Question for those who've lost a child - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 06-09-2007, 03:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was planning on bringing flowers over to my cousin who just lost her son yesterday but I just wonder if that is the best idea? Any ideas on something meaningful that I could bring over? Food? A card? What about for her five year old? Would it be appropriate to bring him something? I'm just at a loss, maybe just being there is enough. I just want to help as much as possible.

Thanks

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#2 of 13 Old 06-09-2007, 03:54 PM
 
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I have not lost a child, but when my father died suddenly when I was younger, the most helpful thing was the reassurance that I could come to someone at any time to talk. I didn't think anything of it at the time, but once the excitement of the death and funeral were over... everyone else returned to their lives and my family was left to piece things back together on their own.

Also, followup in a month or so with a gift just for your cousin (some chocolate, baked goods, tea, yarn, a book... whatever she's into, really) and a nice note sayign that you are thinking of her and are availiable anytime day or night.

Mama to Raina (9/06) and Peter (8/09)!
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#3 of 13 Old 06-09-2007, 04:23 PM
 
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Bring a casserole so she doesn't have to cook.
Bring some groceries so she doesn't have to worry about it. (I couldn't go grocery shopping for several weeks, too many children.)
Bring flowers because it's the thought that counts (I had people I'd never met from DH's office sending us flowers and I was so touched).
Bring a "new" toy for the 5 yo to keep him occupied (or a DVD if they're TV watchers).
Offer to help her sort her mail, do a couple loads of laundry, some dishes, etc.
Take the 5 yo to the park if he's going stir-crazy and mom needs some alone time.
Give her a hug, no words are needed. Just hold her for as long as she needs it, it can feel like the world is spinning out of control.
Offer to listen if she needs to talk.
If you have a large family, which it sounds like you do, arrange with them so that someone is assigned to check in with her daily (in person, not by phone) for a few weeks at least. Then every other day for a few weeks, etc.
If at any time (now, next week, next month, next year, etc.) she wants to talk about him, listen. Don't change the subject, don't brush her off.
If you're going to go by, let her know what time to expect you so if she wants to take a shower and get dressed she can. But if you don't mind her being in her pjs, let her know that as well. (I'm assuming she's taking some time off work.)
On his birthday, send her a "thinking of you" card.
Even after the daily visits end, be sure to call her up once a week or so and ask her if she needs anything. Ask her how she's feeling (not how she's doing, which seems to beg the answer "fine").
If she seems to be sinking into depression, encourage her to see her doctor.
Encourage her to seek out a therapy group (see if you can find one in her area).
Don't stop calling/visiting just because it's been a few weeks or even a couple months. The pain continues.
Make sure someone is available on every anniversary (weekly for the first month, then monthly). Those days can be particularly hard.
Birthdays, mother's day, holidays are also extra hard. Offer to help in any way you can, but make sure there's no pressure for her to attend something that she may be uncomfortable with.

Is someone helping make arrangements? That can be very confusing, very heart-wrenching.

That's off the top of my head... these are the things I wish someone had done for me (or the things that were done that were appreciated).

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#4 of 13 Old 06-09-2007, 04:51 PM
 
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So sorry for your cousin's loss. I can't imagine.

I had to read posts as I am going to be getting together with the dw of a friend of dh's and their 3 mo ds just finished his 1st round of chemo. Though your cousin's situation is vastly different, I do plan on taking some meals for them to have in the freezer, offer to babysit their other dd's.
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#5 of 13 Old 06-09-2007, 04:54 PM
 
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Food. I would bring it for a while- I couldn't cook or do other housework for two months after losing my little boy.
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#6 of 13 Old 06-09-2007, 06:25 PM
 
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Bring fresh food, like fruits and veggies already cut up and ready to eat, and wait a little while to do it. She will have lots and lots of stuff given the first week or two and then just when reality sets in for her, the help is going to start dwindling away...

Offer to take care of her other children if she doesn't seem up to it. They are going to be confused and sad and mom might not have the emotional resources to help them through this time right now.

