Coping with the Loss of a Child
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento wrongful death attorney. It’s every parent’s worst nightmare, and something a parent is never prepared for: the loss of a child. Parents are not supposed to bury their children. The pain is great no matter what age your child was when he or she passed. Dealing with the emotional trauma of this type of loss can be sudden and profound.
The Loss is Intense at Every Age
- Young Child – Younger children often require more care and attention. Parents of babies, toddlers, and young children are closely involved in their daily activities. A death of a small child can disrupt family life and leave a huge emptiness.
- Adolescent or Older Child – When an adolescent or an older child dies, it’s a difficult situation for parents because children at this age are just beginning to find their identity and become independent young adults.
- Adult Child – When parents lose an adult child, they also lose a friend. Parents come to think of their adult children as a confidant and an unparalleled source of support, emotionally and physically.
Loss of Hopes and Dreams
You may grieve for the hopes and dreams you had for your child that will never come to be, for instance, seeing your child graduate from high school or college. You may also grieve for the experiences you will never get to share together like the missed opportunity to walk your daughter down the aisle at her wedding. If you lose your only child, you may feel you lost your identity and the chance of having grandchildren.
Coping with Grief
The pain will be a part of you no matter how long time has passed. Some say it will never go away. Others say that eventually, with time, you will find a way to move on and find the meaning of life again.
Watch YouTube Video – Losing a Child: Grieving the Loss of a Child. Counselor Carl discusses the worst loss of all, the loss of a child, drawing from his own experience of losing a child.
Normal Grief Reactions
Grief after the death of a child often lasts longer and is typically more intense. Parents grieve in many different ways but these are normal grief reactions that you may experience:
- Shock, disbelief, confusion, and denial.
- Extreme sadness and depression.
- Tremendous guilt that you have failed to protect your child.
- Deep bitterness and anger.
- Fear of losing your surviving children.
- Strong resentment toward parents and their healthy children.
- Feeling there’s no meaning of life and wishing to be dead.
- Questioning God or spiritual beliefs.
- Sensing your child’s presence or dreaming about your child.
- Extreme loneliness, even with people around and feeling that no one really understands your feelings.
Your grief may remain just as intense even as time goes by and you may feel that it’s impossible to return to the life you once knew.
How to Help Yourself Grieve
Even though you may never truly get over the death of your child, there are ways that can help you begin to cope and learn to live with the loss. Here are some helpful suggestions while you grieve.
- Talk often about your child and mention your child by name.
- Take your time with what to do with your child’s things. Don’t be in a rush to pack up your child’s clothes or toys.
- Decide how you want to spend milestone days, like your child’s birthday or the anniversary of your child’s death. It might be helpful to look at photos, share memories or start a tradition like planting flowers in your child’s honor.
- Volunteer at a local children’s hospital or cancer support organization.
- Start a memorial fund or create a legacy to honor your child.
- You may also want to look into joining a support group where other parents have lost a child. Sharing your experience with other parents who understand your grief can offer hope.
The death of your child may make you change the way you think about life. And although it may seem impossible, you can find the meaning of life again. You are not betraying your child by living your life and enjoying new experiences.
Remembering Your Child
Children bring so much joy to your life. They teach you patience, love, and kindness. They show you another way to look at the world through their eyes. Your child’s legacy continues even after death. The wonderful time you spent with your child and the special bond you shared will always be a part of you and live on in your heart.
Related Articles –
- Experiencing Grief
- How to Deal with Grief and Bereavement
- The Benefits of Moving Following the Loss of a Loved One
Sacramento Wrongful Death Attorney
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento wrongful death attorney. If you have lost a child or a loved one in a car accident, call me at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for friendly, free advice. I can also be reached on online.
I am a proud member of the prestigious Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Our members have won verdicts and settlements over $1 Million for our clients.
You can see my verdicts and settlements.
Image Courtesy Pexels.com: Minh Ah
:cha [cs 893] bw cv