Posted by: Jody Glynn Patrick | 09/22/2014

Here is what I know about grieving a dead child

broken peopleThe true value of this site is the ensuing conversation after a blog post, in the comment section. I thank you for your contributions to help keep our community real and honest.

What I most often recognize in the comment section is the feeling we parents express of “brokenness” after a child’s death. We go on, but we do not exist in the same way as we existed before the tragedy. We really do suffer from PTSD and a multitude of symptoms that don’t magically vanish after a prescribed grieving period. We also see ourselves as different from people who have not lost children to death; that separates us from the good wishes or strength of our friends and (sadly) oftentimes even family.

Many of us dwell on the unnaturalness of a child preceding a parent in death because we believe that there is a natural order to things. This loss defies even nature. This “my child should not have died before me” covenant is a concept which has only lately entered the human psyche. Even in the 1800’s, a family was likely to lose one-third of the children who were born alive — either to accident or fire, water-born disease or plagues.

My pioneer ancestors buried a 23-year old son who could not make it through the first brutal Michigan winter eating only hard-tack and tree bark. His mother (my grandmother of generations back) surely grieved his death as sorely as I grieved over the loss of Daniel, even though she likely expected to lose — and did lose — many of her dozen children before taking her last breath.

We don’t really grieve our children’s death because we had some unwritten, unspoken guarantee that it wasn’t supposed to happen; we grieve their death because we loved them with all of the servitude and protectiveness of a parent. Once we conceived this precious person, we could never again imagine our lives without them. And then we found we must.

One of the most popular blogs I’ve written continues to be “Why should I live after my child has died?” which new visitors always choose to read. This reinforces my view that many bereaved parents seriously consider suicide in the aftermath of a child’s death. Some of you admitted to hanging around only because you have another living child to parent. You know — and this is an important truth — that if you exit of your own free will, your suicide would deliver them a crushing blow. They will have proof that you didn’t love them as much as you loved a child no longer here, and that’s already their newly found fear.

Let’s at least admit that we do elevate a deceased child into something of a saint — even when, as in Daniel’s case, he WAS a saint 🙂

So we decide — it is a decision, after all — to stay for the benefit of a child or spouse or frail mother or whomever. We then have to work through our own internal rages at these anchors for holding us here, when we’d rather be dead ourselves to escape our suffering. Or we don’t think they are suffering enough to justify the hanging-on, whatever “enough” is. It’s all too painful to explore very closely, like picking at the edges of a fresh scab.

Or we have to face our fears for our existing children that they will die next. Certainly I didn’t want my other kids out of my sight after Daniel died in a car accident unexpectedly, and I did pull them out of public school and put them into a more cloistered (more “safe”) private school. There are so many feelings to struggle through at the very time when we consciously only feel numb and on autopilot. When we feel broken.

To cope, some of us self-medicate. Some turn to psychics. Some to prayer. Some turn away from God or faith. Some turn to sex. Some become cutters, to feel anything at all. Others just go back to work and try their hardest to compartmentalize their grief so they can continue functioning at all. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to grieve, only healthier choices we might make to move forward in a way that really honors the love that continues to exist between parent and child.

However you are feeling today, you are encouraged to express it here. We are not so much your audience as we are the invisible hand on your shoulder or ear to your suffering. We get it. Someone in the group has suffered a stillborn loss. Someone’s child was also murdered. Someone’s child took their own life. Someone was hit by a train or fell down the stairs or hit their head on the sink in the bathroom. Someone’s precious child died of cancer. We understand your pain. You are welcome to express both your sorrow and your hope — what hurts you and how you cope. What helps? We especially want to know that.

You’ve made the choice to stay. That is, in itself, a milestone. Now take another step into our circle. We’re here for you.






  1. So sorry for your loss of Daniel and for all parents who have lost children. Today I am feeling numb. In two days, my son and only child will have been dead 15 years. What got me through was prayer and the caring and support of several good friends and a very good bereavement support group run by a nun with a degree in pastoral care. It also gave me great peace to memorialize my son in a book. September is always a sad month for me as both Chris’ birthday and death day are in September 5 days apart. It just brings reality to the fore to admit Chris is gone and my pain in missing him, his future and no grandchildren. Usually I push the pain aside and mull through, but September makes bravery very hard.

    • Hello my name is Patrick I lost my son on August 01, 2016. My sons name was Jimmy he died from a heroin overdose 13 days shy of his 34th birthday (August 14th). I have been completely devastated by Jimmy’s death. I had him in rehab for the week prior to his death. I guess the overwhelming all consuming effects of heroin was stronger then his will to try and quit.

