Friday, July 3, 2009

An Unnatural Loss

From time to time I will focus on specific types of loss on this blog. For today I thought I would focus on the loss of a child. Of all the losses, I do believe this is the most unnatural loss. Losing a child is not the "natural order" of loss. It is contrary to the laws of nature that parents precede their young. Often, I have heard parents say, "I was supposed to die before my child".

Whether you knew in advance that your child was dying from a terminal disorder or if your child died suddenly, it is not something that any parent should have to go through. Losing a child is an unimaginable death to those of us that have not suffered the loss. As a grief therapist I can't imagine the pain of this type of loss. Not only do you suffer the death of your child, you also grieve the loss of all the hopes and dreams you had for that child.

It is common for parents to comment "I feel like a part of me died too". In essence, I think it is a true statement. You nurtured the child, loved him/her and helped to mold them. Part of you lived through that child....whether it is your biological child or adopted child. The pain of loss is there whether your child was a baby or a 45 years old.

Thankfully, there are many support groups and organizations out there that specifically focus on this type of loss. One of those great organizations is The Compassionate Friends. The Compassionate Friends have chapters all over the United States and the groups are run by volunteers that have suffered the loss of a child. I have heard numerous parents say that the support of The Compassionate Friends has saved their life and helped them to go on living. Please check out their link and find a chapter near you if you have lost a child,

Another great organization, Bereaved Parents of the USA, also offers help and comfort to bereaved parents. Bereaved Parents of the USA specializes in helping the newly bereaved. They are also a non-profit self-help type organization. They have a wealth of information on their web site. Take time to take a look around on their site( ), you may find something helpful.

It is also important to note that many of these non-profit organizations have national and regional conferences. If you have lost a child and have not attended a bereavement conference from one of the above organizations, I would highly recommend you doing so. The connections and understanding you will receive is indescribable. Everyone is greeted with no expectations and opens arms full of love, hugs and compassion.

Most importantly, please is possible to return to HOPE. It may feel like a slow journey...or even like it will never happen, but you have to trust in knowing that you can return to HOPE. This is not a grief you will "get over". However, this is a grief that you can learn to integrate into your life. Your life has been forever changed and it will never go back to what it was.....but, there can be enjoyable moments again. If you have suffered this type of loss, please find support. This is not a journey to walk alone. Seek support from mental health professionals, understanding friends, support groups, church/synagogue members, chaplains, etc.

Wishing you Love, Peace..and A RETURN TO HOPE.

P.S. Please feel free to comment if you would like to mention additional bereavement support organizations for parents.

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