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Sorry to intrude on these boards

(9 Posts)
babybarrister Thu 28-Nov-13 11:08:06

Can I also ask for advice in relation to how to behave with a bereaved parent.
The lady is someone I used to socialise with who I have not seen for a number of years but we have a good friend in common. That friend has just told me that this lady's daughter aged 8 died at the start of the year in a tragic school accident.

I want to contact the lady herself to express my condolences but my personal feelings [not through personal experience of child bereavement but perhaps from bereavement in general plus being a mother] I am finding overwhelming so that I can hardly keep it together if talking about it.

The last thing I want to do is add to this lady's pain by blubbing myself when in fact I never met her daughter.

Am I better not to speak to her if I cannot hold it together? Obviously I can write to her which I have already done albeit by email which is the only contact point I have and I feel rather sterile.


LilyTheSavage Thu 28-Nov-13 16:13:08

Hi. I'm sorry your friend's daughter has died, and how lovely that you want to express your sorrow to her. In my experience (my son died recently aged 21) you can't really get it wrong by contacting her or showing your sorry. Ignoring her or not mentioning it if you see her is just twisting the knife. Hugs are always helpful. If you live nearby you could always take round some wine (she'll be needing alcohol), leave her a meal for the family, flowers..... all the gestures people made to me were very much appreciated - even if they didn't know my son. Showing that they cared made a difference, and we gained some strength from people's warmth and love.
Other people may feel differently but that's just my opinion.
Good luck. xx

babybarrister Thu 28-Nov-13 19:45:50

Thanks - actually I have now spoken to her and have arranged to go round. I managed to remain calm on the phone.

She is so valiant, I don't think I could go on to be honest

I am so sorry for your loss too


MiaAlexandrasmummy Thu 28-Nov-13 22:54:44

You are absolutely doing the right thing, but it is also something difficult. As a bereaved parent myself, I was so touched by the people who reached out to me. It meant so much, as I knew that they were overcoming their own fears to show me their love.

I did find it hard if they cried, as I felt that they had nothing to cry about - they hadn't lost their darling girl. Often, their tears would start me crying again too - but I also wanted to talk about my beautiful Mia, and I always will.

I found generic offers of help very hard. "Let me know if there is anything I can do." After all, who could really help me? I couldn't even envisage getting through a day, let alone anything more. Instead, I asked people to keep contacting me, and give me things to do with them. I had a loyal group of friends who consistently did this, by phone text and email, and even when I didn't reply or I said no - but eventually, I did accept their offers.

The things I found most helpful
- say the daughter's name out loud with her. You will not be hurting your friend by saying her daughter's name, you will be honouring her daughter. Many people fear saying the name of a child who died.
- and allow her to tell you about her daughter if she wants
- ask friends to collect photos or write down special memories of the daughter. Knowing that your child had an impact on others is wonderful, as you can see them in the eyes of others
- please don't say things like "she is in a better place" as many bereaved parents simply cannot subscribe to this view, no matter their religious beliefs. We all think our children should be with us.
- don't ask "how are you?" I wanted to shout (and swear) at that question. Do say "I don't know what to say", as it is often very true.
- people remembering Mia's birthday and the date she died, by sending an email, a text or a card
- recognise that her grief will not diminish, it will become a part of her, and it will change her. It is not something that you 'heal' from in a few weeks, months or years.

In the end, just by visiting this woman, you are doing a wonderful thing. Thank you for being so empathetic and courageous. I hope this lady has lots of other lovely people like you around her.

Edenviolet Thu 28-Nov-13 23:01:54

Reading this with interest. I recently had a friend who lost her son. He was the same age as one of my dcs. Somebody had mentioned to me that I might want to " be careful and stay the other side of the room" (it was a concert at school a week after he died) as my dd was born a few days after him and the woman thought my baby might upset her.

I felt I had done the wrong thing as I had gone over andsaid to her " I really don't know what to say, It's such an awful thing to happen and I just don't know what to say to you" and gave her a hug. Then I felt stupid as wished I'd had some comforting words but all I had in my mind was just what an awful and unfair thing it was that she had lost her child. The other woman glared at me but I didn't think my dd being there was a huge problem, I'd always talked to my friend before and I couldn't just ignore her and then I felt as if I'd done something wrong.

LilyTheSavage Fri 29-Nov-13 08:50:37

Hurrah for Hedgehog! IMO you were absolutely right to go and greet your friend. Other bloody women needs a slap. Mia..... I've read before what you've written and thought you articulated everything I was thinking and wanting to say but didn't know how to say it. Mia sounds so beautiful and your love for her shines like a bright star. Hope you have a good day.... or even a few good moments.

RachaelAgnes Fri 29-Nov-13 19:46:00

Please, as a parent who lost her son 16 years ago. Hug, talk, speak their name.
I loved that although Jack was only 23 months, people would share their memories of him. Often memories of times when I wasn't new to me!
The things that didn't help me were the 'time heals' and 'you are young enough to have more children' comments.
Time doesn't heal - I have learnt to incorporate my loss into my life and live differently because of it.
The other comment really doesn't need me to comment further on it.
Just know that16 years on, the anniversary of Jack's death has been joyful, sad, a celebration, a mourning and each year is different. Gladly this year (Wednesday) was lovely. Time with DD and Litchfield Cathedral floodlit in his memory.
Next is his 18th on Christmas Day.
Sorry for outpouring!
Speak her name, it's the greatest gift x

LoveAndDeath Fri 06-Dec-13 00:42:19

Hedgehog, well done!
The other woman sounds like an idiot.
When I was pregnant with my dd, another woman I knew was pregnant with her ds5. We had a lot in common, her ds3 was in my ds3's class, we both had four boys.
Then I had my dd who died aged 7 weeks.
Then she had her son who is still very much alive, thank goodness.
I didn't want her son. I wanted my dd. I think I would have been very upset if she'd ignored me and she didn't. She chatted to me about dd and brought her ds3 to her grave.
You going over to that lady and expressing sympathy will have helped. Nothing can ease the pain but it is good to know that people care.

babybarrister, I would echo everything MiasMummy and RachaelAgnes have said.
I had two friends who broke down and sobbed when they phoned me after Sylvie-Rose died. I was touched that they were so empathetic, that they genuinely hurt for me and dh. I knew they couldn't actually know what it was like because you really can't unless you have lost a child yourself. But I did appreciate the fact that they felt it so keenly.
the other thing to remember is that it's not like losing say, a parent, only worse. It's a completely different kind of grief. It's two years on for us and I think about her all day every day. It's exhausting but I can't really have it any other way.

babybarrister Sat 07-Dec-13 11:44:44

Thanks - I am seeing my friend this weekend xx

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