How Can I Help?
For Friends and Family of the Bereaved
The following are some ideas we compiled to help the helpers. Please feel free to edit according to your own needs and to reflect the person you have lost. Many people surrounding those in grief may be relieved to know exactly what it is the bereaved want and need.
We know this is a difficult time for all of us. We know you want to help, be there, and love us. We know it is difficult to know what to do and what to say. We know you care. Your love and caring do make a difference. Thank you for being in our lives. We love you all.
Please be sensitive of our grief. We miss our little boy and all the spiritual wisdom in the world will not change that. You cannot make us feel better with philosophies, faiths, beliefs or “truths”. We have been walking a spiritual path for most of our lives. We live in this culture. We already know what it has to offer at a time like this. None of what we know, believe or have experienced has prepared of for this, the greatest of losses.
Here are some ideas adapted from The Compassionate Friends that may help you to help us:
PLEASE, don’t expect us to get over it. We will never be quite the same people and we’ll never be over losing our son.
PLEASE, don’t tell us he’s in a better place. He is not here with us.
PLEASE, don’t tell us you understand or know how we feel, unless you’ve lost a child.
PLEASE, don’t expect us to feel better. Bereavement is not a condition that clears up.
PLEASE, don’t ask us “How are you?” It is part of a greeting that at this time makes no sense to us, and can’t be answered with a simple “fine”.
PLEASE, don’t tell us it was meant to be, or he’s in heaven, or an angel, always with you, etc… He was our meant to be, our heaven, our angel and he was with us in our home and we will always miss him in his body. Whatever other conclusions we come to, we must do so on our own. Your absolute beliefs about the uncertain do not comfort us at this time.
PLEASE, don’t tell us that we are strong or that God never gives us more than we can bear. We would gladly be weak people if it would bring back our son.
PLEASE, simply ask if there is any thing you can do. It’s hard for us to think, but we do need things. Even coming by to help with the most mundane task eases our burden. Offer some food, take us on a walk, clean the bathroom, pick up something at the store. These tasks get lost in our constant grieving and are hard to ask for.
PLEASE, just say you feel for us, you’re sorry for our loss.
PLEASE, just share your memories of our child with us. Say his name.
PLEASE, listen to yourself, if you don’t know what to say just be with us in silence.
PLEASE, just let us talk about our pain.
PLEASE, just let us talk about our son.
PLEASE, just keep coming around us, even though it’s hard. Don’t give up on us.
PLEASE, just let us cry.
PLEASE, just grieve with us.