The month of July is recognized as Bereaved Parents Awareness Month. This month is dedicated to raising awareness of the support for a friend or loved one who has experienced the stress and loss of a child.... While nothing you can do will take away the pain the parents are experiencing from losing their child, there are several ways to support our loved ones during this time.
Grieving the loss of a child is unimaginable and can leave a parent feeling overwhelmed, confused, and alone. The month of July is recognized as Bereaved Parents Awareness Month. This month is dedicated to raising awareness of the support for a friend or loved one who has experienced the stress and loss of a child. If you know someone that has lost a child, every month is bereaved parent’s month for them. It’s important to remember that parents will always need support, not only in the month of July.
While nothing you can do will take away the pain the parents are experiencing from losing their child, there are several ways to support our loved ones during this time.
If you know a parent who has lost their child, don’t hesitate to reach out and send them a message to let them know you’re thinking about them and the child they lost. Many bereaved parents encourage their friends and family to not shy away from mentioning their child.
You might feel uncomfortable because you do not know what to say or how to help. It's okay for you to not know exactly what to do or say. Sometimes offering a listening ear may be what they need the most. Most often, the point of being a support for someone isn’t coming to DO something for them, rather the point is to just be there and be present. Sometimes in tragedies, the most beneficial thing we can do is come to sit with the person or walk by their side. Every bereaved parent is different, and each grief journey is not the same.
Be aware of anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays that may elicit pain and tears. It may be best to not avoid these dates, but provide an opportunity for the parents to grieve and remember their child.
To let grieving parents know you’re thinking of them and their child, you may want to offer a compassionate sympathy gift. This could be a personalized item such as engraved wind chimes, or maybe a necklace with their child’s name or picture.
You may want to give an item that can be a used as a display in remembrance of the loved one such as a blanket, devotional book, or a picture frame. There are many ways to honor the loved one that can provide long-lasting comfort to the whole family.
Grief is a complex emotion that is difficult to understand, and does not follow a linear path. Grief often ebbs and flows and with time and there truly is no right or wrong way to grieve. It is important to always remember that it IS possible for parents to find a way forward and begin to experience life and HOPE again after their loss.
Juliana is Cornerstone of Hope's Grant Coordinator.