Letters to Georgie, Parenting, Writing
Comments 16

Advice for when you have a bereaved friend

Georgie has been gone for 11 weeks now and of course we have encountered a large array of reactions to the fact that we are now bereaved parents.

5 things and approaches I have been finding helpful:

1. Let me take the lead

I have found very liberating the fact that many friends and acquaintances have allowed me to take the lead in this. A simple “sorry for your loss” usually has sufficed but for me the most precious reaction has been the utterance, either verbal or non-verbal “it is ok to feel whatever you need to feel when I am around.”

I have been very honest with my emotions. In my own terms. in my personal space, which is either my home or my blog. The chances are slim that I will burst into tears on the street or in a random conversation.

But if I lead the conversation towards Georgie and either rant about a baby blankie, shed a tear or tell you about one of our horrific hospital experiences, the most you can do for me is to…just let me do it!

So thank you to each and everyone of you who has listened and allowed me to just take out what was in my heart. It really helps.

2. Say something from the heart. Or say nothing.

Since Georgie passed away my senses have been heightened to the max. I used to be quite a good “human heart reader” but now, I sense what every reaction carries behind it. Basically, I can sense fear or awkwardness. So please try to accept in your heart, before you approach a grieving parent, that death is, as much as we would like to deny it, a natural part of life. Come to terms with it, for your own sake and for our sake. It saves in very awkward conversations.

3. Give a wee meaningful gift 

I have felt the physical need to surround myself with pretty things and meaningful reminders of my beautiful baby boy. And people have blessed my heart with their kind gestures: donating to our favourite charities, stitching a cushion, gifting a beautiful candle, creating a slideshow, ordering beautiful necklaces or creating something with Georgie’s name in it and even temporarily tattooing themselves with wee dragonflies in Georgie’s memory. Thank you for keeping my baby boy’s memory alive for me!

10646798_10152237845396512_4293625763404820217_n4. Leave comments on my blog posts/talk to me about sensitive subjects

I always feel like a pariah and an outcast when I express emotions but hear nothing from my readers. You see, at the back end of my blog I can see the exact number of people who have read my post. So when out of 100 visitors only one or two take the time to reply, I feel the sting because I do feel the temptation to hide my emotions and not be totally honest again. So yeah, if you have read my post about frustration, please do leave a comment or give me a wee wave. Let me know it is okay sometimes to feel disappointed and disillusioned. To be real!

5. Let me be normal again

Last night I sat and watched a magic show with a ten month old baby on my knee. I am so grateful to his parents for allowing me to hold him. He was calm and intrigued by the show and I cherished the feeling of baby weight on my knee and  baby smell in my nostrils. Because I do miss my baby, physically and it does bring me a tiny bit of comfort to be able to hold and cuddle another little one.

3 things and approaches I found unhelpful and hurtful

1. Making my tragedy all about you

I have said it before, and I will say it again. Please refrain. Please don’t assume. Please don’t identify with me.

Because I am different. Because I am strong. Because I can take more shit than you could or imagine I can.

So if you do get pregnant, do the following, like a very lovely friend of ours did. Approach me privately, in person or online. Let me know first about your good news. It will sting, of course it will. But the sting will soon go and the memory I will have of it will be of your approach and sensitivity.

Please DON’T protect me from my own emotions by hiding your good news. Simply because I will either hear it from someone else and feel angry at you, for assuming I am a weakling. Or I will see your tummy and have to face the fact impromptu, without any mental preparation. Talk about shock…

Generally, please, just show me respect by being honest. Even if it will sting. Because then that will be between me and God to sort out. Nothing to do with you.

2. I have seen my baby die but I am not death

Probably THE MOST hurtful reaction I have ever encountered was a mummy I know visibly pulling her baby (the same age as my Georgie) away from me when we first saw each other after he died.

And yes, I did feel where her reaction was coming from. It was a visceral need to protect her precious baby girl from the idea of death. I do get it. But hey, I am NOT death. I am just a mummy with her heart shred into bits because my baby can’t enjoy a family meal like yours was and I can’t feed him mash like you did yours…

3. Words of comfort

As I said before, death can’t be explained. Please don’t try, unless you are God.

