Family & Friends
When a family member or friend loses a child, it’s not always easy to know what to do.
While every person grieves differently, here are some tips that will help you walk with your loved
ones on their grief journey and support them in the healing process.
Providing Immediate Assistance After a Loss:
- Arrange or take on child care or pet care
- If there are other children or pets at home who need care while parents are at the hospital, make sure they don’t have to worry about them being cared for (to and from school, lessons, practice, meals)
- Help make memories
- Offer to call Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep to capture photos of the baby
- Find hand/footprints kits
- Find a special outfit or blanket to dress or wrap baby in
- Stop by to clean the house
- Most people won’t ask you to do this, so it’s best to volunteer yourself to the family
- Offer to assist with funeral or memorial arrangements
- Find a funeral home to work with if the family does not have a preferred location and call or help make arrangements.
- If you are in Western PA and you need financial assistance, Emma’s is here to help.
If the family does want funeral or memorial assistance, here are some tips for before you call a funeral home, from Dan Edder, Director at Edder Funeral Home, Inc.:
- Ask the parents:
- Would you like burial or cremation?
- Would you like a public or private ceremony?
- Give the parents time to think about it and encourage them to make these delicate decisions alone and without external persuasion.
- Determine what personal items the family wants to use for the funeral or save from the hospital, such as a blanket, special outfit, drawing or letter from a sibling, or keeping a locket of hair.
- Gather important information for the parents
- First and last name
- Address and phone number
- Birthdays and social security numbers
- Gather necessary information for public notice, including the correct spelling of extended family members.
In the First few Weeks After Loss:
- Acknowledge the loss and remember to refer to the child by their name in present tense
- Read more about this at Still Standing Magazine
- Sponsor a care package or make your own
- Send an Emma’s Footprints care package
- Set up a Meal Train
- Offer to take siblings out or just come over and play with the kids so mom can rest.
- Share information about Emma’s “You are with me” Support Group
Second Thursday of Every Month 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
Emma’s Footprints Office – 412 West 8th Street, Erie, PA 16502
We are parents who have experienced a pregnancy or infant loss and we want to create a safe, healthy, and loving environment to take steps forward in our healing.
This is a peer support group developed by Pamela Presler, LCSW. There is a new theme to our conversation every month and every topic has a positive tone providing participants with tools to continue the healing process.
Things to remember after the loss, and no matter how long ago the loss occurred:
- Acknowledge special dates
- Due date
- Mother’s Day
- Fathers Day
- Keep in mind certain events are hard and may trigger a “grief episode”
- Baby showers
- Hearing someone call another child by their child’s name
- TV shows
- Kids birthday parties
- All you have to do is be there and be present in the moment. You don’t need to say anything.