Parents sometimes find it difficult or impossible to support their surviving children as they also try to navigate their own grief.
Surviving siblings, regardless of age, may hide their grief in an attempt to avoid prolonging their parents' suffering. They may falsely believe they are responsible for a sibling's death or subsequent stresses that may follow, like divorce.
It is common for parents to become more aware of the real and perceived dangers that could threaten their surviving children. Past experience with child loss can contribute to anxiety, as parents often feel compelled to detect and prevent potential threats. Learning how to cope and manage these intense feelings, and knowing when and how best to react, is critical - as hypervigilance can have negative implications for parents and the children it is intended to protect.
Child loss is not limited to young children. Parents who outlive their adult children may have an even more difficult time coping and may experience more health problems related to their grief. They may be left out of memorial and funeral planning -- especially if their child was married or had children of their own -- which can complicate their own hopes to honor the life of their child.