When Candice went into labor with her first child, she never dreamed that she would soon be saying “good bye.” She has written about her journey of love and loss of her son Alex in the hopes to raise awareness for Hyplo-plastic Left Heart Syndrome.Read the entire series here.
A Guest Series by Candice DeLeeuw
Have you ever been in a situation where someone you love has lost a child whether that be in miscarriage, still born, serious sickness, or just an accident and you don’t know what to do or say? Although everyone’s experience is not the same I have created a list with some help from some friends who have also lost children on what you should and should not do/say.
· Do: Bring over meals that can be frozen, preferably in throw away containers.
· Don’t: Expect the family to be able to “move on” quickly.
· Do: Offer to start a meal train to make bringing meals simple for the one receiving them
· Don’t: Say that you are sorry over and over again.
· Do: Offer to pick up other siblings for a playdate.
· Do: Offer to either do shopping for them or go with them to do it.
· Don’t: Tell them they are young and can have more children, regardless of their age.
· Do: Offer to pray with them.
· Don’t: Relay any information that may encourage them to think it is in anyway their fault, even if it revolves around prayer.
· Do: Offer to take them out.
· Don’t: Tell them it is God’s Plan repeatedly. They may know this, but aren’t ready to move forward yet.
· Do: Give the family space if that is what they want, but don’t leave them completely. Send encouraging letters/notes.
· Don’t: Be afraid to talk about the good times with the child.
· Do: Offer to do laundry or cleaning.
· Don’t: Say “I’m sorry” when you hear of their loss.
· Do: Ask them instead about their child (name, age, show an interest)
· Don’t: Say you “understand” even if you too have lost a child, every story is different.
· Do: Give them some books on grieving over a child.
· Don’t: Try to find something positive in their passing, especially in the beginning.
· Do: Send birthday cards for the child’s birthday
· Don’t: Suggest they should be grateful for the time they had.
· Do: Be willing to attend a support group with them.
· Do: Send sympathy cards on the anniversary of the child’s death to remind them you still think of them.
· Do: Call often.
· Do: Be sincere.
· Do: “Show up.”
The number one thing you can do for your friend is LISTEN. Be willing to sit there despite how many times they have told you the same information over and over again. A child who is gone on Earth is still alive in the heart of the parents and they, like any of their other children, want to share stories of them.
The mention of my child’s name may bring tears to my eyes, But it never fails to bring music to my ears. If you are really my friend, let me hear the music of her name. It soothes my broken heart and sings to my soul! ~Author Unknown ~
Candice is a mother of 3 and wife to 1. Her children are Alexander (would be 6- deceased), Xavier (4), and Irelyn (2). Originally from Michigan, her husband, Brandon, and she moved to North Carolina in February of 2005 for a teaching offer. Within a few months they were surprised with the blessing of the news of their first born. Alexander arrived in January 2006 with an undetected congenital heart defect. After fighting for his life, he was released to heaven in March 2006. She is a guest blogger sharing her story of loss and living. If you would like to contact Candice, email her at email@example.com.