10 ways you can help a bereaved parent 
1, Please continue to talk about our child. Saying his name is music to our ears. When you tell us a story you remember about him/her, you are giving us a huge gift. With that story or never before seen photo you unearth, you give us a little piece of our child back



2. Please give us compassion but not pity. No one wants to be pitied but we certainly need grace, love and compassion

3. Please be a story holder for us. We need to tell our stories. Over and over again sometimes. Let us talk about our children without changing the subject or shushing us. You see, we can never make new memories with these lost children so we are sometimes guilty of telling you a story we've already told you (maybe numerous times)

4. Please don't tell us you couldn't bear it if it happened to you. The truth is we didn't think we could bear it either but we had no choice. And hearing you say that makes us feel like you're saying "I love my child too much to let them die". We did too but our child DID die and we somehow feel like we failed for letting that awful thing happen

5. Please don't forget our kids. And let us know you haven't. Don't be afraid to say you wish they were here at family gatherings, class reunions, weddings, holidays, special occasions, graduations. When you don't mention them, it feels like you've forgotten them. So don't be afraid you will make us sad or remind us of our loss by mentioning them Trust me, we haven't forgotten and to know you miss them too lightens our heavy heart

6. When our loss is fresh, don't avoid us because you don't know what to say. Just say you're sorry. Just say this must be so very hard. Just say I can't imagine the pain you're in. Just say I love you and I love (d)your child who died (use their name, of course). Don't offer platitudes. Don't give pat answers or try to stop us from talking about our pain. Don't run away from us

7. Send us a note or an email or text on days you know will be hard. Their birthday. Their death day. Mother's Day. Father's Day. The first day of school. It helps to know YOU know those days are excruciating

8. Don't be hurt or offended if we don't call you back when you call to check on us in the early days. Telephone calls take energy we often don't have. If you call, make it clear you aren't expecting a return call. Email us instead. We can respond in the middle of the night or whenever we have the energy

9. Saying "let me know if you need anything " is a lame way to try to help. Rare is the griever who is going to call and ask for something from you. It gets you off the hook for having attempted to help but it really isn't helpful. Instead just do something or offer to help in a specific way. Can I drive your out of town relatives to the airport? Can I pick your kids up from school or take them to soccer practice? Can I bring a meal by? Can I mow your grass?

10. Don't forget us as soon as the funeral is over. Your life goes back to normal but ours is changed forever. Check on us. Send us a card. Ask us to go for a walk or to lunch.

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