When Charles was alive and not doing well, people didn’t mention him when I needed to talk the most. There were a few friends who would listen but for the most part, no one wanted to know. No one asked.
A friend of mine had a child struggling from a medical condition. Everyone asked her for updates, had fundraisers, sent cards, brought food, and kept in touch.
Parents with children struggling from mental illness or addiction don’t usually get that kind of support. Not that everyone is forthcoming about what’s happening in their families. Can you blame them?
Nothing makes us feel more helpless, defeated and more like a failure than that one of our children struggling and we can’t fix it. The fear they may not make it is every bit as scary as the kid with cancer. Yet we extend all kinds of support for parents of children suffering other diseases.
So how can you or your group of friends offer support?
Listening, for one. Being there. Asking about that child even if you know the news is not good and not offering advice unless you’ve been there.
There is such fear that they may be offended. Or you shouldn’t say anything. If you approach it purely empathetically, then it’s unlikely someone would be offended that you asked about the child.
This is the time we need our friends the most.