InKind support pages offer assistance to those wanting to know how to be helpful to a loved one in a time of need. Here, we consider how to set up an InKind page for someone who has recently experienced the unfathomably painful loss of a child.
Finding the words to express the anguish of the loss of a child is impossible. No words exist in any language. Parents who are surviving (there is no past tense) report that the greatest gift was friends and family who gathered to bear witness and steep in their pain. This is hard. Begin there, however. The actionable ways to provide tangible assistance will follow. These will vary according to the specific situation and the composition of the family. (See a sample Give InKind Support Page for Someone Experiencing the loss of a child.)
Consider the age of the deceased child. Are their surviving siblings? Was the death the result of illness or was it unexpected or accidental? Given the unique pain of the loss of a child, consider the layer of trauma that will overlay any cause of death. In what specific ways does the family need help? Avoid suggestions of things to provide “closure" because this is unrealistic. (Parents of children who have died do find a way to live – and often cull deep meaning. But this is a process that requires long-term witness and respect.) Listen well. Use the Care Calendar to add as many actionable items that are needed to help provide assistance.
- Food: Meals and groceries are always the first items to be claimed on any calendar. Providing food to families in the aftermath of tragedy is very helpful, especially if many have gathered to mourn. If prepared meals are not an option think about setting up a Gift Card Train that includes options for takeout so that family and friends have flexibility as to how and when they use them. Gift cards are also useful after people start to go home – and the evenings are often a struggle for people in grief.
- Childcare: (If applicable) Surviving children have lost a sibling. They are experiencing trauma and may not be comfortable being entertained by people they don’t know well – no matter how well-intended the offers of assistance. Consider tagging a group of people well-placed to sign up for those slots when the calendar launches.
- Adult/Senior Care: If the bereaved parents are helping their aging parents, see how others can help there too. Check to be sure that their prescription refills are current, that they can worship as they wish, and that they receive necessary assistance with groceries or medical appointments.
- Pet Care: (If applicable) Are there pets to care for? It may be helpful to make arrangements for necessary dog walks, feedings, or pet-sitting.
- Home Services: Use this category for any home services that they may feel like too much. If there is a lot of traffic in the home, consider sending a housecleaning service. Consider laundry services, yard work, etc.
- Transportation: Is transportation an issue? Parents learning to navigate the grief landscape may need help in ferrying kids around. Or they may have out of town family and friends with needs to be picked up from airports.
- Other: “Other" is the ultimate catch-all category. This is a way to create opportunities for connection. This is a good time to reflect on the survivor as an individual. This is a good time to consider the things they find comforting. If they love music, create an item to send a Spotify playlist. If they love to binge-watch series to get out of their heads, Hulu can provide a welcome respite from shouldering the exhaustion of grief.
People will have different financial circumstances. Are there funeral expenses? Is there an accrued medical debt? If there is such a need, simply enable the fundraising button on your InKind page and connect your PayPal and/or GoFundMe account.
The Give InKind Wishlist is another opportunity for others to meaningfully support a person in need of a little extra help. Browse Give InKind’s curated list for suggested items that could help in their unique situation. In addition to take-out, you can include other more non-traditional gift cards as well. When you see an item that could be helpful, use the “+" icon to add to their Wishlist.
You may also add an existing Amazon Wishlist to your InKind page.
Use Give InKind’s do-not-disturb section to let others know about the recipient’s communication preferences. Keep in mind that these preferences can be easily adjusted as the situation changes.
- Phone Calls: Does the recipient want to communicate with others? If so, what is the best way for others to reach out – a phone call or text? Many people appreciate expressions of support even if they can’t respond immediately.
- Visitors: Does the recipient want visitors? If so, when? Call ahead to be sure that your recipient is still feeling up to a visit.
- Flowers: Is the recipient open to receiving flowers? Check to see whether they have enabled this offering on their Give InKind page. Some families prefer a donation in lieu of flowers.
Add unlimited updates to keep friends and family informed. This is a place for a designated page manager to keep family and friends up to date or for the recipient to “blog" or “journal" their experience.
The expectation that a parent will predecease a child is taken for granted. When this order of things is broken, everything spins out. The parent/child relationship is as primal as it gets. Making sure to spend time with the bereaved is always appreciated. The bereaved may not always be available to respond at the moment – but know that efforts to show support matter a great deal. Create your Give InKind Support Page here.
If you have any further questions, visit Give InKind’s Help Center or view our helpful articles about how to support a family coping with the loss of a child.
Give InKind does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We have an affiliate relationship with many of the advertisers on our site, and may receive a commission from any products purchased from links in this article. See Terms & Conditions.