      • So sorry…lost my beautiful son on July 30 ,2014 to same demon..I would love to tell you it get easier but it does not..I have however learned there was nothing I could have done any was all on him..he had 10 months clean.we all rallied around him so proud..unfortunately we had no control over his addiction..he is still with me probably more now then when he was here…he has told me I don’t have to worry about him anymore because he is safe with God …I truly believe that …but it still hurts every second every day..we will always miss prayers to you and your family….

  2. I gave birth to a beatiful baby boy on the 11 of august and sadly my son passed away on the 19 of august.My first child.After this I have lost hope and I told myself that I dont want another child. I cry almost everyday asking myself why why why.Its difficult to accept the pain that I feel especially when I see someone carrying a child.This really hurts you can pretend to smile,laugh but deeply inside it really hurts.

    • Winnie, I am so sorry for the loss of your little baby boy. These are very early days for you yet. Your pain is very acute now, but in time it will ease. Would you consider a support group or counseling? If you feel you can talk, it may help. It can be good to connect with others going through the same grief. Your doctor or clergy person may be able to connect you with a group or a counselor. I will keep you in my prayers.

    • Winnie, my son, who had been due on the 19th, was born on the 11th of August, 1987. He died four years, ten months, and 19 days later. I cried. I still cry. Seeing other people in the innocence of child bearing and child rearing but in the innocence of never having had to suffer this kind of loss can still make me burn with regret for all that never will be. But know that you are not alone.

      Accepting the pain doesn’t mean that it won’t hurt. Sometimes the pain rises up like the swell of a wave that you can’t fight… so you just float and let it wash over you. It will pass, you get to your feet, you stand a while, then the next wave comes. Eventually you get a sense of what you can and cannot resist and you establish more control over yourself. The waves will come less frequently.

      After some time, then you may be able to make some choices about how to handle your emotions, but not always… and not much at first. Therapy is good. It can help and it is worth it paying for it if you have to. Medication can help you ride these early days out. Talk with your doctor.

      My heart is with you during this difficult time.

  3. To day is my sons birthday. He would be 29, he died at age 11. my first born, daughter” just” died, three years ago. I have not been able to write, but I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your site. When I get those searching feelings, I end up on your site. thankyou marsha

    • Marsha, I am so sorry for your profound losses. Birthdays are very, very hard. To go through this grief twice is unimaginable. I will pray for you to have strength. You will be in my prayers daily, especially today.

  4. Thanks for your inspirations i just lost my bouncing baby boy three months ago i.e on 10th July only 4 days to his 1st birthday. I feel so broken and life has no meaning at all. It was a sudden death coz he was not sick is is painful but your site has encouraging words. keep it up and God bless u

    • Mary, I am so sorry for your loss of your precious baby. Your loss is very early. I remember when my son died at age 23, I still felt as if he was ripped away from inside of me even though he was an adult. I can only imagine how it is with such a little one. I will pray your pain will ease little by little. It is true your life will never be the same. You will always have an ache of longing and a missing part. I can assure you in time you can go on to have a life again. God keep you in his care.

  5. I lost my 39 year old son Feb.18, 2014. We had a special bond, for many reasons. He fell victim to drugs and alcohol and at times it would be ugly between us, but never did he doubt my love for him. He had just been married for 6 months to another addicted person. She had left (he became violent when drinking), and he fell asleep with a cigarette and died in the fire. He was one step from getting out of the mobile home. Now I am stuck on the day(night) of his death. He did believe in GOD and was saved. But, I still cry everyday and try to believe that he is with me in spirit. How can I move forward, when my life’s goal was to help him. I wasn’t there for him and I can’t forgive myself. Everyday is just another day to think of what I could of and should of done to save him. Anyone that can help me would be wonderful.

    • Etta, Your son’s passing is still very new. Your grief is very raw, so it is very normal to feel the pain of having him gone and the painful regret of things you wish had been done to save or help him. It has nothing to do with what you believe about God or heaven, it’s about the painful reality of loss of your son’s life. If you’ve ever read any alanon material, you know that there are things we really have no control over, like someone’s drinking or drug use. But I know as a parent we feel responsible for the emotional reasons our own child chooses to continue on that road as we want better for them. Ultimately, it is their choice.

      Perhaps going to a therapist might help you work out all the feelings of responsibility you feel, but the pain of his death and the love you still feel for him will still be here. I don’t know, but part of me wonders if reading about what parents who suicide think/feel/do might be helpful to you. Help you with what I think might be similar feelings of guilt or deep, deep regret.

      But also, please understand that crying every day is very normal. You are still early in your grief. My daughter Julia died 18 months ago and I still hurt so very badly and cry every day. I grieve for my pain and her loss of her precious life. Our child’s death is deeply painful, much more than any other death. My heart goes out to you.

