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Loss of a child - Not mine

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Lucky2HaveMe posted 8/8/2013 09:41 AM

A dear friend from HS lost both of her young adult children - 17 & 21yo - in a horrible car accident 3 weeks ago.

I know there are some here that have lost children... My question is is there anything I can do for her. I feel so helpless. She does not want any visitors, said its still too difficult. Her church family is taking care of meals. I have sent a couple of cards to let her know I am thinking of her.

I am sure the answer is there really isn't anything else I can do for her other than just to keep reaching out and letting her know I care and there prob isn't anything else...

Was there anything that truly helped? My heart just breaks for her and her H.

timeforchange posted 8/8/2013 11:04 AM

That is so tragic.

Did you know her children?

Maybe write a letter saying how you want to share a couple of me memories of the 2 kids with her.

Maybe your first memory of them? Or a funny story?

Whilst she may not react now I think being able to read happy positive memories in the future may be of real comfort to her.

Also be there for her further down the front ... Now there is a probably a lot of support... 6 months on things may be quieter on the support front.

Also in the future do not be scared to mention them. Yes she may cry.... But the pain is worse when no one mentions the deceased person anymore.

BeyondBreaking posted 8/8/2013 11:12 AM

What a good friend you are!

Continue to give her space while she requests it, and periodically reach out to her.

Remember ro reach out in 3 months, and after. Check in with her on anniversaries, etc... A lot of people reach out and send sympathy and then after a few months, the cards stop coming and the calls stop coming. People move on, and I think that's one of the hardest things- when others move on and your world is still at a stand-still. Keep remembering (for years) to reach out to your friend and let her know that you remember her kids and you are thinking of her.

boredandtired posted 8/8/2013 11:20 AM

Make sure you are always there for her, not just now but further on down the line. My four year old cousin died in a car accident as well so I know that support is needed all the way because I often feed most in need on anniversaries and birthdays!!

nowiknow23 posted 8/8/2013 13:54 PM

Look back through your photos. If you have any that include her kids, make a copy of them (or scan, whichever) to give your friend.

When my then SIL died 13 years ago, my ILs were so very touched to receive pictures of her that had been unknown to them before then.

And as everyone keeps saying, continue to reach out to let her know you are thinking about her, but be sure she knows that she does not need to reply unless and until she is ready to.

karmahappens posted 8/8/2013 14:23 PM

My sister died in a car accident when I was 15. She was 17.

Tuesday, August 13th, will be the 30th anniversary of the accident.

I think the biggest issue we faced was that after a period of time people stopped talking about it and were uncomfortable if we brought it up.

There is a sense that after some time it goes away or gets better.

It doesn't. Time has changed things but it will never, ever be ok, it will never be over.

When I know of someone that has suffered through a tragedy I send cards out later because that's when the support stops. I will send a note, letting them know I know their pain is still there and I am always avaiable to listen.

I sent my friend a facebook message recently, her sister was killed a few years after we are talking years. She thanked me and said it's nice to know the club we are in gets it...because so many people don't.

So be there down the road is my only advice. When all the obvious support has ended be a little reminder to her that you care and know it will never "be over" for her family.

nowiknow23 posted 8/8/2013 14:35 PM


Kajem posted 8/8/2013 14:47 PM

Send a thinking of you card on their birthdays and anniversaries. A lot of people might remember the accident anniversary, but not their birthdays. They will be hard .

Hugs to you too,


Kajem posted 8/8/2013 15:02 PM

Double post, sorry.


[This message edited by Kajem at 3:05 PM, August 8th (Thursday)]

Kajem posted 8/8/2013 15:02 PM

Triple post, sorry.


[This message edited by Kajem at 3:03 PM, August 8th (Thursday)]

EvenKeel posted 8/8/2013 15:14 PM

My GF lost her son in an auto accident. I felt helpless.

I did these things that she touched her. I made a tribute album to him. It was filled with things I will always remember about her son (From funny words he said wrong as a toddler to teen-stuff).

I wrote her a heartfilled note. It was painful to get through and many of tears on my end but she said she read it over and over and over.

I made sure she knew she could call me ANYTIME. I told her I didn't care if it was 3:00am....and she just needed someone to sit with her.

She has taken me up on it over the years. She called me one night at 2:00am and all she could think of was her pain and just wanted to run into a telephone pole and end it all (driving all night was her therapy). She progress through an alcohol-induced span of life, etc. I made sure she understood there is no correct way to grieve or no set timeline (many ppl told her that she was gone long enough and she should be moving on )

It was a very long road and I think she took every detour there was along the way. Just make sure your friend knows you are there no matter how long it could save her life.

PS - my friend kept all the cards she received and read them often. Even if she is not able to hear your thoughts/prayers today, she will in time.

