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How To Help and Support a Bereaved Parent or Family

Losing a loved one is devastating, and coming to terms with the loss of someone is never easy. However, the grief of bereaved parents is unimaginable, with the idea of losing one’s child being one of the biggest fears of every parent. As a friend or family, it can sometimes get challenging to understand how to support the bereaved parents. With July being Bereaved Parents Awareness Month, here are some tips to help you navigate this path and provide the much-needed love and care your friend or family member needs.

1. Lend an ear to the bereaved parent

The first step in supporting bereaved parents is to be sympathetic and try your best to understand their pain. Allow them to express their feelings, thoughts, or emotions without stopping them. Something to be mindful of is not judging them or offering suggestions without them asking for them first.

Let them vent out, then acknowledge and accept. Being there, hugging them, and giving them a chance to talk can comfort the grieving parents. While the emotions can weigh heavy on your heart, let them cry and break down to cope with the grief of losing their kid.

2. Offer help whenever you can

Even though you might think you can’t do anything to help, there are always things that can soften the blow. Bereaved parents often struggle with their day-to-day tasks. Jumping back into the flow of life after losing one’s child isn’t easy.

So, show the grieving parent that you care by offering help, such as bringing some pre-cooked food, picking up the rest of their kids from school, taking them to their lessons, taking the bereaved parents out for some fresh air, etc. These small things can help them in unimaginable ways. However, always take their permission. If they don’t want such support, respect their decision.

3. Avoid giving advice when not asked for

supporting bereaved parents
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If you also went through a grieving phase, you might be tempted to share your story or how you coped with the pain of losing your little one. However, please refrain from doing so. Comparing your grief with theirs doesn’t do any good to either you or the bereaved parent you wish to support.

Moreover, please don’t give them unsolicited advice or lecture them about how to grieve. There isn’t a right way to grieve, with every individual feeling differently about the loss and having their own way of healing. Unless asked for advice, just be present and listen to them.

4. Don’t make negative comments

You might be doing your best to support the bereaved parents. However, if we are not careful, we might sometimes blurt out some not-so-great comments, further hurting the grieving parents. Avoid saying hurtful things like, “At least you have another child,” “It will be okay in a few days,” “You can always try for another baby,” and so on. Think twice before saying anything in sensitive situations such as these and avoid making things more painful for the bereaved parents.

5. Be there to support the bereaved parent

Grieving is an ongoing process that doesn’t end in a day or two. It might take months and sometimes even years for bereaved parents to come to terms with the reality of having lost their precious child. So, let them know you are there for them to be their pillar of support.

Be in touch through phone calls and messages and visit them whenever possible. The parents might feel a little overwhelmed during holidays or birthdays, so be their support system. Every little effort you put in will help with their healing journey.

If you cannot relate to their loss and are having a hard time empathizing, educate yourself with books, articles, or other online resources to understand how losing a child can affect an individual. This can help you become more empathetic and supportive towards the bereaved parents.

Losing one’s kid is heartbreaking, and healing from the pain takes a lot of time and effort. However, with proper support and help, the bereaved parents can slowly but surely learn to make space for themselves while also carrying the grief of losing their child.

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