How can I tell my friends and family to support me?

Everyone’s needs are different. I wanted people around me all the time, but there were times I just wanted them to all go away. I didn’t want the hugs and looks and words of sympathy, but I would have felt hurt if no one showed they cared. I guess, just quietly, be there. Just know that I won’t have a melt-down if you mention his name. I actually enjoy hearing stories of him. Even if they are the same ones over and over. Don’t clam up and be silent when I mention his name. Let me know you think of him often. Most of all, just bear with me as I figure out what I need.
Roxanne Noddin
Mother of Jacob

Tell them not to clam up when you enter the room. I wanted people to talk to me about Cheyenne. Tell me a memory of her. Tell me what they remember about her. Tell me how she smelled or an outfit she wore. Tell them not to ignore that your child existed. Tell them NOT to say they understand your pain unless they have lost a child in a tragic way. Tell them to take DOWN their cords! I hated seeing cords or any other type of thing that could strangle a child in homes who knew about Cheyenne and who had children. I don’t understand to this day how some people could still have cords in their home after attending my daughter’s funeral.
Linda Kaiser
Mother of Cheyenne

I never was able to tell my friends and family to support me. I think my mother tried, but I was the one that pulled away. I didn’t want my family to feel as bad as I felt. I wanted them to think I was fine and to not worry. I ignored phone calls and didn’t answer my phone on the anniversary day. I just didn’t feel like talking to anyone about it. Perhaps I’m different then everyone else. I felt better if everyone just left me alone. The first couple years I think I didn’t care if people were around or not. My pain was so real and open it didn’t matter. But now I just want to be left alone about what happened. The true support I feel I get is when people mention my daughter’s name and memories they have of her. Lighting candles on her birthday, visiting her gravesite, and leaving little things for her means more than anything. Just little things to let me know she is remembered often.
Brandy Cain
Mother of Mikalya

The way my friends and family supported my husband and I was by was listening when all we wanted to do was talk about her, and by sharing their stories about her without feeling sad. I wanted to hear them happy when they talked about her.
Diana Parker
Mother of Tyanna Lyra Parker – 6 1/2 when she died in November 2000

Lucky for me and I know I am fortunate, I don’t have to ask. One friend or another seems to always know when I need extra support through the day and the same goes for my family, they are always there whether they are needed or not. But I always need them, so it’s okay. If I had to ask, I would just simply ask that they sit and listen to me tell his stories, his likes and dislikes and get out all the memories I could, and listen to theirs in return. Talking about him every chance I could has been my biggest help, because no matter what, the story ends up leaving a smile on my face and peace in my heart. I love talking about him and late at night when I usually miss him the most, I have a few friends I call and just pour out the memories to and all the anger and all the “why me?”
Jeni Taylor
Mother of Cylis Taylor

I really do think this varies from person to person…but for me, I really just needed to be held a lot. I also needed friends who would let me be angry and not judge me for it or tell me it was wrong to blame God. I didn’t blame God forever, not even for very long…but for awhile I needed to be angry and not feel bad about that. I didn’t need cliché words at all…things like “God needed another angel” didn’t help a bit. I preferred no words…or just “I’m so sorry and I love you”. But holding me was definitely a strong need. I also needed and still need to hear people say her name…to have them validate that she was a real person who lived and breathed and gave the bright gift of her spirit to this world.
Dana Graham
Mother of Kaeli

Never gave this a thought. My friends seem to ignore me sometimes, but I think it’s because they’re afraid of their own mortality. “If a small child can die, I can go at any time” My family has only been supportive really when we were going through the funeral, and a little bit after. Other than that, we seemed to have lost communication. No one wants to “talk” about it. It’s like if they did, they were jinxing themselves by discussing it.
Grandmother of Brooke

Tell them that even when they don’t know what to say, then say nothing. Just hold your hand, or stand nearby. Tell them not to forget your baby, or fail to mention his name, because doing so actually usually worsens the grief. Have them tell you anecdotes and memories of your child — those are little gifts for me. If they have pictures of your child, suggest they make copies for you. More than anything, you are going to have to open up to them. You have to tell them what you need. Maybe the suggestions above are just the opposite of what your needs are. You have to let your friends and family know what you are expecting.
Michelle Reed
Mother of Nicky