by Sandy Fox
On my web site, www.sandyfoxauthor.com I have listed 10 ways that others can help us through our grief. Here are 10 additional ways I collected from friends to develop a new level of understanding between you and your friends that may help parents as they travel down that long, difficult road to recovery.
**Acknowledge my grief; don’t ignore me because you are uncomfortable with the subject of death. It makes me wonder if what happened means nothing to you.
**Don’t try to understand the depth of my pain. Just put a loving hand on my shoulder or hug me without saying anything. Sometimes silence is more comforting than words.
**Be aware that anniversaries of my child’s birth and death may be particularly difficult. Perhaps if you could call or invite me out, it might help a little. At least acknowledge you also remember those important dates.
**Don’t call with the excuse that you’ve been too busy to call. Am I or my child that unimportant to you that you couldn’t spare five extra minutes? I believe people make time for everything they think is important, and I appreciate those who just call and chat.
**Just because I have surviving children doesn’t mean the pain of losing a child is any easier. The excruciating pain will always be there, whether an only child or one of many.
**Don’t forget that in most cases, there are two of us who have lost a child. Express your sympathy to both of us, not just me. My husband hurts just as badly as I do, and his pain is as real as mine.
**If I have surviving children, ask them how they are doing and encourage them to talk about their feelings also. Losing a sibling is just as devastating to them.
**If I act rude or uncaring at times, forgive me. The intense pain I feel is overriding any other emotions right then, and I truly don’t mean to act that way.
**If you invite me out, expect me to talk about my child. I have had the most unbearable loss of all happen and sometimes getting those feelings out helps. Don’t worry about not knowing what to say. Just be there to listen.
**Leave your religious beliefs at home. I will cope with the religious aspect of my grief in my own way. What you believe may be much different from what I believe, so don’t try to tell me sayings like, “It was God’s will.”
I believe if others can just do these 10 things for us, our grief journey will become easier. I often think of this quote by Henri Nouwen when I acknowledge who is a real friend. “When we honestly ask ourselves which persons in our lives mean the most to us, we often find it is those who, instead of giving advice, cures or solutions, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair and confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not healing, and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”Tags: grief, hope