What to do for friends?

(20 Posts)
Lazylou Mon 18-Feb-08 09:20:20

A very close friend of mine has just lost her nephew (he was 3 days old). I'm not sure of the circumstances, but I have a feeling it was because of feeding problems, although I can't be sure. I'm not even totally sure how my friend is doing. I received a text from her telling me the news, so I offered to do whatever I could, such as babysitting for her DCs if she needed to be with her sister. I know this is really all I can do, offer to help in practical ways but after everything she has done for me lately, I feel a bit useless.

I don't want to ring, in case she is busy with her sister or is too upset to talk so was thinking of sending her another text to make sure she is ok, as well as her sister's family.

I know it sounds bad, but I am also a bit reluctant to speak to her, because it makes the whole thing real. Another very good friend of mine lost her little girl at 11 days old last year and it will soon be her birthday. Now this little boy. I am not usually superstitious, but I can't help thinking that these things happen in threes and that maybe I will be next. My little boy is due in May so will be the next baby to be born. I know it is an irrational fear, but I am getting really stressed about it and I feel like it is stopping me being really helpful to my friend and her family. If I don't feel my baby move, I panic anyway but because of this news, I'm even more stressy than usual.

There is also the added thing of the funeral. I would like to go if possible because I get on well with the family and feel that by being there, I am showing I want to help and support them all, but I am worried about how my friend's sister will feel. She knows about my boy and I don't want to make her feel any worse than she already will be. I have said I will babysit the DCs for my friend so she can go so will have to wait and see.

Should I get a card or not? I don't want to seem like I am in their faces but I do want them to know I am here and will do whatever I can.

OP’s posts: |
cariboo Mon 18-Feb-08 09:26:16

Oh, how sad! Yes, do text her. I can understand how you'd be superstitious but don't let it get the "better" of you. xx

Twiglett Mon 18-Feb-08 09:31:25

I think your gut feeling was spot on .. offering to babysit is the right thing to do .. maybe you could text the offer again?

Yes I would send a card, definitely send a card .. I am unsure of your relationship with the actual bereaved family though .. if strangers or acquaintances (ie my friend's sister) then just an acknowledgement of their grief and of your sorrow should help .. if you konw them better, tell them what they mean to you as a family, how you heard about their loss, how sad you feel... do not write any 'god' style platitudes nor quotations though .. if you want to offer to help in any way then make it meaningful like your first instinct with your firend

I understand what you mean about the funeral and that is very empathetic of you. I suppose again it depends on your relationship with the actual bereaved people .. you could wait until you are informed of the arrangements and ask your friend what she thinks is best

nailpolish Mon 18-Feb-08 09:35:20

texting is a bit impersonal, IMO, if i were you id phone. its hard i know but she will really appreciate it.

also send a card, again offering to babysit.

Twiglett Mon 18-Feb-08 09:38:28

I'm not sure I agree .. I have always felt that in the first few days of a bereavement phone calls can be intrusive as you never know what is going on in the household whereas a text, possibly asking if you can call her/she'd like to call you, can be less so .. after a few days then an unplanned phone call / personal visit is more warranted I feel

Obviously it depends on the nature and strength of relationship with the bereaved family and only the person involved can judge that.

Twiglett Mon 18-Feb-08 09:38:50

a card dropped through the door is better than a text though

berolina Mon 18-Feb-08 09:44:06

Agree with Twig. Send a card saying how sorry you are and you are there for them. Ask via your friend about the funeral. Offer practical help. I wuldn't phone until the funeral is over.

Whatever you do, don't avoid them/their loss.

nailpolish Mon 18-Feb-08 09:45:36

but lazylou says she is a "very close friend"

smile im just going by that

Lazylou Mon 18-Feb-08 09:56:06

Thanks for that. I always worry about getting cards for people going through bereavements, not sure why. I am close to my friend, but her sister and I had a big falling out a few years back and up until about 4 years ago, we couldn't even be in the same room as each other. Things are better now, we have even been out drinking and putting the world to rights so that really isn't an issue anymore, but it was more of a right time right place arrangement, rather than lets go out and do something iyswim?

I will definately get a card, probably for my friend and also for her sister which can be passed on. I think I will also text because I am a bit like Twiglett, and don't really know what is happening. Knowing my luck I would ring at a really inopportune moment and then spend the rest of the day worrying about doing the wrong thing.

How does that sound?

