In the Subsequent Weeks and Months
I have found that most families will experience good support for the first week or two following the funeral of their child. But after that, support begins to dwindle, and the cold realities of the child’s death settle in.
Pastor, this is the time when the family will need your support more than ever.
How do you support them?
- Drop them notes saying you are praying for them.
- Stop by on the one month anniversary of their child’s death to let them know you remember. While there, talk about their child by name. In fact, always talk about their child by name when interacting with the family.
- Check out counseling options for the family. It has been my experience that the death of a child is one moment in life when going in for counseling is an important part of healing from the hurts that accompany a child’s death. There are growing resources now for families who have had a child die.
- Encourage the church family to help underwrite the cost of the family’s counseling times. Churches are often looking for ways to help grieving families. This is an excellent help to them.
- Remember anniversaries. I wrote down the names of every person I buried and sent families notes of remembrance on the anniversary of their death.
I’m amazed at the question that families often hear after the death of a child. The question goes like this, “So, are you over it yet?” This is one of the most painful comments a person can make to a grieving mom and dad. As a care giver you need to realize that a parent NEVER gets over the death of their child. They can learn to live again. They can learn to enjoy life again. But their lives are forever changed by the death of their child. As a pastor, please remember this and continually reach out to families after their child dies. It will mean the world to them.
And don’t forget the surviving siblings. If there are other children in the home, don’t forget to reach out to them, too. Their pain is often hidden, since they don’t want their mom and dad to suffer any more than they already are. So instead of expressing their grief, they often “stuff” it. The results can be incredibly painful down the road. Therefore, I encourage you to remember to check in on the surviving siblings to make sure they are grieving in a healthy way.