Advice needed - loss of baby(not mine)

First off, I didn’t lose a baby. I’m childless by choice.

A little background: Several years ago I turned into something I not only had never been, I had never imagined I would be: a Sports Fan.

Not all sports. Not just any sport. Only hockey. I am a rabid fan of the Columbus Cottonmouths, 2004-05 SPHL Champions.

I am a member of the Booster Club, which raises money to help make the players lives more comfortable. These guys are not NHL stars (yet) - most of them are just out of college or the junior leagues in Canada. I attend events such as Tip-A-Snake, which is a Children’s Miracle Network fundraiser sponsored each year by the Snakes. Even though I am terrified of needles, I give blood at the Snakes-sponsored blood drives.

Attending every home game, as many roadtrips as I can make, and all sponsored events had let me get to know some of the players and staff members fairly well. I am not going to flatter myself and say that I am close to any of them - more acquaintances than friends. However, we do have some good times together. I appreciate what they do, and they appreciate that I’m willing to spend money to support it.

To make a long story short (I know, too late):

The reason for all the background was to set up this question: the lovely young wife of one of the front office staffers of the Cottonmouths lost her almost full-term baby. She had less than a month to term, but the cord apparently was around the baby’s neck. She had to deliver a dead baby.

As someone who is not a close friend of this young lady (I’m 44, she’s in her early 20’s) how can I help? Is there anything I can do? I want her to know that they are not alone, that we share her pain and will help if we can. Or am I being intrusive?

I am so very sad. I don’t even like babies and would not have held this little girl on a bet 'cause I’d be scared she’d cry or I’d drop her. But I am so sorry for her loss, and for the loss her parents feel.

Any advice, professional or otherwise, would be really appreciated. And if I’m being intrusive, let me know that too. Gently, if possible - I’m feeling oddly fragile right now.

I’d think that a simple and sincere letter of condolence would be appreciated… as in “I’m so sorry about your loss… you’re in my thoughts/prayers/whatever’s appropriate to your situation… if there’s anything I can do, please let me know.”

I recently found myself in a somewhat analogous situation, where I felt unreasonably grieved by the loss of a client’s child. I sent the note, and later sent an anonymous bouquet of flowers on what would have been the child’s fifth birthday. I felt that my level of involvement would have seemed weird to the family, but still wanted them to understand that they weren’t alone in their grief, nor in their remembrance of their child.

I totally agree with RunAmok. Sending flowers to the funeral anonymously wouldn’t be bad either. But the flowers on a later birthdate is very sweet and likely would really mean a great deal.

Thanks so much for the advice. I’m sure the Booster Club will send flowers, but I think some of us will get together and send some also. I’m usually a “green plant to funeral” person, but in this cast I’m not so sure a living reminder is a good idea.

I’m not as unreasonably sad as I was last night. Still so sad, but it’s more at a distance now.

Short but heartfelt sympathy note. I find commercial sympathy cards to be rather insincere, but I think most people are really touched by the kind of thoughtfulness that goes into a handwritten letter.

It used to be that people sent food over in a time of grief. Probably not appropriate for you, but if there’s some small way you can help her out, that would likely be appreciated too.

I would make sure to discover the child’s name–they almost certainly named him/her–and make sure to use it in your note in some way–they will be thinking of her as a person, not just a baby they lost. If they have other children, already or later, this one will still be remembered by name. Having other people acknoweldge that you didn’t just lose a genreic “baby” but that you lost a person that you’d already befgun to get to know, and that you loved as an individual, is important in these circumstances.