      • Thank you for your understanding. I can’t go to a therapist yet. I just can’t talk about it to someone that didn’t know him and his kind heart. He was so giving and loving unless the drugs or alcohol had him in it’s death grip. I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know that a part of me died with him. God Bless you on your journey with your grief. I am so lost without him. He was my reason for living, to try to help him. I gave up everything for him and still didn’t help in the end. I just want to curl up and never have to speak again. I have friends and family that love me, but Kevin was my only needy child. He needed me and I wasn’t there. I hope this feeling passes and I pray to God for that release. People tell me to move on, but I can’t and do not want to. Thank you again for understanding. I will try to find articles on suicide and read them, even though I know this was not what happened to Kevin. He wanted to live a normal life, but couldn’t fight the demons.

      • Etta, I reread my first message to you and see I miswrote a sentence. You probably figured it out, but what I mean to say was about reading what parents who had a child who suicided think/feel/do…. I think what I thought when I wrote was that those parents often feel tremendous guilt and helplessness about not being able to help their child that might be similar to your feelings.

        It saddens (and angers) me no end that people are telling you to move on. Believe me when I tell you that if it were their child, they’d be doing exactly what you are doing. They’d be hurting as much as you are and they’d struggle too.

        It is really important that you find support in your grief. I found a few blogs that I follow that are meaningful to me, and I go to The Compassionate Friends meetings, which are only once a month. There is another organization called Bereaved Parents of the USA, but they don’t have a chapter near me.

        There is nothing better than to be with other parents who have lost their child as they understand the love we feel and the pain of the loss, as well as the difficulties that other people give us when they want us to move on or dismiss the incredible grief we feel. They understand that a parent does not just move on. It is sometimes difficult to go at first as there is so much pain, but you don’t have to talk. You can just listen.

        There are also many books now about grieving, written by parents or written with stories of the parents experience. It is just important that you know that you are not alone, even though your experience may be different. This is an incredibly painful experience that only someone who has gone through it can truly understand.

        In spite of all the support I get from the blogs, books, and friends there is no avoiding the incredible pain of losing our child. It hurts beyond imagining.

        Sending you love

      • Thank you so much. I am looking at pictures of Kevin today and every day. He always looks so happy in the pictures. My bedroom is a room for me to honor Kevin. I light candles and have his pictures everywhere. I am trying to take baby steps, one foot in front of the other. This is the most awful pain that a mother or loving father can imagine. I also feel so guilty about having a happy event. Even smiling, or to feel happy. I just shut down. How can I ever be happy? That isn’t a question for anyone to answer but me. And right now I Can not dare be happy without Kevin. His baby song (you know the one you sing when they are fussy) was YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE. We talked about that sometimes after he grew up. He always laughed at me about that……..he knew I was worried to death about him. Thank you for your prayers. With out GOD I could not even breath.

    • I know exactly how you feel my daughter was a needy child because of h alcohol abuse and I keep going ov and over in my head what could I have done differently

  6. It is my beautiful son Ethan’s birthday today. He would have been 4. He died at almost 9 months old on 7th July 2011 from a complex cardiac condition (part of Alagille Syndrome). I witnessed him arresting 6 times over 4 hours, and all the resuscitations that eventually failed. My husband left me 3 days after our son died, and I never saw him again. My much older other 2 children do not speak to me because their father (different father to Ethan’s) has manipulated them so much over the years since we split that they think he is a hero and I think I am a psycho. I have just one parent who didn’t have anything to do with Ethan because he was born with a disability so there is no support there either. I felt, and still feel, very isolated and alone. I spent the first 2 years hating the world and feeling guilty for being alive, or enjoying things like the sunshine or good food because Ethan couldn’t enjoy these things. Hating the false friends I thought I had, who had turned their backs on me (quite literally actually in the supermarket) as they ‘didn’t know what to say to me’. I found myself contemplating digging him up and taking him home. I got frantic every time it rained, as I would imagine him getting wet. I also kept remembering that I had not put socks on his little feet under his babygro (the embalmer had dressed him and didn’t know that I used to put socks on underneath to keep his feet warm) and I imagined his feet being cold. I tried to find out what bodies looked like a varying points after burial (without much success) as I was desperate to see my little boy. This was the madness that my dark world had now pulled me into. I had PTSD and wanted to die on a daily basis. Then 4 months before the second anniversary I spent some time volunteering at a hospice for terminally ill patients. Sitting with someone as they lay dying in their bed one day, I realised this person was dying and they had no choice, yet I had a choice. I didn’t have to die. I could choose to live. I began to think how ungrateful I had been to not want the life that dying people so badly want. A week or so later it was my 40th birthday, approaching the 2nd anniversary of Ethan’s death and I made the decision to turn the clock back 20 years, start over again, live the life that Ethan should have had, and aim for the career I had always wanted but had always felt unable to achieve. I had my hair done (it hadn’t been cut since he had been alive as I wanted to keep everything around that had been in his life- including my own hair!), joined a gym, enrolled on a college course and joined St John Ambulance. A year on, I look 15 years younger, I have lost 3 stone (42 lb), made lots of new friends at SJA whilst treating patients at public events, gained 3 A grades in Physics Chemistry and Biology GCSEs and am now doing an Access to Medicine diploma in preparation to applying to Medical School, to become a doctor. Idon’t know if I will make it, and I still cry several times every week, and at birthdays and anniversaries I feel in despair. It has been good to have a focus, and it has helped me move forward, but you never get over it. I compare losing a child to losing a limb or having another major disability physically. You always know its there: you cannot go back to how it was before, and you have to adapt your way of life to learn to live with this in your life. The difference is, other’s cannot see the disability, because the loss is not external, like an amputation. It is deep within us. That is why it is so important to talk with others who know our pain. Sending lots of love to you all, from Anna xxx

