A Parent’s Grief: coping with the Death of a Child
The natural course of life is that a parent passes on, and their child grieves their passing. The antithesis of this is not only the most unnatural, but the most devastating for everyone affected.
If you’ve experienced the death of a child, then the grief you’re experiencing will be a lifelong process of getting through, rather than getting over. While a simple blog post is inadequate in helping you through the grief, hopefully these words will provide some relief.
Accept How You Feel
You may feel anger, exhaustion, anxiety, profound sadness and a myriad of other emotions; you may even be experiencing some physical symptoms. What you’re feeling is normal and natural; and if you’re not feeling some or all of those emotions, that too is normal and natural. Grief is a personal, individual process, and everyone grieves differently. Allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling.
Whatever emotions you’re experiencing, it’s important to allow them to come up rather than suppress them. You cannot get through grief by avoiding dealing with your feelings. It may seem impossible to survive this devastating loss, but if you allow yourself to grieve, in time you will gradually begin to see and feel the light and warmth that comes from healing.
When you lose a child, you may at times feel a deep yearning or an aching emptiness that brings on immense sadness or anxiety. It may soothe you to journal about what you’re feeling, or write a letter to your child.
Honor Your Child’s Memory
Honor the memory of your child by putting together a scrapbook or creating a slideshow with photos and a favorite song. Plant a tree in their memory or make a donation to a charity or foundation in their name. If it feels right, hold a memorial gathering or celebrate their birthday.
Honoring your child’s memory also includes living a full, happy and complete life. Your child would not want the memory of their life to be your anguish and suffering. Honor their memory by accepting happiness and laughter back into your life.
Take Care of Yourself
It’s important to take care of yourself to aid in the healing process. Take the time to get out in the sunlight. Try to get some extra exercise in, and remember to eat.
Be patient and gentle with yourself as you grieve. Negative self-talk can cause anxiety, depression and sometimes even physical symptoms. Talk to yourself the way you would talk to a friend or loved one. Realize that you were and still are a loving parent.
Resist the urge to isolate yourself and reach out to a support network. Contact friends, family or clergy to talk about what you’re going through. If you would like to discuss how counseling may help you work through your grief, please contact us today.