I would like to have my baby here with me, just like you do. It does not bring me any comfort to know he is “with the Lord”, “in a better place”, “not suffering anymore”. Because this shouldn’t have happened in the first place, like it didn’t happen to your kid. Would you like to swap places? I didn’t think so, so please, do cut the…comforting words.

Have a lovely Sunday!


  1. Thank you for this post.

    It is hard to know what to say as no one wants to cause a bereaved parent anymore pain or upset. But hearing what helps (& doesn’t – no.2 of that made my heart break for you) from someone who has and is going through it really helps.

    I do love seeing all the lovely gifts in Georgies memory on Instagram too. You have some truly beautiful friends. xo

    • Yes, I feel so blessed to have them around, these last few months would have been unbearable without good friends.xx

  2. I’ve followed your blog for some time now. So I was “there” reading your blog when you told us the news that you were pregnant and was so happy for you. Then you gave birth and was ecstatic for you again. Then went away on holiday and wasn’t able to blog or read any of my favourite blogs. Then when I finally had the chance to catch up, I was heartbroken to read your posts about your beautiful little boy Georgie. I actually had to back-track, hoping I read it wrong and it didn’t happen. But it did and I cried for your loss. I wanted for reach out and say something, but like the others, was too worried that I might say the wrong words. Anyway, you and your lovely family are always in my prayers. x

    • Thank you, Dean. I appreciate input, even if the beginning are awkward. I try to keep interaction as normal as possible.xx

  3. i am guilty I’m afraid; I read your posts and all too often feel like because I don’t know what I’d want to hear if I was you – then I shouldn’t comment.
    But with every post I cry, I cry because you are going through my worst nightmare and I hate how unfair it is. Your doing amazing xxx

    • Thank you, Gemma. For taking the time to write this today. I am sorry my posts cause you pain, wish there was no pain in this world!xx

  4. I agree with every word, Oana. I’ve been on the receiving end of such awkwardness myself, and it really does make you feel even more isolated at a time when you need comfort the most. You have every right to feel whatever you want to feel after losing your Georgie. I totally understand your frustration when not getting many comments in response to you pouring out your heart. I don’t know about you, but kind comments often feel like a virtual hug, and are always appreciated. I cannot believe that mum in point 2 of things not to do – people can be so irrational when faced with death issues, thanks to the fear our society has about it. Sending love and hugs, as always xxx

    • I always try to leave a comment on your blog posts, because I know it brings comfort. Thank you for your kind words and support in the last few months.xx

  5. You are such an inspiration to me everyday and with every new blog post I am inspired again by your openness and honesty,and your strength in The Lord. I see the smile on your sweet little girl’s face that lights up the room every Sunday and can’t help but grin at the pure joy of her dancing and I am reminded of your beautiful boy and his story, your children are warriors of God who have impacted so many of us already! I just wanted to say that you are an inspiration and I am praying for you everyday, and thankyou for giving us younger girls such an amazing role model and example!

  6. Thank you for sharing this. Please keep on speaking out so parents who don’t feel able have that choice. I am very sorry for your loss.

  7. Rachael says

    I should comment more, it’s wrong to take and not give. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and pain. You are amazing.
    My littlest is about to start a two week stay in hospital for treatment & hopefully diagnosis . I do a good job of hiding it but I’m scared. You offer hope to me, hope of how strong a mummy can be and just what her love can do x

    • Oh, Rachel, I do hope all goes well for your littlest. Do they not know what is wrong, did I get this right? You do get strength, you will find yourself capable of doing things you never dreamt yourself able to. Where are you based, can I send a wee care pack out to you?xx

      • Rachael says

        You are very lovely but please don’t worry, I wanted you to understand that you touch people even if they don’t always reach out back. You don’t need to be supporting me too. I’m blessed with a wonderful support network and you have enough to manage. But thank you very much .

        Yes they don’t know what’s wrong, some kind of lung disease with other potential complications . The next few weeks will hopefully bring answers and a plan. It could be something very manageable but there are so many possibilities x

      • Hope it is nothing too serious. I truly do. I am here, if you need anything. Care packs is something I would love to do for parents like you.xx

  8. #2 in your second list is like a punch in the gut.

    #3 reminds me of a post I wrote called something like’ “Please let grief breathe.” It really cannot be fixed with platitudes.

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