  7. Etta, I will pray for you to have strength and to find small steps to more forward bit by bit.

    Anna, you are truly an inspiration and a credit to God’s grace and the human spirit. I pray you will get into medical school. Ethan is very proud of you and your life will go on to help many parents.

    God be with you both.

  8. I need all the prayers that can happen, as the ann. of Kevins death is again upon me. The 18th will be 8 months, yet it feels like yesterday. I am lost without him. He was 39 and died in a house fire. I can here him calling for me to help him……….I didn’t know about the fire for hours after it happened. It is the empty, horrible, sickening and misery of not being able to have saved him that has me stuck in Feb. 18, 2014. I don’t know how to honor him, when I am soooo sad. Everyday is just another day. I wake up knowing I just want the day over, to sleep again. I am finding myself resenting my friends who are “happy”. This isn’t fair as they are here for me anytime I call, but yet it is the truth. I read my Bible, I pray to God to help me and yet the part of me that died with Kevin is always present in my mind. Please pray for me.

    • Dearest Etta,
      You and I have similar stories. unfortunately . My son was 23 when he passed on July 30th 2014 from overdose, My daughter and i found him at a friends house, he was gone 12hrs when we found him. He was doing so great. i thanked him for being alive just the week before. told me he was done with the drugs. he was working out looked better then ever and was happy. then relapsed I had no clue he was struggling again. He had been on drugs since age of 13 then graduated to the devil Heroin at 16. I know how you fought his battle, trying to protect them from themselves is the worst thing a parent can go through. we need to talk. I am sending you my email. I don’t talk to anyone either. actually I have not left my house since then. How do we stop feeling like they still need us? I have a daughter and a younger son, But Luke was always my focus. He was the needy one and I was the one always helping him. Unofficial lawyer and personal secretary. unknowing partner in crime at times. please email me your number or ask for mine. I would like to talk to someone who gets this. I feel horrible for anyone that has to go through this pain of losing a child. the pain does not subside it is raw every second of every day. its just not normal. it should have been me.

      • My phone number 276 783 2118. Please feel free to call me. If you want, send me your number and I will call you. Thank you

        IN GOD WE TRUST Date: Sat, 21 Mar 2015 03:15:07 +0000 To:

  9. We lost a child 12 years ago. My family has gone in different directions. My husband told me if we can’t pull together or we have another unhappy holiday or anniversary he is gone.

    • Susie, there are so many things here for a counselor to sort out that it is hardly right that I can comment with little information, and I know you need first someone to be aware of your struggle, and I honor that need — you are heard. One thing I could offer is this — your husband has clearly communicated what he needs to be able to function in this situation. On the holiday, he wants a sense of joy (or at the very least, a sense of peace) to recapture part of his life that also died with your child. There is a strong message here to fake it til you make it, and that is okay if you can do that. If you can make it a gift to your husband. Meanwhile, if you can find a friend outside the marriage to help you, give you strength, or to vent to as you make holiday preparations, etc., this would help you, if you decide to do this. You say “we” lost a child and so I assume your husband is also grieving, as that never stops. However, the display of grief for one partner can trigger it in the other partner when they are trying to create that scar tissue so that they can move forward — not without the child, but without the constant grief and sorrow. This is okay, and even the goal for us all, to live a life that is tolerable, and even joyful, as we all know our child would have wanted. Your husband has told you what he needs. Unfortunately, he has said it as an ultimatum, which is a difficult position for you, but he is being very clear about what he must have to be able to function in the world as well.While you are not asking for counseling here, only to talk, I would ask if you two have had marriage counseling since the death of your child. Marriages are very, very fragile and I really applaud that you have kept yours together for more than a decade afterwards. Hopefully, you two can weather this as well. We hear you and we understand how difficult it is to move on or to just navigate a holiday, birthday and death date. We hold you in our hearts as you struggle with this. Jody

