Voice Platform and Support Network for Families of Missing and Victims of Crime
Has this ever happened to you? Someone you care about--a family member, a friend or an acquaintance--has lost a child and you don't know what to say or do to comfort their grief. As Mother's Day approaches, even though this person is heavy on your heart, your fear and discomfort drives you into silence and you end up saying and doing nothing at all.
The Comfort Company, an online retailer of unique sympathy gifts, recently conducted a web-based survey asking grieving mothers, "What can others say, do or give that would bring you comfort on Mother's Day?" Over 80 percent of the nearly 100 respondents answered, "Recognize that I am a mother" to the question. In addition, nearly every mother surveyed wanted her loss to be remembered with a card, a phone call, a gift or a hug. Over half of the mothers surveyed considered Mother's Day to be their most difficult holiday.
In response to the heartfelt answers given by the survey participants, www.thecomfortcompany.net has issued a list of the ten things grieving mothers want most for Mother's Day:
1. Recognize that they are a mother: Offer a hug and a "Happy Mother's Day." Send a simple Mother's Day card to let them know you remember that they are a mother even though their child is not with them physically.
2. Acknowledge that they have had a loss: Express the message, "I know this might be a difficult day for you. I want you to know that I am thinking about you today." Removing the wall of silence gives a grieving mother permission to talk about her child.
3. Use their child's name in conversation: Saying the name of a child who has died is like music to a grieving mother's ears. One mother suggested, "Say his name and ask me my fondest memory of him from past Mother's Days".
4. Plant a living memorial: This is a wonderful day to plant a tree or flower bulbs in memory of the child. This is something that will live on as a beautiful reminder in the years to come.
5. Visit the gravesite: Many mothers felt that it was "extremely thoughtful" when others visited their child's gravesite and left flowers or a small pebble near the headstone.
6. Light a candle: Let the mother know you will light a candle in memory of their child on Mother's Day.
7. Share a memory or pictures of the child: Give the precious gift of a memory. One mother wrote that the "greatest gift you can give is a heart felt letter about my child and your most lovely moments with them."
8. Send a gift of remembrance: Many mothers suggested appropriate gifts of remembrance that would bring them comfort. These items included: an angel statue, a piece of jewelry, a memory box, a memorial candle, a picture frame, a library book donation, an ornament, anything personalized with the child's name or a date, books on grief, a garden stone or a toy donation in the child's name.
9. Don't try to minimize their loss: Avoid using any cliches that attempt to explain the death of a child. ("God needed another angel.") Second, don't try to find anything positive about the loss ("You still have two healthy children" or "She's in a better place").
10. Encourage Self-Care: Self-care is an important aspect of the "healing the mind and spirit effort" according to several mothers. Encourage a grieving mother to take care of herself. Give her a gift certificate to a day spa or any place where she can be pampered and take her mind off of her grief for an hour or two.
©2007 The Comfort Company. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.