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bereavement - what can neighbours really do to help?

(12 Posts)
mousie Tue 03-May-05 18:22:39

This is very sad. A five year old boy in our neighbourhood died last night, of a brain tumour - he went into hospital before the weekend and they turned off the life support yesterday. His parents are wonderful - and have four other very young children to look after - including infant twins. Mother is exhausted anyway - without this. I am writing this post because I wonder if Mumsnetters have any ideas of whether there is any real help anyone can give at this time. I know home cooked food and offers of childcare are the obvious things. But everything feels intrusive at this stage and I imagine if I were in their situation I would hate the doorbell going constantly with do gooders and well wishers. Any thoughts. Everyone in the community is devastated and I sense no one knows what to do.

fostermum Tue 03-May-05 18:26:54

i feel for the family,and there never seems the right thing to say. a woman i had known for years,her son died in a car crash a few months back,her son and my daughter where good friends when young and i didnt know what to say to her that doesnt sound sort of empty,maby a card through the door saying your there if theres any thing you can do that would be of use?

kaytee Tue 03-May-05 18:58:25

Yes, note through door with specific help you can offer; perhaps they will then be more likely to take you up on it. Maybe a rota with others for some meals/childcare? Poor family; they must be devastated.

darlingbud Tue 03-May-05 19:00:40

I agree with fm. Maybe a neighbourhood card signed by everyone with the offer of help if needed.
Any chance of offering to take the other kids somewhere just for maybe half a day to allow the parents to sort things out? I know grandparents will probably be there but they will be grieving too.

mousie Tue 03-May-05 20:01:20

thank you, all sensible ideas

FIMAC1 Tue 03-May-05 20:03:43

Take on their gardening between you all - with their consent? I am sure it will be the last thing on their minds for a while and will take away the chore so they have more time with their children

maggie61 Tue 03-May-05 22:05:42

i would say that if you really want to help ,then be brave and call round, maybe take a small present for the children ,colouring books, comics and say you want to help if you can, say you feel at a loss as to what to say or do ,but you genuinely want to help them at this sad time, sometimes it is hard to get out and face people again they may appreciate a friend to go to the park with etc

sallystrawberry Tue 03-May-05 22:18:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

miranda2 Wed 04-May-05 16:12:24

I had a really bad car accident when i was 17, (was touch and go for a week) and the best thing anyone did for my parents/family was to leave a big carrier bag of meals they'd cooked on the doorstep of the house, with a note saying basically 'these are for you as cooking is probably the last thing on your mind, keep the pots'. I remember mum being really touched - and it surprised us all, as the person involved was an English teacher at our school who no-one really knew well or liked much! We all had a new respect for her after that.

mousie Wed 04-May-05 20:08:50

miranda2 - thank you for that, all my instincts are to cook cook cook rather than think about it too much - and you are so right about saying keep the pots - the last thing they want is to have to worry about getting things back/ remembering who gave what. I will think of some nutritious, wholesome and comforting things now.

Satine Wed 04-May-05 20:12:48

A friend lost her husband last year v suddenly and something she said stuck with me - she said "I'm still the same person, I won't shatter, I may burst into tears a lot but you can still talk to me as normal!" I mention her dh sometimes, too, in conversation, if it's appropriate to what we're talking about.

mousie Wed 04-May-05 20:15:17

i agree with not being too precious around someone - and that avoiding them is wrong - however the death of a five year old just seems so awful, worst age and everything - you have just got them to school and the really hard bits are over. I just keep thinking of the poor exhausted mum and how nothing anyone does can make her feel any better, I suppose.

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