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Poetry | How to help

How can a friend help

In sicknessIn grief

Parents Who Lose a Child Never Forget
Ann Landers/Racine Journal Times/July 29, 1999

Dear Ann Landers: On a radio call-in show, a listener asked if she should continue to acknowledge the birthday of a friend's deceased child. The radio host said, "No. Your friend needs to get on with her life. Mentioning the child's birthday would prolong the suffering." We are parents who have experienced the misfortune of having lost a child. Before the tragedy occurred, we may have agreed with the radio host. Parents who have lost children fear their child will be forgotten. Our children's birth and death days are lonely and sad for us. When our friends or family contact us on these days and let us know they remember, it warms our hearts. Often, people hesitate to mention our child's name, fearing it will bring up sad thoughts and feelings. Please tell them they cannot "remind" us about our children because we have not forgotten them, and they cannot trigger grief because it never completely leaves us. They cannot hurt us by bringing up thoughts we live with each and every day. This may not be the way it is for everyone, Ann, but this is how we feel. You speak to millions of people each day, and they trust what you say. You would be doing a great many bereaved parents a service if you mentioned in your column that parents and siblings are honored, touched and warmed when friends and family mention our deceased children.

Thank you- Barbara E. Tuber-Sooy, Contra Costa Chapter, Compassionate Friends, Walnut Creek, California.

Shelly's place.

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created by Ruti Volk
last updated 2-3-99