The Grieving Process After the Death of a Child

These suggestions on how to help a friend through the grieving process after the death of a child are sadly inspired by a six year old boy who recently drowned in a creek in my neighborhood in North Vancouver. These tips are geared towards people like me, who have no idea what to say or do, but who want to honor the loss and the grief.

Grieving Process After the Death of a ChildIn Life After the Death of My Son: What I’m Learning, Dennis Apple describes what it’s like to lose a son. The experience of and grieving after a child’s death is different for everyone, but you can help your friend cope by learning how some people experience this type of loss. Don’t compare your friend’s grief or journey with other people’s. Just learn how different people cope with death.

I don’t know the family who lost their son, but my heart breaks for them – and their friends, neighbours, classmates, and relatives. I can’t imagine how shocking and tragic it would be to cope with such a sudden death of a child. One minute he’s there and life is as usual…and the next minute he’s gone.

The unusual thing about the death of this child is that he was saved from a near drowning in a pool a year ago. He was rescued by a man whose own son died three years earlier, who is now devastated by the death of this boy. It makes me wonder about life and death. Maybe sometimes God or fate or the universe deems it’s our time to go, and there’s nothing we can do to prevent it.

Helping a Friend Through the Grieving Process

In Helping Someone Survive Their Child’s Death, I offer practical tips for helping a friend deal with loss and bereavement. These suggestions are both practical and emotional.

If you feel angry or judgmental, put your feelings aside

The death of this child in North Vancouver is especially tragic because of his past near-drowning experience. I believe many people – myself included – are wondering why this boy wasn’t watched more closely. He wandered away from his home, and was found in the creek. In this case, it may be natural to feel angry and want to blame the parents. The parents themselves may blame themselves and feel incredibly guilty about the death of their child. But, the best way to help them – and anyone coping with a child’s death – is to put aside all feelings of anger, frustration, and blame. Acknowledge your feelings, then put yourself in their shoes. Allow your friend to experience the grieving process after a child’s death in his or her own way.

Learn how grief affects people – forever

I found a passage on the grieving process after the death of a child that may help those of us who have never lost a young family member understand what it’s like:

Grieving Process After Child Dies

The Grieving Process After the Death of a Child

“My sister will die over and over again for the rest of my life. Grief is forever. It doesn’t go away; it becomes a part of you, step for step, breath for breath. I will never stop grieving Bailey because I will never stop loving her. That’s just how it is. Grief and love are conjoined, you don’t get one without the other. All I can do is love her, and love the world, emulate her by living with daring and spirit and joy.” – Jandy Nelson, The Sky is Everywhere.

Let your friend grieve in her own way

Not everyone can grieve the death of a child by “living with daring and spirit and joy”, like the author above wrote. No parent will ever be the same after the death of a child, and the grief will never end. There are complicating factors – many parents will feel guilty about the death of a child. Help your friend cope by letting her grieve her way.

Offer healthy options for grieving

It may be too soon to give your friend books or other resources on coping with the death of a child, but you might start looking through the possibilities now.  Give your friend a gift basket (she’ll be getting lots of casseroles and other types of perishable food – a gift basket will outlast the homecooked food), and include a book like When The Bough Breaks: Forever After the Death of a Son or Daughter.

Need encouragement? Get a beautiful FREE "She Blossoms" 2019 calendar when you sign up for my free weekly Blossom Tips!

One Blossom Tip a week. Short and sweet. You'll love it.

* indicates required

If you have any thoughts on helping a friend cope with the death of a child, please share below.

My prayer is that you find helpful, meaningful ways to help your friend with the grieving process after the death of a child. May you trust the healing hand of the Father, and may your sympathy and love shine through.

Share your thoughts below - you won't be judged or criticized! I read every comment, but can't always respond personally.

If you need relationship help, get Mort Fertel's 7 Steps to Fixing Your Marriage - and FREE advice, no strings attached.

My Books - She Blossoms

Growing Forward When You Can't Go Back She Blossoms Laurie Pawlik
Growing Forward When You Can't Go Back - to help you walk through loss into a new season of life. I share glimpses into my life with a schizophrenic mother, living in foster homes, teaching in Africa, and coping with infertility. Woven through the book are practical, encouraging Blossom Tips to help you grow and flourish!

How to Let Go of Someone You Love She Blossoms Laurie Pawlik

How to Let Go of Someone You Love - Powerful Secrets (and Practical Tips!) for Healing Your Heart After a Breakup. Do you feel like you'll never get over your broken heart? This ebook - available immediately - will help you heal. It's time to let go of what was, and embrace what will be.

When You Miss Him Like Crazy She Blossoms Laurie Pawlik

When You Miss Him Like Crazy - 25 Lessons to Move You From Broken to Blossoming After a Breakup! You miss him desperately right now, but you won't always feel this way. This warm, comforting ebook will give you the tools, encouragement and strength you need to move through the pain and start blossoming - today!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *