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This page is  just some advice from information I have come across. I just wanted something to help all of you too and to maybe help us feel not so useless. They aren't all written in stone but I think give a good insight into helping :) These two below are the ones I hear frequently from bereaved parents.  That they just want to hear their child's name and it doesn't matter what people say as long as they say something.

 

What you say to bereaved parents is less important than that you say something. Ignoring bereaved parents is only adding to the burden of grief. Simply asking "How are you doing?" can be very helpful. But do it often

Do not worry that mentioning the name of the child will "remind" bereaved parents of their child. We remember our child every minute of every day. We want to talk about our child. Mention his name. One of our biggest fears is that he will be forgotten and one of our biggest joys is to hear his name.

It is not necessary to ask questions about how the death happened. Let the bereaved tell you as much as they want when they are ready. A helpful question might be, "Would you like to talk? I'll listen."

Read about the various phases of grief so you can understand and help the bereaved to understand.

Be PATIENT. Don't say, "You will get over it in time." Mourning may take a long time. The bereaved need you to stand-by them for as long as necessary. Encourage them to be patient with themselves as there is no timetable for grief.

Accept whatever feelings are expressed. Don't say, "You shouldn't feel like that." This attitude puts pressure on the bereaved to push down their feelings. Encourage them to express their feelings - cry, hit a pillow, scream, etc.

Suggest that the bereaved person keep a journal.

Help the bereaved to avoid unrealistic expectations as to how they "should" feel and when they will be better. It is helpful when appropriate to say, "I don't know how you do as well as you 


Be available to LISTEN frequently. Most bereaved want to talk about the person who has died. Encourage them to talk about the deceased. Do not change the conversation or avoid mentioning the person's name.

 

Practice unconditional love. Feelings of rage, anger and frustration are not pleasant to observe or listen to; but it is necessary for the bereaved to recognize and work on these feelings in order to work through the grief, rather than become stuck in one phase.

The bereaved may ask "WHY?" It is often a cry of pain rather than a question. It is not necessary to answer, but if you do, you may reply, "I don't know why."

Recognize that the bereaved may be angry. They may be angry at God, the person who dies, the clergy, doctors, rescue teams, other family members, etc. Encourage them to acknowledge their anger and to find healthy ways of handling it.

Sometimes the pain of bereavement is so intense that thoughts of suicide occur. Don't be shocked by this. Instead, try to be a truly confiding friend

All that is necessary is a squeeze of the hand, a kiss, a hug, your presence. If you want to say something, say "I'm sorry" or "I care."

Don't be afraid to cry openly if you were close to the deceased. Often the bereaved find themselves comforting you, but at the same time they understand your tears and don't feel so alone in their grief.

Suggest that grieving people take part in support groups. Sharing similar experiences helps. Offer to attend a support group meeting with them. The meetings are not morbid.

Be aware that a bereaved person's self-esteem may be very low.

Depression is often part of grief. It is a scary feeling. To be able to talk things over with an understanding friend or loved one is one factor that may help prevent a person from becoming severely depressed.

The bereaved may appear to be getting worse. Be aware this is often due to the reality of the death hitting them.

Be aware of physical reactions to the death (lack of appetite, sleeplessness, headaches, inability to concentrate). These affect the person's coping ability, energy and recovery.

Be aware that weekends, holidays, and evenings may be more difficult..

Don't say, "I know just how you feel."

Don't use platitudes like "life is for the living" or "it's God's will." Explanations rarely console. It's better to say nothing.

When someone feels guilty and is filled with "if onlys", it is not helpful to say, "Don't feel guilty." This only adds to their negative view of themselves. They would handle it better if they could. One response would be, "I don't think that you are guilty. You did the best you could at the time, but don't push down your feelings of guilt. Talk about it until you can let it go.


 
Understand that we are parents without the right number of children. Because of this we experience over and over again fear, anger, guilt, sorrow, loss of future, isolation, abandonment. These are not steps that we work through but feelings that will continue to return forever with various intensity and in different forms.

Call bereaved parents just to let them know you are thinking about them. Don't be insulted if they do not call you. Grieving saps energy for a long time.

Remember that grief is not a process that one goes through a step at a time. Grieving is a roller coaster ride, and it is circular. The first couple of years, we are numb. When the numbness goes away, we are shocked to see that the world has gone on without our child. When we come out of this numbness, we are different people with a new sense of what it is to be "normal."
 
When parents lose their child, their hearts are broken. A huge hole is left. This hole will never heal - only the jagged edges around the hole may heal with time. Our grief, not always in the same form and maybe not as intense, will be with us the rest of our lives.
 
