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Do's and Don't's for Friends, Family and Professional People



    Don't let your own sense of helplessness keep you from reaching out to a bereaved parent.

    Don't avoid them because you are uncomfortable. Being avoided by friends adds pain to an already intolerable and painful experience.

    Don't say you know how they feel, unless you've lost a child yourself. You probably don't know how they feel.

    Don't say "You ought to be feeling better by now", or anything else which implies a judgment about their feelings.

    Don't tell them what they should feel or do.

    Don't change the subject when they mention their dead child.

    Don't avoid mentioning the child's name out of fear of reminding them of their pain. They haven't forgotten it for a moment.

    Don't try to find something positive about the child's death.

    Don't point out that at least they have another child or children. Children are not interchangeable! They cannot replace each other.

    Don't say that they can have another child. Even if they could, or wanted to, another child would not replace the child they have lost.

    Don't make any comments which in any way suggest that the care in the home or in the emergency room, hospital, or wherever, was inadequate. Parents are plagued by feelings of doubt and guilt without any help from their family or friends.

NOTE: This not only applies to the death of a child but any death of a loved one.

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