If you mention my child's name, I may cry. But if you don't mention it, you will break my heart.
For me, that quote says it all.
I attend a monthly grief support meeting, and I cannot tell you how astonishing it is to me when people whose children died later in life - even when the child was in their 30's, 40's, etc - will tell stories about going to family gatherings, and other places, and their child's name is NEVER mentioned.
Here's the one of the main points that I think people need to know.
Parents, siblings, and grandparents (not to mention aunts, uncles, etc) NEVER forget their child/grandchild, etc, and when you don't mention their name, it feels like that child never existed.
Can you imagine how painful it is to feel like your child never existed?
I realize that there aren't classes on how to help people who are grieving, but maybe their should be....
Don't be afraid to say, "I remember one time when (insert child's name)....." to the survivors. Yes, they are very likely to cry, but part of the tears are filled with the JOY that their child lived and YOU remember it.
I simply cannot stress how important this is.
Yesterday my husband saw a family from the daycare that Catelyn went to. The older child, a girl, said, "Are you Catelyn's dad?" My husband said yes, and then they shared memories, and he showed a few pictures that he had handy. It was the best moment - emotional, of course, but good.
We love hearing stories about Catelyn. It reminds us that she lived....
....and that is the coolest gift ever.