The death of a child, no matter their age, can be
devastating. There are many causes that lead to the death of a younger or older
child, which will impact how you grieve. Society will also play a big
role in your support and grief. Some will say very well intended but
insensitive things, while others may avoid you because of their discomfort. As a
result of our culture’s discomfort with grief, especially the death of
children, the loss of a child may be best supported with other people who have
lost children and understand what you are experiencing. Consider seeking out
those who understand.
Here are some things to consider:
other grieving parents – There is nothing like talking to people who
understand. Their story and circumstances may be very different from yours, but
they “get it” in ways unique from others. These are also folks who can help you
troubleshoot challenges and learn how to cope with this experience.
what people will say – There are many painful clichés around child loss.
Because people don’t know what to say they tend to rely on clichés. You may
find some of these things hurtful. You may have even said them in the past
before this experience. It is okay to avoid situations where these things might
be said, and it is okay to practice your response for when they are said.
what you’ll say – How many kids do
you have? is a common question that many bereaved parents struggle with. Do
you include the child who died? Will your response scare the person who asked?
How you answer the question is completely up to you. There is no right or wrong
response and your response might be different depending on who asks and when
they ask. There are many questions and comments like this. Anticipating what
you’ll say may make these encounters more manageable.
– Grief is not just an emotion. It comes with fatigue and other ailments.
Exercise is a healthy coping strategy if you’re able to do so.
- Find ways
to honor – Many parents say and research confirms, that if you can find ways to
honor your child’s life and do good in his/her memory it helps manage the grief
and isolation. Do this in your own time.
The Compassionate Friends
For young children: When Someone Dies: A Child-Caregiver Activity Book (National Alliance for Grieving Children)
What Do We Tell the Children and Reader’s Guide