Grieving the loss of a child is probably the hardest grief to bear.
These pages are written to try and pass on some of the wisdom and experience I have picked up in my 45 years of nursing babies and children.
If you are reading this, you have probably lost someone dear to you, or know someone who has suffered the loss of a child and you have my deepest sympathy.
There are many pages in this site designed to give you comfort, but also down to earth practical advice on how to start living again while mourning the loss of a child or a loved one.
It helps to focus on the quality of life you had together with your child. Cherish the love you had, the times you spent together. Not everyone experiences the joy you have shared with your baby. It will be painful, but be thankful for that beautiful gift you have had. You can’t regret that you had those times with your child.
You grieve because you loved, you will never forget, but you will learn to cope.
Read the general pages which you will find at the top of the page under Coping with Grief as well as the specific pages on child loss at different ages that you will find below. There is lots of advice applicable to you throughout the site.
Very ill children are amazing, often accepting that their lives are destined to be short. They talk about what they’ve enjoyed in their lives or what they’d like to do in what time remains for them.
Parents should take this gift with joy, as few people have chances like this to say how much you loved them and give them their last wishes.
Other children can die very suddenly as happened to the little boy of a friend of mine who worked with me 2 days a week in the nursing home I ran. One day she told me her son was off school with flu. He was eleven years old. A few days later I asked how he was, and she said he was better, getting up and about most of the day.
The next morning she took him a cup of tea only to find that he had died in his sleep during the night. The flu virus had affected his heart. The shock of a sudden death is enormous. It is even more so when it is the loss of a child.
My friend had two daughters and her work to help her cope. I tried to help her too with some of the sort of advice I give you below. They did move on and enjoy their other children and their lives. She and her husband have been out to see me in Australia and they are grandparents now, although sadly her husband died last year.
No one expects to outlive their children, the pain and loss can be overwhelming, you will never replace that child, acceptance and coping each day is what we hope to achieve.
Yes, it’s so painful to lose a child, but the alternative would be to have never known this child at all. That would be more sad.
There will be tears of grief, there will be times when you allow yourselves to grieve. However, you owe it to the child that died to continue to enjoy whatever time you have left with your family and friends. Would your child, who loved you, have wanted you to be miserable?
I often read message that say "Today is a Gift." It's true. Each day of life we have is precious and we must make the most of it, it is all we can do.
After the sudden loss of a child in a car accident, for example, in my experience lots of parents were comforted by the fact that their child helped many others through organ donation. With all the publicity about it today, your child’s opinions on this may be known to you. It is a very difficult thing to confront at such a difficult time, but it can be a gift which can give comfort in years to come.
Many couples split after the loss of a child. Each person grieves in a different way, at a different pace. One may be in shock, numb, unable to cry, the other in despair. One imagines the other isn’t grieving enough. It makes helping each other difficult.
Once again, talking to each other, celebrating the years of life you had with the child makes life easier than finding fault and blame. There is always a lot of hurt and guilt around on both sides, even though it is usually unnecessary.
After the loss of a child couples grieve in different ways and often cannot give each other the support they each need. When a mother loses a child she may confide in other women friends or go online looking for help rather than unburdening herself to her husband so he might feel shut out.
The man may continue with his work and have the opportunity to put on a brave face. In addition, work takes his mind off this huge loss for a few hours. His partner will probably be home with other children or the kids will be at school and she will have more time to have overwhelming reminders of the loss.
One partner may think the other is not grieving enough. Do try to talk things over, support each other, accept the others' point of view and different way of coping. The husband may continue with his hobby of cricket or golf which may create feelings of isolation or abandonment in the wife, but it is the partner's way of trying to get on with life, to cope.
Sex can be an issue as men find comfort and relief of stress in a loving relationship whereas his partner may need to be relaxed and stress free in order to make love. These issues should be dealt with, not left to become a huge problem. Some counselling sessions can be very helpful. Please try to support each other, comfort each other, make home life with each other and the other children as pleasant as you can. Sadly many couples separate after a tragic loss like the death of a child. Separation is another huge loss to cope with for everyone involved.
Note that names have been changed in all the case histories on this site for the privacy of the families involved.
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The Magnolia is one of the earth's oldest plants, with a spectacular flower which dates back 95 million years. What a beautiful specimen to commemorate a life.
These trees are grown by the foremost magnolia nursery in the country and they will send a variety most suited to the recipient's climate.
The flowers in spring will bring joy to the bereaved and help to heal their heart.
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