The parent-child relationship is physically, socially, and psychologically unique from all other human relationships, and no parent ever wants to think about that relationship ending with the death of their child. However, parents all over the world lose children each and every day, and they must find a way not only to cope, but to move forward and have a meaningful life after their child has died.
The first thing to recognize is that in the days and even months following the death, you will likely deal with a flood of emotions ranging from depression, to anger, and in some cases even guilt. It might be helpful to keep a journal where you can express your feelings and emotions. You might also want to write down fond memories of your child as they occur. This ritual is a great way to stay connected to your child and the life that you experienced together. Finally, you might consider purchasing a keepsake box to store some of the special items that spark happy memories of your child.
Every person handles grief in their own way and there is no single solution that works for everyone. That said, some coping strategies other parents have found helpful include crying and letting your feelings out; changing your child’s room, or donating the child’s clothing to feel your are helping someone else; doing nice things for yourself such as going on vacation, shopping, to a spa, out to eat; and helping others who are also dealing with grief. If spirituality is important to you, you could also read the bible, attend church or pray for strength and courage.
Remember that you will need the support of friends and family as you cope with your child’s death. It’s possible that people will avoid mentioning your child’s name for fear of causing you pain. However, if you need someone to listen, you shouldn’t be afraid to talk about your child as much and as often as you want. To this end, you might consider joining one of the many support groups that can be found through a church or hospital. Talking with others who are experiencing similar feelings can be very helpful in the grieving process.
However you choose to cope with the death of your child, just remember that moving forward does not mean moving on. As time passes and you begin your new, healthy life, you can take comfort in the fact that your child will always be with you in your heart.
If you need assistance in locating grief support groups, books, brochures or other resources, please do not hesitate to contact us anytime.
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