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Everyday Gratitude: Room to Grieve for a Child

Filed under : Resources, family

By: Carolina Pichardo

For Young Urban Moms who have lost a child, the holiday season can be difficult, but its important to remember that special someone who is no longer here

Although there’s a lot of here and now to be grateful for, we can’t forget those great people that are no longer with us; especially when it’s concerning the death of a child.

For my family, we’re still recovering from the death of my mother-in-law. She passed away earlier this year from complications of diabetes. Although it’s been a day-to-day thing, we often get surprised by those brief moments that just “hit us” and remind us that she’s no longer here.

As YUMs, we can only imagine how those same moments feel for a parent.

Patricia Loder, a twice-bereaved parent, knows this much too well. As the executive director of The Compassionate Friends (TCF), a national self-help bereavement organization for families going through the natural grieving process after the death of a child, she feels that there are many ways to help a grieving family during the holidays. Below are her organization’s 9 ways to remember a child:

  1. Write down memories — especially funny stories — of the child to give the family. Try to get others who knew the child to write a story and then make a scrapbook for the family that can be added to in the future.
  2. Encourage the family to talk about the child, while understanding that some tears may fall — a tribute to the child who died.
  3. Share photos or videos of the child with the family that they may not have seen before.
  4. “Adopt a child” for the holidays by giving gifts in remembrance of the child who died. Notify the family.
  5. If you send a card, make certain to mention that you’re thinking of the child (by name), even if it’s been many years since the child died.
  6. Give the family an ornament that in some way will remind the family of the child.
  7. Give the family time and space so they can handle the holidays in a manner that works for them. Be understanding.
  8. Invite the family to participate in The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting the second Sunday in December, whether by attending a service or lighting a candle for an hour at home.
  9. Make a donation to a favorite charity in honor of the child.

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