Too many times have grieving mothers (and families) heard some combination of these words:
“How long is it going to take for you to get over that?”
“Aren’t you over that yet?”
“You should just get over it.”
There are many well-meaning people who simply don’t know what to say to the ones who are grieving the loss of a loved one, especially when it comes to babies and children. However, the words “get over it” should never be uttered to the grieving, no matter how well-meaning the intention. First of all, what exactly are they supposed to “get over?” Get over the death? Get over the life (no matter how short)? Get over the feelings of despair? Or is it simply wanting the person to return to what they feel is a sense of normalcy (whatever that means)? Let’s make one thing clear here: the “it” or “that” that one should “get over” is a life. It doesn’t matter how short that life was; if the person is grieving that loss, it meant something. And those feelings are deeply felt; they go beyond the loss and spill over into the decisions that were made, feelings of guilt and many other overwhelming emotions. It’s something that the griever doesn’t ever want to “get over” because that would mean forgetting that the life ever existed and that’s just wrong (on so many levels) to ask someone to do. This is something that will be forever imprinted into this person’s heart, soul, even their very existence. It’s a slap in the face to be told such callous words. People who’ve experienced loss wish more than anything they weren’t grappling with these feelings that will last a lifetime. As time passes, the grief may not always be at such a high level. However, there will be triggers, anniversaries and moments where the pain comes flooding back and even though it hurts like hell, knowing the pain still exists is a reminder that that precious life hasn’t been forgotten. It’s an unimaginable feeling to know that the scars will always be a blessing and a curse. Even if a loss could be gotten over, I doubt that the griever would want such a thing to occur anyway. Here is what I have to say to anyone who thinks it is okay to utter the phrase (in any combination of words) “get over it.”
I will always remember my baby. YOU get over it.
I will speak my baby’s name and talk about them. YOU get over it.
I will likely never be the same again. YOU get over it.
I will grieve the way I want to, no matter how long it takes. YOU get over it.
I think it’s time for the grieving to throw this phrase right back at the ones who feel the need to tell us this in the first place.