Grief Tips for Parents Who Have Lost a Child

A White Angel Statue

No parent expects to experience the death of their child. This type of loss is devastating and can leave parents feeling unmoored and directionless, without hope for the future. Research has proven that the death of a child leads to the most stress-inducing grief people experience. At Cypress Lawn, our caring staff members support families in San Francisco through many different forms of grief. We want parents who have lost a child to know that there are steps they can take to help them heal, however impossible it may seem.

Share memories with loved ones.

Sharing memories of your child with loved ones can be meaningful, even though it might be painful or sad. Speak your child’s name and encourage friends and family to talk about them. Watch old videos or look through favorite photos of your child. Especially in the early stages of grief, reliving moments with your child may provide comfort amid challenging emotions.

Decline invitations when you feel like it. 

After the death of your child, you may not feel like attending social events for some time. Time around others, even if you know them well, can be stressful, as you may feel expected to behave a certain way. Occasionally, you may even find yourself triggered by a social event acknowledging a life milestone such as an anniversary or a birthday. Give yourself permission to politely say no and trust that good friends and compassionate family members will understand.

Connect with other bereaved parents.

Grief of any kind can be isolating, especially that of losing a child. Surrounding yourself with others who have experienced a similar kind of loss can help you feel more seen and supported in your grief. Whether it’s in person or online, a grief support group with other bereaved parents can be a space for sharing about your unique grief experience and hearing from others about theirs.

Establish a new family ritual to honor your child.

As time goes by and the death of your child becomes more distant, you may feel a desire to connect with their memory more deeply. Establishing a new family ritual in their honor can allow family members to openly share about their loss and experience of grief. This new ritual can be anything that honors your child, from going on a family outing on their birthday each year to cooking their favorite food at special holiday dinners. The most important things are connecting with loved ones and honoring the memory of your child.

If you live in the Bay Area and need help navigating the grief process, please contact our staff. We can connect you with valuable grief resources.