National Bereaved parents month

If you did not know that July is national bereaved parents month consider yourself blessed. I had no idea that it existed either. There is a month to recognize and educate the general public about child loss and the impact it has on families. If you know a grieving parent take a moment this month to check in with him/her. Let them know you remember and you care.

There is not a better time to remind others of some do’s and don’ts related to child loss

  1. Don’t tell them they should be over it by now. We will never get over our child’s loss.
  2. Don’t say “everything happens for a reason”. Sometimes the reason is life sucks and life is not fair.
  3. Don’t say “I know how you feel” unless you, too have lost a child. While these losses can be hard, the loss of your grandparent, parent, dog, cat does not compare to the loss of your child.
  4. Don’t say “time heals all wounds”. No amount of time “heals” this wound. It will get softer, but the wound never heals.
  5. Don’t say “at least they are in a better place”. To us there is no better place than to be here on earth with us.
  6. Don’t say “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle”. We truly ae just hanging on by our fingernails and many days we can’t handle it.
  7. Don’t say “I couldn’t live without one of my children”. We weren’t given a choice.
  8. Don’t avoid them. Child loss isn’t contagious. Just show up.
  9. Don’t ask what we need. We truly don’t know. Just show up. Just say “can I bring you dinner tomorrow night?’
  10. Don’t say “when you are ready to get dinner let me know.” We won’t let you know. By the time we are “ready” the offers have all stopped coming.

But there are things that you can do and say.

  1. I am so sorry.
  2. I am praying for you (and do it)
  3. Tell me about your child. We love telling their stories! Even if you’ve heard them before. just let us talk
  4. My favorite memory of your child is………. We may have heard the stories before but we never tire of hearing our child’s stories. (many of my favorites start with Mike told me not to tell you this……………)
  5. I miss him/her too
  6. Nothing. Sometimes we just need you to show up and listen to us. Let us talk. There are no magic words, and we sometimes just need someone to sit with us.
  7. Give us a hug when you see us.
  8. Remember their birthday and their death days. Send flowers, Send a meal, Send a card.
  9. I am a phone call away. Call me anytime
  10. Stop by, bring us dinner, stay to clean a bathroom, mow the lawn. But don’t clean our child’ rooms or wash their clothes unless we give you permission to do so.

Life is uncertain and life is precious. Let’s invest in each other and make connections. Reach out to your family and friends. We aren’t meant to live in isolation. Share our lives, our love, and our losses. Together we can make a difference in each other’s lives.

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