…no where near it in fact. I’m a tired, broken person, but, oh I pray that I will be strengthened from this experience and that God will be glorified. I think that meeting others in their trenches is part of that. That feeling with them is a part…a hard, exhausting part, but an important part none the less.