  10. Today, as with most days, I am empty. I can’t do anything, I am still pacing around my kitchen island in severe pain. I grieve my beautiful 33 year old daughter as I have since 10-14-2014. However, some other pains and fears and resentments are creeping in.
    Fears: My daughter’s children aren’t doing well. My 11 year old grandaughter, who discovered her mother’s body is now wearing a ton of make up, dating a 14 year old and getting high. Her father deals and doesn’t keep a watchful eye. She wanted to live with me, but he has all the power. My 16 year old grandson is dropping high school in favor of GED. His birthday is this month and he stated “I don’t want my birthday to come” I asked why “because that’s the day my mom gave me life.” Just melted my broken heart. I would take these kids in a heartbeat if I had the power.
    Resentments : Not one , with exception of my two surviving girls, Not One Blood Relative has callat my sisters not my brother and uncles cousins nieces or at my sisters not my brother and uncles cousins nieces or nephews attended My Daughters funeral or celebration of Kellys life. Apalling! To say the least! I still am just blown away over this. 3.5 months now, I just can’t wrap my head around that.
    Pain: I still can hardly breathe. I’ve worked so hard to raise my girls, went to college in my forties (8 full time years and worked a full time job as well as a part time job to support us. And I’m still not working since that horrific day. I am saddened at my daughter’s death, but also at all the other areas effected. Forgot to pay some bills immediately after she passed, now credit took a Huge hit. In the process of refinance after my cancer bills piled up, just three months before she died. Therefore, house loan denied. So I’m stuck with the cheating husband’s name on my home after kicking him out in March, just before finding tumor. I feel sad because here I am 55 and without my best friend -daughter. I have been alone, literally alone all but two nights since October 14, 2014. My mother called three times at month two and that is it for family. My youngest daughter is the only person to talk to me. SHE IS WONDERFUL, she calls and texts me, however she works full time and goes to college at night and husband and three year-old keep her busy. She did take me to Disneyland, a great trip fir the baby’s third birghday. My oldest has not spok we n to me since her sister died. Even at the funeral she would walk by make eye contact and say nothing, won’t answer texts or calls emails, even to say go away, nothing. The pain of losing my child is so deep that I continually cry. I also have lost my entire family.
    I am literally alone. All I can think about is my deceased daughter, whom I love with all my heart. The hole in m y chest, wishing for that pain to be a heart attack. I beg God to take me to her, but I know he wouldn’t do that to my other children. My purpose to be here for them and the two (of8) have lost mom and five years prior lost a 7 year old sister. They need me . I HATE THIS THOUGH!

  11. my only…daughter was found..collapsed not breathing…in a house hallway…3 weeks in a a 2 week veg. State……my husband. Arrived after 3 days…..told me he was leaving….and did……my darling passed on 15 may 2015……my husband is using a different surname..says he is single.interested in women……..oh he is Russian and his UK passport arrived the day after my daughter was found…….

  12. My 25 year old daughter passed away a month ago and I still can’t barely breathe. I long to hug her and simply talk to her! I can’t sleep at night and when I do I see her face the entire time. Last night I dreamed of her, and was begging her not to leave me! Does anyone know when it will quit feeling overwhelming?! I know I’m suppose to grieve, but I feel like I’m broken on the inside.

    • Hi Beth, I am so very sorry for your loss. I lost my grandson almost 1 year ago – Sept. 16, 2014 in a car accident where my daughter was driving. I can say I understand your pain – when I first got the news I went numb, since my daughter was in the hospital recovering from surgery I went into project manager mode and was handling all the arrangements for my precious Kaydin. I stayed home from work for 2 months and during that time I spent many, many hours crying, screaming, yelling and then just sitting and staring into space. After the 2 months I had to go back to work where for the next 8 months or so I was like a zombie, spent a lot of time surfing the internet trying to find answers, I found several sights that actually did help me because like this site people talk freely about their feelings and the pain they continue to suffer, weeks, months and years after their child’s death. It is nice to know you are not alone, you are not going crazy and your grief and pain is normal – extremely painful and debilitating – but normal. It does get a little easier, I am not sure if it is from healing, acceptance or just that your body has become accustomed to the pain but it does get easier.

      I think that was one of my biggest needs, is to know that I was / am on the right track. At the 12 month mark, I still spend time during my work day surfing the internet trying to find something that will tell me things will continue to get better, I still make mistakes almost daily, I went through a paranoid period where I thought all my co-workers were out to get me and bullying me (it wasn’t true, your mind plays tricks on you). I am finally getting to a point where my work is actually productive and I can be at the office for 8 or 9 hours without crying all day – tears still spill out periodically throughout the day, like a slow leak. But grief is a giant ocean and even though the waves get to be further apart and maybe not so huge, they still come and when they do it will knock you down. Just last week, I spent Monday and Tuesday crying all day, all night – not sure what triggered it but it was non-stop crying for two days – then I woke up on Wednesday and felt fine. There is no sense to grief and how it will affect you and when it will hit you.

