Two years after the death of my oldest child, I finally decided to go to a grief support group for parents who have lost children. I went to support a friend who had recently lost a child. I’m not sure I would have gone, but I know when I lost my child I would have given anything to have someone go with me.
Losing a child or even miscarrying is one of the loneliest, most desolate journeys a person can take and the only people who can come close to appreciating it are those who share the experience.
The following tips can be your compass to help you navigate how to give support to grieving parents on a sacred journey they never wanted to take.
Remember Our Children
The loss of a child is a pain all bereaved parents can share, and it is a degree of suffering that is impossible to wrap your mind around without experiencing. I’m sure we all know someone who is experiencing grief, our discomfort keeps us from approaching the problem head on. You want the world to know your living children, so don’t you want the world to remember your deceased one?
If you see something that reminds you of my child, tell me! If you are reminded during holiday’s, or on his birthday that I am missing my daughter, please tell me your wonderful memories. When I speak her name or relive memories, please remember them with me, don’t sink away. If you never met my daughter, don’t be afraid to ask about her. One of my greatest accomplishments was Alanis.
Do Not Try To Fix Me
An out of the ordinary death, such as the loss of a child, can break a person in a way that is never going to be fixable or solvable. Let me repeat that, It is never going to be fixable, ever! Only the person experiencing the loss can learn to pick up the pieces and move forward, but your life will never be the same.
The individual person must find a way to continue to live, in spite of the loss. It is a lonely journey, but it is one we have to take. While the support is appreciated, we hope you can be patient with us as we find our way.
I am so tired of hearing about how you think it is time for me to get back to life, that it has been long enough, or that time heals all wounds. Support and love are welcome, and while sometimes it is hard to watch our feeling of brokenness is not going to go away.
Sometimes We Will Need A Break
We will always count the birthdays and sometimes fantasize about what it would be like if he/she were still with us. Birthdays are the worst, normally a wonderfully celebrated day is horrible day of grief. Our hearts break at the thought of not being able to celebrate our child’s arrival into the world, but we are left with a huge hole in our hearts. Some parents have rituals and some have parties while other, such as myself prefer solitude. Whatever way is chosen, we are likely going to need time to process the marking of another year without our children.
No matter how many years go by, the anniversary date of when our children died will always bring back emotional memories and painful feelings. The days leading up to that day can feel like an impending doom or like it is hard to breath. We may or may not want to share with you what is happening.
This is where the process of remembrance will help!
Accept the Fact That Our Loss Might Make You Feel Uncomfortable
Yes, our loss is very unnatural, and out of the natural order of things; it could perhaps make you challenge your sense of safety. You might not know what to say or do, and could be afraid that you will make us lose it. Don’t walk on egg shells around us!
We will never forget our child, or how they lit up any good or bad day. The loss will always be right under the surface of other emotions, even happiness. We would rather have a break down because you remembered our child than try and shield ourselves from the pain and live in denial.
Consider this as a sacred opportunity to stand shoulder to shoulder with someone who has endured one of this life’s most frightening events.