Some people do the kindest things sometimes

Following my blog piece about how people can say the dumbest things sometimes I wanted to write something more positive and helpful for those who want to support those who are grieving…be that the loss of an early pregnancy, a later stage pregnancy or anyone important in their life:

  • Some people need a hug, a real hug…if you know they are that type of person, give them a hug for as long as they need it when you first see them
  • Take food to those grieving when you visit. They may not feel like eating just yet, but at some point they will be ready and will need a good meal
  • Remind them that they can be hermit for a while, if that is what they need…they don’t have to ‘get out there and face the world’, at least not straight away, if they are not ready
  • But once they are ready, help them get out there, get fresh air and a change of scene. There might be something that upsets them when they are out, and just reassure them and support them
  • If they need to ‘do something’ (writing a diary, yoga, walking etc) support them, go to a class with them or give them a ‘good’ notepad to write down whatever they need to express
  • For some, getting grief counselling or therapy is helpful, so don’t be afraid to suggest this or support the decision to go, if it feels that is the external support will be useful to them
  • If counselling or therapy isn’t quite right for who you are concerned about, maybe see if they are happy to use the internet. I found that the grief and loss support groups were amazing, and I have sought support over several stages of my grief over the years. I found the ladies on the What to Expect group kind and thoughtful (and when you needed it – honest!)
  • One of the most touching things, that we all said we found helped, was when people remembered milestones…and those milestones come thick and fast in the beginning. So a week from the loss, a month, the due date or birthday, Christmas can all be trigger points. Remembering those times can reassure the one grieving that they can remember other things (a song, a book, being somewhere specific) and talk about it with you (if they need to). They will have these dates and specifics engraved in their memories, but sometimes keep it locked away to not say ‘I am actually finding today hard because it means something more to me.’ Having someone remember those dates and your loss can help give a greater weight or reality to what your experienced, it wasn’t ‘just a miscarriage’, but a baby, a person
  • Reassure them that they are allowed (entitled) to feel however the hell they want and need to…and their grief takes as long as they need it to. That it is OK to cry completely out of the blue for no clear reason…except they know and can’t quite explain. Allowing them to talk or not talk as they need to is helpful and just being there as they go through what they need to, for as long as they need to
  • And don’t forget to just check in. Be that a little text to say that they are in your thoughts, or that you saw something and thought of them. It is good to know that others care

Personally, I will never forget the most thoughtful things that people did for us in our losses: the bear hugs; the long, thoughtful letters; allowing me to talk a lot; crying with me; the chocolate gift box; the 1st square for the baby’s blanket…these things let us know that the pain we were feeling was recognised by those that love us most and that they were here for us as long as we needed…

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