Several members of our Bereaved Moms Support Group are opening their hearts to share their thoughts and feelings with us. This is what they would like you to know about the profound experience of losing a child.

It is a difficult time for the parent – nothing you say will be correct or comforting.
Just listen, and be there for them to talk, cry, scream with you.
The moral support is worth a lot.

I would like people to acknowledge my loss and not try to avoid me. I am not contagious. Just a simple “I’m sorry for your loss” is enough.

I would like people not to judge how long it should take me to recover from my losses.
In today’s Covid environment, virtual hugs are encouraged.

Please do not tell me you understand unless you have lost a child yourself.

We have never imagined our children not being a part of our lives.
It is not the natural order of things that they die before their parents.

Losing a son to suicide – what I wish others knew

Please don’t ask me how he died. It is painful to describe the manner of his death.

Don’t ask me if he had “mental illness” or if he showed signs.

Don’t ask me if he left a suicide note. Notes don’t always give answers and in fact lead to more questions.

Don’t tell me that you know how I feel if you have never lost a child.

Do ask me his name.

Do know that sometimes all I need is a hug or your presence.

Do know that it is okay not to know what to say. Silence is okay.

Do ask me about him.

Do know that I will have good days and bad days even after years, and I still cry a lot.

Do feel free to wish me Happy Mother’s Day as I am still a mother even though he was my only child.

As a nurse, I’ve dealt with many patients’ deaths; I’ve also lost my parents and my husband. However, I was not prepared for the death of my daughter, my only child. She fought metastatic breast cancer for eight years. Even though her death was expected and accepted to end her pain, it is the worst pain of my life. Grief after the loss of a child doesn’t have a timeframe to get over, it changes you for life. I want friends and family to talk to me about my daughter and the good memories they have of her. Yes, I may still cry sometimes, but they are healing tears. I never know when something will still trigger pain in my heart. Just check on your family and friends after their loss and touch base ongoing. Don’t let it feel like an elephant in the room whenever you see or talk to them.

Suicide is less accepted and has a stigma attached to it, so people shy away from discussing it or approaching you. People don’t understand how someone could take their own life. If they don’t have an understanding of mental illness and drug addiction, you can’t expect them to. I am grateful for some friends who did listen – and did not give advice. I’m not ashamed to share that I lost a child to this, and I appreciate others coming forth to share their stories.

After the death of my son, as the shock gradually wore away, I came to understand the degree of seismic shift this loss had on my soul. Almost immediately my mind’s ability to prioritize what used to be important, what I needed for my grief journey, and what no longer mattered much was magnified.
Now I am able to continue my life with new compassion and insight, while still loving and missing my son. I will always want and need to talk about my son – and to hear your remembrances too. Also, a hug or a listening ear will soothe my soul.

I’d like to let people know that it’s okay to ask about our children. Maybe ask what he or she liked – or was like. Ask if there are any special memories that we may like to share. Don’t be afraid that it may be too painful, we’re in pain already. Don’t be afraid of our tears. They are a part of us now. Just listening can be comforting. You’ve laughed with us, maybe you can cry with us as well. Perhaps they will be happy tears. We will never forget our child, not having any new memories doesn’t mean we forget the memories we have and cherish deep in our hearts.

Bereaved Moms Grief Support Group
Held virtually on Zoom Videoconferencing
Mondays from 11am – 12:30pm
Preregistration is required
Call 239-985-7716 or email Lorrie.McCann@HopeHCS.org