The Duchess of Sussex thinks a compassionate attitude can help to heal heartbreak.
The former actress – who miscarried her second child in July – has revealed how, as she struggled with her loss in a hospital room, she recalled a moment of compassion in 2019.
The Duchess – who has son Archie, 18 months, with husband Prince Harry – wrote in the New York Times newspaper: “I recalled a moment last year when Harry and I were finishing up a long tour in South Africa. I was exhausted. I was breastfeeding our infant son, and I was trying to keep a brave face in the very public eye.
“‘Are you OK?’ a journalist asked me. I answered him honestly, not knowing that what I said would resonate with so many – new moms and older ones, and anyone who had, in their own way, been silently suffering.
“My off-the-cuff reply seemed to give people permission to speak their truth. But it wasn’t responding honestly that helped me most, it was the question itself. ‘Thank you for asking,’ I said. ‘Not many people have asked if I’m OK.’ Sitting in a hospital bed, watching my husband’s heart break as he tried to hold the shattered pieces of mine, I realized that the only way to begin to heal is to first ask, ‘Are you OK?’ (sic)”
The Duchess feels that a tumultuous year – which has included the US election, the death of George Floyd and the coronavirus pandemic – has “left us feeling more alone than ever”.
She has therefore called on people to show more compassion and understanding.
The Duchess wrote: “So this Thanksgiving, as we plan for a holiday unlike any before – many of us separated from our loved ones, alone, sick, scared, divided and perhaps struggling to find something, anything, to be grateful for – let us commit to asking others, ‘Are you OK?’
“As much as we may disagree, as physically distanced as we may be, the truth is that we are more connected than ever because of all we have individually and collectively endured this year.
“We are adjusting to a new normal where faces are concealed by masks, but it’s forcing us to look into one another’s eyes – sometimes filled with warmth, other times with tears. For the first time, in a long time, as human beings, we are really seeing one another.”