Is There a Nice Way to Handle This?

country_bumpkin_alDecember 1, 2005

I forgot we had a Grieving Forum here and I posted this at the KT yesterday. Now that I think about it, it would have probably been better to have posted here.


A little background...

My best friend works at an Assisted Living facility and is really close to one of her co-workers...a girl young enough to be her daughter. The friend was expecting and the due date was Dec.8th. He was stillborn on Nov.4th. I kinda/sorta know the girl through my friend. Because I have BEEN where this girl is and because I have friend and I went in together and got her a Mizpah coin. Her baby is buried with half of it and she wears the other half on a chain around her neck. We also made her a Memorial Glass Block Light and took to her.

The girl is on Maternity Leave until sometime in Dec..but she's visited some of her co-workers and the residents a couple of times...probably more for something to do than anything. So yesterday, she goes and she has a Baby Book that she apparently started. My friend said there was a pic of her first sonogram, pics of her and DH, with her showing her belly...and then, pics made at the funeral home and the grave site. And, while I didn't do that when our baby died...I understand the emotional state this girl is in. She's trying to do something...anything that will "connect" her to the baby she's lost. (I probably did things that other people thought were "off the wall..but it brought ME comfort). She wasn't showing the book to everyone...just those she is really close to.

Anyway, the Mommy is really close to one of the residents there...looks at her as a Grandmother. The little old lady was also looking forward to this baby and was broken hearted when he died. But, yesterday the Mommy gave the little old lady an 8 X 10 pic of the the a FRAME!! After she'd left, the little lady told my friend that she didn't know what to say when the girl gave it to her. My friend said it's just sitting there on the end table. The little lady said she didn't know WHAT to do with it. If she packs it'll probably hurt the Mommy.....but the little lady is uncomfortable with it sitting out.

I asked my friend if the little lady had young grandchildren that visit, thinking maybe she could tell the Mommy that the picture "upset the kids". Nope! Lady has NO children or grandchildren. I also need to add that the baby didn't "look good".....but I also know the Mommy doesn't SEE this. ALL she sees is her baby boy!!

Even though I have been through what this girl is going through, I don't know what the answer is. I have pictures of my baby..but I never felt like "sharing" them. To me, they were personal. Actually, no one in our family even has copies of them.

It's only been a month (Dec.4th) and I know right now her hormones and emotions are out of whack. There are those that feel she should be "getting over" it....but for those of us that have lost a child, we know that's not going to happen. The time will come when she can deal or cope with her grief..but that may be a ways off.....a long way off!

How can this be handled without hurting the Mommy or her taking it wrong?

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Oh my - what a situation! I too have lost a precious child, but would not dream of having anybody look at pictures of his lifeless body. I wouldn't want to see any. Mommy's apparently young and maybe a little immature. However, she definitely has every right to be grief stricken and try to hold onto whatever she can of the baby. But, I think the lovely elderly lady could put the picture away and tell the young woman she just isn't ready to look at it yet because it's just too heartbreaking for her.

Keep us posted on how Mommy's doing.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2005 at 3:00PM
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Wow, this is a tuff one! Could the little old lady say something like "I was so touched by your gesture that allowed me to see your beautiful baby boy. But seeing him in his little casket makes me so very sad every time I look at it. So I hope you'll understand that I have to put the picture away but I will always think of him now as your treasured angel in heaven." (Or something like that)

My heart goes out to the parents and I pray that they'll be a comfort to each other during their most intense stage of grief.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2005 at 3:23PM
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Oh my! What a situation. I too understand her feelings. I lost my baby boy at 6 months gestation. I too have pictures of him and a baby book but my husband and I have shown them to NO ONE. They are just for us. Everyone grieves differently I guess. But get this, I once knew a woman who lost a baby girl - also stillborn, and she had a FAMILY picture taken - a professional shot, of her, her husband, and her 7 year old son. She was so proud of the fact that the baby looked like she was sleeping. She hung it proudly in her living room. To each their own. I think the suggestions here were wonderful.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2005 at 3:50PM
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Sorry for the mother's loss, but this is sick. It was wrong of the grieving mother to project her grief onto another this way. The older woman should be allowed to deal with her own grief her own way -- not as this greiving mother seems to insist upon. Put the picture away and deal with the mother as kindly as possible.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2005 at 3:54PM
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I agree with Clintsmom. The older lady could tell the grieving mom that she keeps the beautiful picture "right here in this special place in my drawer" because it is so sad and painful to see all the time.

Unless grieving is considered an illness, I would not say this is sick behavior. Maybe it wasn't in good taste, but she's doing what she can to live through the ordeal of losing a child.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2005 at 9:28AM
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the traditional method is actually to shroud the photograph.

and in this case, it might not be a bad idea, since you're dealing with a girl who's less rational than usual, and in a horrendous situation at the same time.

she's lucky a lock of hair wasn't included with the picture.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2005 at 12:50PM
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I can certainly understand this mother doing what she did. I'm not sure that I can explain it the way I need to, but I'll try.
When people lose a baby, they will never have memories of any kind connected to the child. These parents grieve for what they never had. Other parents who have memories grieve for what they had and lost. Since these few days of the burial process is all this mother has as a connection to her child, she wants to share them with those who she thinks cares about her and the baby. She wanted these people to be a part of her babies life.
I can understand also, why this may be being disturbing to the elderly lady.
Maybe the elderly lady could tell her that her baby is a beautiful, living, spirit in heaven now and she is going to keep her picture in a special place, but would prefer to think of the child as she knows she is now. I think she should tell her this, and then ask her how she feels about it and if it would be okay with her.
This really is a tough one. I hope it works out so that no one is offended.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2005 at 10:28AM
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What's the latest on this one Bumpkin??? This was such a sticky situation. I've thought about it a few times since I was here last.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2005 at 9:35AM
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A little update! The older lady still has the pic out in her room. The Mommy will be returning to work right after Christmas, and at that time, the older lady plans to explain how she feels about the picture (and hope the Mommy understands).

asolo...I'm going to be honest and tell you I found your response......"this is sick" somewhat offensive. At this point, she is trying to say goodbye to someone she never had the opportunity to say hello to. She has NO memories to look back pictures of a LIVE baby/child to share with those she loves.

People do not look at the death of a BABY in the same way they do any other death. When a child loses his/her parents, he/she is called an orphan. When a man loses his wife, he's called a widower. When a woman loses her husband, she's called a widow. There is NO name for parents that have lost their child.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2005 at 9:53AM
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Country Bumpkin...

I am, actually, sympathetic. However, giving an "...8 X 10 pic of the the a FRAME!!" (capitalization yours) to a someone is beyond. I regret your taking offense, but I'm comfortable with the opinion I expressed.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2005 at 3:39PM
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