It’s hard to know what to say or do in the face of tragedy. Use these tips for showing support to a loved one who is struggling with the loss or severe illness of a child.
- Provide a Listening Ear: Give your loved ones time and space to share their feelings and tell you about what happened. Everyone’s different — some want to converse extensively, others simply need an open-minded listener.
- Don’t Minimize Loss: Avoid using hurtful clichés like “be grateful for your healthy children” or advising that the painful event was “part of a plan.” Remember, the partner who wasn’t pregnant is hurting, too. Be sure to ask both parents how they are.
- Offer Specific Assistance: “Let me know how I can help” can be too vague for families overwhelmed with grief or illness. Instead, ask if you can bring breakfast over tomorrow, come clean the bathrooms on Saturday, provide babysitting for parents who need to visit a child in the hospital or hold on to nursery furniture and baby clothes until the family is ready to get them back.
Help for the Grieving
Bereaved children, adolescents and parents can find help at the Center for HOPE (Healing, Opportunity, Perseverance, Enlightenment) at Cohen Children’s Medical Center. Call 516-216-5194 to learn more about short-term counseling and free support groups at the center, which is located at 1981 Marcus Avenue in Lake Success, NY.
Pregnancy and early infant loss support groups are also available at North Shore University Hospital (516-562-8415) in Manhasset. Ask for Ivy Diamond or Patricia Lundy.
There are also numerous helpful books about loss and grief to help children and adults.
Find more news about health, wellness, medical discoveries and community programs from LIJ Medical Center and North Shore University Hospital in Look North.