by Sandy Fox

“How can we help?” Parents, relatives and especially close friends have asked that question of bereaved parents… perhaps even to you. Were you reluctant to answer? Here are 10 suggestions of what you may want to say to others to keep communication lines open and promote understanding of your situation.

1. Encourage me to talk about my child and truly listen to what I have to say. You may learn something you never knew that could be of help in how you react to me.
2. Call and ask me to go out with you to lunch, shopping or a movie. Our minds will be free from thinking about our child for a few hours.
3. Have a shoulder ready that I can cry on. At any moment I can lose control of my emotions for any reason. It can be a song I hear on the radio, an anniversary I can no longer share or a special holiday.
4. Be around for me if I need anything and can’t seem to get it done. It could be just changing a light bulb, cleaning the house or shopping for food. There will be times I can’t move and other times I feel exhausted. Try to understand these times.
5. Encourage me to start a new project, join a new organization, or volunteer at someplace that could use our expertise. Perhaps a new job or new environment could help me. Talk to me about it.
6. Understand that I will never be the same and accept the new ‘me.’ Accept that I may now have new goals I never dreamed of before my child died.
7. Encourage me to get rest, stay healthy and exercise. I may not want to do it at first, but keep trying to get me out of the house and not sit alone with my memories.
8. Remember my child during the year with a note about a birthday, a thinking of you card, or a happy memory or thought.
9. Respect the fact that I may not want to participate in some activities. I may now have different priorities and some things are no longer important to me.
10. Just be there for me. Silence is okay. Saying “I’m sorry” is adequate.

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Sandy Fox

Sandy Fox has won four finalist awards for her recent book "Creating a New Normal...After the Death of a Child" with over 80 coping articles and a huge resource section. One award is from USA Book News in the Health/Death and Dying Category for 2010. The second award is from ForeWord Reviews in the Health Category for 2010. The third is from Royal Dragonfly Book Awards. The most recent finalist award is for the self-help category of the 2011 Indie Book Awards. She is also the author of another grief book, "I Have No Intention of Saying Good-bye." “I Have No Intention of Saying Good-bye” tells the stories of 25 sets of parents and how they moved on with their lives after the death of their child, offering hope and survival techniques. Sandy has headed two national bereavement conferences for childless parents and spoken for many years at Compassionate Friends National conferences, POMC and across the U.S. to a variety of bereavement groups. She also writes articles for the Open to Hope site, EZ articles, and Journey through grief newsletter in addition to her own weekly blog: www.survivinggrief.blogspot.com. Sandy can be contacted at sfoxaz@hotmail.com to set up any speaking engagements or to ask any questions related to surviving the death of a child. Sandy was a guest on the radio show “Healing the Grieving Heart“ discussing: “I have no intention of Saying Good-Bye: Coping Techniques for the Now Childless.” To hear Sandy being interviewed on this show by Dr. Gloria & Dr. Heidi Horsley, click on the following link: www.voiceamericapd.com/health/010157/horsley010407.mp3

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