Letter to the Editor

How can you celebrate a parent whose child is no longer alive?

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

This time of year, companies who are in the business of making money off of our emotions are successfully creating pictures in our minds of smiling families surrounding a mother and a father in celebration. However, many parents find Mother’s Day and Father’s day to be one of dread and sadness. So, it is important to remember moms and dads who have experienced infertility, pregnancy loss or the loss of a child of any age.

I follow many social media blogs and pages only to read the same comments this time of year: “Friends and even family don’t acknowledge us as parents.” or “ I think friends are afraid to say the words, “Mother’s day”, let alone talk about their own plans around me.”  “Some people don’t feel comfortable saying my son’s name for fear of  reminding me of his death.” Whatever you say cannot change the sadness.   

The simplest actions or words can make a dreaded weekend a little more bearable for those parents whose child is no longer alive.

1. Acknowledge that they are parents. Send them a card or give them a hug to show you remember. “I know this is a difficult time for you, but you are in my thoughts.” Sometimes just an email, phone call, or text is enough to show you care.
2. Use their child’s name in conversation. Honor them. 
3. Share a favorite memory of the child; a picture or an anecdote. 
4. Plant a living memorial or donate to a favorite charity in the child’s name.

These spring months are very hard for those of us parents who hold our child in our hearts and not in our arms. We are forever parents. Finally, I want to wish a peaceful Mother’s and Father’s day to all who have known a child’s love.

Betty Fettig, mother of John