COPING WITH LOSS
FOR FRIENDS OF LOSS
You have a really hard role. You are needed in a way that you’ve never been needed before. It’s also in a way that can test the limits of friendship, on both sides of the spectrum. Your friends are now Parents of Loss, their lives will be forever altered. Life as they know it will now be looked at as before loss and after loss. One Mother of Loss says, "the loss of a child changes our entire being. Our relationships will change. We are learning to adjust to and live in our "new normal" which means everything in the after will be different."
They will be broken for a little while. They are going through something that is so deep and painful it's hard to precisely articulate. They also know that you can't possibly begin to understand the depth of their pain. They can't ask you for help because they don't want to be a burden and in some ways, they may be in denial that they need it. Other times they can't tell you what they need because they just don't know what that is right now.
If you are our own friends reading this, the huge impact your selflessness and support has left in our hearts is forever. True friends exist in our lives so that when the day comes that you have to endure any kind of deep pain or hardship, you have people to lift you up and support you at times when you can't do it for yourself. Thank you to those people in our lives that did this for us, showing us how to really be a friend, and are continuing to do this for us every day, no matter how much time has passed. Thank you for every meal, every bottle of wine, every special gift to help memorialize our child, every squeeze of the hand, every hug, every call and text, every card, every time you asked, every time you said their name, every time you check in just because, every time you remember the milestone days in which our hearts are the most tender, every time you say I am here, every time you get mad with us, every time you cry with us, every time you make plans with us, every time you love us, every time you let us go to that place because we need to no matter how many times you've heard it before. For all of these things and more, thank you. Thank you for knowing how to love us through this dark time and doing what it takes to help carry us through.
If you are reading this to help learn how to best be a friend to a newly bereaved Parent of Loss, thank you for doing your part to find out how to support them. Thank you for reading this so that you can learn how to be there in the best way for someone in your life.
Parents of Loss are learning to have grace with ourselves and with others, so regardless if you say the right thing or the wrong thing, at least you said something at all and that's what is important. Any act of support is appreciated.
Things You Can Do For the Parents of Loss:
1.) Create a meal calendar sign up or offer to take food to the family.
2.) Send a One Wing Foundation Care Box.
3) If gifting is your love language, here are some examples of meaningful gifts to help recognize and remember their baby:
A memorial plant like a bush or a tree
A star named after their child from the Star Registry.
A blanket personalized with the child’s name or monogram.
A wooden block carved with the child’s name and birth information.
A Molly Bear is made in the same weight as the child that passed away, to give the parents something to hold that feels like the child did in their arms.
4.) Make a donation in the child’s memory to a cause important to the family. This is incredibly moving and allows the parents to feel like their child is leaving a legacy, in turn those dollars go to help others.
5.) One of the most helpful things you can do is if you know someone that has been through pregnancy or infant loss, please connect them. We cannot tell you how helpful it is to email, text, call, or sit face to face with another Parent of Loss has walked the same road.
6.) Say their baby's name. That is one of the greatest gifts you can give us, say their name to us. Say their name often and without pause. The joy it brings the Parents of Loss to hear their child’s name or see it written is so meaningful. They need others to acknowledge the life that existed.
7.) Most importantly, show up for them. Be a friend who remembers the tough days, the milestone days. Be a friend who sends a text or calls them just because. A "thinking of you" or "just wanted to say hello and that I love you" can go a long way. Continue to support them as a friend by letting them know you care.