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Things To Do For A Bereaved Parent

Do... Because...
Do visit and take initiative Unless the parent has specified otherwise, invite yourself over to help or listen. Most parents will not think to arrange for visitors but usually they are welcome.
Do bring food Unlikely the parents will feel like cooking for themselves.
Do offer to be a chauffeur while making arrangements Bereaved parents should not have to drive. :)
Do share your pictures of the child If you have pictures, make copies for the family. They will long for a "new" picture of their child.
Do talk about the child For awhile parents will want to talk about their child constantly.
Do pitch in for awhile with household tasks - mowing, laundry, cooking, childcare, .... These things must still be done but won't take priority. Offer to do a job or just show up with a task in mind.
Do call Always initiate this and do not wait for a call yourself.
Do be aware that loneliness is worse a month or two after all the activities have slowed down. Contrary to popular belief, the bereaved does not usually need a lot of time alone. Some time, yes, but by the two month mark they feel the "aloneness" very much.
Do listen The best thing you can do.
Do offer to take over extra duties for a time. Ask if there is a duty that you can relieve the parent of for a time.
Do allow the parent to talk about the child as much as they need to. Don't change the subject
Do send notes often Be careful not to criticize or preach.
Do things in memory of the child More than one of our friend's planted something in their yard in memory of Ricky.
Remember the family on the anniversary of the death and the child's birthday. This shows you are still thinking of them after others may have forgotten.

Rick & Debbie Brown TCF, South Central Missouri
More on Rick & Debbie's website: www.rollanet.org/~reb/Ricky.html

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