From the Wires
Eight Holiday Gifts to Give Bereaved Families After the Death of a Child
Nov. 20, 2012 08:40 AM
OAK BROOK, Ill., Nov. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- When a child has died, the normally festive holiday season can be one of great sadness and pain for the family that finds itself with an empty chair at the dinner table or one less stocking to hang by the chimney. With the holidays upon us, "friends and family so often ask us what they can do to help," says Patricia Loder, a twice-bereaved parent, and a bereaved sibling who is the Executive Director of The Compassionate Friends, the nation's largest self-help bereavement organization.
"There are many gifts that cost very little for friends and family, but can help brighten the holidays for the bereaved," she says.
Some of those gifts, says Mrs. Loder, include:
- The Gift of Remembrance—When you send a card or talk with the family, remember the child by name. While you might think this would bring pain to the family, there is more pain when it appears the child has been forgotten.
- The Gift of Understanding—Realize things will be different this holiday season than before the child died. Tasks that were routinely completed in the past may now go undone.
- The Gift of Self—Help the bereaved with some of those "routine" things that need to be done such as shopping and preparing meals. Bring some holiday goodies.
- The Gift of a Memorial Donation—Make a donation in remembrance of the child to a favorite charity that the family may find important in their lives.
- The Gift of Hope—Make them aware of a local support organization for bereaved families whether it be The Compassionate Friends or another group where the members have gone through a similar loss and are ready to help families that are grieving.
- The Gift of Kindness—If there are children in the household, offer to take them shopping for whatever holiday presents they may wish to purchase. The hustle and bustle of the stores with holiday music blaring can be overwhelming to bereaved parents.
- The Gift of Time—Offer to drive the family to a remembrance service, whether it be through a Compassionate Friends chapter, another bereavement group, hospital, funeral home, or church. Your presence will show that you truly care.
- The Gift of Love—Let the family know that, even though they feel very alone, there are others who care deeply about them and will truly be there to provide support along the way.
The Compassionate Friends has more than 650 chapters in the United States offering support to bereaved families during this difficult time of the year. The organization, in conjunction with other groups around the world, sponsors a Worldwide Candle Lighting the second Sunday in December with hundreds of services open to the public behind held throughout the day.
To learn more about The Compassionate Friends and its many programs for bereaved families, call toll-free 877-969-0010 or visit them on the web at www.compassionatefriends.org. Also on Facebook.
Public Awareness Coordinator
The Compassionate Friends
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SOURCE The Compassionate Friends