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When Your Friend's Child Dies: A Guide to Being a Thoughtful and Caring Friend Paperback – November 20, 1998
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From the Author
In the last 11 years I have lost my mother, my son and my father, in that order. Let me tell you, losing my parents was only a drop in the tear bucket compared to losing my child. Most people don't realize how many people they know who have lost a child. After a few years most parents don't bring it up, certainly not because they have forgotten, but because friends and acquaintances either become embarrassed or change the subject. And this hurts! This book was written for the friends and family of a grieving parent but it is also a validation of feelings for bereaved parents. I suggest they leave it on the coffee table for their friends to pick-up, borrow and learn from.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
From Please Listen: Even if you didn't know their child, let them know you would have liked to: "I wish I could have known your little girl. Could you bring pictures the next time we get together. She means so much to you and your heart is breaking. Since I am your friend, I would like for you to share her with me." You can do this even if it has been five, ten or fifty years since their daughter died.
From We're Strange: Don't talk to us about current events. At least in the first year, we can't watch the news. We don't want to hear about anybody dying. We don't want to worry about their family, when we can't comprehend our own tragedy. Nor can we stand to hear about earthquakes or tornadoes that have wiped out whole towns or villages. This just makes us feel guilty when we have only lost a single child. And by the way don't tell us how lucky we are not to have been hit by those disasters; that we could be worse off than we are.
Top customer reviews
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After reading it, I can only give it two stars. There are some good points in the book but I really get a harsh overtone of anger and condescension. Maybe I am mis-reading? There are also several contradictions in there that can leave a reader confused. The author talks about not comparing grief from one parent to another and yet she 'slams' those who have had a miscarriage. And to me, it sounds like any child that has not had a chance to say 'I love you' or interact with the parents for any amount of time does not qualify for the sympathy and care of others. She also one page states not to buy cards because they are nonsense and then later in the book says that it's extremely important to buy and send a card.
In the end, I feel like there are better books out there that are written with more compassion for the reader. I felt berated after reading this and that is not something that I want to feel. I already feel pretty darn sad and upset about the death. I need someone else to make me feel worse.
On page 20 the author makes a reference about how a dog dying isn't the same as a child loss and then in the next paragraph says that a misscarriage is sad and even heartbreaking but not the same as losing a child. That cut through me like a knife. I felt my baby girl kicking in my belly, I saw her waving and I have pictures of her. My baby was a child and my other two babies that I lost were children. Even God recognizes them in Psalms, He has their days planned out before they are even formed in their mothers womb. My future did lie with my babies. My daughter was 4 1/2 months gestation when she died. A very real family member in my eyes. I don't have the strength to help this author understand that my miscarried children were children and I would have given anything to of met them atleast for one day. I will meet my babies someday and raise them in a perfect world when I get to heaven. We were all 4 1/2 months gestational in our mother's womb, does that mean we are more important because we were born and our babies weren't? This author on page 19 says "Why would anyone ever want to compare the severity of grief? Who ever knows how the loss feels to the person grieving?" Then on the very next page she compares the grief of mothers who have babies taken to heaven before they are born. I don't understand this. My heart is broken for any parent who loses a child and I agree until it happens to you, you can never truly know how it feels but I truly feel the pain of anyone who loses children at any STAGE of life. I was truly hurt by this book and I will be sending it back. When I saw this book, I thought, good, a way to help friends understand how our dreams, our future, and the life we planned for our babies, and how we feel we were cheated out of all of the above when our babies died. My three boys talk about their sister all of the time. My miscarried babies are real family members to us. Julane, I am sorry for your lose of Darren but please take your own advice on how to be thoughtful to all kinds of parents who lose their children. May God Bless you.