Originally published on Black Doctors.org
Featured Image: Marcus Ingram/Getty Images for TV One
Rickey Smiley has been known to make people laugh with his syndicated radio show, stand-up specials, and his hilarious prank calls. But this weekend, Smiley was in a very somber mood when he announced via Instagram Live that his son Brandon had passed away. Although he did not mention the reason behind his son’s passing, Rickey Smiley stated:
“…I just want everybody to pray for my family. My son Brandon Smiley has passed away this morning…,” started Smiley. “Now I see what my granddaddy went through and why he felt the way he felt. My granddaddy went through this s**t with my dad and somehow, here I am going through the same thing my grandparents went through. So just pray for our family.”
The 54-year-old is the father of five children. His biological children are D’Essence Elizabeth, who is 25, Malik and Aaryn Smiley, who are both 21, and Brandon.
Not much is known about the cause of Brandon’s passing yet. As we continue on with this story, we will share updated details.
After the initial video announcing his son’s death, Smiley once again took to social media a day later to share how he was feeling after the “initial shock.”
Further, in this follow-up video, Smiley talked about this being a “nightmare” and tearfully shared how he tried to “be the best dad he could be.” He even went on to share how his youngest son is fighting to stay alive because he has his own “issues.”
When you lose a child, you may find that you also grieve for the hopes and dreams you had for your child, the potential that will never be realized, and the experiences you will never share. If you lost your only child, a parent may also feel that you have lost your identity as a parent and perhaps the possibility of grandchildren. Experts say the pain of these losses will always be a part of you. Yet with time, most parents find a way forward and begin to experience happiness and meaning in life once again.
Helping Parents Grieve
As much as it hurts, it is natural and normal to grieve and go through a grieving process like Rickey. You may find the following suggestions helpful while grieving:
- Talk about your child often and use his or her name.
- Ask family and friends for help with housework, errands, and caring for other children. This will give you important time to think, remember, and grieve.
- Take time to decide what to do with your child’s belongings. Don’t rush to pack up your child’s room or to give away toys and clothes.
- Prepare ahead of time for how to respond to difficult questions like, “How many children do you have?” or comments like, “At least you have other children.” Remember that people aren’t trying to hurt you; they just don’t know what to say.
- Prepare for how you want to spend significant days, such as your child’s birthday or the anniversary of your child’s death. You may want to spend the day looking at photos and sharing memories or start a family tradition, such as planting flowers.
- Because of the intensity and isolation of parental grief, parents may especially benefit from a support group where they can share their experiences with other parents who understand their grief and can offer hope.