When Does Healing Take Place after Child Loss?

Every bereaved parent has a burning question that needs to be answered.  That question is, “When does healing take place after child loss?.”  The pain following the loss of a child is so intense, so all-consuming, so life changing, that we are constantly searching for the answer to healing.  It is human instinct to do everything possible as quickly as possible to get rid of pain.  We long to feel healthy and whole.  We long to be able to be joyful in our living.  We want nothing more than to be able to smile and enjoy life to its fullest. As a mom who has suffered the loss of both an infant son and an adult son, I can tell you that my thoughts are consumed day and night with healing.  I’ve cried out to God in my hours of despair asking “When?  When will this pain end?.”  It’s a terrible feeling to always be aware of the ache of loss within our heart.  It’s extremely difficult to paste a smile on our face when inside we feel the crushing, squeezing pain of heartbreak.

Bereaved parents have become masters of deception out of necessity.  We’ve learned to fake it because we know that our support for child loss often leaves rather quickly and the expectations from others are so hard on us to get back to living life that it’s often easier to fake our joy than to share our pain.

What an added burden of grief placed upon us to not be able to be our true selves and know that we will be surrounded by loving arms and encouraging words during our times of our deepest despair!  How sad that we feel we must hide our true feelings!

I’ve come to the conclusion that we will never fully heal from the devastation of child loss.  That doesn’t mean that we will never experience joy again.  But, it does mean that we will never be the same person we were before the loss of our child.

After talking to thousands of bereaved parents throughout the past twenty- five years of my own personal journey through child loss, I’ve grown to understand that complete healing following the loss of a child will never take place.  Not completely.

The subject of healing after child loss is discussed thoroughly in the book I’ve written about child loss and healing.  Silent Grief is a book that will become your companion and your guide.  This is a book written from the depths of my heart shortly after the death of my infant baby Samuel. Silent Grief is a book I wish I had after the loss of my baby boy.

I’d also like to share a few words of hope from my heart to yours as I talk parent-to-parent about healing after child loss in this short video.

 

Child loss is a journey.  Child loss is a transition.  Child loss is accompanied by deep grief.  There is healing that takes place following the loss of a child, but not in the sense that the door to this loss can ever be completely closed and can never be reopened again.

We will always bear the sting and pain of child loss until we meet up again with our child in heaven. 

We are now a changed person since the loss of our child.  We think differently.  Our priorities in life are different.  We are more acutely aware of what matters in life and what doesn’t.  We cling to hope.  We long for heaven.  We know this life on earth is brief.

And, we  will always have a hole in our heart that reminds us that someone very special is missing. 

As we travel this path of child loss, may we remind ourselves often that we’re not a failure if we say we haven’t completely healed.  Rather, may we be brave enough to take off the mask and allow our vulnerability to let others know that it’s not shameful to miss our child and bear the scars of child loss for all the days of our lives!

Let’s cling to the hope.  Let’s help each other on this journey.  Let’s offer encouragement to each other along the way.

When does healing after child loss take place?  Complete healing will never take place.  Why?  Because part of our heart is now gone, and there is nothing that can ever fully take away that pain until we are reunited again with our child.

My love to you,

Clara

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12 Comments

  1. Losing a child. I don’t believe you ever quit grieving. Six years and my grief is one breath away. Your mind may be miles away. Then all of the sudden it hits you and you are completely consumed with grief. Yes I have pressed on. Doing for others has been one of the greatest helps to me. I’ve learned not to think about certain things, certain days……it’s all there just buried within the recesses of my heart and mind. When you lose your child, you have also lost yourself, because you will never be the person you once were. So very thankful that our daughter, who was 38, was a wonderful Christian and a wonderful Mother. Never have I worried as to how she is or where she is. I have grieved for my grandchildren probably more than I have grieved for myself. Yet, God has used them to keep my pressing on, doing all the things we did for Thanksgiving, Christmas…… You pray that God will help you, use you, ……..HE wrap His arms around you and give you strength to face each day.

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts…..one thing you mentioned is “not ever being the person you once were”, in God’s Divine wisdom I see people who have faced great loss & pain filled with inspiration; wisdom; compassion because of their circumstances…..He is “refining” you…
      ….because of. Your heartbreak. God bless you!

