- Category: For family & friends For family & friends
What the bereaved parent is feeling
The support a person receives from others can be invaluable and will help them through the rough journey ahead. This will ultimately enable them to heal. This process will take time and they will never be completely “over it”. It's not something that can be quickly or easily fixed either.
In time their pain will ease and they will learn to live with their loss. But in the beginning the grief is an all consuming emotion in which there is no escape - not even a break.
One thing you need to know is that the grieving parent will never forget their baby and they would not want you to forget them either, no matter how much time has passed. It is easy to think they are doing okay as time goes by and we all go back to living our own lives.
But how do you help someone when you can’t even imagine the pain they are going through?
What can you possibly do to help?
What do you say to them when you don't know what to say?
A big step is understanding what they are feeling. An experience like this changes a person forever and they may never be the same again. They will adjust to a different state of normal to what they had before. Having others acknowledge their pain, their loss, their baby, means a lot to them. Being a good listener without any judgement, comments or advice is what they need most.
What grief feels like
The grieving parents emotions can be all over the place. They experience a whole range of thoughts and feelings and their moods will vary from day to day. In fact they can change hour by hour or minute by minute.
Initial feelings to a loss like this will be raw grief and extreme anguish. Further down the grieving process their feelings will change but they will always feel sadness at the loss of their child, and what could have been.
Common feelings are great despair, sadness, shock, anger, hopelessness, disbelief, denial, anxiety and depression.
- They may find it hard to concentrate or focus on anything.
- They may seem vague and confused.
- They may feel tired, exhausted and even feel physical pain.
- They may suffer from anxiety attacks and unable to do what they used to.
- They may spend a whole day crying and unable to get out of bed.
- They may want to get away or get back into things like work and choose not discuss it.
- They may find everyday tasks too hard do deal with. Shopping for food could become a daunting process. Even thinking of eating or cooking could be something that doesn’t enter their mind.
- They might want to be around people or spend time alone.They might seem like they are avoiding you - try not to take it personally.
- They may find everything too hard to deal with. Shopping for food could become difficult. Focusing on something like writing a letter can take weeks.
- They may forget to take care of themselves. They might forget to have a shower or change their clothes.
- Something as simple as leaving the house or facing others could be too painful.
- They may feel very sensitive and want to be protected, away from other people, places and situations.
- Their days can be a mixture of good and bad with stages or normality and extreme sadness.
- They may even feel distracted by something else for a while and think it hasn’t happened. But it will not go away and the realisation hits that it is indeed real. And that hurts.
It's hard for family and friends to watch this happen. But it is harder for the bereaved person who is going through it.
Nothing will take away their pain, but showing understanding and compassion goes a long way to helping them in the healing process.