Coping With The Sudden Death Of A Child
The sudden death of a child can be particularly hard to accept. It may make you feel numb out of disbelief of whatever is going on. Sometimes you may even wonder why it happened to your child and not you.
This may more than shock you, it can make you isolate yourself from the rest of the world in attempts to try to understand why it only had to be you to experience such a premature loss yet your fellow parents still have a chance to take care of their kids.
Grieving the sudden loss of a child has no formula, it has no wrongs or rights. You may even feel like your world has come to a stop, or you are going insane, all of which are natural and acceptable. The loss of a child cannot be likened to any other type of pain a person might have felt on earth.
Talking about your feelings
There are a number of worthwhile things that you can do to help you in coping with the sudden death of a child.
Talking about it- you can discuss your feelings and experiences with the people close to you, be it friends or family. This you should do when you are ready to open up, don’t rush. Discussing this type of loss amongst each other as family members, openly talking about the deceased child and what would have become of them, and how you feel about it, will serve to lessen your pains and make the bonds between you guys even stronger, hence a tool towards healing.
The site of a family that still sticks together even in such a crisis is especially helpful for the other siblings’ healing process. The perception that you can still face the challenges even in pain also helps them to grow up responsibly.
Sticking together as a family- embracing each other during such a moment might be all someone needs to reassure them that they are not alone. You might sometimes feel the urge to be alone, so you can talk to your inner self. This further gives you the strength to move on, owing to the fact that there are people around you who still need your presence and who love you regardless of the loss.
Getting help from others
Accepting assistance from others- coping with the sudden death of a child may take a toll on us so much that we may not be able to do our duties to the levels expected of us. Sometimes this assistance may just be a shoulder to lean on or a pair of listening ears, unto which we will pour out our grievances.
During such times, it is common to have our relatives or friends or neighbours offer assistance with things such as cleaning the house, preparing meals, taking care of the other children where necessary, reminding us to feed and clean up, among other duties. This will be very helpful, accept it not because you feel they pity you, but because death can make us lack the energy and zeal to conduct the normal routine activities
Going for counselling- the pain a sudden death of a child leaves behind is tremendous. It might even result in disagreement among couples as a result of one pointing fingers on the other as the reason behind the child’s demise. It is common to have couples blaming each other for the death of a child. Such conflicts might not be easily solved between the two of you as is usual with other conflicts revolving around a family set up. Consider going to see a professional counsellor or even your pastor together, to help you in coping with the sudden death of a loved one.
You, however, do not have to enrol as a couple, if you feel overwhelmed by the loss on your own level, probably as a single parent, you can still go for counselling.
In coping with the sudden death of a child, one has to contend with the immediate activities following their death like organizing for their burials or attending family gatherings towards the same. These activities usually preoccupy a person’s mind such that they might appear to be in control of the situation. But what happens when everyone has retired to their daily routines and you are also expected to do the same is something else.
It is just a heart-rending nightmare, which warrants counselling in some cases.
Returning to one’s normal routines- this can be quite difficult but eventually helpful. Try to do your activities, as usual, carrying the memories of the lost child in your mind, and encouraging everyone around you to do the same.
But if for some reason you feel the need to change your routines, perhaps because they trigger emotions owing to the vacuum created by the deceased, explain this to the people around you so that they can positively participate in the change.
Creative ideas of channelling our feelings, emotions and thoughts- make the healing process a fun one. You can get yourselves pieces of papers and pens, and let everyone draw pictures or write what they feel about the deceased child, perhaps an image of what one thinks they would be had they had a chance to live further, or a list of the activities they loved doing.
Group participation as a family makes the pain a whole lot less and makes you know what the others are going through, enabling you to deduce the assistance needed by a person, and at what point.
You can also set up traditions as a family that will help you in coping with the sudden death of a child. You could establish a unique way of going about their memorial services, or perhaps set up a trust fund in their memory should you be able to. You could even settle for a holiday destination, particularly of a place they would have loved to go to, where you all travel o as a family occasionally to keep their memories vivid.
The healing from this loss takes a while and will vary for each family member. Take your time and don’t hurry the people around you as well. It is important to let the healing take its natural time.