Six Things I Wish People Knew About Grieving the Loss of a Child

Grieving the loss of a child is a grief that is unique. It is a loss that is still largely considered taboo, and when someone experiences the tragic loss of losing a child, there are very few societal norms that can guide family and friends when their loved one finds themselves in the path of an unfathomable loss. I lost my daughter a year and half ago, and I still consider my grief to be very new. But it surprises me every time I meet up with a friend or see family, and their reactions to my pain. Here, I’ve compiled the six things I wish people understood about grieving the loss of a child:

One: Grief and Love are the same.
Please don’t think that because I am still grieving for my child even after all this time that there is something wrong me, or that I need to get over it. I grieve deeply for the loss of my child because I also love her deeply. Love never dies, therefore neither will grief.

Two: I will never get over it.
I may look like I finally got my life back together, I may have even gone on to have more children or embarked on a new career, but my child and the trauma of losing her is always one step behind. My tears may have dried, and I can probably utter my child’s name without breaking apart, but please know that I will never, ever get over the fact that she is gone.

Three: Silence is deafening.
I know it must be very difficult and confusing to know what to say to someone who has lost a child. I know how uncomfortable and unfathomable it must be to you, but please know that wrongly worded sentiments are easier to forgive than your silence. My world has forever been shattered, a simple “I’m sorry” will do.

Four: My child is irreplaceable.
It doesn’t matter when my loss may have occurred, whether it was an early miscarriage, or if I had the chance to spend a few moments with my child before she died. Babies are not interchangeable and any subsequent child born after is not replacement.

Five: I’ll always live in a parallel universe.
No matter how much time has gone by,  when an important holiday or occasion occurs, my mind is going to retreat into another universe where my child would have been present. I will calculate how old they would be and how they would look. This whole entire universe is something I hold on my own, so if you find me retreating inward during a significant day, please know that I am in that place that I share uniquely with my child and my imagination. It’s just how things are always going to be.

Six: I am forever changed.
The day my child died is the same day a big part of me died too. I won’t go back to being my usual innocent and carefree self again. It will take time for me to find myself, and return back home. But when I’ve figured out a way to put together all the broken pieces, I won’t look the same. Please understand that.

If you have experienced the loss of a child or pregnancy, what do you wish other people would understand about it?


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    Malka Ahmed

    Malka Ahmed

    Malka Ahmed is a writer, and book critic and newborn photographer. She lives in Boston, MA with her two children and her husband of ten years. Her daughter Aurora was stillborn at 20 weeks, and things just haven't been the same. 

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    7 Comments

    1. Reply

      Jan goldberg

      January 23, 2016

      I am so sorry for you loss. I lost my son in 2005 after six years of a terminal illness. He has 4 brothers and 2 sisters and I have 4 grandchildren. The void that he left with his passing can never be filled. He was 17 when he died. My nephew is the same age he would be, and I am reminded at every family gathering of where he might be in life had he lived.. But I was privileged to be his mom. He was an amazing, courageous, loving person. I try to focus on all I still have. But each morning, when I wake, my first conscious thought is that he is gone from me. I hold that sadness and love in my heart always.

    2. Reply

      Sharron Smith

      July 22, 2016

      We lost our daughter, our bay unexpectedly on March 6, 2016. She was 19 & a college student. Miss her so much.

    3. Reply

      Sharron Smith

      July 22, 2016

      We lost our daughter, our baby unexpectedly on March 6, 2016. She was 19 & a college student. Miss her so much.

    4. Reply

      Darlene Wallace

      August 19, 2016

      9-21-1991 I lost my son in a car wreck it gets better but you never get over it I love to talk about my son and some time it makes people feel bad but I can’t let his memory die because it makes others feel bad If you know someone that has lost a child ask about them don’t make us feel bad because we lost our child we need to talk about them

    5. Reply

      rose

      August 22, 2016

      I too lost my loving son at age 43 and 3 weeks. It was so sudden and unexpected !! It has only been 5 1/2 months and these days have been devastating !! Some days you are so depressed and thinking not clearly at all. My love for him NEVER changed and will NEVER change! My life is what changed! He is always in my thoughts and prayers and will be always loved and never forgotten !!

    6. Reply

      Sue

      November 30, 2016

      We lost our daughter to cancer at 23 leaving a 2 1/2 year old behind. IT was like my heart was ripped from my chest and it has been 20 years now. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t miss her. Faith is all that has gotten me through this far. Lost both parents a few years ago and I didn’t really mourn them as that is the way it is supposed to be and both were almost 90. One day at a time and God is the only way to get through the grief.

    7. Reply

      Susanne Tiainen

      February 24, 2017

      I lost my only son 26 yers age… next month will be 2 years when it happened….I’ve come to know Gods mercy…cause my son was very sick and he suffered,so he is free now! but I miss him every day,I must and I want to believe that he is in heaven,in a better beautiful place now,even so I cant prove that there is a place like that,I can only believe. I have been very lonely with my grief…friends don’t ask anymore anything…but I can tell them anyways… I want to thank you all for your experiences ❤

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