|To everything there is a season, and
a time to every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born, and
a time to die;
a time to plant, and
a time to pluck up
that which is planted;
A time to kill, and
a time to heal;
a time to break down, and
a time to build up;
A time to weep, and
a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and
a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and
a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and
a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and
a time to lose;
a time to keep, and
a time to cast away;
a time to sow;
a time to keep silence, and
a time to speak;
A time to love, and
a time to hate;
a time of war; and
a time of peace.
(Attributed to King Solomon)
Reading: There are two outstanding books I would recommend: The Fall of Freddie the Leaf by Dr. Leo
Buscaglia - perhaps the best explanation of death to a child that i can think of, and EACH LITTLE BIRD
THAT SINGS by Deborah Wiles (2005) which gives major insights about death - through the eyes of a
You may also find, "For A Reason", "Miss Me, But Let Me Go", to be helpful - as well as the links on the
menu bar at the right.
During the times of grief we all need extra support - you may find something helpful to carry you
through the day, or through such times by visiting our Daily Morale Boosters Page.
Klaas Tuinman MA
Dawn Cove Abbey
Deerfield, (Yarmouth County) Nova Scotia, Canada
Bereavement: Death of a Child
If you found this page helpful and know someone else who could benefit from it,
please tell them about it, or send them the link.
NOTE: For Healing from a loss, help is available here - Online, distance help/counselling works!
Related topic: Grief and Grieving
Death Of A Child
While death is a part of life, and thus an expected thing to deal with, there is
one most of us are seldom prepared for: losing a child. The death of a child is
the most excruciating event a person or family can experience – it changes
everyone one in the family forever.
Very often, such losses are not predictable or expected, and are therefore, even
more difficult to absorb. While all losses of any loved ones are devastating,
perhaps the loss of a child is one of the worst.
Children leaving home when they’ve grown up is already a difficult event;
especially for mothers because there is the loss of a nurturing role that has been
part of her life for many years and she will need to find herself again and fill the
If a child dies at this major point in life she will be faced with a struggle on
many fronts. It is also difficult for the father – both parents will feel that void,
but will experience it in different ways. Both will struggle with the loss of the
child who has died.
Parents often change tremendously after the death of their child, so much so
at times, that they become unrecognisable to each other as the people who
met and began a family life years before. It will put a tremendous strain on
the relationship, and to salvage it, they will need to discover who they are all
over again. Each will need space and time as they grieve for their child in their
own way and on different time frames. At this critical time of change they will
also need to leave the path of communication between them open to enable a
new life and understanding to be constructed, slowly and with input from both.
But not only do they change vis a vis their spouses: their friends will also
notice the change, and may experience the friendship diminishing. Here too,
communication needs to be maintained. Friends need to exercise patience –
the bereaved parent will need to try and maintain a level of communication
and interaction to avoid losing their friends, too.
The pain never goes away. It is there with you every second that you breathe,
and with every step that you take. For some, it gradually it softens and
becomes a part of their life, a part of who they are, a part of the relationship
between them and their child.
In time this new life seems so normal and it is normal:
normal to cry,
normal to feel sad,
normal to be thinking of your child all the time;
normal for him/her not to be in your life.
You may hate how it makes you feel
but you cannot change anything
and so you get on with life
and carry your pain through each day.
Sometimes it is unbearable, eating away at the foundations of the new life you
have fought so hard to build. It tears apart the strength you have wrapped
around your broken dreams and exposes the damage you have suffered since
your child died.
And the world and life around you does not make things any easier for you. It
expects you, as a bereaved parent to leave your child in the past, to ‘move on’
or ‘let go’. That is you end up feeling so isolated from society, from family and
friends. You are, somehow, expected to take this child, whose attachment to
you was not severed with the umbilical cord and pack him/her away like old,
out-dated clothes. A child whom you had nurtured and loved every second
your lives touched, whose connection with you was on every level of your
existence, a child who filled your world with the miracle of her/his smile.
You do not have to ‘leave’ your child. You can move forward into a new life and take your child with you.
Every time you think of your child they are a part of that moment. Certainly, you cannot see your child by
your side, you cannot hold him/her, but the love you felt for each other is embedded in your soul, runs
through your veins and inhabits every breath you take.
Others will not really know what to say to you, much as they want to be there for you. Perhaps the best
advice for them is that if they don't know what to say, then don't say anything. Just give a hug. Let the
bereaved parent know you are available to listen and that you care.
In reality, parents don’t really ever "get over" the loss of a child. Instead, they learn to adjust and to integrate
the loss into their lives. The death of a child remains as one of the most stressful life events imaginable.
As a bereaved parent you will struggle to adapt to a life without your child at a time when your energy levels
will be severely depleted and it will be vital that you also try to take care of yourself.
- Don't ignore or try to bury your feelings.
- The death of a child will leave you feeling weak and dazed and in shock.
- You may find yourselves feeling alone and sullen.
- It is vital for those who have lost a child communicate their feelings with others.
- Share your feelings of helplessness, confusion, anger, depression, pain, guilt, fear, and even hate.
- Learn and understand the stages of death and dying.
- Don't allow yourselves to get stuck in one of the stages.
Don't try to get through this alone; keep in touch with friends and family members, and don’t be afraid to
talk about it. Those who care won’t mind, and they’ll understand.
The grieving process is very personal and individual - each person goes through his or her grief differently:
grief is a very personal journey. Each of us grieve in different ways. Some of us proceed quickly through
our bereavement tasks. Others need longer.
We learn how to continue to function in spite of our losses through grieving.
How well we manage this will affect our quality of life and how we subsequently relate emotionally to others
throughout our lives.
Dawn Cove Abbey - many ways of helping people learn, recover and heal:
I sincerely hope that you take the Less Travelled Road and that it brings
awakening and healing to you.
Dawn Cove Abbey
Roadside assistance For Your Journey Through Life
- Dedicated to helping people return (and maintain) sanity and decency to life -
From the eBook: "One! The Journey hOMe", by Klaas Tuinman MA, © 2007-2017
Questions and comments welcomed.