Please help me comfort a grieving mother. - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 11 Old 12-29-2003, 02:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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On Christmas day, my good friend and her husband lost their precious 5 month old daughter to leukemia. I attend the visitation tonight and the funeral tomorrow.

I am overwhelmed by my own grief, so I cannot begin to imagine how her family is feeling. I am terrified of doing/saying something improper or stupid. I'm terrified of breaking down and losing it. I've never been to a baby's funeral. Even typing those words seems unreal.

I want to comfort and support my beautiful friend the best way I can. I already had flowers sent to the funeral home and wrote a check for the memorial, and I will make a salad for the luncheon, but I want to do more than just that, kwim?

Is it appropriate to give my friend a book somebody recommended on grieving and loss? I feel helpless....

Any words of advice to comfort my heartbroken friend and her family?
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#2 of 11 Old 12-29-2003, 03:06 PM
 
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How terrible. I will pray for the family. i think that a book about loss woukd be an appropriate gift, as would a handmade token, such as the quilt we are making for NM. You sound like a wonderful friend.
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#3 of 11 Old 12-29-2003, 04:59 PM
 
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How awful.

I have read good things about a support group for bereaved parents called Compassionate Friends. http://www.compassionatefriends.org/

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#4 of 11 Old 12-29-2003, 09:40 PM
 
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The book would be a lovely idea. I really like The Bereaved Parent by Harriet Sarnoff Schiff.

I'll second Compassionate Friends. They likely have a chapter in your area and you can subscribe to the monthly newsletter. It's full of stories, poems and outreach from other parents who have lost a child.

The greatest gift you can give a grieving parent is yourself. Just be there and don't be afraid to talk about her. Use her name and remember if she cries it's not because of you. Crying cleanses us. Let her cry as much as she needs to.

I always think the loneliest part of grief is months later when everyone else is going about their business like nothing happend and the shock wears off. This would be a good time for you to be there with phone calls and support.

I'll hold them in my thoughts and light a candle tonight for thier precious baby.
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#5 of 11 Old 12-30-2003, 02:36 AM
 
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I second Ms. Mom. Just be there. It's ok to just sit there and not say anything at all. Talk to the mother about how her daughter's death affected you. Her daughter was so young, let the momma know that her daughter touched somebody. WHen you mention or bring her up, you are not reminding the mother she lost a daughter, you are validating her daughter's life.
Don't expect her to make decisions unless she initiates it. If you can spend time with her to intercept well meaning people that will absolutely say the wrong thing. The only words to say are I'm sorry and I wish you didn't have to go through this. I lost my daughter at birth 5 months ago and I still vividly remember how lost I felt. Let me know if you have any other questions.
Gossamer

Before you were conceived, I wanted you. Before you were born I loved you. Before you were a minute old, I would have died for you. That is the miracle of life. ~Maureen Hawkins~
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#6 of 11 Old 12-31-2003, 12:57 AM
 
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Oops, where the heck did the rest of my post go? There was more...

Anyway, the main thing I wanted to add was that I would not worry about breaking down/losing it as your tears and grief can only honor her precious daughter's life and passing.

I hope you can be there for her in the dark days to come.

Come visit the NEW QuirkyBaby website -- earn QB Bucks rewards points for purchases, reviews, referrals, and more! Free US shipping on great brands of baby slings and carriers and FREE BabyLegs or babywearing mirror on orders of $100+. Take the QB Quiz for personalized advice!

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#7 of 11 Old 12-31-2003, 12:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks to all of you who offered your kind words, prayers, and support. My friend and her husband buried their precious daughter in a lovely, dignified ceremony yesterday.

I will make it a priority to be there for her once everything settles down. But I am worried that she is overwhelmed, or overcrowded with people hovering around her. I want to be there for her, but I also want to respect her privacy and space.

On another note, my sister-in-law is a massage therapist and told me that she would gladly offer her services free of charge for my friend. I'm thinking that might help. We could both get massages together in her home or mine. I thought that was sweet of my SIL who doesn't even know my friend.

