The Stages of Grief
The death of a child is one of the most profound losses anyone could ever have to deal with, mainly as a child's death is so unnatural; your children should not die before you. A love for your child is overwhelmingly unconditional and the most pure of any love and to experience the injustice of life that your child will never grow up and fulfil their dreams and desires is the greatest pain of all.
Grieving after the loss of a child is a long and arduous journey, with no rules or guidelines to help parents reduce their pain and cope with the loss. They say that there are 5 main stages to grief; we have covered 8 here; but we believe that they are all as important and are what most parents will experience at some point. All the stages are natural and expected; and remember that they can occur in any sequence with one particular stage maybe lasting longer than another. It is much healthier to accept the stages rather than to ignore them. It is also important to remember that however you move on in life, how you cope or deal with loss your life will never be the same as it was before.
As parents we are responsible for our children and no matter how the death of your child occured you may feel that you have let them down. You may find yourself asking if you could have done more to help them, or wondering if it was something you did or didn't do. There will be many emotions and you may feel responsible for the death.
It is very common for parents to feel they need to blame someone for the death of their child. But be careful to avoid blaming your partner or family members as accusations could cause damage to family relationships or even your marriage.
It may be very normal to try and strike a deal with God or the universe for the pain to go away. You will be trying to look for answers to cure the hurt, you may take risks looking for these answers. You would wish to trade places or do anything to have your child back or for the pain to disappear.
Being overwhelmed by your pain and hurt of losing a child will bring such strong emotions and feelings, you may find yourself crying uncontrolably, feeling sorry for yourselves or going long periods of time in silence. You may experience the loss of hope/faith in God or the universe and wonder how you will ever be able to believe and trust in mankind again after he has taken your child. It is vital that you work through this stage of grief to avoid damage to relationships or even your marriage.
This is very common in our experience; where you may find that friends avoid you. The death of a child makes people very uncomfortable as it highlights their own fears that it could happen to them. People don't know what to say and often say nothing at all; when all you need is for someone to listen to you.
Personally this was one emotion we have experienced on several occasions. The anger that your child has been taken before their life had really begun, anger towards other peoples fear or perceptions of how you should be feeling. Anger is a powerful emotion making us want to take action and maybe giving rise to place blame or feeling guilty. But anger is also a normal stage of grief although can be dangerous if it persists. If this is the case seek help from a counsellor or your GP.
The bond between a parent and their child is so strong that their death will bring profound sadness even dispair and feeling that you may never recover. You may become withdrawn, cannot concentrate on daily activities, forget things and find it extremely difficult to relate to other people. You may have trouble sleeping or have physical signs like headaches or anxiety pains. Sadness is a symptom of gief that should not last forever. However, if you do feel that you cannot move away from these feelings Click here to take a quick self assessment test for depression. Depression is a constant emotion that will interfere with everyday life, but to find out more about depression click here to visit our information page.
To think that in time you will accept the death of your child may seem totally unbelievable at this present moment in time. It may take months or even years to accept it and even when you do accept it doesnt mean that you will not still have feelngs of sadness or guilt, even as you move forward in your life and focus on the positives. By accepting your loss means you can deal with your loss in a much more structured and confident way; either by being ablle to now express our feelings and pain freely or recognise that we have to go through the stages of loss in order to gain the confidence we need to grow.
"There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love" - Washington Irving.