How do I support a mom who is losing her toddler? - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
Old 05-27-2010, 02:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
kimilia's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Parsippany, NJ
Posts: 194
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
A close acquaintance of mine is in my little playgroup. Her 2 1/2 year old was diagnosed with a diffuse pontine glioma on Friday (brain stem tumor) and the little girl is now on a ventilator and the tumor is attacking her nervous system aggressively.

We are beyond crushed and scared. How can I be supportive in an appropriate way. I am sick over this. I want to do the right thing, although what could even be right at a time like this?
kimilia is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 05-27-2010, 03:07 PM
 
momtoS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,755
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Oh my gosh. What a horribly sad thing.

I have know two mom's that have lost little ones (one was almost a year, and had an illness...over a three month period) and the other was 5 and died in a tragic accident recently....so it was unexpected and sudden.).

Could you offer to take family pictures? Or find a photographer to take pictures for her? (There is an organization in the states...I think called now lay me down to sleep).

Does she have other children? Could you babysit them so she can visit her little one?

Could you organize a pasta dinner or benefit to help with bills?

Is she religious? Does she have family support?
momtoS is offline  
Old 05-27-2010, 03:25 PM
 
MeepyCat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 3,679
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 56 Post(s)
Oh, that poor family. Of course nothing is right at a time like this, but it's not the point to be perfect. You just want to help.

I would not expect ANYTHING to be coming out of their house right now. They're probably so overwhelmed, and they're probably camped at the hospital. Half the problem, if you want to help, is catching them.

I think the best option would be, like, the parent care kit. One of those re-usable grocery bags containing:
- Water or other non-perishable beverage in bottles.
- Granola bars, pretzels, nuts, or other small snacks in individual packages that won't go bad. Single serving packets of oatmeal.
- Tea bags and packets of cocoa/coffee or other hot drinks.
- Hand lotion, lip balm, travel-sized body wash and mouth wash, toothbrushes, whatever might make them more comfortable.
- Clean socks, clean t-shirts, and if you know them well enough that it's not creepy, clean underwear.

If/when you get hold of them, ask questions - how's the baby, how are they doing, what do they need. Be specific on that last. Can you do laundry or bring them clothes from home? Do they need a hot meal? Are there chores that need to be done at the house - like mowing the lawn or cleaning up the kitchen or bathrooms? Is any family coming in - do they need help getting people at the airport? Are they signed up on something like lotsahelpinghands.com that would let their friends organize and assist without having to bug them about how?
MeepyCat is offline  
Old 05-27-2010, 03:31 PM
 
Rani's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Skokie IL
Posts: 862
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Exactly what the previous posters said. My nephew has a brain tumor or did its in remission thank the gods but, what they really needed was just that, change of clothes, someone to do errands or walk the dog, those day to day things that just stop.

Then if/when the worst happens, to be there after to do pretty much teh same thing again.

hugs to them...
Rani is offline  
Old 06-04-2010, 01:54 AM
 
mommy2emily(jen)'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 22
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I am so sorry for this family I wish i knew what to say the ladies above have good ideas. I can really only say waht to do after which is to listen. To ask questions about the little one, no matter how awkward it feels us moms want to talk about our kiddos. We want to know they will not be forgotten that they will nt be erased. there is nothing you can say, there are not magical words all you can do is say you are sorry and that you are there and that you are willing to talk to them about whatever they want to.

Jennifer, Proud army wife to Michael. Mother to Emily age 6 and Megan, my little angel who is now forever 18 months old. I miss you baby girl (9-2-08 to 3-10-10)
mommy2emily(jen) is offline  
Old 06-04-2010, 03:12 AM
 
griffin2004's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: On permanent holiday
Posts: 2,326
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
People are so well-meaning, but tend to fade away after a few months. I'd suggest that you be there for her a year from now, 2 years, etc. Remember the child's birthday and the anniversary of her death. I guarantee you it will mean the world to the mom.

For now, think of your daily routine and what parts of it the family needs to have done for them. Maybe something as mundane as mowing the grass or pulling weeds in the flower beds. Gathering their mail. Cleaning out their fridge.

