Have you ever had someone in your life experience a profound loss? Did you immediately know how to comfort and care for them? If so, you are one of the very few. For most of us, when the people we care about are grieving, it is common to feel unsure of what to say or do. We all want to help, but don’t really know how.
Our son, Abel Paul, was conceived with a chromosomal abnormality called Trisomy-18 back in 2015 and passed away when he was a baby. In the weeks and months that followed, we were the recipients of wide-ranging care and support from the people in our lives who loved us. We found that folks always meant well, but some efforts were deeply encouraging and helpful while other attempts were underwhelming and even hurtful.
Since founding Abel Speaks and walking alongside parents who have chosen to carry a child with a life-limiting diagnosis, we have gradually shifted roles. Three years after Abel’s life on earth, we have moved from those receiving comfort after a loss to those hoping to extend it to others. Here are three pointers that have served us well as we’ve sought to offer care and comfort to families that have lost a child.