|Ways to Support a Grieving Parent |
PLEASE . . .
- Know that I need your support. I may not ask for help (I may be much too numb), but I need to know you're there.
- Know that I do not expect you to make me feel better or to take away my pain. Right now no one can. I need your support, your acceptance of my need to grieve, and your willingness to live with the helplessness you'll feel.
- If you haven't called because you cannot handle my grief and your helplessness, say so. I can truly understand that and I'll feel better than I would if you used excuses that made me think you didn't care.
- Try to tolerate my anger if you can. It's not really you or others who anger me; it's that I lost what I loved. Please forgive my "unreasonable" outbursts. I hope you'll understand.
- Don't try to stop my tears. My tears may be hard on you, but they are a healthy way for me to release some of my pain. Crying is good for me; please try to sit with me and let me cry.
- Don't try to cheer me up by comparing "worse" losses. Pain is pain, and mine must be acknowledged.
- Understand if I can't bear to be with your new baby or to attend a baby shower. I do wish you joy and I even feel gladness for you, but my grief cannot be suppressed.
- Don't tell me that what happened must have been "God's will." Hearing that brings me no consolation right now and only adds to the spiritual confusion and isolation I feel.
- Accept me in my grief and I'll always remember the healing love that you offered me.
- Please don't tell me that I'll be 'wiser' next time - that implies that what happened this time was my fault, or that I was irresponsible, when in reality I did everything within my power to have a healthy child; I wanted it with my whole soul, and any implication that I didn't hurts so very much.
- Don't remind me how lucky I am to have other children or that I can try soon to have another. There is not, nor will there be, a replacement for this child.
- Don't say, "It was better this way."
- Don't say, "I know how you feel." No one knows that. Please ask instead how I am today, how I feel.
- Offer specific help . . . a meal, a laundry done, a free hour. I'm too deeply hurt to think very far ahead.
- Don't tell me to put this behind me, forget and get on with my life. This is my life. I need to grieve. I need to be me and I need not to forget but to find a way to remember in peace.
- Hold me, touch me, tell me that you care, bear with me through this uncharted territory that is my grief.
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