The Nicest Thing To Say or Do After Loss

Nice things are easy to say or do, once we know what they are… Having written a chapter about ‘What to do and say instead’ (of those things not to do or say) in the book Grieving Parents: Surviving Loss as a Couple’ I realised that no amount of words would ever be able to conclusively convey what bereaved parents experienced as individuals’ needs are as unique as the child they have lost. We asked this question “What is the nicest thing a family member or friend said or did after your loss?” to bereaved parents. Here are some of their answers. (This is a long list but you might like to come back to it so save it and share it with anyone you feel would benefit.) * Note: Have tissues ready. The nicest thing that people said or did She’ll never be forgotten. Sat with me hugged me and cried with me. My parents, taking care of both me and our oldest one. Taking days off from work to be with us. A group of very gorgeous (not to mention generous) friends purchased a star in the name of our angel. On his first Angelversary, we went to view the star. Bought my rainbow a ton of stuff when I couldn’t bring myself to do it. A friend offers to pay for our Molly Bear. Nothing. They were just there. Speaking openly about my daughter, saying her name. She said nothing, wrapped her arms around me and cried with me. Old co-workers of mine purchased a tree in a public park in her honour. It has a plaque with her name. My stepdad played and sang “tears in heaven”. My best friend broke the speed limit to get to us at the hospital. Someone remembered that I craved chocolate covered gummy bears during my pregnancy and when we lost our son in my 3rd trimester she sent a box of stuff including chocolate covered gummy bears. It meant so much to me. I wasn’t emotionally ready to eat them at that time so I froze them and ate them on his first birthday in honour of him. We had friends name a star after our daughter and my cousin built us a cedar chest. She puts angels on her Christmas tree, and one of them is named after my baby. I have been very selfish in my grief I think, I always thought no one was there, but our friends bought us a locket, we had a rose given from both our workplaces and a cardigan and blanket handmade from work colleagues. Friends asked if they could include Marcus’ birthday in their calendar of friends (mostly their young daughter’s pre-school friends) so that they could celebrate it every year. He would have been just 1 year younger than their daughter. When my grown daughter made me my favourite tea and put me in a hot bath after arriving home. Like I was the child she led me to the washroom helped me undress (I was a zombie) helped me in the tub and sat and listened to me. It was the most powerful moving experience between my 1st born and I not counting her own birth. A friend of mine sent me a Mothers Day card which was a week or so after Evan died at 4 days old. Made me cry but I’ll never forget it because he’d thought of me. My dear friend whom I also refer to as “mom” knit an outfit for us while praying with every stitch. I think the nicest thing someone can do is just to mention her name. Everyone is so afraid to make me upset. They don’t realize that letting me know that you remember her is a gift. I will never forget how thankful I was to the few family members remembered me on my First Mothers Day (it was my first ever and my first with an angel). My aunts on my father’s side all chipped in and bought a baby oak tree for us to plant in memory of our son.  My friend bought me my favourite Lindt Extra Dark Chocolate truffles for an entire year. Every time I was almost out more would show up. She even got me some chocolate teddy bears once. His theme is Teddy Bears because God made his footprints they did in the NICU form a teddy bear. I’ve been getting random teddy bears for almost 2 years now because whenever someone sees one they think of Radley and me. Someone even made an aluminium bear for my husband to put on his semi. The best thing anybody has ever said was last year, I told her that half of my kids (four of them) are in heaven and she said, “THAT many??! That’s AWFUL!!”  I had two professional photographers offer their services at no cost on two occasions: one set of pics in our daughter’s burial clothes when we dressed her and the other set from the memorial service. I will cherish those photos for my entire life. It wasn’t what they said; it was how they made new feel. They were blunt, matter of fact, didn’t sugar coat or diminish what we went through. I appreciated their lack of avoidance which translates into sincere empathy. Brought pictures of him. I didn’t have many. Meant the world to me. Also a DVDs of photos. And put them to music for his funeral. They encouraged me to attend our church’s “Grief Share” support group. This saved me! Writing his name in a card, a pot plant for butterflies, filling the freezer with home cooking, and trinkets that made them think of us or baby loss were very kind and helpful. My best friend sent me a card every single month after I lost my twins to remind me she was still thinking of them and I looked forward to getting one each month. After the first year, she sends me a card every … Continue reading The Nicest Thing To Say or Do After Loss