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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My neighbor was due with #3 this week, but I hadn't heard anything or even seen them much, but I did notice there were cars in their driveway from a nearby state where their family lives. I saw the husband outside this afternoon as I was walking to get DS off the bus, so I said, "Is there a baby yet?" I so wish I hadn't done that. He just shook his head. I knew something was wrong.

After I got DS, I went over and asked him everything was okay. He just hung his head and said, No.

Mama's water broke, but there was no heartbeat. Their sweet son was born at nearly 40 weeks. He was 11 pounds.

I hugged him and then his wife came out and I hugged her and told them how sorry I was. I told them that if there was anything I could do, I would, anytime. If they needed to send the kids over so they could have some quiet time, if they needed to talk, if they just wanted a cup of tea.

What else can I do for them? We went to their house once, but haven't socialized other than that; just waves from the driveway. So we weren't close friends or anything, and they have lots of friend and family support.
They invited us to the service. Should I do anything else or would that be too intrusive?
 

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I am so saddened to hear of their loss.
Maybe send a card and if you are able take them some food.
 

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A card is good. I appreciated food, too - or gift cards/certificates for
food if you don't know their preferences.

Also, since you live nearby, you'll still be there when the relatives
have left and things have settled "back to normal" for everyone -
everyone else, that is.
That was the worst time for me. After the shock had worn off.
What I really wanted to do was just talk about my son, and
I so appreciated folks who could just listen.
Maybe if you just let them know you are thinking of them now,
and then in a week or two or three, call or drop by and just "be there"
for her.
 

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Food is absolutely helpful, and as someone else suggested, restaurant gift card or grocery store gift cards if a casserole seems too personal. Also, it does mean a great deal when people remember and help out long after the crowd goes home. Those thoughtful cards on milestone dates meant a lot to us after our loss. A memorial rosebush or tree is nice -- the friends who were going to be hosting my baby shower sent one to me. Also, there are helpful books, and since she has other children I recommend one called, "We were going to have a baby, but we had an angel instead." It helped my children process and know what questions to ask.
 

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I was in a hurry before and was trying to jot down a few 'tangible' things. But absolutely the most important is just being there..esp after everyone else is gone. And don't just rely on telling them to call if they need anything because chances are they won't. When you are going through this it can be nearly impossible to reach out even when you may be wanting to. Taking the other children for an hour or two..or doing the dishes. Really just anything that would help lighten her load. It can be nearly impossible to function at times. Even through those small acts you are remembering their little one and that means so much. As was mentioned remembering the milestone dates means more than some even realize. A memorial bush or tree is a lovely idea.
 

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The main thing is to offer to talk if they need to. Within weeks everyone will expect them to have put the loss behind them... and grieving can take so long.

Also, if the baby had a name remember to use it. And note the date so you can send a remembrance card next year. The first anniversary of my son's death.. I got only one card. None of my friends cared to remember or simply forgot.
 

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Food is always nice. Esp,since they have other kids... you don't feel much like doing anything for a while, and cooking would be one of those things! ALSO, I felt like I wanted to say screw you to my body, so I just wanted to eat potato chips and pop for a few days. Just be an open ear.. I know for me the neighbor thing was akward.. I am not close with any neighbors, and one day the neigbor came and (like you) asked Did you have the baby?! All happy, of course (obviously I had the baby, I wasn't looking 9 months pregnant anymore) I couldn't even look at her, I just had to walk away and cry some more.. luckily my sister inlaw was outside with us then and went over to tell them what happened. Don't feel bad about asking though... it's better that you know, now that's one less weird thing they have to worry about. I wrote our other neighbors a letter about a month later because I felt like they needed to know, but I just couldn't face people yet. Later that day, I saw them and they told me how the same thing happened to them 40 years ago.. so sad.

You can also let them know about this message board.. it's been a great help to me, and many others too.
Thank you for caring.
 

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I will be the hundredth person to say, Food. She is postpartum, so anything you would do if she was home with her child. Listening. Not being afraid.

It is amazing of you to be here asking what to do.

s to them.
 

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Remember.

In a week, 2 weeks, a month, a year. Remember.

My BFF came down once a week (2-3 hr drive round trip) after work for about 6 months. At first she had to do the grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning because I was not capable. After a while I could manage the shopping, but she still had to do the cooking and cleaning. Then I could manage the cooking and she'd help me with the cleaning. And then it just evolved into her coming down for dinner and keeping us company. I can't tell you how much it meant to the both of us that she gave us all that support for so long. I'm not saying you need to go to that extreme, I'm just trying to let you know that even 6 months from now, caring gestures will probably still be appreciated. Most people stopped asking/showing care after about a week.

Our son's 2nd birthday is later this month and one of DH's colleagues came up to him yesterday and asked him "isn't his birthday coming up?" When DH told me last night, I burst into tears, because other than my BFF, I didn't think anyone remembered my little boy.
 

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yeah I also think it's great that you are next-door and you can see when the family leaves. you know when she/they are alone. of course leave them some alone time but still stop by. lots. check out the sticky here: http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=130836

and the bereaved parents wish list...

Bereaved Parents Wish List

I wish my child hadn't died. I wish I had her/him back.

Y

I wish you wouldn't be afraid to speak my child's name. My child
lived and was very important to me. I need to hear that she was
important to you also.

