This is such a tragedy. Probably the most stressful and anxiety-provoking act in human existence is the separation of a woman from her newborn infant. Your friend will no doubt experience a range of emotions. The chaos surrounding a SIDS death leaves most parents feeling that nothing in life is predictable; a SIDS death throws everything off balance. SIDS parents and family members need to be around people who will offer them support in a nonjudgmental way; they need to know that some things in their lives are permanent and there are certain people on whom they can truly depend. Just be there for her, if she will allow you. Offer to help keep her other children, run errands, organize things and prepare meals. Don't be afraid to talk about the child. Other family members, friends, or professionals can provide the sense of dependability and assurance by allowing parents both permission and ways to express their grief and talk about their confusion. SIDS parents need to talk and they need someone to listen-really listen-even if they tell their story, express their doubts and fears, and ask the same questions repeatedly. What SIDS and other bereaved parents are really saying is, "Let me tell you about my pain; let me talk about my child with you; please do call my child by name; please do not let my child be forgotten."
Friends and family members should try to do all they can to show their concern and help the parents in keeping alive memories of their baby. For most SIDS parents, it is also reassuring for others to try to mention special things they noticed about the baby and to remember the child's birthday or the anniversary of the death. By extending these personal and sensitive gestures, loving and concerned relatives, friends, and caregivers can become a source of reassurance and comfort for the grieving parents.
Many individuals do not understand the depth of parental attachment to a very young child. Bereaved SIDS parents should not be made to feel that others don't want to hear them, that others won't permit them to openly grieve. The parents of SIDS babies want their child's short life to matter not only to them, but to their families and friends, to the others in their "circle of concern," to the world.
God Bless you all and I pray for Him to lift this family up, comfort, and draw them closer to Him.