It does not matter how a child died or whether he was one week old or sixty years old. Nor does it matter whether there are surviving children. There is something absolute about the loss of each and every individual child.

 


Certain times of year will trigger intense sadness. Birthdays, anniversaries of the death, holidays, Mother's and Father's Day, weddings and funerals are just some. We can never properly prepare ourselves for these days. A simple "I am thinking of you and I know this day must be hard" goes a long way with bereaved parents

 

Parents who have lost children respond in so many different ways; there is no single way to grieve. And not much brings comfort. The worst things, bereft parents have confided to me, are being told, “you’ll get over it”, or being treated like a pariah, as if it’s a contagious condition, or having people avoid the subject of your dead child, or – perhaps worst of all – hearing, “you can always have other children”.

 

 

Do's
  • Do ask, "How are you REALLY doing?"
  • Do remember that you can't take away their pain, but you can share it and help them feel less alone.
  • Do let your genuine concern and care show.
  • Do call the child by name.
  • Do treat the couple equally. Fathers need as much support as mothers.
  • Do be available...to listen, to run errands, to drive, help with the other children, or whatever else seems needed at the time.
  • Do say you are sorry about what happened to their child and about their pain.
  • Do accept their moods whatever they may be, you are not there to judge. Be sensitive to shifting moods.
  • Do allow them to talk about the child that has died as much and as often as they want.
  • Do talk about the special, endearing qualities of the child.
  • Do give special attention to the child's brother and sister--at the funeral and in the months to come (they too are hurt and confused and in need of attention which their parents may not be able to give).
  • Do reassure the parents that they did everything they could, that the care the child received was the best possible.
  • Do put on your calendar the birth and death date of the child and remember the family the following year(s). That you remember the child is very supportive.
  • Do extend invitations to them. But understand if they decline or change their minds at the last minute. Above all continue to call and visit.
  • Do send a personal note or letter or make a contribution to a charity that is meaningful to the family.
  • Do get literature about the disease and grief process to help you understand.
Don'ts
  • Don't be afraid to ask about the deceased child and to share memories.
  • Don't think that the age of the child determines its value and impact.
  • Don't be afraid to touch, it can often be more comforting than words.
  • Don't avoid them because you feel helpless or uncomfortable, or don't know what to say.
  • Don't change the subject when they mention their child.
  • Don't push the parents through the grieving process, it takes a long time to heal and they never forget.
  • Don't encourage the use of drugs or alcohol.
  • Don't ask them how they feel if you aren't willing to listen.
  • Don't say you know how they feel.
  • Don't tell them what they should feel or do.
  • Don't try to find something positive in the child's death.
  • Don't point out that at least they have their other other children.
  • Don't say that they can always have another child.
  • Don't suggest that they should be grateful fo their other children.
  • Don't think that death puts a ban on laughter. There is much enjoyment in the memory of the time they had together.
  • Avoid the following cliches:
    • "Be brave,don't cry."
    • "It was God's will" or "it was a blessing."
    • "Get on with your life. This isn't the end of the world."
    • "God needed another flower in his garden."
    • "At least it wasn't older."
    • "You must be strong for the other children."
    • "You're doing so well."
    • "You're young, you'll get over it."
    • "Time will heal."

 

This poem was added in with an article I did with our local paper, to me it summed up so much of what I was feeling.

 

Please don't tell me...
(Original by Sharon Swinney, adapted by Theresa)

Please don't tell me:
"You have Zachary, you should be happy".
I know I have Zachary and I love him dearly.
But he doesn't replace Grace.
Please don't tell me:
"Life goes on".
I see this every day and I envy the people I see,
Some with babies, some pushing prams, all happy, laughing.
Please don't tell me: "
To get over it".
My baby has died.
It will take a long time for me to come back.
Please don't tell me:
'It's God's will and it was meant to be".
Don't you realise how much that hurts?
God wouldn't "let" this happen.
He's crying too.
Please don't tell me:
"You can have another one".
I don't want "another one". I want the one I lost.
Children are not interchangeable.
Please don't' tell me:
"She was only 32 hours old. It can't be that bad".
I was pregnant for seven months.
A part of me has died.
It hurts more than you could ever know.
Please don't tell me: "
This experience will make you a stronger person".
I don't want to be a stronger person.
I want to be a wimp and have two beautiful children.
Please don't tell me:
"It will take time",
Unless you can understand.
It runs by my timetable, not yours.
Please DO tell me:
"I'm sorry. Tell me about her".
Because talking about Grace reinforces her existence.
I'm happy when you want to know about my baby.
Please DO tell me: "I love you and I'll help you through this".
It's like a tiny light, shining in my darkness.
It gives me the strength to struggle on.