Y

If I cry and get emotional when you talk about my child, I wish you
knew that it isn't because you have hurt me. My child's death is the
cause of my tears. You have talked about my child and you have
allowed me to share my grief. I thank you for both.

Y

Being a bereaved parent is not contagious, so I wish you wouldn't
shy away from me. I need you now more than ever.

Y

I need diversions, so I do want to hear about you, but I also want
you to hear about me. I might be sad and I might cry, but I wish you
would let me talk about my child; my favorite topic of the day.

Y

I know that you think of and pray for me often. I also know that my
child's death pains you too. I wish you would let me know these
things through a phone call, a card or note, or a real big hug.

Y

I wish you wouldn't expect my grief to be over. These first years
are traumatic for me, but I wish you could understand that my grief
will never be over. I will suffer the death of my child until the day
I die.

Y

I am working hard in my recovery, but I wish you could understand
that I will never fully recover. I will always miss my child and I
will always grieve that she is gone.

Y

I wish you wouldn't expect me "not to think about it" or "be
happy". Neither will happen for a very long time, so don't frustrate
yourself.
Y

I don't want to have a "Pity party", but I do wish you would let me
grieve. I must hurt before I can heal.

Y

I wish you understood how my life has shattered. I know it is
miserable for you to be around me when I'm feeling miserable. Please
be as patient with me as I am with you.

Y

When I say, "I'm doing okay", I wish you could understand that I
don't "feel" okay and that I struggle daily.

Y

I wish you knew that all of the grief reactions I'm having are very
normal. Depression, anger, hopelessness and overwhelming sadness are all to be expected. So please excuse me when I'm quiet and withdrawn or irritable and cranky.

Y

Your advice to "take it one day at a time" is excellent advice.
However, a day is too much and too fast for me right now. I wish you
could understand that I'm doing good to handle an hour at a time.

Y

Please excuse me if I seem rude, certainly not my intent. Sometimes
the world around me goes too fast and I need to get off. When I walk
away, I wish you would let me find a quiet place to spend time alone.
I wish you understood that grief changes people. When my child died,
a big part of me died with her. I am not the same person I was
before my child died and I will never be that person again.
Y
I wish very much that you could understand ~ understand my loss and
my grief.
But....
I pray daily that you will never understand.

Poem By Compassionate Friends

thank you so much for stepping up. so many of our friends deserted us just cuz 'they don't know what to say'. just 'being there' speaks volumes. never say, 'if you need anything call me' cuz there will be no outbound calls for a year.

btw Micah was 10 pounds 10 ounces.

my deepest condolences to the family. and kudos to you for being there.
Rebecca
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you all for the suggestions. We are planning on going to the service, to show our support. I also will get them a gift card to a local restaurant, a card, and I *will* remember. I have written down the date already.

My DD was born almost two years ago and wasn't expected to live through the day. I know that almost losing your child is not at all the same as it actually happening, but I can relate to the horrible feeling of not knowing what is going to happen. I am so incredibly sorry for all of your losses as well.
 

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Wow, just reading this thread has me crying a river. Thank you for caring so much about people that you don't know all that well. You are a very compassionate person, and they are so lucky to have you as their neighbor. I cannot begin to imagine the depth of grief involved in losing a child. It pains me deeply to even consider it for a fleeting second. Again, thank you for thinking of them.
 

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i think id send a card and something for the mama, like a blue teddy bear or one with his birthstone color/stone with it if you could swing that (not a *real* stone, but...i know what im talking about anyway. ugh)
so she could have something to hold that means something related to her dear little boy? i know a few people who have found comfort in that sort of thing...maybe something for the dad, and kids, i know id have appreciated that as a kid when my mom lost babies, and none got that far. not even my living brother....and definitely since youll be there after everyone else leaves, maybe send food or something then so theyll know not everyone will be thinking they need to get over it or forget, kwim? it made me cry to read, i feel so badly. ive not been around many men that would even care, that really touched me :cry:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
We went to the service this morning; it was a graveside service in a cold drizzle. We and another woman were the only neighbors there. Our children's school bus driver was there, which I thought was very kind. Other than that, everyone was family from out of state.

I've never been to a child's funeral before so the tiny casket was quite a shock to see. Tiny and white, with blue and white flowers on it, a couple of stuffed animals next to it. The priest said some very comforting things. Then that was it. The dad shook with sobs through the entire service; the mom cried, but still seemed in complete shock. I can only imagine. When I hugged them together, they both just cried and the dad kept saying over and over, "This shouldn't have happened."

The whole thing was just gut wrenching.

Thank you all again for the suggestions. I am so sorry for all of you who have gone through this.
 

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I'm so glad you went. funerals are never fun, but you go anyway to help support others. I'm sure that this experience taught you something about yourself. thanks so much for being there for that family. they really needed you. thanks again. wish you were my neighbor.
 

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I delivered Max in a different country & when I came back none of my neighbours even mentioned it. I was so overwhelmed at the thought of having to tell anyone about it that I had emailed everyone on my contact list a generic "this is what happened" letter. One woman from 3 blocks over, who had a stillbirth 2 months before, insisted on bringing dinner shortly after we returned home. This meant so much to me.

Maybe after all the out of state people are gone, they'd really appreciate a meal. It is hard to feel forgotten a month or two into this experience. Also, write it on your calendar & do something on the anniversary date.
 
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