Social Question

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

What's the best or most appropriate way to respond to a parent who has lost a child especially at a young age?

Asked by Adirondackwannabe (36545points) September 17th, 2010

Anybody in the birth story thread is going to know what lead to this, but I just wanted to get a few thoughts on this. I’m not a parent, but it seems thats got to be one of the hardest losses to deal with. As a parent or as a nonparent how do you respond to someone who has lost a child or as a grieving parent what helped you get through it. If it was fairly recent and/or still too painful please don’t respond. I’ve been through enough of similar things to know it takes a lot of time to even cope with this.

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8 Answers

Fairylover78's avatar

The only thing you can do is let them know how sorry you are for their loss and that you are there for them if/when they need someone to talk to, or just lean on. Keep them company and check on them often, be a friend. Hug them, and let them know that you are there. Nothing can take the pain away, but knowing someone is there for you and that you have someone to go to when things get hard can be a comfort.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

There really isn’t anything that you can say or do to make things better. Having watched my parents lose a young child, and then many years later attempting to help a friend cope with the grief of her teenage daughter taking her own life… I have learned that the only thing you can do is offer a shoulder to cry on. Although it really isn’t, it feels incredibly unnatural to bury a child, and the only thing that will heal those wounds is time and support. Honestly, I don’t believe that is a wound that ever truly closes. After having witnessed it so closely, I’m fairly certain that is one of those events in life that leaves an emotional scar like no other. Very sad.

Cruiser's avatar

I wouldn’t know what to say either. I have seen babies leave this world and the loss is unimaginable. I will say a strong faith based support group seems to provide comfort in those initial days weeks and months.

I stumbled into an awkward situation years ago when I noticed my Secretary wearing that babie charm bracelet with 3 charms and since I knew she had only 2 children I asked why 3 charms?? She touched the clear/sliver one and with a tear in her eye said this is my little angel.

john65pennington's avatar

Firsthand experience here: not me, my brother. when his daughter turned 32 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. she was terminal. her death had devastating effect on all the family. my brother and his wife had wished it had been them, instead of their daughter. i can tell you this as a fact….you will never, in your lifetime, recover from the loss of one of your chldren. they are not suppose to die first. i have watched her death slowly take a toll on my brother and his wife. eventually, his wife died with a broken heart. then, my brother suffered a heart attack and has not returned to being normal. he has fallen twice and broken his leg twice. this is not a good picture.

As you can see, the loss of a child is both psychological and physical on the parents.

Do you ever recover? NO. you just exist.

JustmeAman's avatar

I was just viewing this and tears began to roll. I have lost 4 children in total. Three that were born as preemies and one that was full term but had a problem and died in my arms. The feelings NEVER go away though in time one can talk about it. @Cruiser your story touched me personally and I couldn’t help but shed a tear as well.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

JustmeAman: I wrote it from the point of view of I never feel adequate to the task, and then just after I hit submit, I had the thought it might cause pain to someone, especially you. I’m very sorry for that and your loss. I thought of pulling it, but it seemed to get reasonable reviews so I left it up. If you or anyone else thinks I should pull it let me or a mod know.

JustmeAman's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe No I am so glad you didn’t. Remembering is not all pain it is wonderful to remember but it does bring a tear or two. I think it is a good thing to talk about and allow others to see it and also to share their own. For a number of years I helped a social worker at the hospital with parents who had lost children and that was the best therapy that one could ask for. THANK YOU

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