These words:

“Be Happy With What You Have”

They sting.

They were meant to comfort but they did far from comfort. They hurt. They reminded. They made me angry.

I should have told her, but I didn’t. I just responded, “I AM happy with what I have.” And this wasn’t a lie, I am happy but I am missing two of my children.

I am not sure how she even knew what I was talking about. Maybe she overheard my conversation? Just a few moments before I had said, “We would have a 1 week old here today.” That’s when she came over. I continued, “We don’t have a baby for Mrs. Clause to hold.”

Then she said it, “I have Timmy to hold.”

She was missing the point.

She came over and gave me a hug. She placed her hand on my shoulder and that’s when she said those words.

“Be Happy With What You Have”

Those are actually horrible words to hear because the assumption is, I am not happy. In reality, I want to remember and I want everyone to remember. I want people to know…


It’s hard for people to understand that those aren’t helpful words. I knew she was really trying to be comforting. It still stung. I still miss him. I still miss what we would have this year but even though I miss him and a future with him, I am not depressed. I don’t want people to think that’s the case but I DO want them to remember.

Some people have and I love that. This is what is comforting, that people remember. So thank you, to all those who have remembered with me.

Let’s take a moment though to remind others what is helpful to say to a bereaved parent:

“Talk to me, I am here to listen.”
“How are you doing today?”
“Are there any days coming up which remind you of your little one?”
“This must be so hard, I am here if you want to share.”
“It sounds like you are missing your son/daughter, would you like to talk?”
“Tell me more.”

These are just a few things that you can say to a bereaved parent, one who has been through the initial loss but is now remembering anniversaries and dates regarding their child.

Let’s also take a moment to remind other what is NOT helpful to say to say to a bereaved parent:

“At least you know you can have children.”
“You have other children at home to love.”
“You can have another.”
“Why don’t you try to have another baby (to replace the one lost).”
“Your child is in Heaven, looking down on you.”
“Be happy with what you have.”

Yes, these statements are usually meant to comfort and sometimes they are said to change the subject or to help the bereaved parent focus on more positive aspects of their lives but it minimizes the loss and also puts the lost baby/child into a box which should be closed and never opened again.

Please don’t close the door on my children. They both existed. I was missing Gus today at a family event. An event in which we have celebrated for eight years or longer. I am happy for what I have, I just wanted to bring Gus into the event and share him the same way we shared in all of the children today.

Gus Petrucelli Grave