As we approach, I'm thinking of many things. One is how I'll hide out on June 16, not answering my phone, just wanting to be alone with Mitch. I know that family and friends will be thinking of Miles, Mitch, and me. And I'll appreciate their messages. I'll be glad that they'll call or write because that's the main way to support us now--those notes mean more than I could have ever imagined. Right after Miles died, there were the meals, the condolence letters, the donations to the hospital or the Ronald McDonald House. Now, though, the absolute best thing that others do is to show that they are still loving and thinking of Miles, too. And so I've been thinking of the meaningful ways that our family and friends have been helping us--their still grieving friends--and how there are important ways to help even as time goes by...these are my favorites that I've molded into "tips" of some sort...
- Keep communicating. I have an aunt who has sent cards for no reason at all over the past year. And she includes stories of what she's up to, how she's been thinking of Mitch and me, how Miles has impacted her life. It's incredible. She'll sign her cards with "so thankful for you, Mitch, Miles, and 'baby girl'!"
- Say the baby's name; acknowledge his/her importance. Almost 11 months after Miles died, we had a small cookout with friends. After a while, another bottle of wine was opened and a friend said, "I want to make a toast. To Miles and his wonderful parents." It was completely out of the blue and touched us in such a special way.
- Remember the important days but remember the other days even more. I didn't answer my phone on Mother's Day. I appreciated the people who called and who wrote messages. But I wasn't willing to communicate on that day. Reaching out on the other days is just as meaningful to me.
- Ask about how we're doing. And I'm not talking about the fake greeting at the beginning of the conversation! I'm talking about in the middle of a conversation. I love, love, love my family and friends who say, "I've been thinking about Miles. How have you been doing?" And then they just listen. It totally opens up the door for me.
- Do something good in the world in memory of the baby. Family and friends have done many special things in memory of Miles: donating books to children, giving blood, making a meal for the Ronald McDonald House, even read a book about gratitude and led a book club about it. All of it makes me smile.
What else, I wonder?