Every holiday season I receive numerous emails from people wanting to know how they can help to ease the pain their friends are suffering as they have to face Christmas and the holiday season without their children.
There are so many things you could do to help ease your friend or loved one’s pain. Here are a few things you may find helpful.
ACCEPT. Firstly, accept that your friend or loved one may not feel up to participating in family gatherings or events. Be patient with them and give them time and space. I know Christmas may not be the same without them but if you really want the best for your loved one please allow them to hibernate if that is what they need to do. Facing traditions when things should be so different is such a difficult thing to go through. You cannot possibly understand unless you have been there yourself.
ACKNOWLEDGE. Make sure that in your Christmas or Holiday card to your loved one that you mention their child’s name. This will mean the world to them. If you do not know what to say, simply write “Remembering …………………. with you always”. Our first Christmas without our son was made more bearable because of the love and kindness that was shown to our family. An old friend sent me a Christmas card. Inside the car my friend had taken the time to tell me that even though she never met Christian, that he changed her life. His short life opened her eyes to how precious this life really is. I cannot tell you how much that meant to me. The wonderful things about cards is that you can pour your heart out and that people can keep your words and love forever. If you are not able to see your friend on Christmas Day think about giving them a call or sending them a text to let them know that you are thinking of them and their child.
SPEAK THEIR NAME. Do not be afraid to speak their childs name aloud. You are not reminding them that their child died. They did not forget. More than often a bereaved parent wants to make sure that their child is not forgotten so hearing their childs name come from the mouths of others is the most beautiful Christmas Carol they could ever hear.
HONOUR. There are many things you could do in memory for your friend’s baby. You could make them a special Christmas ornament with their child’s name. You could light a candle for their child and photograph it for the family, better still you could give the family a special candle in memory of their child. You could visit the child’s grave site and leave flowers or some special coloured Christmas fairy dust. Write the child a little card and leave it there for the family to find. This would be such a gift to them.
DONATE. Make a donation to a charity in their child’s memory. Find out if the family has a favourite charity or give a gift to a child in need.
SHOW COMPASSION. So much of the time when people see a bereaved person upset, they try to say something to them to make the situation better. This can sometimes end in disaster because saying something that you might think is helpful, is actually the opposite. The truth is that you cannot make this situation better. Nobody can. Instead of trying to say something to make them feel better, just give them a hug. Acknowledge that the situation is really awful. It is okay to do this. Tell your loved one that they are loved and that you are there to listen to them if they want to talk, cry, vent etc. Sit with them for however long they need you there.
All in all there really are so many things you could do but the most important thing is to acknowledge their child. This is the greatest gift.
Try to stay clear of comments like “She is in a better place” and things like that. Their child should be with them at Christmas time.
Wishing you all lots of love for this time of the year, and if you were wanting to help out a friend or family member this holiday season I hope you found this helpful.