What Do You Say To Someone Who Lost A Child
After grieving the loss of her child, Mae shares how she is coping with the loss and what her loved ones around her said during her healing process.
Mae Peralta: You know, that I would feel guilty, because your initial reaction to the whole thing – well, if I were to be a mom, how can I be a mom, if I can’t protect the one thing [that] I’m supposed to protect?
Mae: One friend of mine was like, “Oh, you’ll have other kids!”
Bernie and Emirick: Oh.
Mae: I mean, what makes you think that this one didn’t matter, somehow?
Bernie Rosquites: Parenting isn’t easy! It’s challenging and frustrating, but it’s also rewarding and inspiring! We just need a few reminders. Parents, dads, mamas – you’re not alone – I’m Bernie Rosquites.
Emirick Haro: And I’m Emirick Haro. We are the tired, but inspired moms, and you’re listening to the Faith and Family podcast. A Christian family community that aims to promote Christian values for every phase of your family life.
Bernie: You know, losing a loved one, it isn’t easy. I know – I recently lost my mom last October, and the grief can be… uh, quite honestly, I have no words for it. It just, it leaves you numb! And you find yourself in this space of trying not to question: why? And you want to crawl in a hole, but you can’t. And reality is you have no other option but to move forward, painfully, without the one you lost, and you have to allow time to help you heal.
Emirick: I lost my dad when I turned 21. It was something that happened suddenly, so it… I wasn’t able to prepare myself for it. But, honestly, I don’t know how I would’ve prepared myself if I had a clue that it would’ve happened anyway. Life, immediately after his passing, was difficult, it was sad, and awkward. My friends would tippy toe around me because they didn’t know how to support me. And I would tippy toe around my mom because I didn’t know how to support her. So, what’s the best way to support someone who has just lost a loved one?
Bernie: So, today, Mae Peralta will be joining us on this podcast. She lost her baby girl at 24 weeks, due to complications. She lost her girl on November 25th, 2013. But today – she is blessed with one daughter, Hope, and a pair of some amazing twins, Sam and Lily! But she is still healing from that loss, and that’s absolutely understandable. It takes time and prayer and some encouragement. Please stick around to the end of the podcast because Brother Jeff De Guia will tell us what the Bible has to say about grief and what we should have hope in.
Mae is on with us to talk about the best way to support someone who has had a miscarriage, or has experienced loss. Hello, Miss Mae! How are you?
Mae: Hi! Hi, moms! Thank you for having me!
Bernie: We’re glad to have you here! So, Mae, I know you’ve got 3 kids, girl!
Mae: Yes, I do!
Bernie: Yeees girl! A work from home husband, and a dog to take care of! I mean, just saying that, I’m already tired. What’s that like? Walk us through your day! Any day!
Mae: Let me give you an example of the day: I would wake up in the morning, get my daughter, Hope, ready for school. And even though her school is only in front of the laptop at home, it takes her literally 20 minutes to get up and get dressed. And then from there, I just kind of start looking at my laundry – to be folded, to be put away, or to be started – so that’s a neverending story. I’ll get breakfast started for the kids, and for the husband, and then from there I’ll just kind of do my daily chores, you know. Hopefully insert a walk with the dog, because sometimes I need to get out of the house.
Bernie: [Laughs] Right?!
Mae: Yeah! Ummm…. I did some panic-buying of some baked goods, so I’ve got a lot of flour that I’ve got to go through.
Bernie: Is that where all of that went?! All at your house? [Laughs]
Mae: Yeah! So, while I’m doing meal-prepping, I’m going to insert some kind of baked goods somehow because I’ve got to get through all of that flour.
Emirick: Man, it’s time for a nap already! [Laughs]
Mae: I know, right? And along with that I help Hope, the oldest, with her homework and try to get the twins to at least practice – to pretend – that we’re going to school – so they’re not just playing around the whole day.
Bernie: And to add to all this chaos, everybody, Mae’s whole family recently tested positive for COVID. But, thankfully, everyone is ok! Right? Everyone is ok?!
Mae: We are good! Thank you! By the grace of God.
Bernie: Yes, and has fully recovered! This is awesome. So, I’m glad to hear everybody is ok.
Mae: We are, thank you.
Emirick: So, your life sounds very eventful! Busy, loud… a bit chaotic? But, overall, sounds very blessed! But life wasn’t always like that. In 2013, when you lost your baby because of complications, how did you cope with losing Adeline Faith?
Mae: Ohhh… um. Honestly, it’s been a few years, but I do find myself trying to make sense of it all, still… You know, that I would feel guilty, because your initial reaction to the whole thing – well, if I were to be a mom, how can I be a mom, if I can’t protect the one thing [that] I’m supposed to protect?
Mae: And then, you know, I felt guilty because my thoughts would go to, “Oh, maybe… maybe I’m not supposed to have children?” Maybe this was God’s way of telling me, yeah, I’m not supposed to have children.
