Supporters help parents survive this most horrendous time in their lives, if they really know how to be supportive. There is nothing more difficult than to know how and when to support grieving parents. I have heard comments like “Time will heal all wounds” or “Maybe it was for the best”. These comments are uttered when supporters, as well as the parents, experience great distress and are overwhelmed by the situation. Still, these comments cut like a shard of glass.
I heard and read so many parents’ unbelievable stories that it is time to educate society on the best things to say and give ideas and suggestions on what to do.
If you want to help anyone, be able to deal with parental bereavement in a better way. Share the ‘5 Star Support Guide’ with your friends and family.
People were well meaning but for some reason said the most stupid things. One thing that sticks in my mind: One lady told us: “I know exactly how you feel, the same thing happen to us when our dog died.” ~ Gavin Blue
(The following is an excerpt of Chapter 12 of the book Grieving Parents: Surviving Loss as a Couple which is dedicated to YOU, the supporters of grieving parents.)
Things to say or do instead
Things that made most difference: dropping food at our door, taking Harry out to play… just being ok with how we were. ~ Gavin Blue
There are lots of words written about what not to say in response to grief but not enough about how to respond to grief.
First and foremost bereaved parents have shared with me that supporters should not feel obliged to say anything. What some call the “Art of Presence,” just being there is all that is needed. However, should you feel compelled to say something, here are the three simplest things to say:
- I am sorry for your loss.
- I am here for you.
- I don’t know what to say, I’m at a loss for words.
Whatever you do or say, remember these things:
- Acknowledge the parents
- Listen but do not try to fix
- Encourage and give them hope
- Practice the Art of Presence.
The following points are an excerpt of my blog I wrote twenty months after Amya’s death. These are suggestions which help to acknowledge the grieving parents’ pain, journey and responses. Use your own words or way of saying things… –> Read more in the book Grieving Parents: Surviving Loss as a Couple (Chapter 12)