      I guess what I am saying is that we are here for you. Write your problems on this sight, get it all out the things you can’t or don’t want to say to family and friends because you don’t think they will understand. The people on this site are wonderful humans that have suffered the same loss as you have. All of our babies are different ages and died from different circumstances but they all have one thing in common – they were all our babies and we all loved them with our whole hearts and miss them with our whole hearts..

  13. I found this website today. Very informative and helpful. My four day old daughter Abigail Grace passed on 7/14/2015. I am heartbroken and cry all the te. My husband tries to be strong and bottles it up. My precious 5 year old son talks about his sister the angel. I just feel so lost and broken. How long will this feeling last???

  14. my daughter just passed on july 13th and she ws 32 had cancer I feel the same way beth I cant breathe I cant sleep I cant eat im so lonely and I miss her so much what can I do want to cry all the time and I cannot concentrate on my son which I love so much too I am trying to hard to cope but I don’t understand I am Christian and love god but what happened I don’t know

  15. i lost my 40 year old son on 4th august 2013 no reason verdict unascertained couldnt give me a reason people have said it was suicide but that wasnt coroners verdict .but it broke my heart two years on still looking for answers no drugs or drink involved .i was with him day before next day couldnt contact him.we eventualy got into house he was gone .i ask myself could i have seen something wasnt right if id gone back later that day.i blamed myself and i cry just feel so sad and empty inside and wonder when it stops hurting.just found this site and see lot of people who are hurt and sad like me .but a lot of them know why i just have no answers

    • Robbie, I lost a son also under suspicious circumstances, also, 16 years ago in September. Still seems much more recent. He was 23. The coroner ruled his death a suicide even though the scene did not support that. The young woman involved was the mayor’s daughter. Many irregularities in police investigation. Had it privately investigated by former homicide cop & a former FBI agent. Both concluded not a suicide, but coroner would not change cause of death. My husband very ill at the time & died 6 weeks later. So I am right there with you…. I really don’t know what happened & no one has ever been charged. I had no one to support me & with 2 losses, I had no fight in me. Plus, I have been told I could use all my time, energy, & resources & as long as people lied, I could not get to the truth. So, again, I am right there with you. I felt guilt & helplessness. And ashamed for not doing more For a long time things went round & round in my head. I felt guilt because I talked to my son on the phone shortly before he died, yet I did not prevent it. What helped me the most was a book written by psychologist Kathleen O’Hara called “A Grief Like No Other.” Her son was murdered while away at college. Anyway, the book discusses all this & how to come to terms with the horror of what happened. You don’t have to read the whole thing. You can thumb thru & read what you think will help you. It helped me to be in a support group with a leader trained in pastoral care so the group had focus. Also, I went for individual grief counseling. These things helped me. But, Kathleen O’Hara said not knowing is the worst & makes it very hard to move forward to live & exist the rest of your life. This is a journey… bit by bit you will emerge & come to terms with what you need to do to go on. You have to decide if you want to go on & find new purpose…. an advocacy group or something to memorialize your son. Be patient with yourself. You are in a cocoon & trying to emerge. It’s a jagged path with steps forward & backward. Try to take care of yourself first with healthy foods, proper rest, & get dressed everyday & go out for a short walk. Keep a journal of your thoughts & feelings each day. Write to your son. Tell him how you feel. These are some things that helped me. I hope you can find some useful. The ache & loss never go away, but you can feel them less stronger.

  16. I lost my son and only child on April 15,2014. My son did not want to live anymore. I have three grandsons, and my heart breaks for them more than myself. I am in serious denial, I cannot accept that he is gone.

    • I’m so sorry for your loss.

    • My prayers are with you and I understand the denial part. If I let myself think that my Kaydin is gone forever I fall apart. I have to keep telling myself that I will see him again, Lord willing. I don’t know if you are a religious person, but if you are this can be a comforting thought. I like to imagine Kaydin running across the clouds and jumping up in my arms when I arrive. he was 5 when he died.

  17. My precious little boy drowned a month after he turned 4 on April 21, 2015. He was our only child. My husband and I live in a haze. I look forward to taking my last breath. I fantasize about dying and being reunited with my little boy. I hate this new normal. It is absolute hell. I am a master at compartmentalizations. I am a nurse practitioner and work in an emergency room. I stay numb at work and push thoughts of my son deeply away while I work. This is so I can function at my profession. This has pulled others closer to me- ironically I have become closer to the small mommy group that I socialized with my son. These are young mothers who have never dealt with such loss yet they have been with me, holding me up when I want to drop. The babysitter that loved Abel who wants to name her son after him. Then there are my family. A family that is now fractured. Family that I never thought would pull away have done so. The same day my husband’s cousin posted pictures of her grandson’s 2 YO b-day party he called the suicide prevention line. She won’t talk to us anymore. She told my husband that all he does it talk about the same thing over and over again. I live in an upside down world now. Nothing makes any sense to me. I am 41 and am trying to conceive had a patient who is 28 and had 6 abortions. I am tired and want to give up so badly. I wait for my natural death to take me to a better place.

