First of all, to all of you who have been reading Melissa's blog since she started it, I apologize for the lack of humor in the last 16 months. I wish I had her sense of humor AND her writing style - but I don't think there is anyone who can match her style. If you want to read the funny stuff and LAUGH - go to the archives and read her stuff. I do pretty much every day. She STILL makes me laugh (and cry). But I love it.
So. It's coming up on 16 months. May 3. STILL hard to believe for me. It just doesn't seem to get easier.
HOWEVER. We have some very good friends, Bobby & Penny, who lost their son Rob 6 weeks after Melissa passed away. They have been attending Compassionate Friend Meetings for almost a year. They have been inviting me (us) to go with them for almost a year. I finally accepted their invitation and attended my first meeting last night. 41 people were there - a huge turnout according to my friends. If you've never heard of Compassionate Friends, it's an organization for parents who have lost a child (or children). 41 people. And that was just one chapter. They are all over the United States. What I learned, most of all, is I am not crazy. For me, it was the right time to go. It felt right and it helped. And I plan on attending again.
The reason I am posting today is because I found something on their website that I think will be VERY helpful to anyone who knows anyone who has lost a child. If you don't know what to do or say, this will help.
HOW TO HELP ME WHEN MY CHILD HAS DIED
♦ Speak my child’s name, to me and to others. The sound of my child’s name, remembered and spoken by others, is a precious gift.
♦ If you used to remember my child’s birthday, or even if you didn’t, call me. Send me a card. Send me an e-mail. Send me a rose. My heart is breaking with lonely memories on that day.
♦ If you remember my due date, or the date my child was to be born, mention it to me. Don't worry that you will remind me or make me sad...I will never forget.
♦ Do you remember the day my child died? Tell me you remember. One of my greatest fears is that my child will be forgotten by all but me.
♦ On holidays, mention my child in your card. Don’t worry about reminding me of my pain…each holiday is painful now. Your words comfort and soothe my broken heart, and let me know I’m not alone.
♦ Tell me if you think of my child…tell me what reminded you. Did my child make a difference in your life or teach you something? If so, tell me, please.
♦ Do you miss my child? Please tell me so…
♦ Your memories of my child may be the last new thing I’ll ever hear about my son or daughter. Please, share them with me.
♦ Stop by my child’s grave site and leave a flower, or bring a flower by my house in my child’s memory. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who remembers what I lost, and that no one knows the pain I hide behind my every-day smile.
♦ Speak my child’s name aloud to me, and let me hear one more time the name so carefully chosen, bestowed on someone so beloved and so deeply missed.