She’s a Scatterbrain

March 27, 2008 at 10:18 am 17 comments

How to Help Your Grieving Friend, Part 3

Forgetfulness and disorganization are also things you should assume your grieving friend is dealing with. Before losing Felicity, I was the organized one in our family (and I’m not even that good at it to begin with). I just tend to be the one who takes care of the details of life, anticipates events on the calendar, and makes the lists.

Since losing Felicity, I’ve had a very difficult time keeping my appointments, remembering a conversation with someone that required action on my part, returning phone calls, etc. Sometimes I lack motivation, but often I have good intentions; I just can’t follow through.

Just like tiredness consumes the body, grief overpowers the mind, making it what I like to call “scrambled eggs.” I know, it’s very technical language.

There are things that I used to take for granted, like being able to organize my family to go on a trip. So when our Christmas voyage was upon us to go out east to visit my family and friends, less than three months after Felicity’s death, I wandered around my room at the last minute, listlessly throwing things into a pile that would eventually get packed into a suitcase. And when I ran out of suitcase space, things started getting thrown into plastic bags and jammed into whatever space my forbearing husband could find in our trunk.

So how does this affect you, the friend? First, if you make plans with her, hold them loosely. Second, if you can remind her in a way that is not overbearing, do so a couple days out, or maybe the day before. I personally wouldn’t recommend phone calls. Just find out from her if she’s an email or phone person. And if she says she will remember, and then forgets, don’t take it personally.

(Read other posts in this series.)


Entry filed under: Grief.

Just Know That She’s Exhausted There Is No Timetable

17 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Christopher Cuddy  |  March 27, 2008 at 11:50 am


    This is an excellent series of posts. Very practical. Very necessary. (Sadly) Very neglected in much of the Christian world… Know that I am praying for you and your family, and I am deeply encouraged (and grateful) for your generosity in sharing this very personal series of posts…

    The love of Christ Jesus is all-sufficient in all things and at all times (especially in times of pain and suffering). Your writing is a great aid to those seeking to embrace the truth of our Lord: “to live is Christ, and to die is gain…”

    Thank you!!!

    Soli Deo Gloria!

    In Christ Jesus our Sovereign Lord and Savior,

    Christopher Cuddy

  • 2. Mrs. MK  |  March 27, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    So practical—-thank you.

  • 3. shawnda  |  March 27, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    thanks, again, sister! I’ll just keep telling you thanks in case you forget that we are thankful! : ) Because we are VERY thankful that you are serving the body in this way – it’s SO needed, like the others practical!

  • 4. deb t  |  March 27, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    Hi Molly: You do not know me personally, but you know my daughter, Courtney. I do feel like I know you, though, as she talks of you and your family often and how much she loves and appreciates you. You have all been in my thoughts and prayers. I have not miscarried, but have experienced loss of children in other ways. I grieve for you and with you and so appreciate your honest and transparent approach. I cried, for the Lord met me through your words. The experiences and feelings are real and you’re not alone. Thanks for sharing. God is good all of the time!

  • 5. Molly  |  March 27, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    Thanks Mrs. Tarter! We love your daughter a lot. Thank you for your encouragement. Hopefully we’ll get to meet someday.

  • 6. Corie O'Brien  |  March 27, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    THank you for being so honest and taking the opportunity to be transparent to others. I know many have a hard time understianding what this fills like. I lost my son on January 22nd of this year. I can so relate to the fogginess. I could multitask, although not well, but now I can’t do that at all. I will continue to pray for you during this time.

