Coping with the death of a child entails more than just the usual grieving cycles. Being that a child dies before they have grown or blossomed to experience life to old age makes their death appear unfair, why wouldn’t it go for someone who has hit their 90s instead?
The death of a child literally throws parents into a state of numbness.
Coping with the death of a child is considered an uphill task, which requires more than enough strength. To a parent, you will always be a child who needs protection even after you have gone to your house. That death does away with this bond is what makes it difficult to accept.
As parents, we always have the obligation of protecting our children from the harms of the world. The feeling that we failed to do so with death makes people feel like failures on this protection role. This makes people feel worthless, and not able to do anything meaningful thereafter. The pain of not being good enough crops in.
People try to look for the meaning of a child’s death as a way of understanding the loss felt. That you had wholeheartedly accepted to bring life into the world in form of a child, but now have to face the challenge of not seeing this dream become a full reality comes as a shocker to many parents.
At this point, one’s faith or belief in God is highly questioned. In essence, why go for a child that He Himself gave you as a gift? It brings a state of confusion while questioning the worth of leading a faithful life if they still have to endure the pain of losing a child.
Coping with the death of a child to a parent remains to be a lifetime commitment. No single day will ever go without one thinking about their kids, alive or otherwise. The only difference lies in how it is handled by each individual- each person responds differently to the loss of a child.
Some of the common emotional responses towards coping with the death of a child are cited below.
Shock- it is amongst the first feelings that will take the better of us. Are they for sure gone? Is it true that we will never be able to hear them talk or see them eat like they used to? Will they not have a chance to leave to fulfil their dreams?
No one is usually ready to accept the death of their child. Even if they are sick, we still cling to the hope that they will get better, for they still have miles ahead to cover. Their demise brings a whole lot of shock to the parents.
Denial- that your child is probably taking a nap or resting and that they will wake up to grow big enough to achieve their dreams. We still hope that they will call us mum or dad. It is not easy to accept the death of a child.
Sometimes we get disillusioned imagining they are calling out for help or talking to us like they used to. It takes a while to see these as imaginations and not the reality that they are no longer a part of us.
Guilt- so it is normal to feel that we didn’t do enough to make them live longer. Protecting a child is the ultimate goal of every parent, and failing to do so and watching them succumb to death may make you beat yourself up for not being good enough.
Death is a natural process that takes place at no determined time. It not only happens to adults but to children as well, so you should not be hard on yourself. Try coping with the death of a child with the view that the ties they lived were the ones assigned to them, and their purposes on this earth were meant to be fulfilled within that short period.
Confusion- upon a child’s death, nothing may make sense anymore. Your mind may be further clogged with the memories of your child incapacitating you from thinking clearly. The pain usually affects our mental and physical well being.it might further make you feel like you have been working overtime.
Anger- you may get angry at yourself for not being able to prevent the death of your child. You may get angry at the people around you, especially those with children. Why must it be you who experiences this type of loss when their lives stay normal?
You will be mad at life for being unfair and picking up on your child only. You may start questioning nature as to why it didn’t deem it appropriate to let your kid live just a little longer.
Powerlessness- this comes about as a result of being incapacitated to protect one’s child from the harmful hands of death. It is usually devastating watching your kid go through pain while you are not able to do anything about it, this feeling is severe upon their demise.
Hope loss- you will not only deal with the loss of a child, but the loss of the hopes, expectations, and dreams that you had for your young one. Sometimes when it gets to a certain stage at which they ought to have achieved a certain milestone, be it the completion of college or wedding, people get overwhelmed by emotions. It is natural to never fully let go after the death of a child.
Perhaps it is a pain that we need to manage to live with for as long as we are alive.
Learning to manage these emotions is key in coping with the death of a child being that it is something that we will carry for the rest of our lives. There is never a set time, which when you clock, the pain fades away, so should heal by your pace.
You are further advised to learn to talk about your loss with friends and relatives to help ease the pain or turn to professional counsellors in extreme cases. By sharing, you will learn about how people who were faced with a similar scenario managed to go about it. Sharing further distracts you from keeping to yourself which can lead to depression. Otherwise, you should let coping with the death of a child be as natural as possible, always going as per the emotions we feel at a particular time.