  18. I gave birth to three boys. The first two or 3 1/2 years apart and then the third one Came 7 1/2 years later. Into thousand for my middle son then age 27 was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He was planning to be married that August. He had a fist sized tumor behind his heart that was in operable and his vena cava was 50% constricted. This was in April 2004. I said to my son that he should postpone his wedding until the treatment of chemo and radiation were completed. We did not have a prognosis, only that it was treatable. My son’s response to my suggestion of postponing the marriage was , “No Mom, if I am going to die I want to die happy “. Oh, how a parent can so deceive themselves as to think this cannot happen to us, this only happens to other people, my son would never die. My son began his treatment of chemo and radiation and even had a treatment the day before his wedding, August 24. It was a wonderful wedding and we were able to get family pictures. My other son was going to be turning 21 in October and I had lived out of state. I told him I would be back in October to help him celebrate his 21st birthday. Six weeks after my middle son’s wedding, I get a knock on the door at 11 PM from four of my cousins who live about 60 miles from me. They called me from the front door because I was not answering it and told me to please come down and open the door. All I could think of was my middle son, that they were going to tell me some bad news about my middle son because he have’s cancer. When I opened the door and saw all four of my cousin standing there I knew that this was something very serious and I
    Blurted out, “Who is it?” Expecting to hear my son Bryans’ name mentioned. What came out of your mouth was like a freight train. I heard them tell me that it was Michael, my youngest one of 20 years. That he was killed in a motorcycle accident that afternoon. I immediately fell to the floor and felt a surreal on I immediately fell to the floor and felt a surrealness of a magnitude proportion. It is not that I wanted to hear the name Bria of a magnitude proportion. It is not that I wanted to hear the name BRYAN, it’s just that I was more prepared to hear that. How can God be so cruel, I thought to myself. Is this some kind of joke? My middle son having A life-threatening cancer, he gets married, and then just six weeks after the wedding my youngest son was killed in a motorcycle accident? Life is so unfair, there is no rhyme nor reason, no guarantees. I flew back to New York to bury my youngest son while also attending with my other son when he went for his treatments. My oldest son suffers from severe depression and I continually worry about him. It has now been 11 years since the death of my precious Michael, and I am happy to report that my son Bryan beat the Hotchkins lymphoma, but then was diagnosed just last year in 2014 with oral Squamous cell carcinoma. They treated it by cutting it out. Every day I live my worst fear. The grief that I felt from Michael’s death was so intense and painful that I could hardly breathe. Truthfully it took up to seven years to finally get to the point where I could accept my new normal. It has been the most painful, Excruciating , experience that I’ve ever had to Endure and I would never ever want to go through this again, and yet The future of my middle son is not a guarantee. I have suffered from depression since I was 27 years of age and has been treated with anti-depressants. Even though I continue on my antidepressants there is nothing that is going to make me feel less depressed because of the loss of my son and the worry of my other two. There are days that I do have joy, but there always is a dark cloud that hangs above me. I do the best I can and in my sons memory I became a chapter leader for a support group for bereaved parents. A sort of paying it forward. When my middle son was first diagnosed with cancer they told him that his sperm count was so low that he probably would never be able to bear children. Well I’m happy to report that I do have a granddaughter who is eight years old , Beautiful and healthy.
    What I want to let other parents know is that life can still continue to be good despite the tragedies.
    My faith in God became stronger and I saw that he walks with me through the valley of the shadow of death. To all the parents out there experiencing a new loss of their child, please continue to come to these websites to get hope, information, and support from parents who are further down the road who can help you through your journey of grief. Although many won’t see you right now but in a few years you will eventually come to a time when you think about your child’s life more than you think about the death. People have to meet you at where you are standing right now. God bless you all !

  19. We lost our son 9 months ago due to a severe reaction he had from his seizure medication. He was given a medication that was not supposed to be used for children under 16 & now my precious baby boy is dead. He was 11 years old and had so much to look forward to. We had so many dreams of him growing up and now all those dreams are shattered. As a mother I hurt each and every second. I pray to God to help heal our (my husband and our other son) pain, but the pain never ceases. I feel so all alone, although we have a very strong support system, I still feel so all alone. I feel like a bird with one wing, like I am living with one lung and living with half a heart. Lord Jesus this pain is unbearable. And to think we have to live with this exact pain for the rest of our lives. I constantly worry about my living son. I can’t stand for him to be out of my sight. I worry when he is at school, at basketball practice, wherever he is without us. I know this is just fear which is the opposite of Faith but I can’t seem to shake it.

