By: Michelle Bechtel
When Greyson died, I had an inbox full of messages saying “let me know if there is anything I can do…” and while there isn’t anything you can do to bring my son back or take away the pain, there are lots of things you can do (and my friends have) to show me you care.
1. Bring tissues to my house
You bet I’m going to need them, and a whole lot of them so if you come to visit just bring some with you.
2. Do your own thing to honor my child and tell me about it later-
One of my dear friends went to Greyson’s grave and left an elephant on his headstone. Elephants are the thing that reminds us of him and it was so nice to know that I’m not the only one missing him.
3. Make ‘Random Act of Kindness’ cards
Another friend made cards for all our family and friends to hand out when they do something nice for a stranger, it helps to honor him and lets me share him with new people.
4. Give memorial jewelry
Several friends gave me gifts of elephants or jewelry with his initials, my favorite Greyson necklace was given to me by my friend who had ordered one for herself and it was personalized incorrectly so she used her do-over from the vendor for me and Greyson’s birthday
5. Bring helpful books
If you just leave the book and aren’t pushy about reading it and thinking “it’ll fix me” then it will be appreciated. My personal favorites include Mother of All Mothers by Angela Miller (more of a coffee table book but with an amazing message) and Alan Wolfelt’s Healing a Parent’s Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas After Your Child Dies.
6. Volunteer your time somewhere that would be meaningful
After our loss, I got involved with the nonprofit, 3Hopeful Hearts- that supported us. Another friend knew how much it meant to me so she started volunteering too and has made a huge difference.
7. Set up a Colorado Gives or other campaign to raise money to donate in Greyson’s honor
My friend helped me and set up the whole campaign for Greyson’s birthday to raise money for 3Hopeful Hearts. We raised over $1,000!
8. Do your job and donate in his honor
Another friend sells prints on Etsy and the print she made for us with the poem from Greyson’s funeral, she donates a portion of the sales to 3Hopeful Hearts in Greyson’s honor. You could also ask the company you work for to make a donation in honor of a child.
After a loss, everyone especially the parents are at a loss for what to do so things that don’t take much effort for you to do, make a big difference in my life. I think the best part about so many of the things my friends and family did for me was that they just did it. They didn’t wait for me to ask for something, they knew they wanted to do something to lift my spirits and they did it. As a bereaved parent, I’m not likely to ask for what I actually needed, let alone things like necklaces and friends to volunteer.