Do you want your child who died to be forgotten?

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That’s our greatest fear. That their memory will fade away. So what do you do?

Bring it up first

You’ve buried a child so don’t bury their memory.

Nothing will keep you stuck in grief like refusing to talk about your child. Let others know you want to talk by bringing up their name, posting on Facebook or asking a friend to share your wishes with others. (Don’t worry, it will travel.)

Defining the scope of what you wish they talked about or didn’t talk about, helps. For example, one family said they wanted to talk about their child as long as people didn’t ask about the method of suicide. Their friends were relieved because the family defined their boundary and welcomed them in their home while they grieved and people knew what they wished.

Your friends and family don’t know what you want. So tell them. I’ve done it and it works. Giving people permission to talk about removes the elephant from the room. And once you start talking people open up and tell you stories you have not heard.

Don’t let fear of someone’s reaction keep you from talking about your child

My husband once said that telling someone about our child’s suicide “was a conversation stopper.” I decided right then that it was a stopper only if I let it be so I decided it was up to me to have it be a conversation starter.

My fear of their shock did give me pause at first.

But once I got used to saying it, I found I got the privilege of hearing other people’s stories. I no longer felt I was hiding a horrible secret. In short, it was a relief.

You think someone might think you’re morbid or “can’t get over it?” Who cares? Who are you to worry about petty things like that after the tragedy you endured?

So I ask you. Why not talk about your child? I know you’ve not forgotten.

Please do not avoid the subject of my son who died

9 thoughts on “Do you want your child who died to be forgotten?”

  1. Recently I saw a man I know whose 9 year old daughter was murdered several years ago. I told him we had not forgotten his daughter and have her last school picture on our refrigerator. Before reading your blog, I would have been afraid to mention her name, fearing it would upset him. Instead, he spoke straight from his heart about how much he missed her and that the pain would always be a part of him. Thanks for letting us know what to do.

  2. Refusing to give in to the stigma of suicide – SHAME. I refuse. I will talk openly and lovingly about Josh aHe will not be forgotten ! Thank you Anne

  3. My husband is reluctant to mention our son’s name b/c he says it is too painful. Unfortunately he witnessed his death which I know was very traumatic. I don’t hesitate to share the fact that my son took his life. But I use the opportunity to discuss the important contributing factors; Bipolar Disorder, medication non-compliance, addiction, etc. Many, many people then open up about dealing with addiction in their families. It often leads to discussions of taboo subjects like mental illness, etc. It is my desire to help reduce the stigma associated with such.

    1. I met a guy in a support group who didn’t mention his wife for 2 years. It’s like putting misery on hold. I, like you, also mention the depression and addiction and get the same reaction. They have a story. I mean my God if no one knows anyone with addiction or mental illness, they are living in a fantasy land or under a rock.

  4. I remember that my husband was able to eulogize Whitten and address it at his funeral. I was amazed. And so it was never taboo with us, and there was even a story written about Whitten that week in the paper. After he died, I felt like I had no purpose on this earth whatsoever. I was closing my store, I had no kids, and would have no grandkids. I was not able to be an activist for anything at that point. Hell, I couldn’t go to the grocery store for fear of seeing people, and starting to sob in the store. Then I decided my purpose was to keep his memory alive, and make sure no one forgot him. I started a random act of kindness thing on his birthday, and I mention him constantly. I do think it gets a little harder as memories and visions become less vivid. But I will never, ever stop.

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