  20. I lost my first born Adam 4Sept2016.
    I am so lost.
    All I can do is just “be”.
    I really don’t want to be here without him and it scares the life out of me thinking about the rest of my life.
    He was 26.
    Suffered so much the last 3 years of his life with Crohns.
    He lost his battle after having a cardiac arrest from a clot.
    At one stage he was on top of the list for a donorheart that never came.
    I can’t get the images out of my head of the suffering he endured (11 weeks in ICU)
    He was so loved by everyone and never complained about his lot in life.
    I can’t survive this life without him.

    • I’m so sorry know your pain..lost my 23yr old son 7/30/2014..had someone told me I would still be here 2yrs 2 months later I would not have believed them…but we do continue to breath..for some reason we do go on however changes everything will never be the same..I truly believe we will be together again..when it is our time they will come and take our hand and lead us out of this darkness….my thoughts and prayers are with you ..💝

    • Hello everyone. First time on this blog which I stumbled onto researching going back to work after the death of a child. Our son died October 13, 2016, on his Dad’s birthday. He was 37, and was diagnosed with ALS at the young age of 32. His name was Greg and meant the world to us. We stood by and watched as this horrific disease took every muscle from his body. He left behind 4 young children….also there at the time of his passing. I have mixed emotions going back to work. The thoughts of employees throwing their arms around me will make me fall apart. On the other hand the busier I keep myself the more it keeps my mind off what happened. I’m so sorry for all the moms and dad’s going through the same empty feelings. Wondering if you can ever laugh again, ever enjoy life again without your child. We have 2 other kids, but nothing can comfort me.

      • Carol, going back to work, when you are ready, will indeed help reconnect you to your life. It won’t be the same life, but routines help and doing something productive works, and anchors help. Work is an anchor when you are floating in grief and it can help you refocus some of your mind back to the more mundane things which are safer to contemplate than the vast hole you are standing on the edge of, which is the death of your child. I want to answer your last question, from the vantage point of a lot of time. I always carry the sorrow with me of having lost my son, of his absence, but now I can carry it alongside new joys with my other children, with friends, with my husband, and yes, you can laugh and enjoy life again. I know, from experience, that it is impossible to believe now, when you griefwork is so very fresh, but eventually you realize that he would not want his death to cripple you, the disease to claim so many other victims. And you will want to honor Greg’s memory, not mute it in any way as you go forward (the hardest question is always, “how many children do you have?” and I still say, “I had four children”). We honor our children by moving forward, not by staying in the swamp of grief. But it takes time, dear one. It takes immense patience with yourself and others and kindness for yourself as you do what no human wants to do, which is move forward without a child (regardless of that child’s age). Eventually, the grandchildren will help you, the pieces of him left behind that you’ll want to help love in his name as well as yours, and your other two children — they will not want to lose a mother with a brother. The good news about going back to work — the first day back is something you only have to do once and you can tell people in advance how to treat you if you have email. I asked people not to hug me because it made me feel too vulnerable, but to smile or pat a shoulder and then move on for my first day without a conversation about Daniel, please. I asked them not to talk about it, because I wasn’t strong enough for all those conversations yet, and it really helped me. My best to you, Carol, and I’m so sorry for your loss. This is a club that hates getting new members, knowing those members didn’t really want to join either. But we are here with you. Jody.

      • Dear Jody,

        I can’t thank you enough for the support and wonderful words of inspiration. It has helped tremendously. I read your email over and over and it lifts me up out of this hole I’m in. I have gone back to work and my co workers were very careful not to hug me and not bring up what happened. My boss prepared them in advance which was so helpful. Just being back in a routine has helped. Thank you again and hope we keep in touch.

  21. I lost my son Adam 10 weeks ago today.
    Time is not making it bearable.I feel like everyday hurts more.He suffered in an ICU bed for 3 months.Overcome so many obstacles -waiting for a heart transplant that never happened.We never left his side.
    I know I can’t keep living this torture for much longer.I try to go to work and have to leave after 1 or 2 hours.
    I really don’t know what to do anymore.I really believe in the spiritual world but even that isn’t helping.
    I just dont want to be here anymore.
    I can’t believe I will ever be able to even function action.

  22. I lost my daughter, Krista, 9 years ago. She was 29 years old and succumbed to her fight with ovarian cancer. My life is different. Memories and time is always before her death or after her death. Feel the pain, grieve your loss. I have found comfort in sitting with God every morning knowing it is He who connects me with my sweet girl. It is because of His gift of life through His son that assures me that I will see her again. I will be praying for you.

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