Every day will be a reminder that their child is no longer with them.
It could be an empty chair at the breakfast table or a regularly scheduled check-in call. Every parent is hyper-cognizant that their child is no longer with them. In daily conversation people will ask: how many children do you have? Surviving parents will decide if they should include all their children or only their surviving children.
Inevitably, a family will soon experience major holidays, birthdays, or anniversaries without their child. These holidays will be filled with memories that may be both painful and joyful. Helping a family plan how to honor and memorialize their child during these difficult days, while a difficult conversation, will support their journey toward coping.
Because parents are going thru an emotionally chaotic and unpredictable time, it is important to find ways that you can be predictable in your support. Setting a schedule helps the parent know that support will come with some frequency. It may mean bringing an ice cream sandwich every Tuesday at 4 p.m., taking surviving siblings to the park, or visiting on Thursdays for a cup of tea. If a family or parent is distant, consider raking their leaves or mowing their grass, which requires little from the family. These small tokens of support can help a parent know that they are not alone and that their pain and their child are not forgotten.