Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Help a Friend whose Grieving their Childs Death

I want to thank Paula Evans from Shreveport, Louisiana for sending me the following article. Paula was searching the internet and found our blog which she reads often. When Paula found the following article she thought it might help others in her situation, who just don't know how or what to do to help a friend-in Paula's case it is her closest friend, who lost her 2 yr. old son in a horrible accident this past summer.. Thank you Paula...

~ Written by Robbie Miller Kaplan

The death of a child is a devastating loss and a life-changing event. It’s hard to know what to say to comfort the bereaved parents. Friends and loved ones may think the parents know best what they need so they might ask the bereaved to call if they need anything. While the sentiment is sincere, when asking, “Please call me,” it places a burden on someone grieving a loss; someone who can barely muster the energy to get out of bed in the morning.

I recently asked bereaved parents to share what helps and what hurts. Here’s what they’d like you to know:

Don’t avoid us; we already feel different and your absence isolates us even more.

Understand that you’ll have to give more than you’ll get; we just don’t have the energy or strength right now to do much more than take care of ourselves.

Remind us of what was so special about our child; “I’ll never forget Melissa’s beautiful smile.”

Share with us how our child made a difference; “Timothy’s courage was so inspiring, I will never forget how bravely he faced the treatments.”

Accept that we’ve changed; we don’t like it either but our experience makes us see the world from a different perspective.

Stay in touch; even if we seem unresponsive, keep up the connection. Call, email, or write a note. And don’t stop including us. Your friendship and support means the world even if we don’t seem responsive.

Don’t forget our child. Say their name and tell us stories; it’s music to our ears. Let us know how much you loved them, will miss seeing them grow, and how you too feel the pain of their absence.

Be with us even if we’re not much fun. Accompany us on a walk, go to the movies, attend a support group, and invite us for coffee. Your friendship and support is the best therapy.

It can be very hard to stay in touch with friends and loved ones in so much pain. It might help to understand that each of us has the power to truly help in the healing process. And the most helpful way to help is to be a continued presence.

Note: Robbie Miller Kaplan is an author who writes from a unique perspective as a mother who herself has lost two children. She has written How to Say It When You Don't Know What to Say, a guide to help readers communicate effectively when those they care about experience loss.

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