The despair that follows the untimely death of a child can be debilitating. Though the death of a child can be overwhelming, support systems can help parents make it through the darkness. It will take time, and the process will be painful, but parents can eventually adjust to life without their child.
Family and Friends
Caring family members and friends can be the best support for parents who have lost their children to untimely deaths. These family members and friends need to understand when a parent wants to talk about his child’s death. Family members and friends can also help parents by remembering special elements about the child and sharing those memories with the parents, according to the National Sudden and Unexpected Infant/Child Death and Pregnancy Loss Resource Center at Georgetown University.
Through support groups, grieving parents can meet and share with others who have been through, and are learning to cope with, the loss of a child. Parents can find support groups through religious groups, hospitals or local agencies. GriefShare is an international support group with local meetings designed for those dealing with the death of a loved one.
Parents need to attend to their physical needs. Eating properly, exercising regularly and sleeping consistently are important. Neglecting these areas when not grieving can be harmful, but during this time of mourning, neglecting these areas can cause further depression and anxiety. It is also important for parents to avoid excessive use of alcohol or other drugs to avoid any further mental or physical health risks.
Prolonged or complicated grief can lead to depression or other mental health problems. Talking to a health care provider can help parents who are having a difficult time gain a sense of control over their grief and get them back on a path of healing.