December 2, 2010 11:21 am at 11:21 am #593300
A close relative of mine’s baby just passed away, R”L. The baby was less than two weeks old and had gone through a tough time, open-heart surgery, etc.
Can someone please point me to any mekoros that would/could give chizuk to the parents in this difficult time…?
Thank in advance…December 2, 2010 3:51 pm at 3:51 pm #714795
When I was very young and newly married, my husband’s friend who married after we did but had a baby before we did, lost that baby right after his pidyon haben so that had to sit shiva for that child. It was heart wrenching. I didn’t really know this woman. I had gone to the bris and so I had met her twice. Once by another bochur’s wedding and once by her son’s bris. Now because he mom lived in Baltimore and her m-i-l had a house full of her own children to take care of, my new husband asked me to go over there and stay with them during their shiva so they shouldn’t be alone.
It was heart wrenching. This young woman kept saying, my son was a tzadekel and the world was just not ready to receive him so Hashem took him back. There must be some mekor that says that because that is what she clung. And I believed it because there is no other reason for a pure innocent baby to die. So it is either for that reason or to be a kaporah for OUR sins. So if you can tell the parents that their child was a tzadik born before its time because this world is not pure enough and good enough to receive him/her that might give the parents some chizuk.December 2, 2010 4:05 pm at 4:05 pm #714796
This isn’t my work, I saw it online:
A child of mine, He said,
For you to love while he lives,
It may be four or five years
Or twenty two or three,
But will you, till I call him back,
Take care of him for Me?
And should his stay be brief,
As solace for your grief.
I cannot promise he will stay,
Since all from earth return,
But there are lessons taught down there,
I want this child to learn.
In my search for teachers true,
I have selected you.
Now will you give him all your love,
Not think the labor vain,
Nor shun Me when I come to call
And take him back again?
I fancied that I heard them say,
God, Your will be done,
For all the joy Your child will bring,
Forever grateful stay.
But should God call for him
Much sooner than we planned,
And try to understand.December 2, 2010 4:09 pm at 4:09 pm #714797
we had a speaker speak to us who lost her 8 yr old son and she goes around to ppl who lost relatives and children and tells them that hashem only gives nisyonos to those who can handle them and when you give in to one nisayon the yetzer hara will just keep on giving you more so wen u have a nisayon as great as dealing with a child who was niftar accept it and it can only make you grow stronger. one thing she also said was that 10 years after she lost her child she was cleaning a desk she has never cleaned, on the yurtzeit of her son, and she found a peice of paper saying “im davening for u mommy, love (name of child)” she said that this gave her the biggest chizuk she needed.December 2, 2010 4:13 pm at 4:13 pm #714798
there is a famous story with the baal shem tov, a woman couldn’t have kids for many years, finally had one and he was niftar at the age of 2. she went back to the baal shem tov and asked why?
he said there was a person that was a huge tzaddik, whom every year went higher in gan eden, until one year they said no more!
because he was nursed by a goy, he said that wasn’t my fault!
they decided to bring him down to earth again, nurse from a yid and continue going higher and higher in gan eden. the baal shem tov looks at the woman and says you were zoche to be his mother and the one to nurse him!!!
(can someone re write this? I’m in a rush and i now it’s terrible)December 2, 2010 4:15 pm at 4:15 pm #714799
I would look to parshas Achrei Mos / Kedoshim, but only for chizuk for yourself. They is really nothing you can say to the parents.
If anything, tell them you are learing a mishna a day in the baby’s zechus.December 2, 2010 4:24 pm at 4:24 pm #714800
I don’t think you should come and tell them Drashos and Mekoros.
When a family has a Tzara, they can’t think about reasons and Cheshbonos why it’s happened. They only think about their loss.
Best Nechama is to cry with them and show them your pain.
Later on, when the wounds are not so open anymore, you can help them think about all these things.
