"Am I A Jerk For 'Belittling' My Friend's Grief After She Named Her Daughter After My Deceased One And Refusing To Be Her Daughter's Godmother?"
The loss of a loved one, especially a child, is a traumatic experience. The pain is unbearable. The world seems like a dark and unforgiving place. And you can’t imagine ever feeling happy ever again. There are only tears, memories, and endless grief. Though life goes on, the smallest things can remind you of the person you lost. And it can be difficult not to break down.
One redditor, a mother of four, shared that she lost her daughter Luli when she was just 2 years old. The grieving mom turned to the AITA online community for their advice on a very sensitive issue. The author’s friend and Luli’s godmother took the name for her own newborn daughter. She gave her own daughter the middle name ‘Luli’ to honor her goddaughter, without so much as asking the mom how she felt about that.
You will find the full story, in the author’s own words, below.
Dear Pandas, this is a very heavy topic and might reopen some old wounds for some of you. If you feel like you want something lighter, you should look through our earlier article about wholesome and uplifting stories right here.
Psychotherapist Silva Neves was kind enough to explain to Bored Panda how everyone grieves differently, and what loved ones can do to support someone in their grief.
“Some grieve with a lot of crying and others grieve with being practical, and anything else in between. Not seeing any tears does not mean that people are not grieving. The process lasts as long as it needs to last, there is no time limit. Usually, grieving diminishes over time, which means that people become less and less upset over time, but some people will never ‘recover’ from grieving, especially those who lost a very important person. Most people learn to live with grief and sadness. Significant dates, such as anniversaries, may always be painful.,” Silva explained. He stressed that the most important thing is to not give people advice because everyone grieves differently.
A mom of four shared a gut-wrenching post about the loss of her daughter
Image credits: Liza Summer (not the actual photo)
She explained how one of her friends gave her own newborn the same name as the daughter who passed away
Image credits: Kelly Sikkema (not the actual photo)
Image credits: Pixabay (not the actual photo)
“Although there are some common knowledge about grief, such as ‘stages of grief’, a lot of people don’t follow ‘stages’ of grief because grief can be messy and unpredictable. The best way to support someone who is grieving is by sitting with them, listening to them and that’s it,” psychotherapist Silva told Bored Panda.
“It is also important not to tell people ‘I know how you feel’ because grieving is so unique, nobody can know what another person’s grieving feels like, but perhaps we can imagine how painful it is. A lot of people get a lot of support with grief at the beginning of the loss, but often people stop talking about after a while,” he said.
“Grieving people usually do appreciate their friends asking about it, even a year later or two years later. Don’t be afraid to ask the question, ‘How are you?’ and allow the grieving person to speak. Ask them for what they need but don’t assume what they need. Sometimes a grieving person might need a hug, but sometimes they may need to sit in silence. Sometimes they may need to be distracted with something else, other times they may want to talk about their pain.”
The author of the post explained that she was completely shocked when she went over to her friend’s home and she kept calling her newborn Luli, even though that’s just her middle name. The experience was too much for the grieving mother and she decided that she couldn’t go through with being the newborn’s godmother.
However, there was fallout after she told her friend that. You see, the friend had been the redditor’s daughter’s godmother and felt like she was honoring Luli by giving her newborn her middle name. She felt like the author was “hogging her grief.”
The vast majority of redditors, however, thought that the friend was in the wrong here. She should have spoken to the mom about using Luli’s name before coming to a firm decision. That didn’t happen and led to everyone feeling raw with grief once again.
There is no single way to grieve ‘correctly.’ When grieving, people may feel shocked or numb, overwhelmed with sadness. They might cry, and feel exhausted. Others feel anger or guilt over what happened.
The NHS recommends that those grieving turn to their family, friends, and mental health professionals for emotional support and help.
Meanwhile, it’s important to take care of your physical well-being, especially in times of great stress. This means eating well, getting enough movement, spending time in nature, and finding the time to socialize with others. What’s more, this includes limiting unhealthy habits such as alcohol consumption, smoking, over- or under-eating. Doing these things can also help you sleep better at night.
After losing a loved one, you may feel completely overwhelmed, and not in control. It’s important to remember that you shouldn’t try to do everything at once. The NHS notes that setting small goals that you can easily achieve is the best way forward.
“Do not focus on the things you cannot change—focus your time and energy into helping yourself feel better. Try not to tell yourself that you’re alone—most people feel grief after a loss and support is available,” the NHS writes.
“Try not to use alcohol, cigarettes, gambling, or drugs to relieve grief—these can all contribute to poor mental health.”
In the face, of countless tragedies and traumatic experiences, there is a need for hope that the future will be better and brighter; that there’s some good left in the world. Psychologist, priest, and published author Dr. Fraser Watts told Bored Panda earlier that there is a difference between hope and optimism.
“Optimism is more a matter of prediction. Hope is more a matter of attitude,” he explained the difference between the two concepts. Being optimistic during difficult times is akin to retreating “into a fantasy world.”
However, no matter the circumstances, people can remain positive and hopeful. In fact, it’s a helpful attitude to have. Though there’s no easy or surefire way of keeping hope alive when everything seems dark and grim.
“Practice helps. It depends on a long process of cultivating a positive mindset. It is useful to be clear that hope does not depend on believing that everything is going to be fine. It is more an act of will,” Dr. Watts stressed that hope isn’t just wishy-washy illusions of feeling good when everything is awful. It is something far, far deeper.