The Death of a Child
As a Counselor and Bereaved Mother
I WANT YOU TO KNOW:
- The death of a beloved child is a life altering event. You will never be the same person again.
- Do not allow anyone to tell you how to grieve......everyone grieves differently.
- There are no timeliness, time limits or "stages"for grief as often believed.
- Your feelings are not "right" or "wrong"....they are simply yours. Respect your feelings and your time line.
- Grief after the loss of a child, is difficult and exhausting work. Don't try to do it alone.
- Immerse your self with supportive people. Do not waste your energy on negative people, places or things.
- Time alone does not heal. Grief from the death of a child is a lifelong journey. The intensity of the pain will lessen over time. The love and loss will remain with you, as you create and find meaning in your new life.
The range of emotions you may experience after the devastating loss of a child can be extreme and confusing. Emotions, early in the grief process, are often described by bereaved parents as feelings of "going crazy". It can be overwhelming.
If at any time you plan to harm yourself or someone else, however, this is not a normal reaction. This requires immediate medical attention. If you experience these feelings, contact your Health Care Professional, call 911 or go immediately to the nearest hospital Emergency Room for an evaluation.
HOLIDAYS, BIRTHDAYS AND ANNIVERSARY DATES
Some days are more difficult than other days. A holiday, birthday, or anniversary date can be especially difficult.
- Surround yourself with loving, supportive and compassionate people. On holidays, birthdays and anniversary dates it is even more important. You will feel more comfortable and less overwhelmed if you are with caring people who understand and will not place demands on you.
- Do what you feel like doing. You may need to change traditions, do less preparation for the holiday or other significant dates. Eliminate some activities or spend the time in a very different way. Respect your needs. Do not allow anyone to tell you what you "should" be doing or make you feel that you "should" be doing more.
- Allow yourself to grieve. Grief does not take the holiday off. Remind people that you are still grieving and that you are doing the best you can. Grieving takes a great deal of energy. There may not be enough energy left for some of the activities that others may feel are important.
- Plan ahead. Don't wait until the last minute to decide what you will or not do. Talk with your family about your needs. Have a plan (and a back up plan) on how you will manage different situations and what they can expect from you.
- Seize the moment. Take any and every opportunity to have a feeling of happiness, even if small. As the years go on, more moments and times of happiness will find you. Stay in the present moment as much as you can. You can honor the memory of your child by sharing the love you have for your child with others.
- Take care of yourself.