Sunday, September 9, 2012

Finding Support

Everyone needs support when on a grief journey. Below are some ideas where support can be found during your grief journey.

1. Your child's friends. I know how pleased I was when my daughter's friends would call or send notes telling me how much Marcy meant to them. I, in turn, promoted that support. I wanted them to talk about her, tell me stories that perhaps I didn't know and laugh and cry with me. We all want to learn as much about our child as possible, so that we have good memories to store in our hearts. I know one lady who invites her son's friends to her home on his birthday and in addition to having birthday cake, they write messages to her son, put them inside balloons and release the balloons from her backyard. This is a really nice tradition and she is fortunate that her son had such nice friends and they continue to make it a tradition each year.

2. Reach out to your friends and say, "I need (fill in) from you. Can you help me out?" They will probably be more than happy to do whatever you need. They, too, feel helpless as to what they can do to help, so don't be afraid to tell them directly.

3. Get support from your family. Most family members will understand your every emotion during this time and want to reach out to you. Sometimes you run across a family member who can't deal with your loss and backs off from any kind of help. In most cases, they are afraid because they don't know what to say or do. Try talking to them so they understand your needs and you, in turn, can understand their fears.

4. If you can't get support from your family, try counseling. Most bereaved parents will tell you that the best counselors are those who have been through a loss themselves. Counselors can tell you rote advise that comes from books, but those who can identify with what you are feeling can be the most help. Other counselors will also try to help; it is up to you to determine how helpful they are for your needs.

5. Online support also can be very helpful. Besides the national organizations such as Compassionate Friends, Bereaved Parents USA and Alive Alone, there are specific bereavement support groups you can look up such as cancer groups, suicide groups, parents of murdered children, MADD and many others. Even Facebook has grief groups you can look into. Other web site bereavement support are groups like Angel Moms, MISS, Miscarriage Support,, and The Cope Foundation. Whatever your need, you can find it online. The web has put grievers in touch with all types of individuals who can help you through the pain.

6. Starting your own support group where you live. Not every town or city has a support group for bereaved parents, but what is to stop you from starting one. Start by contacting the local newspaper and see if they will do a story about your first and subsequent meetings. Place flyers in hospitals, funeral homes and religious institutions to start. Call local hospice groups and contact national organziations for names in your area. Ask a church if you can hold a meeting there and go from there.

7. Music is its own support. Find a room in your home and a relaxing chair where you can reflect on your loss by yourself, a room of peace and serenity. Choose soft music that you or your child liked. Relax, close your eyes and remember your child. The music will calm your soul and allow you to remember the good memories to support you through the rough times.

8. Build a children's memorial in your city called the Angel of Hope if there is none. This Angel of Hope was created to serve as beacons of hope for those suffering from the emotional and physical absence of a child. Parents can leave flowers and notes. Candlelighting ceremonies are held once a year. There are many cities across the U.S. that have these memorial angel sculptures in a specific location such as a park or a memorial garden in a cemetery. If your town does not have one, you can be part of seeing that one gets built so you and others can have somewhere to go for comfort.

Trust the journey you are on. It will get better with time. You will never heal completely, but with support from many sources, your journey will be easier.