How to help a mother who's lost her daughter

(9 Posts)
Ikeatears Mon 15-Mar-21 15:15:02

We have family in another country and one of my husband's cousins has lost her adult daughter unexpectedly. We are very friendly with this cousin and keep in touch via messages, occasional FaceTime and phone call.
I've sent a sympathy card and I've messaged her to say that I'm here if she needs me and that I don't need or expect a reply.
Is there anything else I can do? We can't visit as it's too far away. Just feel so dreadfully sorry for them. She'd been ill for a while after a planned surgery went wrong but she was getting better until yesterday when she suddenly took a turn for the worse and the cousin messaged me in the early hours to say she'd gone sad

OP’s posts: |
AlexaShutUp Mon 15-Mar-21 15:17:19

Oh gosh, how awful. flowers

No advice, I'm afraid, other than to let her know that you're available to support her in whatever way you can. Give her time to talk etc. It's difficult when you're so far away.

Ikeatears Mon 15-Mar-21 15:38:36

Thank you. Yes, I want to be supportive but I don't want to push. It's hard to gauge from a distance.

OP’s posts: |
Tickly Wed 17-Mar-21 21:56:31

I've lost a child. Often the support is offered in spades in the early days but as time goes on it disappears and I see lots of angry bereaved parents who feel their child is forgotten. The best people are those who fearlessly remember my child.

Please say their name. Include the child in cards at big events eg if you celebrate Xmas say "and remembering name". You should do this but forever unless they ask you not to. Send messages on an ad hoc basis because something reminded you of them. Send pictures that pop up in your photo stream. It shouldn't matter that it's an adult child, it is still their baby. In time they may be calm enough to ask if they're happy for you to send pics etc but for now just make sure you occasionally mention you're still there but don't expect a response.
Well done for asking the question.

Ikeatears Thu 18-Mar-21 00:03:13

@Tickly thank you for the response. I'm so sorry for your loss. I can, and will do all of those things. She's being very practical at the moment, making arrangements etc. I fear it will be in the weeks and months ahead that she'll crash.
I've just sent a little message or heart etc each day and made it clear I don't expect a response. She did open up yesterday and send long messages telling me all the circumstances. I tried to just 'listen' and respond in a way that she knew I was hearing her but wasn't trying to 'fix' anything or give meaningless platitudes.
I'll take on board the advice, thank you again.

OP’s posts: |
FinallyFluid Thu 18-Mar-21 11:13:24

Basically everything Tickly said, and just keep in front of you that grief is not linear.

I have a close friend who lost her DD in tragic circumstances, so all the paperwork exacerbated the situation, I have this close friend because strangely enough I didn't know her before her child died, I went up to her at the funeral and said I am FF, your child was unspeakably kind and inclusive to my child when he had no friends, I will come and see you in six weeks.

Even in the depths of her grief she looked at me and said that is very specific, I replied everyone will have gone back to real life, I will see you then.

I went around and knocked on the door, gave her a hug, let her cry and that was that, we have been really good friends ever since.

I don't crowd her, but I am always there (by text) also when I am buying flowers for myself I will buy a bunch for her and leave them on the doorstep, that way if she can't face the world she doesn't have to.

We have a shorthand now, and if she is sorry she missed me, she texts to say thank you for the talking flowers and I will call and we will chat, well actually I just let her talk. Other times it is thank you for the silent flowers and I will wait for a call.

Just be there in the background it is all you can do.

Tickly Thu 25-Mar-21 12:56:58

FinallyFluid

Basically everything Tickly said, and just keep in front of you that grief is not linear.

I have a close friend who lost her DD in tragic circumstances, so all the paperwork exacerbated the situation, I have this close friend because strangely enough I didn't know her before her child died, I went up to her at the funeral and said I am FF, your child was unspeakably kind and inclusive to my child when he had no friends, I will come and see you in six weeks.

Even in the depths of her grief she looked at me and said that is very specific, I replied everyone will have gone back to real life, I will see you then.

I went around and knocked on the door, gave her a hug, let her cry and that was that, we have been really good friends ever since.

I don't crowd her, but I am always there (by text) also when I am buying flowers for myself I will buy a bunch for her and leave them on the doorstep, that way if she can't face the world she doesn't have to.

We have a shorthand now, and if she is sorry she missed me, she texts to say thank you for the talking flowers and I will call and we will chat, well actually I just let her talk. Other times it is thank you for the silent flowers and I will wait for a call.

Just be there in the background it is all you can do.


@FinallyFluid exactly this. The friends that keep showing up are amazing. Who hear you out when you want to mention your child, even years down the track and ont judge you, who send pictures they happen to find and include them in Xmas cards. Well done you. The world needs more brave friends like you.

endofthelinefinally Sat 03-Apr-21 13:01:26

Tickly

I've lost a child. Often the support is offered in spades in the early days but as time goes on it disappears and I see lots of angry bereaved parents who feel their child is forgotten. The best people are those who fearlessly remember my child.

Please say their name. Include the child in cards at big events eg if you celebrate Xmas say "and remembering name". You should do this but forever unless they ask you not to. Send messages on an ad hoc basis because something reminded you of them. Send pictures that pop up in your photo stream. It shouldn't matter that it's an adult child, it is still their baby. In time they may be calm enough to ask if they're happy for you to send pics etc but for now just make sure you occasionally mention you're still there but don't expect a response.
Well done for asking the question.

This.

DorotheaDiamond Sat 03-Apr-21 13:04:12

I always check in with my friend on her daughters birthday and the anniversary of her death. Just a text to say I’m remembering the date too.

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