You can never truly know what it is like to lose a child until you have been there.
I remember when my oldest was just a toddler and I had a panic moment in which I wondered what I would do, what I would feel, if I lost him. That moment of sheer terror was nothing compared to what I actually experienced the day I watched my daughter, our 5th born, slip from life into death in a small town ER.
That day, I became a different person.
On my blog, Raising Arrows, I speak freely of what it is like to be a grieving mother and because we were staying with friends the day our daughter died, I know how very difficult and very helpless the friends of those who grieve feel when it comes to offering any kind of comfort to those they love so much.
So, what can you do when your friend is grieving the loss of their child?
*Realize nothing you say or do will take the pain away. So often, we want to fix things for our friends. We don’t want them to hurt. So, we talk and talk and do and do when all along we should just…
*Listen. A true friend is one who listens much more than they talk. But even if it seems as if your grieving friend doesn’t want to talk…
*Be available. I have found that grieving parents, especially mothers, have moments where their grief comes gushing out. They need to know that you are there when that moment happens and you won’t be scared away by the intense and raw emotions they feel and speak.
*Never say you know how they feel. Only another grieving parent has the right to that claim. Losing your grandparent, your parent, or even a spouse is not the same as the grief of losing a child. There may be similarities, but now is not the time to bring them up. Additionally, this is not the time to tell them you almost lost one of your own children. Almost is not the same.
*Never expect your friend to be the same person they were. I will never be able to stay with my friend in her house again. The memories hurt too much. I know that has been difficult for her, but she never expected it of me either. I also do not handle fevers in my children very well. I stay up all night and stare at them, begging the Lord to keep me calm. I am a different person and many of the decisions I make concerning my children are based on the fact that I now grieve the loss of one of them.
In those dark months following the death of a child, your friend really just needs you. They need you to check up on them. They need you to offer some sense of normalcy. They need you to speak their child’s name and never, ever forget. They need you to love them through it all.
If you are looking for more resources to help your friend through the loss of a child, you can visit Amy’s Grieving Mother page where you will find helpful articles and a free eDevotional for those who grieve.
Amy is the mother of 6 (soon to be 7) living children and one precious little girl named Emily, who sits at the feet of Jesus. Her days are filled with sticky kisses and deep discussions. At night, she writes about it all on her blog Raising Arrows.
Last updated byat .