Supporting friend who has lost a child

(5 Posts)
Pennypig Thu 06-Feb-14 09:14:20

I have a friend whose son died in an accident when he was 18'months old. It goes without saying that this was and remains truly heartbreaking. This was almost 2 years ago. She also has a daughter a couple of years older than he was.
Of course I am worried about my friend. A lot of the time she seems to be coping very well, but she often says that she doesn't care if she lives or dies. Now of course I can't understand her grief as I've not had the same thing happen to me, but I can imagine to an extent how heart wrenching the loss must be, as I have my own children. The fact that she says she doesn't care about living or dying though, does particularly worry me, as she has another child. Part of me thinks that she can't really mean this, as leaving our children is always a worry for parents, part of me thinks this is probably entirely normal, but I also worry that she isn't coping if she really feels like this, although I understand that 2 years is nothing and she must still feel like it happened yesterday. I just don't know how to support her I guess. She is seeing a counsellor and is doing a lot of really positive things like getting out and about and doing exercise etc.
I wondered if anyone has any good advice for me? When we are together i try and let her lead the conversation and let her talk about him and what happened as much as she wants to, I suppose this is the right thing to do, but we have mutual friends who take a different approach and try to distract her. I just don't know what to do really. I know I can't make things any better, but I worry about her all the time. Thank you.

Spacefrog35 Thu 06-Feb-14 11:14:54

It sounds like you're doing everything right to me. I really appreciate those friends who allow me to talk about my son (although I also understand not everyone is comfortable with this so I'm fine with the friends who don't as well!)

I can completely understand why you are concerned about this statement though, it could be nothing but equally it could be an indication of something very concerning. Does she have a partner, any family who you could have a word with? Has she ever said anything similar to your other friend? Do you think she genuinely means that she would consider doing herself harm or is she just trying to express to you how sad she still is?

Have you asked her if she has discussed this with her counsellor? If she has and is continuing to discuss it then there is probably nothing else that you need to do, but if she hasn't, or if she hasn't spoken about it for a while then perhaps you could encourage her to talk about it with them?

It sounds like you're a lovely friend to her & I'm sure she's incredibly grateful to you for it.

expatinscotland Thu 06-Feb-14 11:19:55

This is entirely normal after 2 years. Please don't have a word with anyone. She feels open enough to express this to you. This loss is FOREVER. It is a lifetime of loss. Truly, I want to be here to see my surviving children to adulthood, but I do not want to live a 'long' life.

Just carry on supporting her. Two years is NOTHING when it comes to child bereavement.

Pennypig Thu 06-Feb-14 11:39:33

Both really helpful replies thank you. No I don't think she would harm herself. Actually, I think expat has expressed what she probably means, that she doesn't care about living a long life. I just worry all the time about not saying the right thing, or not saying the wrong thing. I worry about talking to her about trivial things, or talking about my own life, but I suppose that if she is still seeing me and talking to me about her son, then I can't be messing up too badly. I just wish I could help her more but I know nothing can change her devastation. Thank you.

Pennypig Thu 06-Feb-14 11:41:11

saying the wrong thing I mean

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