Support To A Grieving Family
I've been involved with Neo Fight, since I lost my son in November of 1999. I first sought this wonderful organization for my own healing and bereavement support. Since that time, I've become an active volunteer and trained listener for other families experiencing a perinatal crisis such as the loss of a baby. Neo Fight has given me such kind and loving support, that I've always wanted to give back to them by helping others.
In listener training, Neo Fight teaches their volunteers how to help families in crisis. I feel the training received through Neo Fight is important information that all of us should utilize, when dealing with those that have experienced the loss of their baby.
While offering help to bereaved families, be supportive by making visits or calls to them. Be specific by stating, "I care and want to help." Treat the bereaved couple as equals. Dads need as much support as Moms. Be available to parents. They need direct help such as providing a meal, running errands, baby-sitting their other children. Allow the parents to talk about their child. Ask questions but don't pry.
Learn more about the grieving process by consulting professionals, literature, or other resources such as information through the Internet. It's important that you have some knowledge on bereavement, so you can offer assistance to grieving families.
Don't be afraid to mention the deceased child to the parents. Letting the parents know that you haven't forgotten about their child is comforting to them.
Be liberal with hugging a grieving parent. They often have a need for physical contact during such a traumatic experience.
Too often, friends and family members aren't aware of what is and what is not appropriate to say to bereaved parents. The following are some helpful tips from the Neo Fight Listener Training manual.
WHAT TO SAY
~ I'm sorry.
~ I'm so sad for your loss.
~ I know this must be terribly hard for you.
~ How are you managing all of this?
~ What can I do for you?
~ I'm here, and I want to listen.
~ Talk as long as you want. I have plenty of time.
~ You don't have to say anything at all.
WHAT NOT TO SAY
~ It's all happened for the best.
~ You're young. You can have other children.
~ Now you'll have an angel in heaven.
~ You're better off having this happen now, before you knew the baby.
~ This was God's way of saying something was wrong.
~ You should feel lucky that you are alive.
~ Forget it. Put it behind you and get on with your life.
~ I understand. (If you have not had a similar experience)
About the Author
[Editor's note: We here at KotaPress would like to thank Katie for co-editing the Loss Journal with Kara!! Her help is more valuable than gold!!]