Anniversary of the death of a colleague's child - how to mark it

(16 Posts)
Yika Fri 22-Mar-13 13:56:15

Quick question here - one of my colleagues lost his 2 year old daughter in a choking incident 3 years ago. I just learned that next Tuesday is the anniversary. I don't know if I should organise a card or flowers ith my colleagues or keep it low key and just send him something myself? It is still a very very difficult time for him and his family (they have one other daughter, the twin of the deceased child); I don't think they are coping too well. Any advice welcome.

littlelyon Fri 22-Mar-13 14:18:09

I had a colleague he lost a child. he was never the same afterwards. he still came to work to get away from it. I would advise let someone who is close or a manager give him a nod or a discreet word to say are you ok, do you need anything. if you get cards while it is a nice thing to do you may be bringing his pain publicly into a place that he has reserved for escape. the fact that you have only just found out suggests he doesnt want to discuss it in the work place and prefers to remain private. Just be aware of it and offer assistance if he looks like he is struggelling.

sometimes when we learn something like this we just want to be compassionate and care for them. But sometimes we have to let people have a bit of head space.

I have lost my son and my daughter, there is no place you can go to 'get away from it' and no escape, people go back to work because they need money, not because its some magical place where you leave feelings at the door and pick them up on the way out again.

I don't think a card or flowers are really a great idea for a colleague tbh, did you work there when his daughter died? If you did then please say something to him, just a sentence to let him know you remember, and please, if you do, use her name. If you didn't then it would depend on how open he is about his daughter, if he has said something to you about her then, yes, say something, if not then I would leave it, the last thing he needs is to think people have been gossiping about him.

Yoou sound like a very thoughtful and lovely person flowers

littlelyon Fri 22-Mar-13 14:44:16

sorry missy if i have offended. i was just working off of what he had told me, I guess we all survive differantly.

I am sorry that , that happened and anyone who has lost a child I am in awe of. because i dont think i could handle things as gracefully.

Gales Fri 22-Mar-13 14:50:10

I agree with the others, flowers or a grand gesture at work, that he has to smile and be "grateful" for (even if you don't mean it like that) are more for the benefit of the sender than the recipient. A quiet acknowledgement that the day is even harder than usual would be lovely though.

I have a colleague who lost a child and she agrees with Missy in that it never ever goes away, but she does say it helps to be busy and work does do that for you. That's what littelyon's colleague meant.

I have no idea how you even begin to cope with that and my heart goes out to you Missy.

Yika Fri 22-Mar-13 17:16:35

Thanks very much for your responses, this is useful as I know that people deal with their grief very differently. He is very open about it, indeed I have the strong impression that he still needs to talk about it. I was not here when it happened - I joined the team about a year and a half ago and he made a point of taking me aside to tell me about it. We talk about it from time to time. He has photos on his desk and I ask about her. Sometimes he talks about it spontaneously. My DD is now the same age that his DD was when she died. And coincentally my DD has his DD's name as a middle name. He has also passed on toys to us. We are not exactly close but I like him very much and I often think about his loss. I somehow feel he needs support and I would like to show that I am a listening ear if he needs it. He is not coping well and nor is his wife. He is now working part-time as a result. I think following your comments I will just make sure to say that I am thinking of him on the day. Missy - very very sorry to hear about your loss. That must be utterly devastating.

everlong Sun 24-Mar-13 18:07:16

Thank you for thinking of him.
As the mum of a child that died it means a lot that people are so kind.

For me a gentle squeeze and the words ' thinking of you ' mean everything to me at the time of ds's anniversary. Yes I may cry, your colleague may cry but I'm positive he would cry than nobody remember his child.

everlong Sun 24-Mar-13 18:08:11

Would rather cry, sorry.

Ohhelpohnoitsa Sun 24-Mar-13 18:37:37

yes a quiet word to say you are thinking of her and them on the day. Alternatively if he will find that hard to handle, a card just from you and family, not colleagues. my frinds sister died very tragically. I always buy her something as a gesture that I know she loves - fav chocs, fav tea & cake or similar. it is very hard but she says it is so nice that people acknowledge it and haven't forgotten such a significant day in her life. I did think about doing it on sisters birthday, but that defeats what she said about remembering. I tend not to ring her though - that would be too invasive.

MadamGazelleIsMyMum Sun 24-Mar-13 18:43:00

I have something similar - my boss lost a child. On or around the anniversary I usually send a text to let him know that I remember his DD and am thinking of him and his family. I am always thanked for remembering. In our relationship, that seems to work fine. I'd favour some form of 'passive' communication in this situation.

I totally agree with everlong's suggestion. It doesn't need to be a big gesture. Just remembering his child, and saying their name to him, will mean so much. It would to me - I find people are afraid to mention the names of children who have died.

everlong Mon 25-Mar-13 06:55:32

Absolutely. Say their name. I can't tell you how happy it makes me when people do.

I have 2 friends whose have lost their children in tragic circumstances. I email them on their children's birthdays and on the days they died. I would want someone to do that for me if I were in their shoes. It matters greatly to them - they always respond to tell me so.
Can you imagine your child's existence not being acknowledged? One of my friends wants to be able to talk about her daughter freely and to hear her being talked about. It's all I can give ...

Yika Mon 25-Mar-13 21:02:00

Thank you very much for sharing your experiences, I'm taking note of all of it.

A collegue lost a child in their teens. When he spoke about his DC he always reminiced about them as a baby or toddler.
It was ages afterwards that he talked about them in the age they were when they died.

I was really aware talking to him because I had a baby about a couple of months after his DC died.
It wasn't that I felt that I couldn't mention my new baby, but maybe I felt it was rubbing salt in the wounds?
But I realised that he had no wish to take away from my happiness and I could talk (about his DC and mine) without always feeling I was treading on toes.

That sounded a bit me me that wasn't how it was meant , honest.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now