It's hard to know what to say. I know that it has been awkward for everyone who knows us. People want to say something, they want to acknowledge our pain, but they're scared of bringing a flood of memories that may hurt us.
Stop worrying. We can imagine how hard it is to know what to say and we appreciate it when people attempt it anyway.
In the weeks after Ryann's death we received a barrage of cards. We read and saved every one of them. Now and then we'll pull out the box and sift through them. Even though there are so many sweet and caring sentiments inside, the biggest thing that we take away is simply the fact that they were sent. That we are not alone in our loss.
One of the most painful things that commonly happens now is that people simply talk to me as if Ryann never existed. I understand why they do this and honestly I wouldn't be surprised if I did the exact same thing if I were in their shoes. It's hard to know what to say. But by not acknowledging that we had this amazing little girl, it feels like she's slowly being erased, which is one of our biggest fears. We do everything we can to keep her memory clear and vibrant and alive.
Some of my favorite cards or notes have been ones that share a specific memory of Ryann. Sometimes these memories are ones that we didn't even know existed until we read them a few weeks ago. Memories of Ryann playing at the farmers' market. Of me rolling her past a friend's house to Jared's class every day. These have been especially sweet, adding little snippets and other dimensions to our own memories.
The day Ryann died, both Jared and I received a Facebook message from my sister's husband, who himself experienced a horrific and sudden family loss recently. That message has continued to buoy me in the aftermath. The message simply conveyed that there is nothing to say, that this is awful, and that he hurt for us. And I knew it was true.
There are no good words to say in situations like this. There is no magic sentence that can be written down if you wrack your brain hard enough. But there is comfort in a reaching hand. In knowing that there are people who remember and cry and hurt with us.
|Drawing at the Farmers' Market|