How can one ever explain the grief that ensues following a child’s death?
As parents, we devote ourselves to our children, their happiness, and helping them realize and follow their dreams. Parents who have experienced a death of a child carry an invisible weight marking a deep absence and grief in everything we do. From shopping for groceries, sitting in traffic, or walking the dog, the burden of loss is ever-present, while the world moves busily forward as if nothing has changed.
It is impossible to know how or why to reinvest in life, especially in the first few years. Many parents face a crisis of perspective and feel less purpose in life. How do I imagine myself happy again? How do I celebrate their birthday? Who will fill their seat at the family dinner table during the holidays? What am I doing with my life? Who am I and what do I believe? This may compel some to leave a job, reorient friendships, or reexamine their religious or faith-based beliefs.
Your grief is often disorienting. Some describe it as a fog. It can be hard to think, remember or work. Common functions, like keeping a grocery list or paying monthly bills, may become insurmountable. This is common and reflects the trauma you have experienced. Only fellow bereaved parents can truly understand the depth of pain and the daily struggle to cope.
Yet, it is common and expected to relapse and re-experience periods of deep grief and pain in the years to come. Some parents seek professional support or find solidarity in connecting with others.