Dealing with the Loss of a Child
Losing a child is a terrible trauma. The death of a child is an event outside the natural expectations of life. Nothing can adequately prepare a parent for this loss. In her book, The Worst Loss: How Families Heal From the Death of a Child, Barbara Rosof (1994) describes what parents lose when a child dies. These losses include the loss of a piece of yourself, the loss of the illusion that we can protect our children, the loss of order in our universe, and the loss of the future.
The loss of a child may be traumatic for the relationship of the parents. Parents may have difficulty supporting each other, as the death of a child deeply painful for each of them. Often, partners want to be strong for each other and choose that over sharing their emotions and connecting. Parents may feel failure and helplessness or may blame each other for the death. Grieving parents require time and nurturing. Parents need support from each other but require care from those outside the partnership, as well.
Special Resources for Parents Who Have Lost a Child
The Compassionate Friends exists to provide support to parents who have lost a child. To locate their local chapter, contact the Compassionate Friends National Headquarters:
The Compassionate Friends
48660 Pontiac Trail
Wixom, MI 48393
877-969-0010 (use toll free only)
Caring Connections offers grief support groups focused on the loss of a family member or friend.