Where Did My Friends Go? (after my child died)

Updated: Jan 13

a lonely and sad woman
A common struggle after the loss of a child

Interestingly, the people you assumed that would be in your corner aren't always the ones who are able to help you.

After my daughter died, I found my tribe in a strange place—a support group for grieving mothers, crazy, I know. It was the first place I felt truly accepted for who I am now - a bereaved mom who wants nothing more than to talk about her daughter. This group was filled with women who shared the same brokenness. There was also incredible souls who had found healing and were able to share suggestions and compassion with those who were new to this dreaded club.

This tribe was perfectly imperfect, and it was mine.

After my daughter Katie died, I made the assumption that everyone who knew and loved me would be there to support me. I was wrong. REALLY wrong. Oh sure, at first, everyone came to her service or sent kindhearted messages, but the ones who have been most helpful have stayed by my side even after five years. And they weren't necessarily who I thought they'd be.

I used to be angry with the people that weren't there for me or said insensitive things.

But now I've realized that they simply weren't equipped to help me. Perhaps they were too close to the situation and were dealing with their own grief. Perhaps they had their own life struggles that didn't allow them the extra energy to support me.

I have become very particular who I spend my time with and who I spend my energy on. While I don't expect people to sit and listen to me cry or feel sorry for me, I do like to be with people who lift me up. Goodness know that being in the company of those who pull you down is exhausting. Any relationship is based on a two-way communication so sometimes you offer support to someone else and then when you need someone to talk to, they are there for you.

You may find that some groups leave you feeling uplifted and encouraged to take the next step forward while other groups leave you feeling empty or frustrated. We are all different on this journey so it's important to respect our differences in healing too. What works for you may not be what works for someone else and vice versa.

The only way to find a good fit, is to try different groups. You will notice the vibe right away. If you are involved in online groups, check out past posts and images and see how you feel about them. I truly believe our feelings of pain and loss need to be validated, but repeatedly discussing the pain is not helpful for healing. The same goes for those things which we cannot change.

Look for those groups that offer heartfelt advice and suggestions to take baby steps on your journey through grief. Are there people in those groups that have shared words that resonate with you?

Here are three ways to find your tribe:

  1. Online: Facebook groups are probably the easiest to find. Go to Facebook, hit the groups icon (currently a circle with 5 'people' inside) and enter grieving mothers or child loss or a similar keyword into the search bar. Take a peek at each group and request to join the ones that speak to you.

  2. In-person: The Compassionate Friends is one group that has world-wide chapters, but each community likely has a group for bereaved moms as well. You might start by asking your doctor or therapist if they know of such groups. Searching online for groups in your community works too.

  3. Ask your friends, neighbours, and co-workers if they know anyone who has lost a child (sadly it's more common that you think) and ask to speak with that person on the phone, in person, or by text. Most angel moms I know are more than happy to speak with a newly bereaved mother.

When you do find your tribe you will know immediately. You will feel less lonely and understood. Broken-hearted and messy at times, grief tribes are vital because they are about connection and belonging - something we all crave when our world has been shaken to the core.

My tribe is where I have learned the most about myself, where I have been strong in good times and supported in tough times. I know these incredible Angel Mamas have my back just like I have theirs. So I commit time and effort to them.

I feel grateful everyday for knowing so many women who welcome me into their circles of trust.

Sending Love and light,

XO Lisa

PS: Check out my FREE 5-part video course called "Living with Child Loss". You can read more about it HERE.

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