For parents who are grieving the loss of a child, there are no words to ease the heartache and pain they feel. To make matters worse, bereaved parents may be avoided by others who do not know what to do or say.
It can be overwhelming to even try to offer words of comfort to moms and dads after the death of a child. However this is a time when they desperately need the support of friends and family.
The death of a child is one of the most devastating events that can happen in a family. There are never enough words to ease the pain and sorrow from such an event, but some might help as they offer sympathy for those who have lost their child.
- “I’m sad for you.”
- “I’m here to listen.”
- “Take all the time you need.”
- “I can’t imagine how painful this must be for you.”
- “How can I help?”
- “Let’s spend some time together.”
- “It’s okay to be sad or angry around me.”
- “Tell me more about your child.”
- “I’m thinking about you.”
One of the hardest things about the death of a child is trying to figure out a reason for it.
It just doesn’t make sense, parents should not outlive their children.
With any death, the key to offering words of sympathy is to not give explanations or solutions for grief.
Avoid these statements:
- “God needed her more than we did.”
- “At least you have other children.”
- “It was God’s will.”
- “Your child is in a better place now.”
- “I know just how you feel.”
Don’t avoid parents grieving the loss of a child. It is okay that you cannot make it better or take away their pain.
Remember that it is simple gestures and words that mean so much to the grieving.
Ways to Help Grieving Parents Cope With the Loss of a Child
Be a friend who acknowledges the loss and is willing to talk about it or rather listen to them talk about their feelings and memories. It helps if friends are there to acknowledge what has happened and offer support by being present with them during this challenging time, rather than trying to distract or cheer someone up. Offer your love and support as you would want others to do so with you
Realize that the family is under immense emotional strain. Any practical help you can provide with household chores, meals or childcare will be greatly appreciated. Parents need a chance to put life on hold and grieve.
Help them create ways of remembrance and rituals to commemorate the child’s life.
Here are some things you can suggest or do with them:
- Make a memory box for parents to store keepsakes and pictures of their child.
- Plant a tree or flower in memory of the child.
- Bake cupcakes together on the child’s birthday and take them to a children’s hospital.
- Make a teddy bear or stuffed toy with pieces of fabric from the child’s clothing.
You may want to recommend a website for bereaved parents called The Compassionate Friends. They have an annual world-wide candle lighting and many other wonderful resources.
There are never enough words to ease the pain and sorrow from such an event, but some might help as they offer sympathy for those who have lost their child. But remember that the best thing you can do for someone who is grieving over a child’s death is to be present with them. Sympathy cards are often appreciated because they show your support in their sorrowful time and provide an outlet for sharing memories or telling stories about how happy the person was when he/she had children around.