I am speaking to a caregiver conference in Delaware the end of October and need your input. If you could share with me stories about caregivers who made a difference in your grieving (good and bad) I would like to incorporate some of those stories into my talk.
I have been on both sides of this fence and am quite passionate about the impact good (and not-so-good) caregivers can have on families. What do you think?
In caregivers, are you talking about clinicians/physicians involved in the loss or family members who took care of you during/after?ReplyDelete
Hi -- sorry to be unclear. Actually I was referring to nurses, doctors, social workers, pastoral care, funeral directors, etc.ReplyDelete
Personally, I had an experience at the time with the head OB nurse where the way she approached me made a huge difference in my ability to let down and show my emotions. I will never forget how kind she was and how she knew right away what I needed from a caregiver.
Conversely, our priest was too busy to come to the hospital because he had a staff meeting and then forgot to come later. He told us it did not matter what we did in terms of last rites, baptism, burial, cremation, etc. Even though it was just one person not being very sensitive, it helped set into motion a series of events that lead to Kathleen's body being lost at the hospital. Twenty-seven years later, as a family we do not have a place we can go and feel like we are spending time with her. I am certainly not blaming him for all this, but I do believe that if he had done a better job, there would have been a MUCH greater chance it would not have happened.
The most I could offer (because honestly, every, every, everyone who rallied around us was truly wonderful) is how important it is for the doctors and nurses to feel comfortable sharing their emotions and their feelings. What happened with our son was really tragic and unexpected, so I think it hit them all pretty hard and instead of holding it all in so they could remain 'professional', they shared their tears and their confusion and their hearts with us. From the second my OB called for me to be prepped for emergency section to the second I left the hospital, my husband and I were literally covered in prayers and scriptures and kind words and concern.ReplyDelete
For my husband specifically, I was SO grateful that they were physical with him. They held his hand as they told him anything. They put their arms around his shoulder as they led him somewhere. My son had to be med-evaced to Georgetown and my husband went up there to be with him (I was still recovering from the surgery and trying to make it there) and he was all alone. He said one of the most meaningful things the staff did was hug him. Someone came up to him, as he held our dying son, and asked, "Has anyone hugged you?" I am forever, forever grateful for that.
My pastor and several other people from church came immediately (even though my pastor was late for service!) and nurses who had been with us the day before but were off the next day came out simply to see us and love on us more. My husband is a Marine and he saw more of them cry in those subsequent days than he'd ever seen men cry in his life.
The social worker from the hospital called a day later, and a couple after that--told us about all the resources available and still leads the infant loss group we attend monthly. She gave email and phone numbers and is always accessible, even 10 months later!
I could go on and on. We were really blessed. I'm glad you have this opportunity...you are right--those minutes and hours and days after make such a difference!
Wow....you are both incredibly fortunate to be able to have such positive memories of a difficult time in your lives. I hope I can share your story at the conference to let them know what a difference they can make. Thank you for sharing it.ReplyDelete
Hi Tim, I am so very sorry for your loss of your precious baby! I think that this is great you have a blog for fathers. My husband really searched high and low for something like this after we lost our newborn baby boy in 2005. I created an online outreach for mothers who have lost babies/children and have included a page for fathers. Would it be okay if I included your blog into my new page "When Father's Grieve"? God bless you for doing this blog, my husband expressed to me in our time of loss that men do grieve differently than women which I really had to learn and understand. I am going to add your blog button to my blog on the site as well! My current site is moving so I will just give you the link to the soft launch of the new site. God bless you!ReplyDelete
The old site http://www.momsofangels.org the new site is linked to my profile name here in the post :)
I just found your blog! I am going to show this to my husband. Thanks for writing!ReplyDelete
I know you already spoke, but I wanted to share our experience.ReplyDelete
We had a miscarriage at 15 weeks. It was in many ways like a delivery- water broke, the midwife came & cut the cord (since the placenta didn't deliver for a few hours). We held and love and named our baby.
One small, but very meaningful gesture was that my midwife brought us pumpkin bread when she came for a follow up. That's her traditional gift for new parents. I loved how it was an acknowledgement that we didn't just have a miscarriage-- we HAD a BABY.
Also, the funeral home that performed the cremation kept the tiny blanket he was laying on and the little hat we made for him. They wraped the envelope with his ashes in the blanket. I was touched that they would be so tender.