Today’s post is the fourth of five days of posting about grief following the death of a child.
Wednesday’s questions: What has helped you to cope with this loss? What is something that somebody did for you or said to you that has been helpful?
Tuesday’s question: What would you say to a parent just beginning this grief journey? What would you want them to know?
Monday’s question: Based on your experience of grief, what would you like the general public to understand about the loss of a child?
One contributor shared this very personal list of what was helpful and what was not helpful for supporting grieving parents.
|It is not helpful…||It is helpful…|
|…to arrive unannounced at my home in the days or weeks after my child’s death unless you are my very close friend or family.||…to contact my family about what they think might be welcomed at this time. With my family’s input it is helpful to bring food or organize a meal chain for us or for our memorial service.|
|…to ask “how did your child die?”||…to remember I will tell you what I want you to know if I feel like discussing it.|
|…to ask “How are you doing?” This can be an incredibly painful question to answer. I will never be ok the first year and maybe longer.||…to say “I’ve been thinking about you and your family and sending love...” If I seem open to it, offer a hug.|
|…to ask me to call you back in response to your concern or unsolicited offer to help. I am overwhelmed and numb and only feel guilty if I can’t respond.||…to send a note offering food or other resources leaving it open to me to respond if I want to accept.|
|…to act like nothing has happened.||…for you be gentle with me and with your conversation around me.|
|…to ask me to lunch, to supper or to go out if you never did that in the past. It becomes an awkward invitation to which I must respond.||…to send a card, plant or flowers, especially as time goes on during the next year. It is especially healing to receive a card at times like Mother’s Day, my child’s birthday, or the year anniversary of my child’s death.|
|…to avoid conversation about my child.||…to remember and share about my child in the natural course of events, especially if I bring his name up. It is very helpful to let me know you remember him on his birthday, holidays and special family events. You may not know what I’m feeling (neither may I) but don’t let awkwardness erase him from our conversation.|
|…to tell me about another person/friend/public figure who lost a child. Their situation is not my situation and this only makes me sadder and less connected to you.||…to just listen and be with me, even if I want to be quiet.|
|…to say or imply it has been ___ days, months, years and it is time to move on. I may have a different timetable and manner of moving through grief than you expect. Your discomfort cannot be my problem right now so please don’t try to cheer me up, plan my day, help me “move on,” or “get over it.”||…to just give me time, be there for me and love me and my family.|
What would your personal list look like? We invite you to leave your comment(s) below.