You're a dear friend.

wild.gif  kickin' it old school
griffin2004 is offline  
Old 06-04-2010, 06:29 PM
 
Ahappymel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Southern California
Posts: 2,114
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
A dear friend of mine lost her little boy to a tumor much as you described...it's been two years now.
Her son died 8 months after being diagnosed. He was in and out of the hospital during that time. It was the last 6 months that were so intense for the family.
They needed SO much help and support. They needed people to bring them food, to come over and do laundry, to clean, to garden, to stay with her son for a bit so she/her husband could take a nap or go have a few hours of rest/relaxation together.
People would volunteer their services and offer the family (including toddler) massage, monetary donations (both were self-employed and losing income rapidly), local businesses were offering gift certificates of every kind to help them with food and every service you can think of. They set up some sort of trust/fund in his name, as I recall, so that people/businesses could donate to the child/family as a non-profit. Eventually someone got a big event coordinated that involved a fundraiser/silent auction, with donated food/services being sold to help with costs/bills. It created an amazing network of community support to this family while they were going through this absolute nightmare.
I guess I would say donate what ever services or goods that you are able. It will all help.
Ahappymel is offline  
Old 06-05-2010, 04:15 PM
 
Novella's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Rural Canada - peaceful prairie
Posts: 1,140
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by MeepyCat View Post
Are they signed up on something like lotsahelpinghands.com that would let their friends organize and assist without having to bug them about how?
THANK YOU! For that suggestion. My friend's husband died a month ago - very tragic and unexpected. We are now just moving into the first stage after that initial flurry of visitors and food, food, food. I think something like this might be just the ticket.

Six kids, sixth sense, six degrees of separation. . . from sanity!
Not sure that I'm crunchy, but definitely a "tough chew".
Novella is offline  
Old 06-05-2010, 06:37 PM
 
angela40's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 96
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
visit www.icouldbeyourchild.org. all those kids have/had DIPG. it is truly an evil evil cancer and my heart breaks for your friend. take pictures; volunteer to read the toddlers favorite books to him/ sing his favorite lullabies... photography would be good.
ugh i am so sorry they are going thru this... there are only 300 or less per year diagnosed in the US.
angela40 is offline  
Old 06-09-2010, 08:11 PM
 
mamalisa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Germantown WI
Posts: 8,312
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rani View Post
Exactly what the previous posters said. My nephew has a brain tumor or did its in remission thank the gods but, what they really needed was just that, change of clothes, someone to do errands or walk the dog, those day to day things that just stop.

Then if/when the worst happens, to be there after to do pretty much teh same thing again.

hugs to them...
I have a friend who's son had the same kind of tumor (I think). He passed just a few months ago. I think the best things friends can do are the stupid things. Clean the bathroom, take out the trash, empty the litter box, pick up toilet paper. They are mindless and feel useless, but I know those were the things my friend appreciated a lot.

I'm so sorry, watching children die is horrible.
mamalisa is offline  
Old 06-10-2010, 12:17 AM
 
joyluc's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: In a whirlwind
Posts: 361
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My co-workers brought me a HUGE basket of individually packaged snack foods (nuts, cookies, crackers, fruit, candy) when DS was in the hospital. When they gave it to me I thought Wow what am I going to do with this? But we ate off that basket for 3 days and it was soo helpful to have food there when we got hungry.

When DS's father died my stepsister sent a ton of frozen food from one of those gourmet companies. It was nice not to think about food.

You sound like a lovely friend. The best thing you can do is just keep showing up so the family knows that someone cares.

Married to the love of my life, mom to DS :
joyluc is offline  
Old 06-15-2010, 11:40 AM
 
Pariah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: My happy place.
Posts: 2,727
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I was going to come here and suggest the same as the previous posters, lots of help with household things so she doesn't have to think about all of that. I am so sorry for your friend. I can't imagine how horrible this must be.

stillheart.gif = Pariah, Super Mom + The Amazing Wiggy (1/06)superhero.gifangel.gif  (6/08)  52 Projects: 0/52  Decluttering Challenge: 37/2013

Pariah is offline  
Old 07-13-2010, 01:02 AM
 
mom2tatum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: outside of Philly
Posts: 1,271
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
I agree with everyone's suggestions already. And I'd add - maybe a year after try to help her do something with advocacy or writing up info of awareness or something to help others dealing with it - that sort of thing can be really healing for families when they involve themselves in supporting other families affected as well. It is only after many stages of the grief have passed though, I believe.

Already!?!?! cold.gif  ~ Lori, doula, childbirth educator, wife to Jermaine 6/04, and mom to two happy and energetic boys - Tatum 6/06 and Keegan 3/09

mom2tatum is offline  
 
User Tag List

Thread Tools


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off