Loss of a Child
Death is a universal truth. Whatever may be the cause and whatever may be age of deceased person, it leaves his dear and near grieving. Though the death is final truth, untimely demise increases the intensity of grief. The expected deaths (like owing to old age and prolonged sickness) are less painful when compared to the grief brought by untimely, sudden death, especially that of a child. It requires real courage for the parents and other family members to cope up with such loss. At times this may lead to development of certain mental illnesses of the parents.
For parents, loss of the child is the cruelest experience of their life. Such a death brings unbearable pain and irreparable loss to the parents. It becomes almost impossible for the parents to cope up with the pain and grief resulted from loss of a child. It is a natural phenomenon and no one should expect them to be the same people, what they were before the loss of their child. The pain and grief resulted from the child’s death is not like other medical conditions that could be treated with medicines and recover. Death of child leaves an impact of the life of parents, which at times alters their lifestyle. It is important for the parents to learn how to overcome with this pain and grief. Bereaved parents are made to do what they think as impossible – to overcome the pain and grief brought by death of child and to rebuild life in absence of their beloved child.
The loss of child makes the parents to face experience of intense emotions and frightening. Their emotions and feelings are natural and normal. However, the bereaved parents must understood that the memories of beloved child will be always with them and they will feel the pain as a result of vacuum created due to loss of their son but the intensity of loss will reduce with the passing of time.
Each parent may express his/her emotions in different way and the emotions associated with the loss may be different. Following are some of the most common emotions which are found in the bereaved parents as a result of death of their child.
- Longing for own death
- Inability to focus or distraction
- Profound sadness
- Feeling of insanity or guilt
- Weight gain resulted from over eating
- Weight loss occurred due to loss of appetite
- Tightness of chest or throat and difficulty in breathing
- Sensing child
- Inability to perform regular activities
- Feeling loneliness
- Irritability with others
- Questions like “Why” and “what if”
Grieving period after a child’s death is long arduous journey. There are no laid down directions or guidelines which can help parents to reduce their pain and cope up with the loss. Bereaved parents, who get stuck in their grief, may get some relief from the support provided by a counselor or bereaved parent’s support group. Number of parents chooses to divert their minds, which helps them in reducing the pain and grief brought by child’s death, towards creative endeavors like painting, journaling, gardening etc. The bereaved parents must understood that they not only one suffering such loss and there are number of others with them.