28 answers

What Can We Do for Grieving Family?

I just wanted to know if any of you had friends or neighbors that suffered a loss of an infant and what did you do for them? I don't have much of a relationship with the family other than seeing them at our annual block party and other neighborhood gatherings. So I am looking for ideas about what we can do as a neighborhood to support them and let them know we care.


What can I do next?

Featured Answers

The best thing I got from friends when I lost my two was hand written notes & cards. That way I didn't have to talk to them about it but it gave them a way to let me know they were thinking of me. I don't know if they have other children already but offering to take the other kids is also a great way to give them time to grieve without worrying about what their other children will think or having to be a parent while grieving.

1 mom found this helpful

Couple of ideas:

contact the local library of the family and offer to make a donation to the children's Department.

Morton Arboretum or local park district for funds to go towards trees

contact the local NICU unit to contribute to an existing fund or begin a new fund in the child's name

organize a neighborhood effort to make dinners for the family

Make A Wish foundation is a nice all encompassing organization that serves the needs of children suffering from a variety of ailments

I would do the meals and send then a card. One thing that is hard for any grieving person is that after a couple of months the cards tend to slow down and people go on with there live but for the griever it's still so hard. So maybe after a month or two i would send out another thinking of you card just to let them know their still on people's mind.

More Answers

Hi H.,

Your request brings up a lot of memories for me. We suffered the loss of our daughter almost 3 years ago. She was full term and healthy. During delivery the doctor made a horrible mistake and we lost her. At first, people stopped over a lot and I remember a friend bringing toilet paper and bottled water because we seemed to go through those two things quickly. We appreciated food and fruit (from Edible Arrangements). After the first couple of weeks, people stopped coming by as often and I remember feeling sad thinking people had already forgotten. It was so nice to get cards and phone calls from friends letting me know they were still thinking of her weeks and months afterward. We still get cards on her birthday. Some of the other very meaningful gifts include trees along with personalized bricks and stones for the garden (we have a brick at Good Sam's as someone mentioned below... they have a very nice memorial service every year which my MIL actually puts together). We had a couple of relatives paint and frame pictures of my daughter. We were given a very nice trunk/chest to keep all of the beautiful gifts people had given us such as handmade blankets and all of the cards we received. We were also given a beautiful Isabel Bloom angel (there is a shop downtown Naperville).
Everyone is different in how they grieve and I don't know the exact circumstances but I can tell you that I feel comfortable talking about my daughter and my close friends feel comfortable talking about her with me and listening to me grieve. I like when people say her name and I know she has not been forgotten. I can also tell you that some people didn't quite know what to say and ended up saying the wrong thing. I appreciated hearing "my heart hurts for you and your husband...your daughter is loved and will not be forgotten". I did NOT appreciate hearing "everything happens for a reason".

Those are my thoughts, just be sincere and kind-hearted and I'm sure anything you do or give will be appreciated.


1 mom found this helpful

We lost our son at 10 months old and although nothing really "helped" it was nice to get letters of "just thinking of you". We also had people bring us dinners or desserts. I think this is the only reason I ate during that time. Our neighbors also stopped by to just talk. Not necessarily about our loss but about what was going on in the neighborhood or with their families. Just let then know that they, and especially their child, are in your thoughts.

1 mom found this helpful

The best thing I got from friends when I lost my two was hand written notes & cards. That way I didn't have to talk to them about it but it gave them a way to let me know they were thinking of me. I don't know if they have other children already but offering to take the other kids is also a great way to give them time to grieve without worrying about what their other children will think or having to be a parent while grieving.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm not sure where you live, but if it's anywhere near downers Grove you might think about buying a brick at the Good Sams hospital angel Garden. My cousin and her husband created it after 12 miscarriages, 1 stillbirth, and 1 infant son, born at 30 weeks, died. It is a beautiful garden where parnets can go to celebrate their "angel babies". A brick can be purchased and engraved with their childs information. Hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful

Unfortunately I have experienced this first hand. We lost our daughter when she was six weeks old. There is nothing that can be said that will make everything feel better, but there were things that comforted us. A friend tried calling, but I didn't have the energy to talk so every couple of weeks for at least six months she just sent a card with a short note saying she was thinking of me. We also were given money by my god-mother to plant a tree in Maddie's honor. My husband's grandparents gave us a memorial brick that we have placed in front of her tree. And even four years later, I am still grieving and my good friends still listen to me as I talk about her. One thing they may worry about is people forgetting. And that life, however short, made a big impact on them and the last thing they would want anyone to do is forget about their child. Basically, any showing of compassion, notes, food, money, or just a listening ear will help.

1 mom found this helpful

I am a subscriber of a blog of a mom who lost her son when she was 20 weeks pregnant. I just wanted to pass this link on, as it may help you to understand what your neighbor may be going though.
I know that what this mom wants most is for people to not forget her son. Anything that keeps his memory alive she is thankful for. Her blog is public, so all others reading are welcome to view it.


1 mom found this helpful

that is horrible.

customary, people make food and bring it over

1 mom found this helpful

My sister-in-law lost a baby 4 years ago. Heartbreaking doesn't begin to describe it. Since she is part of our family, of course it's a little different than your situation. I really wouldn't worry to much about 'what' you do because let's face it-their pain is so deep right now...the only thing you can really do is let them know you care. I think bringing a meal over is a great idea. Even if it's just a coffee cake or something like that, if you include a nice note/card, I'm sure they will be really touched. When something tragic like this happens, one sort of 'expects' family to step up. But sometimes it's the gestures from the ones that you don't expect (like you and the other neighbors) that can really make a difference. I think too, it's often important, for parents that lost a baby, that the baby be remembered as their baby that was lost...not just something bad that happened. Take cues from them. I know with my S.I.L., she prefered to talk about it and appreciated when people didn't "avoid the subject." Maybe not everyone is that way though. It's so hard but bottom line, as long as whatever you do comes from your heart and with the intention of helping this family, it will be the right thing.
With my S.I.L., I send her a card each year on the baby's birthday(also the day he died) and write a little note at Christmas remembering him and also making a donation to charity in his name. I know that would probably be a bit much for you since you're not close friends with them. I think this is important to my S.I.L. that the baby not be forgotten.
I hope this helped-it's such a sad situation. You're sweet to care.
I just read Mary C's response...I think it is a GREAT idea to send another card after awhile.

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