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Birthday and anniversary of a child's death coming up, what do I say?

(14 Posts)
FayeandMe Thu 16-Feb-17 21:25:06

My lovely friend who I didn't know at the time but met shortly after. Her child's birthday and anniversary of her death are a few days apart.

I'm lost to know specifically what to say on the days. I try to talk about her often and use her name (advice from here) which my friend seems to like. But I'm not sure how to approach the days coming up.

Any advice?

echt Fri 17-Feb-17 06:23:52

As you mention her child quite naturally, send her a card on the birthday, not a birthday card, nor mournful lilies, and write in it about what you know of her joys and sorrows at this time. Make sure it will arrive on time, and she'll no doubt get in touch about it.

You are a good friend.

noitsachicken Fri 17-Feb-17 06:36:11

I have a friend who had a stillborn baby a few years ago, the baby's name is a flower, I send a bouquet of those flowers on the anniversary of the birth/death every year.
It's important to acknowledge the child, even if you didn't meet them, your friend will appreciate the thought.

Kevinbaconsrealwife Fri 17-Feb-17 06:43:25

As PP,s have said...acknowledgment is the key....for me it would be a Thinking of You card with something very simple like " thinking of You, DH and ......(. Insert late babies name) at this time....Love and thoughts, Fayeaandme " you sound like a lovely friend x

TrueBlueDem Sat 18-Mar-17 00:02:07

You are wonderful to remember your friend's child's birthday. Those of us that have lost children want people to remember our children more than anything. My 5 year old son died 2 years ago and it never really gets easier. I've made progress but there is nothing more painful than the loss of a child.
Thank you for being such a good friend to her!

KanyesVest Sat 18-Mar-17 00:15:32

I try to do something practical for my friend whose baby was stillborn as she finds the anniversary a very raw time, so I usually have a nice food parcel, and a thinking of you and xxx card, delivered. She can eat if she feels up to it or freeze it (or bin it, I won't know) but it's one thing less to think about for a day or two.

It's an awful balance wanting to support without intruding but I hope we get it right sometimes.

FlippedOver Sat 18-Mar-17 00:28:53

Hmm, I have a different perspective and think that sometimes cards, flowers or gifts aren't always appreciated. It just depends. Personally, I chat to my friend about her D.C. but I don't do anything other than verbally acknowledge their child's birthday and the anniversary of their death.

Expat38matt Thu 06-Apr-17 10:04:10

My dear friends had a child who was born prematurely and sadly never left the NICU and we never met him. However I make a point of remembering his birthday and sending them a card every year and also connecting with him on the anniversary of his death (sadly two dates close together)
It has been 5 years now and for several years neither acknowledged the card or mentioned it and in the end this year I asked one parent if it was upsetting my continuing to do so. The response was that I was the only friend or family member that still remembered and they were very touched by the gesture/ my response was that I didn't want thanks but wanted them to know that I also remembered their beloved child who wasn't with us for very long, when most others have forgotten. I think it's being around for the long ride and not just in the immediate aftermath that really means something. In my experience of bereavement, most people even with the best intentions will move on and forget quite quickly

klmnop Mon 10-Apr-17 21:31:42

Say something, anything. Nothing is worse than silence. My 4 year old daughter died last September, her birthday was 3 months afterwards. Her little friend still sent her a card, her parents weren't sure, they thought I would be upset, but quite the opposite. The physical acknowledgment of the day meant the world to me. Friends sent me Mother's Day cards too, these meant so much I cannot tell you. I don't know what the future will hold. I fully anticipate that people will slowly forget and that will be agony...

Expat38matt Tue 11-Apr-17 05:50:20

Dear klmnop your anticipation of everyone forgetting is why I try so hard not too for my friends. Their sons birthday and anniversary of his death is in my calendar (as unromantic as it sounds) but I have it there to ensure I do not forget in amongst the busy day to day of my own life. It means something to stop and remember him, for them.
I never knew how they felt about it and 5 years on they told me I'm only one of 2 who still remembers (not even family) which makes me more determined to remember
Sadly I think most people do forget as time goes on and the anniversary becomes yours alone but don't think it's because people don't care. They just don't remember or make a point to remember

3littlebadgers Tue 11-Apr-17 06:29:11

I lost my dd2 just over two years ago now. We as a family still celebrate her birthday with balloons, cake, a little something for her grave, and we each write her a card which is more like therapy than anything else as we write down our memories and thoughts.

The odd friend remembers too, mostly those who have also lost a child. I met them at bereavement groups after, they know the pain too. The sheer joy it gives me when people do remember supports me through my pain. It just makes me feel less lonely and grief is a very lonely place flowers

DancingLedge Tue 11-Apr-17 06:48:01

A card or a conversation, it doesn't matter. Just let them know you're thinking of them. Means a lot to me.

klmnop Tue 11-Apr-17 11:19:01

Expat you are a great friend. Losing Phoebe has made me see so many people in a different light with support coming not always from where I expected it. I think it is a very sensible idea to have those dates in your calendar. I recently met up with another bereaved mum who like me lost her only child, she mentioned her sons birthday and I made a note in my calendar. I will send a card. Birthdays are usually marked by cards on the mantelpiece, it is painful to think of being empty.

Expat38matt Tue 11-Apr-17 22:26:31

Klmnop I'm so sorry for the loss of Phoebe x

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