Momversation:What to Say to Parents who Have Lost a Child

Monday night at 11:25pm Hunter Zen Thawley passed away in the loving arms of his parents. If there is a super something that makes these calls, I can tell it that a mistake has been made. His parents wanted him to stay. This was a strong boy who endured so much and still had the most adorable giggle a little boy could have. He was days away from being 3 and half.

This is the edited version of the long video that I accidentally posted the other day. Heather Spohr was a real champ here. She was candid and honest about her own experiences as a mother who lost a child. I so appreciate her doing that. When I asked this question of Heather, Hunter was still alive. And even though his parents were told he would not survive I still had some magical thinking that there would be an 11th hour save.

The deep pain that my friends, Hunter’s parent’s, are now going through is beyond measure. I wish that I could lift some of that pain off of them. I’m glad they know that in his short life Hunter did not live, laugh, and suffer in obscurity. His tenacity, and the love of his parents, has inspired  a lot of people. He was braver than I would have been, than most would be. By talking to Heather I hoped to maybe figure out someway to offer comfort to my friends and others who have lost a child or at the very least not to make their suffering any greater by doing or saying the wrong thing.

I will never forget you Iron Hunter.  I promise.

10 thoughts on “Momversation:What to Say to Parents who Have Lost a Child

  1. Daphne: am so shocked and saddened to hear of Hunter’s passing.

    So very sad. I’ll pray for comfort for Zen and Lenore. They’ll need their friends and family so very much right now…

  2. My cousin’s son passed away when he was 5 from cancer. I think at this point the best thing you can do is put down your work, let things lag, and go play whatever game your kids have been begging for lately. So many times we tell them we are too busy for this or that, or we ask them to stop being so clingy, but after something like this, you learn to be happy when they want another kiss at bedtime, or to do crafts that make the kitchen a mess, or they don’t stop talking about what happened at school that day. Take those moments and make the most of them for the parents who are missing them.

  3. I had an experience that went the other way, my mom died when I was in my 20′s battling cancer… I pretty much took care of her until she died. I agree with Heather, that saying nothing is not the way to go… even if you can’t think of much to say. I think that food IS a great way to help, not just because of family and friends, but because often you’re not taking care of yourself very well after a death of that magnitude.

    One of the phrases I absolutely hated when my mom died was I’m sorry for your loss, or I’m sorry you lost your mom… I didn’t lose her she DIED…. I understood the phrase, I just hated it.

    I think, now, looking back.. like Heather was saying, I DO like being able to look back and talk about the good memories… but just then, a lot of memories were about the grief I was going through and frankly it was good to have people to be able to lean on. There were those who kept away because it was too much for them. I don’t know if they ever came back.

  4. Sarah, sorry about your cousin’s son. I hear you. Yesterday after I had a good cry I walked to the store to buy the ingredients to make Vivien’s favorite dinner.

    Melissa, I’m sorry about your mom ( won’t say loss) I can see how that would bug. Heavy line, “I don’t know if they ever came back. ” Or would you want them back?

  5. My answer to this “would I want them back?” is twofold… If she were healthy and could have a good life, yes. If, it meant she were coming back to fight more battles, for selfish reasons – no. Do I miss my mother? Every day. But she suffered enough and what would be good enough reason to make her go through that again?

    I don’t, myself, believe in any type of higher power… too much history in my life. However, I like the idea of karma, pay it forward and all that jazz…. the sort of idea that in some way shape or form things come back to you… I’ve had things happen that make me think believe in, not necessarily ghosts, but deja vu, fairies, somebody looking over your shoulder, call it what you will. Vivid dreams and the like. And I see a lot of my mom in my daughter, and sometimes my grandmother too…. there’s comfort in that.

    Call me nuts, maybe it’s the Celtic in me… dunno.

  6. I think it’s cool you can see stuff in your daughter from your mom and grandma. Makes sense!

    I didn’t mean to ask if you would want your mom back. I meant friends who didn’t show up for you. Would you want them back. But, to your point, yeah, a low quality of life is nothing you want for those you love.

  7. Pingback: death and all his friends « mommymae

  8. Sorry misunderstood the question. Would I want the friend/family back? Ummm… it would depend on the friend, and the friendship… and maybe with boundaries. In a way, I understand now that there are those people that simply couldn’t handle me the way I was, and that’s why they backed off. I was a much more angry person then regarding people backing off – I simply couldn’t understand.

    Family, it’s a little bit different with. And it’s hard to even get a grip on explaining them. The one who didn’t show up to the funeral because I didn’t issue a personal invite… nevermind that I had just cared for her for 4 years and watched her die and wasn’t talking to ANYBODY on the phone… Or the ones who weren’t there for 4years and came down to tell me how we were going to handle things right before the end…. Had a thing or five to say to that. There are some who come out of the woodwork every year, cause issues, and fade away… and some who never show up at all. And one or two who are always there. I pick and choose with family… and despite those who say you can’t… I DO. I have friends who I consider family. And family who I don’t.

  9. Wow I cannot even imagine the loss of one of my children. It brings me to tears. I don’t know exactly why these sorts of things happen in life… my aunt is currently in the last stages of Alzheimer’s and she is only 50 years old. It’s hard to ever think of what the reason may be behind it all, but one thing I know, the comfort of scriptures and YES yes those little things you do for them to help out in the situation SERIOUSLY are amazing. Baskets of treasures. Or a simple text message to say “we’re thinking of you” Those little things really do add up. So do really big hugs.

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