There is no question that a loss of a child is one of the most single traumatic events one can experience in life.  No one can know the pain you are experiencing and it comes as little comfort to hear the words "I can imagine what your feeling." 

When a child dies, we mourn not only the loss of the child but their future you have dreamed about since their birth.  All your plans, savings, daily routines and dreams have also died along with them.  Since a child depends upon you for their needs, the loss is magnified and you may feel as though you have lost your identity as well.

Leaning On Others for Comfort   

You may find it hard to lean on those close to you for comfort.  The friends with whom you have surrounded yourself usually have children and the parents tend to shy away because they feel it will add to your pain.

Relatives will make their best efforts at helping you, but never having experienced they may be ill equipped at consoling and leave you alone with your grief.

Since your spouse is experiencing the same loss and feelings it is hard to rely on him/her for support during this time of grieving.  Like you, he/she is having a hard time dealing with the simple task of daily life.  He/she may be feeling emotionally paralyzed and unable to bear the other's pain or shield each other from it.

Many of the people in your life may want to help but won't know how.  Don't be afraid to tell them what you need.  Don't wait for them to ask you a question if they are with you it is because they want to help you.  Help them help you by freely expressing your needs, emotions, and thoughts.  Just remember, if they didn't want to help you they wouldn't be there. 

You also can find support groups in your community that are able and willing to help you.  Often times these support groups are made up of volunteers that have experienced the loss of a child.  They can relate to your deep emotional loss and are there to give you the support you need. They understand how important it is for you to vent your emotions and tell your story.  Don't be afraid to bend their ear, they have walked in the same path and understand  your pain and need to express your feelings.

Surviving Children 

Children may not always show there grief.  Often they may show their grief by acting out in various ways.  To lose a sibling can be a frightening experience and one that needs guidance, patience, counseling, extra love and support. 

As hard as it may be at this time of you life to deal with others need you must make the effort to help support,  extra love and attention your surviving children. Your first inclination during your grieving would be to run and hide and to make the world stop.   Your surviving children can be the most important step towards your healing process.  By taking the time to just sit and talk, holding each other, and spending time will help all in the healing process.  Remember it's not important at this time in your live to tend to the daily little details of living.  Give yourself and your children permission to just share in each others presents.  Your children need your closeness now more than ever.    

To help your surviving children deal with the loss  include them in any support groups you seek. Often they have grieving support groups especially to help children understand and deal with the loss.  On those days that your feeling emotionally week don't be afraid to lean on friends and relatives to help with your surviving children.

Blaming Yourself

Criticizing yourself  or feelings of guilt after the death of a child is normal.  You may start blaming yourself for not being the perfect parent.  "If I had just changed something then he/she would still be alive."  When experiencing feelings of guilt express your thoughts to a friend or relative is the best medicine.  People that know you and know the type of parent you are, (and were) can honestly offer reassurance that you did everything possible to save your child.

Healing Steps

Taking positive steps is also vitally important to your healing process.  Find someone to talk with that you feel comfortable with.  Express your feelings and make sure that you feel comfortable enough to express all of your emotions. 

Emotions of anger are normal and should be expressed if that is what you are feeling. You and your spouse may find each other venting anger towards one another.  Remember your spouse is also in pain and needing to vent his/her anger about the death of your child.  Try to understand that each of you are in pain and value the special bond that you share.  There is no one on earth that will relate to the loss of your special little child except the person that help created him/her.  

Don't self analyze what is an appropriate reaction or feeling.  There are no rules when it comes to grieving. Don't  feel guilty about emotions that you may feel are inappropriate for a grieving parent. Releasing all of your  feelings is curtial to the healing process.  Don't sweep your feelings under the rug. 

Give yourself permission to grieve, talk, tell stories about your child, cry or scream.   Remember any little step you take is a positive step towards healing.

Living Life 

It is important to remember that emotional injury can be just as debilitating as a physical injury.  Therefore,  give your self time before resuming everyday activities. 

Begin with a small task first such as cooking or laundry.  Try incorporating a new task a few days apart such as cleaning and other basic activities.  Take it slowly and do not expect to much from yourself at first. If you start a chore and it seems overwhelming, don't push yourself  Just set it aside. 

When you are feeling comfortable with daily chores, move onto more complicated matters of life.

Often they may feel as though they have been set aside and feel abandoned.  Each day, set a few hours aside to spend time with them and your spouse.  It may be difficult for you to listen or concentrate on the little chatter but it is important to be close to them and show them your are near.  They need to know they are important to you at this time. 

Something to Know

Even though your child is not with you now, know that your child is very much alive in God's world and with you.  Learning to live again is a slow process, but your child is with you and talking to your deceased child is as comforting for him/her as it is for you.

Look for signs that they are with you.  Take comfort in the new way they communicate,  it is proof they are still living and with you and your family.



Copyright 2000 Patricia Mischell & The Positive Living Center
 All Rights Reserved 



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