That’s just my humble opinion.December 2, 2010 4:36 pm at 4:36 pm #714801
Unfortunately, I’ve heard far too many “horror” stories of people who say the worst things to parents in these situations including “you’re young and can have more children…” or “HKBH needed him up in shamayim…” or “he fulfilled his purpose here…” and the like.
The people saying these things generally don’t mean to be insensitive — on the contrary, they were sincerely trying to console/comfort the bereaved parents and would never dream of hurting anyone — let alone bereaved parents coping with the loss of a child. Nonetheless, perhaps because of their (blessed) inexperience with such matters they end up saying things or perhaps because they just didn’t know what to say but felt the need to say *something* they inadvertently say things that are insensitive.
My advice (FWIW) is to just go and be there for the parents. Let them lead the conversation (if any). Or say simply “I’m so sorry… I just don’t know what to say.”
The Wolf (who hopes no one should ever have to suffer through this type of tragedy).December 2, 2010 4:42 pm at 4:42 pm #714802
This may come off as sunding harsh but its the truth. The reason why most people can’t handle (or have a very difficult time) losing a young child or baby is partially because they view their children as my child, my baby… its NOT your child or your baby. Hashem chose to make you a Shliach as a custodian over this neshama, its your obligation as a parent to do your best for the child, but its Hashems neshama and He gave it to you He can take it away.
If a child dies at such a young age it is likely that the neshama only needed a small tikkun and whatever pain it went through was that tikkun and it can now be in Gan Eden completely cleansed.
The worst thing a person can do is question Hashem. If you ask Him enough questions He will bring you up there to show you the answers. But the real answer is that there are no questions. Hashem knows what He is doing. Trust in Hashem and He will heal all your pains.December 2, 2010 4:44 pm at 4:44 pm #714803
perhaps even more than Halachic questions
please, please ask a Talmid Chochom, especially one who is a Rav of a Shul and is experienced with such mattersDecember 2, 2010 4:56 pm at 4:56 pm #714804
There really isn’t anything that one can say at a time like that.
It is best just to be there for them to LISTEN to what THEY have to say, and to help in any way you can. Telling over some of the stories and ideas mentioned above, while the intentions are certainly very good, is unlikely to be helpful when the loss is still so new and so intense.
May HaSh-m be menachaiym them through this painful nisayon.December 2, 2010 5:00 pm at 5:00 pm #714805
anon for thisParticipant
I agree with the posters who said that now is not the time to give mekoros, unless the parents specifically ask for them.
B”H I’ve never lost a child but last summer I sat shiva under difficult circumstances. A former classmate called me to be menachem avel and said, “Hashem doesn’t give nisyonos to those who can’t handle them, so you must be a very strong person”. I know she meant well, but frankly at the time I’d have preferred that Hashem consider me a little less strong, if it would’ve meant not experiencing that.December 2, 2010 5:16 pm at 5:16 pm #714806
Mother in IsraelMember
As someone who lost a child, I can tell you that there was nothing anyone could tell me at that time that would make me feel better. I needed people around me for support, but I was not interested in what anyone had to say. Not that I had to be a tzadekes if Hashem chose me for this nisayon, not that my other kids will be my nechama, nothing. It took some time before I was actually able to listen and find comfort in what people told me. Even then there were those who said things that were somewhat insensitive (unintentionally, of course), but I was able to reach out and hold onto other people’s words for chizuk. But as I said, that took some time. When it’s still so fresh, all you can do is be there for them.December 2, 2010 5:30 pm at 5:30 pm #714807
I would also say that just being there and letting the parents talk of the child is most important and if they show you pictures speak of how extraordinary the child seems. Follow their lead and you can’t go wrong. You can also ask if there is something the parents would like you to do in honor of the child.December 3, 2010 2:46 am at 2:46 am #714808
I don’t think there’s a way in the world someone can console a parent who lost a child with just words. Showing Gemaras and saying how he must’ve had a Heilige Neshama etc. usually makes things worse. I would suggest to leave it up to the professionals at Misaskim and Chai Lifeline to do the job right. If you feel someone needs an extra boost of Chizuk or additional support contact them, I’m sure they’ll be more than glad to help you.December 3, 2010 6:59 am at 6:59 am #714809
The inyan of Shivah is to mourn and feel the pain, but that doesnt mean one may question Hashems ways. We say in Ashrei 3x every day Tzaddik Hashem Bchol Drachav Vechasid Bchol Maasav.