  • 7. Mrs. MK  |  March 27, 2008 at 10:46 pm

    I just have to come back and thank you again—-your refreshing honesty and practicality have helped me today—to realize that how I’m feeling has been felt by another……

  • 8. Sunshine  |  March 28, 2008 at 10:11 am

    Thank you for doing these posts – it is SO good to know how to help someone who is hurting. Sunshine

  • 9. Hannah  |  March 28, 2008 at 10:58 am

    Thanks for writing this. I also have found that it helps for friends to call or e-mail somewhat regularly (but not TOO often) to see if I’m ready or up to doing anything that particular day (because as you have said, I can’t make plans too far ahead of time. I just won’t keep them.) So many people have said, “When you’re ready, give me a call.” And then haven’t contacted me again… I don’t think I’m really going to have a day that I wake up and say, “Okay, TODAY I’m ready…” and jump right into things. It is SO hard to take the initiative for anything, and the result is loneliness and isolation.
    So many practical things that you can only learn through experience, unfortunately…
    And I don’t think I’ve said it yet, but I am so sorry for your loss.
    (but I’m so grateful for how you are using this to help the rest of us on this road…)

  • 10. Jenna  |  March 28, 2008 at 4:10 pm


    Thank you so much for writing these posts. I’m so sorry about your loss. I really wish I had your insights a few years during my friend’s miscarrige. I’ve been ‘secretly’ reading your blog since you ‘friended’ me on Ravelry. For some reason, I have a hard time commenting on blogs, even though I want to. Anyway, thanks so much for your words and your sincerity (sometimes it’s hard to find on the internet).

  • 11. Dina  |  March 28, 2008 at 10:21 pm


    I appreciate you putting into words what I have struggled with for 2 years. We just celebrated the birth of our daughter Hannah on the 20th. She was stillborn at 20 weeks. I remember being an “organized” person who was able to complete simply tasks. These 2 years have been a learning experience as I try to get things back to where they were. But I recently realized that they won’t ever be exactly the same. That her life has changed me in many ways. I am trying to find out who God wants me to be now and not try to be who I was before. I have met you briefly once. The Lord has brought you to mind frequently lately. I pray that the Lord will lift the fog as He reveals that He is making all things new.

  • 12. Molly  |  March 29, 2008 at 9:05 am

    Jenna, I have been to your site a couple times since we met, too. Your little guy is adorable–congratulations! And the stuff you’ve knit is great. I loved the peapod set and I’m thinking of making it myself someday. Thanks for reading and commenting and reminding me that we’ve met! 🙂

  • 13. Jessica  |  March 29, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    This is important subject. I have often struggled to know how to respond when a friend is grieving over losing a baby. I am always afraid of saying something that might make her feel worse. What ways can friends be supportive without “saying too much”?

  • 14. Jenny  |  March 31, 2008 at 11:45 am

    All these are so practical and true. Grief changes you as a person. Thanks for your honesty in your posts.

  • 15. Life with Littles  |  March 31, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. These posts have been excellent. . Our family has gone through several major trials since having our fourth child and I can really relate to the tiredness and scatterbrainedness. I was thinking I was losing it but you have helped me see that it is my bodies response to the stress and post partum issues that I am dealing with.
    Thanks for taking the time to write about this.

  • 16. colette  |  April 2, 2008 at 8:13 am

    I’ve never lost a child (I’m not yet married), but I have experienced severe grief. I remember reading in a “Stages of Grief” book about 3 months into it about this scatterbrained stage and how it reassured me that I was just going through a really tramatic time, I wasn’t losing my mind!

    Literally, I would be in the middle of talking to someone and lose my train of thought – to the point I was standing there staring at them and blinking, with nothing left to say. It was humiliating. Knowing that I ws normal was so helpful.

    I’m helping a friend who just suffered a miscarriage of what would have been her 5th child. The grief is such a roller coaster. It seems to be an issue that not a lot of people want to talk about, so thank you for your posts – I’m sure it will be helpful to so many.


  • 17. Kathryn  |  April 6, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    I clicked over from Rocks in My Dryer (making me “not a stalker”, LOVED that post too!). We’ve just had our fourth child w/major medical issues (he had open heart surgery at 5 days old and will have 2 more open hearts as he grows). I”m grieving different things than a complete loss but your posts have still helped a lot. Thanks!


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