What Can I Expect in Year Five? Year Ten? Or More Following the Death of My Child?

We’re full of questions following the loss of a child, and rightly so. This is a path that is new to us. This is something we never planned to be part of our life, yet here we are on this lifetime journey of grief and loss.

I’ve been writing about grief and loss for over thirty years now ever since experiencing several life-altering miscarriages and the stillbirth of my precious son. Naively I hoped and prayed that child loss would never enter my life again, but as life sometimes goes, that was not the case. Once again, the death of a child shattered my heart — this time an adult son. Unexpectedly. Without warning, my 42-year-old son died of a massive heart attack on a warm day in May 2015. In the blink of an eye his life on this earth was finished.

The raw, bitter pain of loss entered my heart and made its residence there. This is a haunting pain that seems to never fully go away. This grief is always there — either by appearing as a bold face or lurking quietly in the shadows of our heart.

This is year seven of new grief, and the questions keep swirling around inside of me. When is this pain going to soften? When does this grief become less raw? What can I expect in the next several years? Will waves of grief always be part of this journey?

Is the life of a parent always going to be filled with grief following the death of a child?

Talking from experience now for over thirty years, I can tell you that the grief and pain from losing a child never goes away completely. The pain does grow less raw in time and that is a blessing. But, there are times when the grief will peak and come at us like a raging storm, knock us flat, and leave us feeling weak and defeated. During those moments of the crashing waves of grief, it’s important to remind ourselves that time has worn away the raw edges by allowing us to digest the fact that life has changed. We will never be the same person again following the death of a child. Learning to live within our pain is not easy to do!

So, what is the encouragement? Is there any? Will the world always be tainted with the shadows of grief? Please know this. It won’t always be this bad. As we travel along in time, we will find the grief doesn’t have quite the constant grip it had on us during those first five years. When you give your grief a voice there is a type of strength that will come. In time, you will not feel so powerless. You will always carry that empty space reserved for your child, but the edges of grief will be worn soft like the well-worn leather cover on a book. You will know your grief, and you will understand that not all questions have an answer. There doesn’t have to be an answer to set some of your pain free. It will come. That day will come. When? Give it time. Please be patient learning to live within your grief. There will be a day when your hope is bigger and stronger than your grief. I promise you. That day will come…………just give it time!

With love,



  • Anna Bocook

    My son passed at the age of 31. We just celebrated his birthday in April and Mother’s Day in May he passed away on the 16 th of May 2016 . It will be 6 years this year. I still cry and I think of him every minute of the day. He was first born and my only son. I have good days and bad. I have a daughter who is now my rock and I worry about her when she travels. I think you would understand why.

  • Debra Marbarger

    I’m in year 19 without my son. Just when I think I’m doing pretty well, a wave of longing comes over me and I have to take time to stop and remember. I don’t think we’re supposed to ever “get over” the grief. I think we’re supposed to tuck it away until it needs to come out to be addressed properly. There are days when I find myself on my closet floor reading over all the notes and letters my 12 year old’s friends sent to me, all the while in full grief mode. And then I pick myself up and get back to living. It’s what we do.

  • Carol

    I am in my 27th year of grieving for the loss of my son Reginald, forever 14..With me, my first 17 years of his passing was the hardest..I was afraid that I was going to forget him..I did not want his life on earth be forgotten..This was only in my mind.. Kept reminding myself that he was here, to the point of obession..One day, out of nowhere, that burden was lifted..I felt a sense of calm and realized that he will be with me, until I see him again..The lesson learned that I’ll never get over my loss, but I can get through it..Carol Watts (Reginald Watts Jr 1980-1995)

  • Robin

    I am going on 4 years and it still kills me every day.My only child and a son was 41 and dies of a massive heart attack.Still can not accept that..

  • Simone storm

    My Daughter Alana Storm passed on the 16-06-2003 with meningitis she was 15 years at the time . Fell sick in the morning and was in a coma by the evening. It’s been 19 years her birthday was the 4/04/1988. My youngest child so loving so funny, so missed. The grief in the early years, first 15 years was heavy coming and going like big heartbreaking waves crashing over me and laying me low for days. Then it would pass and I would feel lighter more hopeful in my heart. Birthdays are very hard .I find it’s best to go away do something peaceful and spiritual. Spiritually has helped me as I journey on my path of loss. Always hearing my Alana say “ Mummy don’t stress I love you “