top of page

How to Cope with the Pain of the Loss of a Child: 5 Ways to Support for Grieving Parents

Figure of a man standing behind a woman who is kneeling on the ground crying and a small child way in front of them going into the light - grief counseling for child loss
The grief of losing a child

This is a work of fiction. Any names or characters, businesses or places, events or incidents, are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Ways to Support grieving parents

Richard and Michaela lived in a tight-knit community. They were a loving couple with two young children, Xavier and Benjamin. Their lives were filled with laughter, soccer games, and bedtime stories. But one fateful day, tragedy struck when a car accident took the life of their bright and energetic 6-year-old, Xavier.

The loss was like a tidal wave crashing over them. The grief was immediate, raw, and overwhelming. As they navigated the difficult days following Xavier's passing, Sarah and David felt as if their world had crumbled.

Physically, both experienced the toll of grief in different ways. Michaela, unable to sleep for more than a few hours at a time, found herself exhausted. She would lie awake at night, replaying the accident in her mind, wondering if she could have done anything differently. Her appetite vanished, and she lost weight rapidly.

Richard, on the other hand, found solace in eating. Food became a way to numb his pain temporarily, leading to weight gain and a feeling of sluggishness. Both were physically drained, unable to muster the energy to carry out even the most mundane daily tasks.

Three candles with glowing flames for grief

Mentally, the grief weighed heavily on them. Michaela, normally a bubbly and social person, withdrew from friends and family, unable to face their well-meaning but often painful condolences. She felt like she was drowning in sadness and guilt. Richard, struggling to make sense of it all, found himself experiencing anxiety attacks and bouts of deep, unremitting sorrow.

Their friends and family, seeing the toll that grief was taking on Michaela and Richard, encouraged them to seek professional help. With the support of a compassionate therapist, Michaela and Richard began to open up about their emotions, their guilt, their anger, and their pain. Slowly, they started to heal, finding comfort in sharing their memories of Emma and learning to accept that they were not to blame for the tragedy.

Couple sitting on a couch sad with grief and loss talking to a man with his back to the camera - grief counseling

The healing process was slow and challenging, but as time passed, Michaela and Richard noticed small improvements. Michaela began to sleep more soundly and regained some of her lost weight. Richard, with the help of therapy, learned strategies to manage his anxiety. They even found comfort in joining a support group for parents who had lost children, where they met others who understood the depths of their grief.

As the years went by, Michaela and Richard discovered that while the pain of losing Xavier would never truly go away, they could learn to carry it with them. They found ways to honor Xavier's memory, creating a beautiful memorial garden in their backyard and participating in charity work in his name.

Their experience taught them that grief was not a linear journey but a winding path with highs and lows. Through their own struggles, they also learned the importance of seeking help, leaning on each other, and finding strength in the support of their community. Emma would always be a part of them, and her memory served as a reminder of the resilience of the human spirit in the face of unimaginable loss.

Adult man sitting on the ground with his head in both hands and  his elbows on his knees, extremely sad.

The death of a child is widely considered one of the most excruciating and heart wrenching experiences a person or a family can endure. The loss of a child goes against the natural order of life, where parents expect to outlive their offspring. Grieving parents often experience intense and prolonged emotional pain. It is common to feel profound sadness, despair, guilt, anger, and helplessness.

Unfortunately, there are parents all over the world who have lost children. After losing a child, a parent may feel stagnant for a while. They may be afraid of moving forward, Not wanting to deal. With the idea that they have lost what has been most important to them for as long as they have had that child. If this is you, I want to encourage you to allow yourself to grieve. It is a natural and individual process.

It's OK to feel the range of emotions. You can expect to feel sadness, anger, guilt, confusion. Allow yourself to experience these feelings without judgment. When you are ready to do the work, seek support. Reach out to your friends, your family. They can offer many ways to support grieving parents. Or therapists who can provide emotional support. Support groups can also be helpful as they offer a safe space to share your feelings with others who have experienced similar losses. Physically and emotionally, self-care is paramount in this time. This includes getting enough rest, eating healthily, and engaging in activities that bring you comfort and joy. Exercise and meditation can also help to manage stress and emotions.

You may find it helpful to create meaningful rituals or memorial activities. To help you. Number and honor your child. This might include planting a tree, lighting a candle on special occasions or creating a scrapbook of memories. Find healthy. Outlets for your emotions. Creating art or composing letters to your child can be a therapeutic way to express your feelings.

Full moon in pitch black sky

Start a journal. You never know when your very words from what you're going through right now might help you or someone else in the future. Set realistic expectations. Do not rush yourself to get over your loss. It's going to take time. Some days may be more difficult than others. It's OK. Setbacks are normal and part of the healing process. Finally, give yourself permission to heal. It's OK to find moments of happiness and joy. While you're grieving. Many people feel guilty for Having a moment of joy After the loss of a child. Your child will want you to be happy. Experiencing joy is one of life's greatest treasures. Don't miss out on those treasures all around you.

There is no right or wrong way to navigate your new normal. Be compassionate with yourself as you move forward in your grief. Ultimately, your journey is unique and it's essential to prioritize your emotional well-being as you learn to navigate life without your child.

Jacinta Wills, LPC smiling wearing a burgundy sweater.

I wish I could tell you that I knew some deep secret to the art of grieving, that there was some mystical way of waking one day and being completely over your loss. The secret is, there is no secret. Loss can come in many forms and can strike at any time. While we will all face the agony of loss at some point(s) in life, the fact is that it can be the hardest thing we will ever deal with. My name is Jacinta Wills. I became a Grief Specialist because I understand the need to deal with the difficult emotions of loss. I lost a job that I loved doing in 2010. In 2013 my mother was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. In 2015 my grandmother passed away. 4 days later we lost my mom. In 2017 I separated from my husband of 30 years. I am sharing my personal journey with grief so that you understand that when I tell you I know what grief looks like and have experienced so many aspects of what grief is that I do not take it lightly. The single most important thing you need to realize in this moment of your grief journey is this. However difficult it is, you are in the process of healing, right now. In my group, we will tackle some tough topics. You will be able to share experiences about your loss, receive and give support to others who are grieving, and work through some of the emotions that cause you distress. We will have conversations that are sometimes structured and sometimes free-flowing. You will be encouraged to feel your anger, shame, guilt, love, despair, and hopefully some humor along the way.

10 views0 comments


bottom of page