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A Guide for Family & Friends

Don't Run Away From Us, Just Be There

The average person distances themself once a death occurs - usually for one of the following reasons:

 

  • They may not know what to do or say

  • They assume you are overwhelmed with support and choose not to be an additional bother

  • They are devastated or triggered by the loss themself and need time to figure out their own emotions

 

However the grieving parents are in utter shock and may be depending on you to be their rock. Being that each family's situation is unique, every suggestion offered here may not apply. The simplest thing to do is to ask the family if they want your physical support.

 

In some cases, the actions by family and friends, even if unintentional, may add to the trauma of their experience. Under no circumstance is it ever proper etiquette to tell a grieving parent they can or will have more children. Children cannot be replaced. Having additional children can be a blessing and assist on the journey of recovery but may not heal the trauma from the nightmare they have just experienced.​

Here are other tips for supporting grieving parents:

  • Saying less is usually more. A simple, “sorry for your loss,” will usually suffice.

  • Referring to their child by name or just acknowledging the loss in general can help a parent feel validated about their child's existence.

  • Do not rush them to heal or, "move on." Let them grieve however and for however long they choose, in spite of how "odd" you may find their actions (as long as they are not physically harmful to themselves or others).

  • Just be the friend you have always been, attempting to do the things you've always done, UNLESS the parents express otherwise.

  • Aside from your presence, you may want to cook food or have a local restaurant deliver food. Angel parents are not focused on eating properly. Help make sure they have breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We suggest utilizing sites like GrubHub or Seamless, if the family wishes to be alone during this time.

 

  • They will not be focused on cleaning their home either. Set a date to clean their house or do their dishes, if allowed, or hire a housecleaning service to come in and handle it. You can utilize sites like Groupon for discounts on services in their area.

  • Always offer your help but remember some parents aren't in a position to even say yes. Try finding a point person who may be able to assist in these decisions.

  • Remember there may be a huge financial burden on the family. Under most circumstances, there is no insurance to cover burial or cremation expenses. Depending on the stage of pregnancy the mother may still need postpartum recovery time because her body still delivered a baby. The partner may need time off to grieve themself and assist with the mother's recovery. In these cases, paid time off may not be available to them.

 

 

We understand that you are hurting and in shock as well, maybe at a loss for words. We've heard most people say they just didn't know what to say or do. While some families want physical support, some may want to be completely alone. The best thing to do is simply ask the families if your presence is welcomed. It's great to say, "Call me if you need me," however that phone call will rarely be made. Even though it's needed, we are normally too hurt to pick up the phone.