It is hard for people who have not had an experience like this to relate to me. Here is some advice based on my experiences after losing my son.
Do not tell me that he is in a better place.
You need to mention the name of my son. You need to talk about him. My dead son will always be a big part of my life.
Remember his birthday and his anniversary. Think of me during the holidays.
Do not tell me “You are strong”. I am numb and not strong. You have no idea as to what you are saying.
Do not tell me to get over it. This is not a disease that I can recover from. I will grieve forever at various intensities. I will never forget my son. I will incorporate him into every aspect of my life.
Do not ask my husband as to how I am doing. Ask me. Come and spend time with me. Do not avoid me as if I have a contagious disease. I am in such pain and when you avoid me, you isolate me even more and add to my pain. All you have to do is be with me and let me know that you care.
When I was talking about my son to someone who did not know him, she told me that she wished that she could have met David. That comment made me feel so good.
Many have told me that I should not live in the past. What they do not realize is that I am living in the present but without my precious son.
Whenever I try to talk about David people switch the subject and tell me to think about Robbie (my grandson). They think that would help me. I actually feel insulted when they do that.
A year after David died a neighbor asked me how I was doing. With tears in y eyes, I told her that I was not doing well. She said: “Come on, it has been a year already.
My therapist told me that I am grieving because I have an empty nest. I told him that David was not living with me for years and yet I never experienced what I am experiencing now. This was not due to an empty nest, this was different.
I had someone tell me immediately after I told her that I lost my son: “Don’t let him ruin your life”.
Do not tell me that David died because it is God’s will.
Many told me “The Lord gave and the Lord takes away”. I do not experience consolation with such a verse thrown at me by people who never experienced loss. I can only be the one who uses this verse for me when my heart is ready.
One woman told me that feeling like wanting to die is not Christian.
Allow me to take as much time as needed to heal.
Include my son in activities as to what he would have done so that his spirit can continue in our ongoing lives.
Do not just say that you will pray for me. Hug me. Listen to me. Argue with me. Take me out for lunch or a cup of coffee. Come and visit me as often as possible. I need company to be distracted.
I know that people are well meaning but they are ignorant and therefore say the wrong things at the wrong time.
I do not want to lose my grief. My grief is bound to my son. I am afraid to lose the intensity of the love and I cling to my grief as it is bound to the love.
Never tell me to stop grieving but grieve with me. Tell me what you know about my son. Any incident, any story, any memory is a treasure to me. I need to reaffirm the reality that David has been here on this earth. Don’t tell me when my mother died I felt the same way.
People tell me that I have to accept what happened. I do not have to accept his death. I know that he died and that this did happen, but it is still unacceptable to me and forever will be.