Grieving the Loss of a Child
As Mothers Day just passed and Fathers Day is coming upon us I think that we all are feeling the sense of loss more right now.
The loss of a child is the most devastating experience a parent can face and missing our children never goes away. A piece of you is lost and your future is forever changed. The age of the child at the time of death does not lessen the hurt or devastation. It is unnatural for a child to die before his or her parents.
Many grieving parents question whether life will hold any meaning for them and wonder how they will survive the pain of their loss. Many of us feel that we have a “hole in our heart that will never heal” Sometimes we may blame ourselves and ask, "If only I had done this or I only had done that."
Sometimes we feel alone and isolated in our grief. Friends and relatives are often at a loss as to what to say. But it is important to talk to people who understand the loss. This may be family, friends, clergy, therapists, or support groups.
How Can I Help Myself?
Keep a journal; sometimes it is helpful to put down in words what you are feeling and thinking.
Talk about your child, if you want to. Although it may be painful, it can help you heal.
Take time to do a familiar activity with your family. This helps to provide stability when your world is feeling chaotic.
Join a support group; parents often respond that becoming involved in bereavement groups helped them through their loss.
Seek therapy when you feel that your grief is becoming too difficult to bear.
What Types of Help Are Available?
Support Groups - Support groups for bereaved parents offer a place to talk about your child, your loss, fears, anger, anxieties and other feelings. These groups also help parents learn from the experiences of others who have suffered the same or a similar type of loss. Our group meets the 1st Thursday of every month see our meeting page on the web site for more information.
Individual and Family Therapy - The death of a child touches everyone in the family and forever changes its landscape. Sadness, anger, and hopelessness are some of the emotions often felt by bereaved parents. Grief therapists are specially trained to understand the profound impact of this loss on an individual and a family and can assist through a time of bereavement.