Thanks again for the prayers and advice.
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#8 of 11 Old 01-20-2004, 09:02 PM
 
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just a weird woo-woo note..... astrologer in the house.....

tomorrow is January 21....after 3:06pm will be the new moon in Aquarius and will be chinese New Year. Year of the wood monkey.

If you could make a point of calling her tomorrow after new moon or on thursday and offering up your sisterinlaw's generous gift..that would be great.

We're in the final hours of the old year and we're in the final hours of the old moon...I know all mumbo jumbo.. but there will be a new wave of energy tomorrow and for the next few days and this particular energy is very 'friend' oriented. It is also very humanitarian. So, I say all that to say that it will be well received and it will help forge a new year without too much effort.
It is sort of like riding a wave. If you have ever surfed you'd know that you have to get on the wave right at the right time and you can ride it all the way out...if you get on too early or too late it just collapses.
Now would be the time to help her in a different manner. There is all kinds of help as we know..

just the woo-woo side.

Check out New Moon on my Astrology Site

http://tracyastrosalon.blogspot.com/

 

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#9 of 11 Old 01-21-2004, 04:31 PM
 
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I am sorry that this precious child has died. I know how difficult it is, my second born died when he was 2 1/2 months.
Just being there is all that is needed. You care, that is self-evident. if you don't know what to say, then say so. If you don't know what to do, then say so. There's no right or wrong way, this is so unusual there IS no right or wrong way.
You are honouring the life of a little person. You are validating her existence. You are honouring the role of parents, Mother, Father.
What hurts is people who run away. What helps is people who stand by you in your grief.
What helps is people who stick around in the long months and years ahead and talk about those precious times, those memories.
Only one person in the world, the Mum of another child who died made contact with me on what would have been my boy's 1st birthday, and gave me a gift and a card saying she remembered. The second birthday was easier, the third the worst & we're not at the 4th yet.
Later offer to do something specific- clean the kitchen, vac the house. The daze lasts on and on for months.
For the children you may have, express your gratitude. For the time you had with this cherub, express your thanks.
I promise that anyone who has been touched by the death of a baby becomes more humble, more wise: you learn that no amount of time, money, beauty, contacts,knowledge has any value in such circumstances. The only thing that matters is love.
Dear lady in you, this grieving Mum has the most precious gift of all, your friendship. You are loving, courageous and generous.
Allow yourself too to grieve as you need too for yourself. It takes a long time to get through. Eventually things get easier, but you never, ever forget and every day there is something to remind you.
Wishing you peace of mind
Christine
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#10 of 11 Old 01-21-2004, 10:42 PM
 
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Christine, I offer you a warm and gentle welcome to Mothering

I'm so sorry about your precious son. What a journey of grief you've been on.

Thank you for your words of wisdom and sharing your experience with us.

I'll hold you in my thoughts.
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#11 of 11 Old 01-22-2004, 02:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Christine,

Thank you so much for your kind words. I do agree that a child's death makes one more humble.

Though I was at her side when she and her husband buried their angel, I sent a card a week later with a personal message. For many days, I searched for the right words to write inside the card. I feel guilty that I "borrowed" a beautiful phrase from a poster here at MDC:

"Please know that you and (DH) did everything you could for your little girl, and that during those few short months, she knew your warmth and love."

These words seem to convey what I really wanted to say. I wanted to avoid expressing my grief all over again in a card because she knows how dreadfully sad I am. I wanted to assure my friend that her warmth and love was felt by her little girl and was comforted by it.

I've been friends with this woman since we were in the 7th grade (we are both 29 now). She literally "saved" me from being attacked by playground bullies. It's hard for me to express my feelings sometimes without turning into a blubbering idiot, so I want to show my appreciation and affection for her in other ways (some good suggestions here were mentioned such as vacuuming, helping around the house, etc). I can't help feeling inadequate because I can't relate.

Thanks so much to all of you who are helping me "grow up" a little during this life-altering transition.
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