It’s mailbox Monday. On Monday, I publish a reader submitted question, and ask my readers to weigh in!
Questions don’t have to be cloth diaper related, just email maria at change-diapers.com with “Mailbox Mondays” in the subject, or fill out my contact form for readers, which you will always be able to find on my Contact Page.
Today is the memorial service of my nephew who passed away 1 day before his 2nd birthday. He had brain cancer. It was so hard to watch him deteriorate. I can’t imagine how his parents (my husbands brother & his wife) are feeling. As sad as I feel, I know they feel it 100x worse. I have a 22-month old son and the parents of the deceased can’t stand to see my healthy, vibrant, alive son.
I’m looking for some input from other families who have suffered a loss of a young child so that I may act appropriately around my brother-in-law’s family. When can we start spending time with them again? They have two older children (12 and 10) who love to play with my son.
What signs should I watch for in the parents if they might need comfort from me? I feel like they need their privacy and space right now but I don’t like just standing by doing nothing. What can I do for them?
I hope you and your readers are able to help me out.
Allison, first I want to say how sorry I am for the loss of your nephew. I am not the most qualified to help you with this, but hopefully my readers will have tips and advice for you.
Things that I’ve been thinking about are to try to be there for them. If you “give them space,” they may feel isolated. Be up front with them. Tell them you love them, you support them, and you’re here for them, but you don’t want to hurt them further by having your son around.
I think the most important thing you can do for a grieving person in general (not just one who has lost a child) is to be there for them. Don’t just say you’ll be there for them, but actually be there. Especially after the initial flurry of family & friends dies down after the first few weeks. Lend an ear and listen while they share memories of their loved one, and share yours too. I think often people are afraid to upset the grieving person, so they will try to ignore/pretend it never happened (seems to occur a lot with still birth and miscarriage as well.) He will always be their son, and I’m sure they want him to be remembered. When a woman loses her husband, she is a “widow,” but what is a mother who loses her child called? In the coming years, people may ask her how many children she has. Does she say two, or three? I just can’t imagine losing a child.
I’m also guessing that both your brother-in-law and his wife are going to be dragging themselves around, going through the motions for quite a while. It might help them to have some easy to heat meals frozen & delivered to them, or to receive gift cards to local take-out restaurants if you’re able to do that. Most people say “call me if you need anything” but the grieving person is rally pretty unlikely to do that. Instead, I suggest you (or your husband) simply offer specific things (like grabbing a few groceries for them, driving their other children to activities or helping out with other errands you know they need to do.)
Unfortunately, I’m sure too many of my readers have been in this situation. Readers, do you have suggestions for Allison on how she can help her BIL & SIL?