Lucky2HaveMe posted 8/8/2013 19:57 PM

Thank you all for the suggestions. I will def send bday cards! Her sons bday was 6 days after he died and I did not think to send her one then, but next year with it being a year since they lost his as well I will def do it. He dds bday is coming up in Oct so I will do that. Her bdyy is next week and I found a great card that simply days I hope she can see the sunshine today.

I didn't know her kids well. Though we stayed in touch these last 30 years our families are separated by a few miles and our kids were quite a bit apart in ages. I will share things I remember from our relationship that may bring a smile to her face.

My heart is so heavy, I just cannot imagine their pain.

Must Survive posted 8/8/2013 20:22 PM


Right now your friend is a walking zombie. She is going through the motions, but will not even remember what she did.

I lost my adult daughter(31) a year ago. People brought pictures they had of her, a report she had done for a school project they were involved in. While I am not strong enough yet to really look at them. They do give me comfort. I also asked everyone to write down special memories of her that I might not know about.

On the anniversary of her death, I received a call from my ex SIL to check on me. Also got FB notes.

She will never be the same. If you can talk with her and let her cry later when other support is gone, I am sure she will appreciate it.

damncutekitty posted 8/8/2013 21:48 PM

In my experience with the grief process (including the loss of my 19 year old brother). People seem to expect that after 6 months you will sort off getting back to your routine. And after a year, nobody wants to bring it up anymore.

The first few months your friend will have lots of people reaching out- but after that, the bulk of the support fades away. And that's when the grieving gets really lonely.

My parents did grief counseling together, but joined different support groups. I think it was a fabulous decision. Everyone grieves in different ways, and when you lose a child those different grieving processes can be a wedge between spouses.

Want2help posted 8/9/2013 15:09 PM

When I lost my father (not even close to losing a child, but I was only 21 and he was my only parent), I didn't want to see anyone, but I still hold in VERY high regard the few people who were thoughtful enough to send me cards, especially those with handwritten messages in them.

(((((Lucky2's friend)))))

Tearsoflove posted 8/10/2013 15:17 PM

When I was young and pregnant with my first child, I saw this poem on a desk in an office. I remember thinking at the time that it was a very comforting poem so I wrote it down.

Four or five years ago, my daughter's boyfriend was killed in a car accident. He was a teenager and an only child. We did not know what to do but I printed out this poem and sent it to his mother in a card. She loved it and gave it to the pastor to read at his service.

After the service, she called my daughter distraught because the pastor didn't give her back the poem (he probably wanted to be able to use it again). So my daughter and I made her a new copy with a photo of her son as background and framed it. Years later, family members of her still thank me when I run into them.

Here is the poem if you want to share it with your friend:

To all Parents

Edgar Guest
"I'll lend you for a while a child of mine," He said.
"For you to love the while he lives and mourn for when he's dead.
It may be six or seven years, or twenty-two or three,
But will you, till I call him back, take care of him for me?
He'll bring his charms to gladden you, and should his stay be brief,
You'll have his lovely memories as solace for your grief."

"I cannot promise he will stay; since all from earth return,
But there are lessons taught down there I want this child to learn.
I've looked the wide world over in My search for teachers true
And from the throngs that crowd life's lanes I have chosen you.
Now will you give him all your love, not think the labor vain,
Nor hate Me when I come to call to take him back again?"

"I fancied that I heard them say, "Dear Lord, Thy will be done!
For all the joy Thy child shall bring, the risk of grief we run.
We'll shelter him with tenderness, we'll love him while we may,
And for the happiness we've known, forever grateful stay;
But should the angels call for him much sooner than we've planned,
We'll brave the bitter grief that comes and try to understand!"

Bee2011 posted 8/10/2013 17:42 PM

My 35 year old brother died six weeks ago from cancer. My family gets a lot of peace from hearing stories and memories from his friends (through his Facebook page) and when they share pictures of him. It makes us happy to know that he was loved by others and that he made an impact in others' lives. If you have memories or stories of him, share them (a letter or card is perfect) with your friend. My mom has saved everything she's received, including the cards he was sent during his fight).

I'm so sorry for yours and her loss.

Losttransport posted 8/12/2013 08:25 AM

I was in a wreck 14 years ago with several family members. My mother died and so did my nephew. My daughter and another nephew were gravely injured, though both completely recovered.
In the aftermath, I didn't want to see anybody outside of family. It hurt so badly and there was so much to deal with, what with funerals, and hospitals, and just everything, I didn't want anyone around me because I hurt physically and emotionally, and everything was WRONG and it was all I could do to make it from one minute to the next.
I don't know if this helps, but I'm sure it's not about you, she knows you will be there for her when she can open back up. You sound like a good friend. She is going to need that.

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