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What to Say and Do for a Grieving Parent

April 2, 2021

Don’t Do/Say:

  • I know how you feel

  • It was their time

  • There’s a reason for everything

  • She/he was such a good person God wanted her to be with him

  • Bring up or compare your own grief experiences

  • At least you have other children (or can have more children)

  • Offer advice without asking if they want it

  • Talk about the future, it's too soon to bring it up

Do Say/Do:

  • I am so sorry for your loss

  • Find any photos you have of their lost loved one and give/send to them asap

  • I don’t know how you feel, but I am here to help in any way I can

  • You and your loved one will be in my thoughts and prayers

  • My favorite memory of your loved one is...

  • Give a hug instead of saying something

  • We all need help at times like this, I am here for you

  • Saying nothing, just be with the person

  • Ask questions

  • Send a card

Things that were helpful to me:

Instead of saying, “call me if you need anything” or “is there anything you need?” just do it. There was no way I was going to pick up the phone and ask, that’s hard for a lot of people. I didn’t know what I needed, I could barely think straight. I forgot to take the trash out one week.

Food is usually brought over in the first week or so - just text randomly sometime and say “I am bringing you dinner tonight, should I just drop it off at the front door?” This doesn’t have to stop after the first week, feel free to ask after a month or more. Someone brought me a case of water and snacks to serve visitors, it was so appreciated. Another person made food (without asking) and brought it by my house after the service even though we were only having a few people over (I’ll never forget that, we had a few hungry guys that loved it).

I also received several gifts that touched me deeply: A journal to write to Keven in, a windchime with his name, several blankets with pictures of him or his name. Tons of ideas on-line for memorial gifts. Two people drew pictures of him for me and his best friends had a portrait done of the four of them together.

Message the person whenever you think of them and say “You don’t need to respond, I just wanted you to know I’m thinking of you and sending a hug”.

Text and ask:

  • Can I come over and walk your dog?

  • I am going to the store. Is there anything you need?

  • Is there an errand I can run for you this week?

  • Do you have anything to be picked up from the cleaners, pharmacy, etc.

  • What day does your trash come? I’d like to take it out for you.

  • When can I come over and help around the house/yard?

Before the Memorial Service/Funeral:

Quickly after somebody passes there is a list of things that need to be done, ask if you can help in any way, for example:

  • Can I bring the clothes over to the funeral home

  • Help choose photos/scan photos for the video

  • Help write the eulogy, memorial card, obituary

  • Help choose or get flowers

  • Get you a guest book and stand there to get people to sign

  • Give any relatives a ride to or from the airport/hotel

  • Give a ride to anybody that doesn’t have transportation

Lastly, PLEASE bring up our loved one often from the beginning onward. You won't be makin us sad by reminding us of the death. Believe me, it’s on our minds 24/7, bringing it up means you care.

It’s been almost 8 months since I lost Keven and when no one mentions him it feels like they forgot about him. PLEASE bring him up or ask me to share a story or ask how grieving is going for me. I haven’t yet met a grieving mom that doesn’t feel the same way.

My favorite thing to do is talk about Kev! I love it when someone brings him up, or shares a story about him, or asks me questions about him. I live for those moments because all have left of him is his memory.

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