Hello everyone! Many of you may have read a previous article discussing, What Not to Say to a Grieving Parent. I felt it may help you when sharing a conversation with a grieving parent. I know how uncomfortable it can be for you to have a conversation with one of us.
We have covered what not to say, now I am asked the opposite, What to Say to a Grieving Parent?
Each grieving parent is unique so some things that bother one person may not bother another. The same thing goes with what is appropriate to say to a grieving parent. Through my personal journey and all of my reading, the answers I am sharing are pretty common so both articles will help.
What in the world can you say to someone who has lost a child? If I were in your position, I would be lost and clueless! I wouldn’t know where to begin if I were in someone else’s shoes. Unfortunately, I am the grieving parent.
First of all, as mentioned before, I totally understand the discomfort you may encounter when talking to someone who is in this life changing situation. There is nothing anyone can say that can make us feel great. Maybe better for a moment but the pain is still there, just hidden behind the face of someone who misses there child with every waking moment.
We are taught early on, to comfort those that are sad. Cheer them up. When a friend is in dire straights, we offer to take them to dinner, send flowers, or make a sweet gesture with a note or phone call.
This situation isn’t that easy unfortunately. There is no quick fix. If so, I would have a house full of flowers and would be dining out every night! 🙂
Through my last four months in this Grieving Process, what I think is the greatest, Number One Thing to Say to a Grieving Parent is, A HUG!
Hugs say more than any words can express! No words are needed. They make me cry the most and the quickest but that is OK! Grieving parents can feel your sincerity with a big hug.
I have received the greatest, tightest, longest hugs these past few months than my entire life. I think my son is wrapping his arms around me too. He gave the biggest bear hugs! 🙂
How Are You Doing
Ask “How are you doing?” with heartfelt meaning and look in our eyes and listen. This is a typical greeting but when asked a special way, we know the difference. Give the griever a chance to think about exactly how she/he is feeling at that moment.
Be prepared for the answer. It may surprise you! Our feelings change daily, sometimes hourly. There could be all kinds of responses that can surface.
Several of my friends asked me this question immediately following my son’s passing. I remember frankly saying “I want to die!” Let me tell you, that feeling is very normal when a parent loses there child. All I thought about was how bad I wanted to see my son and, of course, the only way that would ever happen is to join him spiritually.
I was alarmed at this overwhelming thought and was scared something was wrong with me. Thank goodness I read a lot of Grief Books that let me know this deep dark feeling was normal and many parents go through it.
I still can’t wait to cross over, simply because I know I will immediately see my son. That does not mean I am mentally unstable. Not at all. This is a normal part of the process grieving parents may go through.
There are times a grieving parent doesn’t need any answer to there own remark or question. They know there isn’t a reply or answer that can bring their child back so it’s OK to just listen. Allow the griever to vent, speak, reminisce, yell, scream, cry, whine and complain. This is a time to just physically be their friend.
Talk About the Deceased Loved One
Something many people may feel awkward doing is talking about the deceased loved one. We, as parents, love talking about our child. I think we don’t say anything because we think others will be uncomfortable, and others do the same thing because they think hearing our loved ones name will make us upset.
Remember this, all we think about is our child so you won’t be resurfacing anything we aren’t already thinking of. Also, we are already sad so you will not make us any sadder.
Grieving parents love to hear stories about their child. Watch their faces light up when they speak of their child. We want to keep our child alive and all we have now are pictures and memories. Hearing any and all stories is truly priceless!
My son was a character so when I’m around his friends it is enjoyable hearing all the crazy Chase stories. He was always the life of the party and wanted everyone to laugh and have fun. Listening to his stories makes him alive at that moment which is the closest we can get.
My friends and family have continued to support me. It has been amazing to see how thoughtful, sincere, loving, and faithful they have been. Just when I think someone has given up on me because of my constant No’s, I get a text from them checking on me, asking me to go out to dinner or a movie, or just to say hi.
The loss of a child transforms a person. Never will a parent get over the unfair loss of their child and get back to the normal way of living. The old self is now replaced with a new person. Time is needed for us to adjust to this new self.
I’m Thinking of You
When someone says saying “I’m thinking of you” via verbal, phone, text, or email it makes me feel like I am not so alone in this new world. It offers peace and is caring. I feel how tender the expression is and it is nice to know someone is thinking of me.
I Wish I Had the Right Thing to Say
Like I said before, this is something new for all of us so it is a learning experience for everyone. When a child passes away, it affects the family, close friends, and even acquaintances. It can make a parent not want to be around the grieving parent because they have witnessed that this is real and can happen to anyone.
Not having a response is very OK. Just an honest, “I wish I had the right thing to say” says it all. Those words are from the heart and the meaning says it all!
You and Your Loved One Are in My Prayers
Something very sweet and personal to me, would be to hear someone say, “You and your loved one are in my prayers.” How sincere to think of the person who has passed. I feel the person that has passed needs prayers as much as the living. They have a journey too, a spiritual journey.
Immediately after Chase’s passing, I kept asking people to pray for him to cross over. To tell him it is OK and we are all OK. I could feel that he hadn’t made it to the other side yet.
It was very important for me to know he crossed over and didn’t linger here as an earthly spirit. This is my own belief of course but it is how I feel. I know we all have our own beliefs on this subject.
Some spirits will wait to cross over to make sure their loved ones are OK. Chase was a healer so I was so worried he would stay to comfort everyone. To this day I feel he has crossed over and thank everyone for their prayers!! He needed them as much or more than me!!
I hope this has helped anyone with the sincere concern of What to Say to a Grieving Parent. We aren’t that scary. Or maybe we are. I am still getting to know this new person. 🙂
I always encourage comments. Please share anything on your mind. 🙂