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Supporting a Grieving Parent. 6 Things to Know.

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When someone you know is going through a crisis, do you sometimes have trouble knowing what to do to help? Does comforting someone sometimes feel awkward? Are you afraid you’ll say or do something wrong?

It’s always easier to comfort someone when we have walked through the same trials; however, not experiencing the same pain does not give us an “out.”

Authentic faith compels us to bravely follow the lead of Jesus who walked head-on into our human condition – a human condition filled with suffering, heartache, and death.

A friend of mine recently posted a note on Facebook to her deceased son on his birthday. Made me weep. 

I’m sharing it with you today because of the way it exposed my ignorance and gave me new insight into the suffering of a grieving parent – even years after a child’s death.

My hope is it’ll help us all become more compassionate people – and better reflections of the heart of Christ in a really broken world.

Here are some things my friend wants people to know:

  • Time never completely heals or makes the loss easy.
  • Instead of asking if there’s anything you can do, think of something to do then do it – or offer it. In the aftermath of losing a child, it’s difficult for a parent to know what they can do for themselves, let alone tell someone else what to do for them.
  • Instead of generically saying you’ll pray for someone, stop what you’re doing and pray for them on the spot. An email, card, or note saying, “This is my prayer for you today” or “I just prayed this for you . . .” is much more sincere. Too many times, we say we’ll pray – then forget to pray. (I know this from experience.)
  • If you’re not a praying Christian, don’t throw around blank statements on social media and elsewhere. Saying or posting, “I’m praying for you” has no meaning and can actually cause pain. The words come across empty. Find something else to say or do instead.

I would add:

  • Don’t judge someone for the length of time they’re grieving or for how they grieve (i.e., my friend posting a note to her son on Facebook). 
  • Don’t throw scripture at people in pain. It can actually feel like “rocks,” and cause people to feel as though they’re not measuring up. What they need is someone to suffer with them in heartfelt compassion and love.

Here are excerpts from Lynn’s note to her son . . .

I Remember the Day you Were Born, 29 years ago…January 30, 1985

January 30, 2014 at 10:34pm

My Dearest Brandon,

“Today is your 29th birthday. The last birthday you spent with us you turned 22. I miss you every bit as much today as I have since you left this earth. I know I will see you again in Heaven but that doesn’t make the time any easier.

I remember the day you were born, as if it were yesterday.

My oldest son, my firstborn…

I remember my little blonde haired, blue eyed son…

I remember you being my pride and joy…

I remember you, as a baby, so clear…then a toddler, teenager, adult…

mywarminghouse.com

When I first held you it truly changed my life . . . 

A wise friend reminded me that God merely loaned you to me for 22 years. I’m so honored that He chose me to be your mom. I look back and cherish the time we were blessed to spend with you.

I will never understand why you were so young but it certainly is not for me to question the Sovereignty of God and His will. He took a huge piece of my heart when you left. I miss you so very much and everyday I long for the day when I will see you again in Heaven.

Everyday I feel a huge piece of my heart missing. Not one day goes by that I don’t remember you and miss you dearly. People tell me, when you lose a loved one, that it gets easier as time goes on, but I absolutely know that it does not get easier.

A mother’s love for her children just never goes away or changes. There is no loss compared to losing our children.

I miss you more each year and know that my love for you only expands as time goes on. 

I love you dearly and hold you close to my heart each and every day, son. I cherish your birthday every year . . . No one can ever truly understand my love for you and the loss in my heart.

I cherish you,

I miss you,

I love you,

I thank God for you everyday…

I’m grateful for every day I can still say, ” I remember the day you were born…”

Happy Birthday Brandon!

I will love you forever, 

Mom

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

As Christ lives his life through us, we have his big heart to comfort others with.

Our heart should reflect his.

Go love big today.

What do you want people to know about supporting a grieving parent?

Helpful LInks:

6 Things to Never Say to a Bereaved Parent

How to Help a Bereaved Parent

Supporting a Grieving Parent

GriefShare

Lisa~ 

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