Its foolish to think we can understand “why.” Emunah means not questioning Hashems ways when things go bad, its easy to have Emunah when things are going great, its when things are difficult that Emunah kicks in and gives one the strength to go on knowing that Hashem will sort things out.December 3, 2010 1:15 pm at 1:15 pm #714810
That shivah isn’t mandated is a clue that the mourning is largely private. They may not get the same catharsis from talking. Those who know what to say – are close to the family, have been through this – can and should. Other people should still acknowledge the loss, with a simple statement, note, donation to a tzedaka, and practical help, such as meals, carpools and babysitting for other children, etc.December 3, 2010 1:52 pm at 1:52 pm #714811
Although each situation is different, I am unfortunately a bereaved mother as well. we have a support group. you can get in touch with me if you want to, at email@example.com. we have had various speakers – some were also beareaved mothers/fathers/grandfathers and have recorded the speeches. PPesach Krohn, Reb. Meisels, Rabbi Mermelstein, Reb Twersky (Milwaukee), etc) Besoros Tovos.December 3, 2010 2:19 pm at 2:19 pm #714812
I know the family to which Shraga is referring.
They are lovely people and have a wonderful background with Ba alei Chasodim.
Dont start playing the ‘holier than thou’ with mekoros.
Only a person who went through a tragedy like this can truly understand.
If you tell them that you came across someone who knows them (me for instance) and praised them, I think thats the biggest mitzvah you can do without emphasizing the pain they just experienced.
Thats a lovely poem, even if it reaks Christianty, lol!December 3, 2010 2:36 pm at 2:36 pm #714813
Having lost children myself, I know at such a time I was not interested in hearing other peoples tzoros. I also did not want to hear how great I was. Be there for the couple. Send in food; maybe they need cleaning help? Phone – Just want you to know I am thinking of you..Maybe they need help with other children? In time you will be able to give them Chizuk.December 3, 2010 3:00 pm at 3:00 pm #714814
I always found it poignant that we say “HaMakom yenachem etchem”. May God comfort you… because there’s nothing that I can do to make it better.December 3, 2010 6:21 pm at 6:21 pm #714816
Shraga -When I was sitting shiva for my child, one vort stood out particularly nice. Here it is – The Torah in Parshas Pinchus when it talks about Yerushah says a child will yarshen a father, a brother will yarshen a brother. If noone else, then the uncle will yarshen a nephew. What happenned to a father inheriting a child -this should come before an uncle? The answer is of course that would be the Din, but even the Torah didn’t want to talk about the death of a child because it’s too painful!December 4, 2010 4:36 pm at 4:36 pm #714817
Many years ago, a young couple in our apartment complex lost an infant. (I don’t remember all the details; I think the baby was sick for a few days before s/he died.) The funeral was on erev Yom Kippur. I, personally, had a very hard time understanding this. After davening that night, I went over to the Rav, and in tears, I asked him to explain it to me. I just didn’t understand how Hashem could take a baby.
He answered me by asking if I thought that parents would regret even one second of having their precious child with them in this world, had they known what was coming. Of course not, they treasured every second they did have. So, that still doesn’t explain why Hashem did what he did, but we can’t know that. But we can take comfort in the fact that the parents were able to treasure their baby, even for just a few days, even for just a few hours.December 4, 2010 8:06 pm at 8:06 pm #714818
and i think that people here have it all wrong!!!!
has anyone thought of going over and just crying with the parents!!!, not giving Chizuk (wrong time) not giving advice (what do you know) cut the nisyonos talk (no-one is looking for such a nisayon) cut the advice and chizuk that may be oh so out of place and just sit and cry with the parents!!!!