      1. Julie,
        I don’t think God takes our children to refine us. I think this pain eventually can be used to cause us to see life differently — perhaps to see life more as God would want us to see and life — but I never believe that God brings child loss to us as a means of refinement.

        Thanks so much for your comment.

    1. Kathleen, I am so, so sorry to hear of the death of your precious child. Murder is a death that is a forever trauma and I don’t think there can ever be total healing from a loss like this. My heart aches with you. I’m so sorry. I wish so much that evil such as murder didn’t exist in this world. I pray you will cling to the hope of a beautiful reunion with your child in heaven.

  2. The 10th of this month would have been my son’s 36th birthday. He was killed in an automobile accident involving some suspicious circumstances which have never been addressed by those involved. In this coming February he will have been gone from us 9 years. We don’t know why he died, but that he did, and it still sits with us daily.

    1. Dear AJ, I’m so very, very sorry to hear of your son’s death and the circumstances under which his life ended. When there are open-ended questions such as you have, there is never complete closure. How could there be? And, the anniversary dates are always difficult — I’m not sure that these dates ever get easier. I will hold you close in prayer, and ask God to give you a more gentle day in your grief. I’m so sorry. Child loss brings about changes in our lives that are so very difficult.

  3. We lost our sweet son Kevin may 17 2015 in a motorcycle wreck caused by hit and run driver, Kevin will celebrate his 43 birthday 18th of November in heaven. He has left behind two sweet sons ave 9 & 7. But we are also grieving for the loss of his girlfriend also. Dawn left behind 17 year old son and 12 year old daughter. Her birthday was Oct 29 and would have been 38.
    We have cried so many tears for them and the loss is so deep. I have ask.ed why so many times but only God knows why and I have to keep my trust and faith in Him.

    1. Dear Anita,
      I’m so very sorry to hear of the loss of your precious son Kevin and his girlfriend Dawn. And, my heart truly aches for the children left behind. I think as parents, we hurt a double pain when children of our children are left behind and we know the pain and loss that they are feeling, too, and we feel so helpless knowing we can’t take away their pain.

      Life can be so terribly hard, and we continue to ask God the age-old question of “Why?” but we don’t seem to get any reasonable answers. At least not in this life. And, so we cling tightly to our faith hoping and praying that somehow we will get through.

      My prayer for you is for strength that God will see you through the upcoming special holidays and anniversary dates and all of the “firsts” that will come along. May God bless you in a most special way. Thank you so much for your comment.

  4. It’s been almost 4 years for us, since we had to bury 2 of my adult children at once. They were both murdered, on the same night, but the same man. Unimaginable. It still takes my breath away to think about our loss.

    Yes, I agree, I am forever changed.
    and how poignant to state that it is easier to fake the joy rather than share the pain… I go through periods of feeling stuck in my grief, periods of feeling like I’m functioning again, periods that I am full of anguish underneath – but somehow ‘look good’ to my co-workers and friends.

    I am so lacking, though, in mothering my other children. They need me to be there for them – and sometimes I am clueless, still stunned, but try to be there for them even when my cup is so empty. It is a constant effort to find a balance for all of us: each day is different with some of us ‘moving forward’, others of us consumed with sadness, some of us needing an audience for our grief, others need distraction, some need connection, and someone else needs solitude… all at the same time…
    Some days it is overwhelming, some days seem like we’ll make it through…

    Baby steps.
    Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

    Patty

    1. Patty, I cry tears of sorrow with you. I’m so very, very sorry to read of the loss of two of your adult children to murder. You are so very right. It’s almost impossible to imagine this type of thing happening — and yet it did. 🙁

      We work hard — very hard — through this thing called grief. We know we have to find a balance — a way to integrate back to life again, but it sure isn’t easy and there are no short cuts to doing that. We cry millions of tears. We question “why?”. We get angry. We drop to our knees in despair. Yet, you’re so right that others need us and we know we must find a way to live again without our precious children who have been taken away from us.

      One breath at a time. You’ve said it as only a mother who has felt this undeniable pain can say it.

      My most sincere prayers go out to you.