If you have any photos of the child get copies made and put them into an album, and maybe write some of your memories of the child down and include them with the photos.
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#7 of 13 Old 06-09-2007, 06:59 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ErinBird View Post
I have not lost a child, but when my father died suddenly when I was younger, the most helpful thing was the reassurance that I could come to someone at any time to talk. I didn't think anything of it at the time, but once the excitement of the death and funeral were over... everyone else returned to their lives and my family was left to piece things back together on their own.

Also, followup in a month or so with a gift just for your cousin (some chocolate, baked goods, tea, yarn, a book... whatever she's into, really) and a nice note sayign that you are thinking of her and are availiable anytime day or night.
Great advice. That "forgotten" feeling is a tough one. The pastor at my father's funeral actually reminded people about this issue. If you are thoughtful over the next 6 months, on a regular basis...you won't be forgotten. Again, I'm sorry for your loss.
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#8 of 13 Old 06-09-2007, 07:19 PM
 
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I've never lost a child, but I've seen a lot of people say flowers aren't a good idea when someone dies because the flowers die quickly and it's a reminder.

I think food is a good idea and also something for her older son to give him something to do.
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#9 of 13 Old 06-09-2007, 08:55 PM
 
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anything to show you care. When I lost my daughter I appreciated any cards, food, flowers, etc, that I received. Some mamas from another site had a star named after DD, I think that was the best gift I ever received.

I'm a modifiedartist.gif DH is a reading.gif we have 2 angel.gifs, and DS is a rainbow1284.gif baby.gif
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#10 of 13 Old 06-09-2007, 09:00 PM
 
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i am grateful to have all of my children with me. I did have a miscarriage in 2000, and the one thing that people said that bothered me was "it will be ok"
because i was thinking "ITS NOT OKAY DAMNIT!"

cristeen had some wonderful suggestions.

I would say just listen, endlessly. Or just be there. and let her know that you are there for her, whatever and whenever she needs, and mean it.

Sorry for your cousins loss

wife to my awesome DH, homeschooling, unassisted birthing, food growing, life loving mama to 5 crazy monkeys. :
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#11 of 13 Old 06-09-2007, 10:41 PM
 
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This is a sticky from the P&BL forum and it has helpful ideas in it.

When my DD died I appreciated anyone who took the time to remember us. Flowers, meals, a phone call, etc... The action didn't matter, only the person who took the time to think of us.

I'm so sorry for your cousin's loss. If you have any questions or if I can be of any help, please don't hesitate to PM me.

, , , mama to Ross , Reagan (8/29/05), Joshua (from Haiti...here NOW due to the earthquake!), and Elijah , born safely 9-8-09.
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#12 of 13 Old 06-09-2007, 11:04 PM
 
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*

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#13 of 13 Old 06-10-2007, 03:22 AM
 
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I really appreciated the food brought to us after Lasius died. I also really appreciated my friend coming over and doing general pick up stuff (putting dishes in the dishwasher, unloading it, sweeping). She helped me do a load of laundry and fold them too, which I thought was really nice.

Offer to take the 5 yo for a few hours at the park to give her some much needed time to grieve or what have you that she may not want to express with her 5 yo present. (I know I felt I had to be 100% put together in front of my daughter)

Help with any arrangements if needed. Offer to call and talk to the people to get info and set dates and times.

Keep her and her baby in your mind. Mention on occasion that you think about him and how she is doing. Seriously- my friend mentioned on Lasius' 8 month anniversary that she thinks about him and us everyday. I don't think people really realize HOW MUCH that means to me. It means that my child had an impact on someone other than my family. And it doesn't feel like it was all for nothing. My baby did something- he didn't live long, but he did something that made other people remember him.

Anniversaries of death, holidays (even Halloween and the fourth of july) are super hard. It isn't just the 'big ticket' holidays like Mother's day, Xmas, and Tgiving. Send cards and filled them with warm and loving words and remembrance.

If there are any pictures that she may be willing to make copies of-- put them up in your house. On your fridge, wall wherever. I see Lasius' picture on my friends fridge EVERY time I go over there, and while it's difficult, I know that someone else cares.

Don't say 'It'll be ok" Instead say "this isn't ok or fair and it sucks. I'm not going to lie and say it's ok."

GREAT MOM to dd (5) and )ds( [sept 26 2006]
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