Rav Segal zatzal, the Msnchester Rosh Yeshivah used to call up people to be menachem avel, and cry on the phone, not say anything just cry!!!! and then he would hang up the phone.
at times so difficult as this, that only someone who sadly enough experienced it has any kind of right to SAY anything, only someone who experienced it can know what to say, everyone else should save their words and chizuk and just cry.
because there is no greater nechama that to see someone who is able to cry with you and feel your pain.December 5, 2010 4:45 am at 4:45 am #714819
The only people who can really speak to this issue are people who have R”L lost a baby. I doubt there are many people who would welcome such a “nisayon” that makes them “stronger.” Many people do NOT become stronger, Marriages fall apart, people have nervous breakdowns, and the rest of the family dynamic is forever altered.
The only right thing to do is BE THERE for the grieving parents, cry with them, help them with mundane chores, shop for them, cook for them, and watch their other kids, if any. Above all, keep your platitudes to yourself. Perhaps some extraordinary people want to hear them, but most parents are not in a place where that is a comfort in any way. The worst thing you can say is stuff like Hashem only gives tzoros to people who are strong enough to handle them. You think THAT gives someone chizuk???? My husband’s sister lost her daughter at age 12, very suddenly. DO you know that there were some incredible blockheads who told her, “You’re young enough to have another baby.” Seriously??? That’s what you tell a woman who has just lost her beloved daughter? It happened that she was NOT able to have more children (she had another younger daughter, but couldn’t conceive again). But so what – does a new baby discount the older one? People are beyond insenstive sometimes. It never ceases to amaze me.December 5, 2010 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm #714820
Dang it, Oomis, I hate it when you say exactly what I was thinking.
If you have to say anything, speak only of the virtues of the deceased. Keep it brief, usually just a few words or one short story.
Look around the bereaveds’ home – see what needs to be done, and do it.December 6, 2010 5:30 am at 5:30 am #714821
also, I used to feel very incorrect when speaking to the bereaved. I would say something foolish, or something inadvertently painful, or worse, I would avoid saying anything to the bereaved thinking I was going to say something foolish.
Then I read a book on etiquette, and I realized I can always say something that may help the bereaved’s pain a small bit and that I would never say something that would make it worse.
This works for all but your closest friends and relatives.
Now, just because these words follow a formula doesn’t mean they don’t come from my heart:
Here is the formula I use:
1) Say how sorry or sad you are that the person has died. Be sure to mention the departed one, by name. Optionally, add a sentence about how you will miss the departed. This is comforting to the bereaved because it shows you share their sorrow, and that the departed has not been forgotten.
2) Say what a wonderful person the departed was. Cite a quick example if you can. If you did not know the deceased person personally, but you know one of the bereaved, you can say “What a wonderful person she must have been to raise a child like you.”
This raises the bereaved’s hope that their loved one had not lived in vain, and will not be forgotten.
3) Offer the bereaved a hope that they can find some solace. I use this, “May G-d grant you comfort in your sorrow.”
This will help them find solace as well as anything else you can say.
At this point, you have probably said enough words. For you to speak further will only increase the chance of inadvertently causing pain. If you feel like it, you may cry with the bereaved, or hug the bereaved, if appropriate.
Upon meeting the father of a friend whose mother died recently.
1. I was very saddened to hear that Mrs. S. had died. She was a wonderful woman, I will miss her very much.
2. She was always so considerate: when I was hospitalized as a youngster, the first call or card I got was from a neighbor was from her. You know we had many kind and considerate neighbors, but she was the first.
3. May G-d grant you comfort in your sorrow, or a bracha appropriate to your community.
<silence from me. Let the bereaved talk if he/she so wishes.>
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