“All human life has its seasons, and no one’s personal chaos can be permanent: winter, after all does not last forever does it? There is summer, too, and spring, and though sometimes when branches stay dark and the earth cracks with ice, one thinks they will never come, that spring, that summer, but they do, and always."
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Do's and Don'ts for Family, Friends and Professionals
Do let your genuine concern and caring show.
Don't let your own sense of helplessness keep you from reaching out to a bereaved friend or relative.
Do be available to listen, to help with the other children, or whatever else seems needed at the time.
Don't avoid them because you are uncomfortable (being avoided adds pain to an already intolerably painful experience).
Do say you are sorry about what happened to their loved one and about their pain.
Don't say you know how they feel. Even if you have lost someone yourself, everyone experiences a loss a little differently. It's better to say, " can only imagine what you must be going through."
Do allow them to express as much grief as they are feeling at the moment and are willing to share.
Don't say, "you ought to be feeling better by now" or anything else which implies a judgment about their feelings.
Do encourage them to be patient with themselves, not to expect too much of themselves and not to impose any "shoulds" on themselves.
Don't tell them what they should feel or do.
Do allow them to talk about the special and endearing qualities of the loved one they lost.
Don't change the subject when they mention their loved one or avoid mentioning their name out of fear of reminding them of their pain.
Do give special attention to the family's children at the funeral and in the months to come (they too are hurt and confused and in need of attention which their parents may not be able to give at this time).
Don't try to find something positive (i.e. a moral lesson, closer family ties, etc.) about the death.
Do reassure them that they did everything that they could, that the medical care their child received was the best or whatever else you know to be true and positive about the care given their child.
Don't point out that at least they have their other children (children are not interchangeable; they cannot replace each other).
Don't say that they can always have another child (even if they wanted to, and could, another child would not replace the one they've lost).
Don't make any comments which in any way suggest that the care at home, in the emergency room, hospital or wherever, was inadequate (parents are plagued by feelings of doubt and guilt without the help from their family and friends).