Emirick: How… how were like, you know, the people around you? Friends, you know, your community? LIke, how…
Mae: To be honest with you, I know it was difficult for them to try to figure out what to say to me, and how to act around me. And I don’t want to seem ungrateful, but almost all of them, like, kind of said the wrong thing to me. And I kind of almost felt immediately… I knew immediately that I, myself, had to kind of take the situation into my own hands. And almost, kind of, put myself in a situation where I had to show them I was ok when I still wasn’t, because I didn’t want to continue with this whole, “Are you ok? … What can I do for you?” The truth is, you couldn’t [do anything], nobody really [could].
Emirick: What are some of the things they would say that would like… sting? You know, like when they would say, “I’m sorry,” you know? And they try to make you look at the bright side?
Bernie: Right. Because, you know, people don’t [always know] what to say, but sometimes, I think the things that they say are just like… it’s definitely not what you wanted to hear.
Mae: Yeah. It wasn’t. Like… one… one friend of mine was like, “Oh, you’ll have other kids!”
Mae: And I was just like, ok… I’m not like, you have no reaction to that because you’re just like, you’re… my friend, why would you say that to me?
Mae: Like, what makes you think… I mean, what makes you think that the positive, the positive of like, “Oh, I’ll have other kids!” – like this one didn’t matter, somehow? And, “Don’t grieve for too long.” And I’m like, well, I haven’t even grieved yet, I’m still trying to…
Bernie: … process.
Mae: Yeah! Process everything that has happened, and at the same time, I have to put up a front with everyone, just because it’s easier for me to show you I’m ok, when I’m really not… because of, you know, comments like that! So it was just like, ok…
Emirick: So, it’s as if you had to think of them?
Mae: Yes. Honestly, like, let me… just let me be. I mean, if there was anything else, you know, just let me be… because this, I know this feeling, the sadness, isn’t going to take forever, but I just need to know that this sadness is ok for me to feel.
Bernie: Did you have anyone in your community, in your group of friends or family, that did say the right thing? Or did do… or did the right thing?
Mae: One of my good friends, best friends – she was my best friend at work – she just went, you know, you know, just… she always said, “Your faith is what’s going to take you through it – let it take you through it.” But, yeah, she was so understanding. And there are times where, you know, there are… you just can’t say anything. So, you know, on days after work, she’ll be like, “You want to go to Starbucks?” or “You know what, let’s go to our Disneyland, let’s go to Costco!” You know, just to kind of get back into what everyday life was like, again.
Emirick: Yeah, like a little bit of a distraction?
Mae: Yes! At least, for that time. To remind me that I’m not this sad person all the time. And I was, for a very long time… but she helped me through that.
Emirick: Uh, so, I’m… I’m taking notes! You know? It’s like, you’ve just got to be there. And like, you don’t have to bring it up? You don’t have to be like, positive? You just have to be like, let’s just hang out! Like, give a sense of normal! And if that person is willing to cry, or talk about it, you don’t even have to say anything! You just have to just let them know, I’m here. I’m not judging you, I’m not telling you that it’s going to be one way or the other. I’m just here… for whatever you need.
Bernie: And she, and she didn’t say any of that! She… her way was like, “Do you want to go to Costco?” You know? It wasn’t one of those, “Hey girl, I feel like you need some time…” She just…
Emirick: Yeah yeah… right?
Bernie: … went about it, normally.
Emirick: Not even saying, “You’re going to get through this.” You don’t have to say that.
Bernie: Exactly… yes!
Mae: Because it almost seemed like, if anybody were to say that to me, they’re already putting that timeline.
Bernie: They set you up!
Mae: Yeah! Yeah. So, that’s how I took it. Like, if somebody, you know, asks you or tells you that, it’s like, you’re already putting me in this position where I need to force myself to feel a certain way just because you need me to tell you, “I’m ok.” But I’m not!
Emirick: See, that brings so much… like, that makes so much sense.
Bernie: Yes, it does! It does.
Emirick: That makes so much sense, and I’m really glad that you’re sharing that. Even though, like, I don’t know. It’s hard to elaborate those thoughts. You know?
Emirick: You’re doing a really great job of elaborating it for us.
Bernie: And you know what’s awesome? Is that singing in the background.
Emirick: Exactly. [Laughs]
Mae: Oh man!
Bernie: No no no… you know what? We need some of that every so often…
Bernie: Especially on a Tuesday? You know what? We need some of that precious little baby singing. I appreciate that.
Emirick: The joy he’s experiencing! Like, lets us feel that joy, too. [Laughs]
Bernie: I feel it all the way from over here! I appreciate that!
Mae: Oh my gosh…
Bernie: Wow. I really appreciate what you’re sharing with us. You know… it’s, you know, you’re sharing something that… it’s difficult to talk about, but it’s part of the healing process, I hope. I know I appreciate it. And they say, time heals, but nobody… nobody says how much time. It’s difficult, but the world does move on. And God has surprised you in so many ways. Since Adeline, you’ve been pregnant twice. You gave birth to baby girl, Hope, and then, tell us about your second pregnancy!