OP’s posts: |
Twiglett Mon 18-Feb-08 09:57:47

sounds fine .. I'm not sure it's appropriate to send your friend (the sister) a card though .. maybe a letter? ... I think cards are for the immediate bereaved family aren't they?

might be wrong or it's certainly arguable .. just going by gut again

Lazylou Mon 18-Feb-08 10:04:07

Hmmm, yes think you may be right Twig, thanks for that. Have text her and said I'm here if you need me etc. I really appreciate your comments because I know I would have done something which I would have later thought was wrong.

OP’s posts: |
nailpolish Mon 18-Feb-08 10:06:26

oh lazylou its so hard isnt it sad
you sound like a good friend

AbbeyA Mon 18-Feb-08 10:14:22

Whatever you do don't avoid her.
If you just say 'I am here if you need me', it is very difficult for the bereaved person to phone-much better, after the funeral,for you to phone and offer some practical help.

Lazylou Mon 18-Feb-08 10:15:44

Thanks NP. Like I mentioned earlier, this is the second time in the space of a year that I have experienced this and it doesn't get any easier. I cannot imagine what it must feel like for these parents, so I feel I have to do what I can to help.

OP’s posts: |
Lazylou Mon 18-Feb-08 10:19:45

Thanks Abbey. I won't be avoiding her. I made this mistake with another friend. I offered help and support to start with and then we stopped communicating after the funeral and after a long chat, was told it would have been better to attempt to carry on as normal around her. I felt terrible at the time because I honestly felt I was doing the right thing, but I'm equally pleased that she felt able enough to tell me how she was feeling at the time.

What makes it worse, is it is my friend's birthday today sad

OP’s posts: |
nailpolish Mon 18-Feb-08 10:21:32

maybe you could send flowers

AbbeyA Mon 18-Feb-08 12:14:24

The most helpful people, when I was bereaved were those who just phoned up with a very simple invitation on the spur of the moment, and they didn't get offended if I refused but tried again later. I am sure you will be fine Lazylou because you care which is all that counts.It isn't helpful to say 'I am there if you need me -just call' because that is rather like people who say 'you must come to dinner sometime'.

hazygirl Mon 18-Feb-08 16:41:37

send a card after jayden died i hated the phone ringing just wanted the whole world to leave us alone, and everyone and the world to go away and flowers turned my home into a funeral parlour, evn now flowers make me cry , jayden was my grandson and i recieveed dozens of cards when he left us, so i think its not just the parents, dont avoid them either when time comes cos that hurts so muchx

Lazylou Wed 20-Feb-08 11:15:28

Thank you for your messages. I have been in contact with my friend and offered her time out, someone to talk to etc. She hasn't been very willing, but I understand that it is a difficult time for her and I'm sure if she needs the support, she will take me up on my offers.

I saw her mum the other day too. She is in bits but more so for her older daughter. The more I think about it, the more I want to get a card for my friend and her mum as well as for the parents of the baby.

It was terribly sad as it was my friends bday and she went out for a drink. She saw the baby that morning and was pretty devestated for the rest of the day which is totally understandable. I'm not sure if I did the right thing, but I wanted to acknowledge her bday in the midst of other events so I sent her a card. She left it behind in the pub, waved it around and said it didn't mean anything. Ordinarily I would have been offended, but instead, I felt terrible.

I left her alone yesterday but am going to visit today, even if it is just a quick knock on the door to see how she is. I don't mind being turned away. I know she is going to need her space. Hopefully this will be the right thing to do.

OP’s posts: |
charleymouse Wed 20-Feb-08 11:37:08

Lazylou, so sorry for your friends loss.
I agree with a card for all of the people involved, cards can be read when received or put to one side and read when they can be faced. I also take comfort from rereading them at a much later date. A phonecall can sometimes be a bit much to handle it depends on how close you are. Again repeat the offer of practical help it makes people realise you are not just being polite.

Ask about the funeral as we only had immediate family at DT1s and no friends as it was a very simple quiet affair, it's not like you have loads of reminiscing to do about the person and their life as they haven't really had one yet. Try to ask in a sort of "I would like to pay my respects but understand if you want a quiet family affair". This helped me tell a close friend that although I would like her their and have her support I also needed a quiet family reflective time without seeming to tell her I did not want her which was not the case, she suggested to me that she would send flowers if I did not mind but would not attend unless asked as she did not ewant to intrude. Not sure if this is very clear (especially as missing punctuation) but trying to help out.

Do not ever ignore the fact he was here or avoid talking about him, he is still their son/grandson/nephew.

Try not to worry about you baby if possible. Now we have chatted online you can count mine as one of your three and therefore your baby will be fine so no more superstition. Ok.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in