For parents, life after losing a child will never be the same. While it can be devastatingly tragic, moving forward from this experience is needed. However, coping with grief is something that they can’t do alone. If you know a parent or a couple mourning the loss of their son or daughter, here are seven ways you can be of help to them. The list includes giving sympathy gifts like Memorial lanterns and being there for them even after the storm has calmed.
Understand the situation. Grief has different timelines. It also comes in different forms. A parent who lost a child may experience sudden surges of sadness. They may also be disoriented or show a lack of interest in living. Observe how the grieving parent responds to the situation and be understanding — not judging. Remember that this is the time when they need a strong support system the most.
Be practical with the kind of help you’re offering. While giving emotional support is essential, offering practical help is just as important. Whenever you can, and together with other family members and close friends, assist the parents in doing chores, paying bills, and doing the needed legwork for the funeral services.
Give memorial gifts. Sympathy gifts like memorial lanterns are a meaningful way of keeping the memories of a departed child alive. Making these items personalized will also help convey sincere messages of love and sympathy for the grieving parents.
Support their physical health. When overcome with several emotions, the immune system of a person gets compromised. During such already difficult times, having deteriorating health could give another critical blow to them. This is why the support system of grieving parents is highly encouraged to check in on the mourners’ physical health. Given them fruits, vegetables, and supplements; take them out for a walk; invite them to do some exercising to help take negative emotions out of their system.
Help them make connections with people with the same experience. If you yourself haven’t experienced losing a child, it can be quite challenging for you to connect with them on a deeper level. This is when introducing them to a support group or trustworthy people with the same experience becomes helpful. Through this, they can learn first-hand some real-life examples of what’s life like after the death of a child.
Be patient. As stated, grief has no specific timeline. Some parents grieve longer than others; some seem to cope well. But no matter which side of the spectrum they may be, one thing is the same: You have to be patient when dealing with them. You should also expect sudden bouts of sadness, anger, or guilt to arise — especially during sensitive occasions like birthdays, death anniversaries, and holidays.
Show your support even after the funeral. Your support should not end once the funeral is over. In fact, you have to be all the more “present” once they transition into their life as parents with a deceased child. During important occasions, continue giving gifts like memorial lanterns, keepsake boxes, and candles among others. Share meaningful conversations with them and make them feel that their deceased child is well-loved and well-remembered.