Comforting Those Who Mourn
I received the phone call on Wednesday afternoon. My mom was sobbing on the other end as she tried to tell me my sister lost her baby. My sweet, loving, baby sister who was 22 weeks pregnant was in the hospital. I was shocked and unable to speak as she relayed the story. It all blurred together- a little spotting, an ultrasound, no heartbeat. Silent tears streamed down my face as my mom explained it all. I didn’t understand. Why was this happening? How was I supposed to tell my sons that their only boy cousin died?
Two days later, my sister delivered her beautiful son and said good-bye. She looked strong and determined in the pictures and when we spoke she sounded hopeful. I felt helpless and heart broken for her and her family as I watched the events unfold. I wanted to do or say something, but what? I haven’t been through this experience, and I didn’t want to say or do the wrong thing.
So, I asked for help. I asked for prayer on Facebook. I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and sympathy that I received from friends and family. Some even shared their personal experiences with me, and the ways that I could support my sister. Others shared organizations and ministries that will come along side grieving parents and families and offer them the support and comfort they need. Yet, most importantly I learned how to comfort those who mourn the loss of a baby.
Be A Comforter
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” – Matthew 5:4
- Check in- send a text, a card or an email letting her know you are there praying or available to talk.
- Choose your words wisely- refrain from cliches like “Heaven has a new angel” or “He/She is in a better place”. Don’t ever say there was a reason it happened. Although these statements might be true, it doesn’t need to be spoken.
- Let her know she didn’t do anything to make it happen.
- Be there- Let her talk and be irrational. Don’t disappear in a few weeks because it’s in the weeks following this tragedy she’ll need you most.
- Send flowers on the anniversary and Mother’s Day. It’s nice to continue to acknowledge the baby and remember his life.
- Acknowledge the event for the death and loss that it is. Don’t make light of the situation.
Be A Supporter
There are groups and organizations available to help your friend or family member that is experiencing this loss. My friends that shared their personal experiences told me how grateful they were for the grief counseling and keepsakes they received.
Teeny Tears– is a service organization that provides tiny flannel diapers at no charge to hospitals and bereavement support organizations for families that have suffered the loss of a preemie or micropreemie child through stillbirth or NICU loss. Parents receive two diapers- one for the baby and the other as a keepsake.
SHARE– Share Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support is a community for anyone who experiences the tragic death of a baby. They often serve parents, grandparents, siblings, and others in the family unit, as well as the professionals who care for grieving families.
Wings for Chloe– This organization provided a memory box for my sister. Each box contains a blanket and information from Wings for Chloe and other non profits who help families who have lost children. Every box is unique with different items and each one is special for that parent and baby. They also offer a support group that works in correspondence with Gaston Hospice on Garrison Blvd. Meetings every second Thursday of the month.
KinderMourn- offers individual counseling and support groups for those who have experienced the death of a baby from early pregnancy through newborn death. They also sponsor the Hope Floats Duck Race, an event to remember a loved one and gather with understanding community of bereaved parents.
I want to thank everyone who shared their experiences with me, and helped me learn how to comfort my sister during this sad time.
Have you or someone you know lost a baby? What helped you?