The loss of a child

In the wake of this life-altering event, your hopes, your dreams and your plans for the future are shattered. You are experiencing the greatest grief anyone can experience, one thought by many to exceed all other bereavement experiences. The child you loved and cared for so deeply is gone. No one, including your spouse, will experience this loss exactly as you will. Don’t try to compare your experience or judge how long your grief should last. Instead, live through this experience one day at a time. Your grief is unique.

It is extremely challenging for parents to bring a child into the world, to protect and nurture him or her, and then go on living after the child’s death. The death of a child violates the law of nature that the young should outgrow and replace the old.

Allow your emotions to flow, you are entitled to all of your feelings and emotions, whatever they may be. Fear, guilt, anger, regret, sadness, these are all normal and healthy reactions, even if they surprise you with their intensity or unexpected nature. Observe the signals from your body and mind and take good care of yourself.

Most importantly, be honest with how you feel and express your pain openly. That’s how you’ll get through it and begin to feel better. Speaking about your grief won’t make it go away, but it will help you know that what you’re feeling is neither wrong nor crazy.

Be patient and tolerant with yourself, don’t put time limits on your recovery. It may be years before you begin to feel normal again, and that normal will be a new normal. You may never feel quite the same again, but that does not mean your life is not worth living. Joy and happiness are still possible down the road.