Mae: [Laughs] Well, that’s still up for debate, if I was present or not for that?
Mae: But, um… honestly, I just remember I found out I was pregnant… again, and I’m like, oh wow? So, at exactly 20 weeks, you know, I have an ultrasound schedule to check, you know, for the gender, and you know, just you know, all of you know, just a check up. So… me and my husband, we’re there at the ultrasound techs office, all ready to go, belly all gelled up. And you know, she does her initial scan, and… you know, she’s scanning, she’s scanning… And, she kind of mentions this in a way, as if I forgot to tell her, or you know, I just forgot to mention it to her? She goes, “Oh, so you’re having twins?” And I go, “What?” And she looks at me, and I look at her, and she goes, “You’re, you know, you’re having twins!” and I go, “What?!” So, for the third time! I think she kind of got it! And she kind of mentioned, again, and she says, “You’re. Having. Twins…” and my third and last, “WHAT” was what surprised her, and she kind of got it, so she kind of read the room – finally – and she said, “Ok. Oh. Oh? Ok, honey. Um, let me give you some time…uh, would you like a cup of water???” And, I just thought to myself, I need more than a cup of water! But…
Bernie: You need to get my doctor on the phone!
Mae: I need you to get me whatever you think I need right now! But, if water is it, then please get me a cup of water!
Bernie: An oxygen tank!
Mae: So, you know, she leaves the room, and I look at my husband, and he’s smirking! He is smirking…
Emirick: Guys are so good at that…
Mae: And it was just… yeah. Another situation of… you’re just like, you could not have written this any better. Because the complete shock, but then, at the same time, the complete awe of it. Like…
Bernie and Emirick: Right.
Mae: With the first pregnancy, I had the doctors telling me, “You’re never going to be able to conceive again…”
Emirick: What an interesting story! Like, from beginning, to end, like, going around to all this! And I know, like, you went through a lot of grief, and it was difficult, and still, you know, it’s still somewhat difficult, but… And then, like, hearing people to like, cheer you up, putting you on their timeline, I loved the advice you gave, but I can’t help but just notice and realize the amazing blessings in your life, you know?
Emirick: Just a house full of laundry, laughs, meltdowns, uh… music in the background! You know? All of that background noise! Those are like evidence of all of those blessings and love in your life. So, I just want to say thank you so much for sharing this story, because it just has brightened my day! I’ll be honest, I wasn’t having the best day today, but like, just hearing your story took me on a rollercoaster of emotions… and it is leaving me on a high!
Mae: This is my life!
Emirick: Listening to your son just sing about whatever in the background? Loving that! But um, really, the education I got today from sharing the best way to help someone grieve. I [didn’t] know that. Like, I’m guilty of those things that we were talking about earlier. You know? Trying to put someone on my timeline, or trying to like just tell them, “It’s going to be ok.” You know? Without really thinking of how that affects that person. So, the tips you gave us today are so helpful in helping us love each other better. You know what I mean? So, thank you for that.
Bernie: I agree. And even though you experienced all that pain, you can truly see… and hear! How blessed you are!
Everyone: [Laughing] Yes…
Bernie: It’s just, you know, it’s going to take time. With everything, it’s just going to take time, and you know, girl, we’re here for you. I hope you know that. And Mae, thank you, again, for sharing your story. We appreciate that. Now, let’s hear some advice coming from the Bible about how we should look at grief with the minister of the gospel, Brother Jeff De Guia.
Brother Jeff: Experiencing the loss of a loved one is devastating and while time heals the pain, so do the words from the Bible. What does the Bible say about grief and how we can overcome this type of pain?
We’ll read Lamentations 3:28-33 & 25-26: “When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face. The ‘worst’ is never the worst. Why? Because the Master won’t ever walk out and fail to return. If he works severely, he also works tenderly. His stockpiles of loyal love are immense. He takes no pleasure in making life hard, in throwing roadblocks in the way: … GOD proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks. It’s a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from GOD.” (The Message)
Experiencing grief is something that can really happen to us, inasmuch as we are not perfect or absolute beings—we have many limitations. However, according to the Bible when we go through grief we should not remain in grief forever. What’s the proof? The Bible says, “When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer.”
So in dealing with grief, if we want to overcome it, an important initial step is to calm down and pray; talk to God. We can always count on the facts that (1) God does not take pleasure in making life hard for us, (2) that His love is immense, and (3) that if He works severely, He also works tenderly. Therefore, even if God may have allowed us to go through trouble or grief, we can count on God to also be the One to help us overcome it.
If we’re going through something, then all the more we need to worship; all the more we need to look for God, because He’s the only One who can help us and save us. No one else can outdo God in giving us the joy, peace and comfort that we need as we sojourn through this life.
Thank you for listening to this episode of the faith and family podcast. I’m Brother Jeff De Guia and I hope you all stay safe.