There is nothing more devastating as the death of a child. As one grieving mother said, “Child loss is a loss like no other.” How very, very true. It is every parent’s worse nightmare. Here’s an important truth that another parent wrote concerning the death of their child:
“The death of a child, sibling, or grandchild —at any age, from any circumstance —is indeed one of the cruelest blows that life has to offer. The journey through this grief is long and difficult. In the early moments, we may find ourselves in an all-consuming pain beyond description. It can be tough to live our everyday lives, challenging to think about anything other than our loss. Even happy memories may bring us pain for a time.
“People do not ‘get over’ the death of a child, sibling, or grandchild, nor ‘snap out of it’ as the outside world often thinks we should. This loss is not an illness from which we recover. It is a life-altering change that forces us to build a new life for ourselves and our families, in a world that no longer includes our loved one.” (From the Bereavedparentsusa.org article, “For the Newly Bereaved”)
Grieving After the Death of a Child
You are facing the most devastating time of your life, as you are dealing with the death of your child. No matter what the age of your “child” is, the pain is overwhelming. Please know that my heart deeply cries with yours. I sense so much pain being experienced by so many.
A while back I had the opportunity to view a video on CBN’s program, The 700 Club, which moved me deeply. It inspired me to write this blog to those of you who are dealing with the death of a child. In the video clip below, Ron and Nan Deal talk about the loss of their precious son Connor several years ago. Perhaps you can relate to what they said during this interview:
Here are a few additional points made by author Paul Rosenblatt. Paul knows first-hand what it’s like to deal with the death of a child. He talks about the way in which the death of a child can affect marriage.
“There can be misunderstanding on both sides. The partner who controls emotions less can resent the other for seeming not to care about the child or acting superior. The partner who controls emotions more may not understand how much the one who is more emotional must be that way. Neither may grasp what they see in the other is normal and right.”
That seems to be a “normal” pattern, which I’ve seen in marriage —whether it’s concerning the death or illness of a child, parent or other tragedies. Each spouse deals with tragedy and death differently. And because of it, distance often starts to appear within the relationship. This happens because one spouse or both cannot comprehend how they each approach tragedy so differently. But “different” is not right or wrong; it is just different. Allow each other the grace to approach these matters in different ways.
On This Issue, Prayerfully Consider:
Here are two thing that author Margaret Brownley advises:
Learn To Respect Each Others Grieving Styles
“Understanding that everyone grieves in a different way is the first step in creating harmony in the family. Different grieving styles can be a gift each partner gives the other. The partner who has trouble expressing feelings can benefit by listening to the more open partner. The spouse inclined to run away from grief can learn from the partner who faces it head-on. One partner’s faith or positive outlook can help lift the spirits of the partner going through a spiritual crisis. Opposites not only attract they help each other to grow, and to heal.
Recognize Your Vulnerable State
“Grief makes us vulnerable. Our senses more acute, and we notice things we might normally overlook. This hypersensitive state makes us more likely to take offense. Or we become hurt if a partner says or does something that seems uncaring. Even the most loving couples can become embroiled in petty arguments and misunderstandings following the death of a loved one. A simple ‘I’m sorry I snapped at you’ or ‘I haven’t been myself lately’ can do wonders in creating a more loving and caring environment.” (from Margaret Brownley’s Griefandrenewal.com article, “Growing a Strong Marriage After the Loss of a Child”)
Instead of judging, it is important to allow the other to deal with grief in his or her own way. And deal with it in your own way. Allow each other grace and space. But find ways to come together in other ways. Relationship bridges can be built and rebuilt. Your marriage doesn’t have to be sacrificed at the altar of dealing with grief. As Paul Rosenblatt writes,
“In addition to dealing with the loss of a child, you may have to deal with whether and how to change your marital relationship. Dealing wisely with your relationship will help head off or minimize difficulties. If you can work together on your relationship, you may have success at backing away from bickering, blaming, and hurt feelings. …In bereavement, the couple journey will be hard. But it does not have to end in disaster.”
If you are dealing with the illness or death of a child, I hope you will prayerfully read the following articles, which may help you in some way. I hope it does. I pray it does, And I pray the Lord ministers to your heart in ways that no one else ever could. May He take you to a place where you experience a peace that passes all understanding. That is my prayer for you. May it be so, Lord Jesus.
• COPING WITH GRIEF AFTER THE LOSS OF A BABY — FOR PARENTS
• A CHILD’S DEATH CHANGES EVERYTHING
Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this blog.
More from Marriage Missions
Filed under: Childrens Effect on Marriage
2 responses to “Grieving the Death of a Child”
My husband & I lost our 22 yr old son in an airplane wreck. We had been married for 23 yrs at the time of his death. We have 2 daughters who were 20 & 17 at that time. Through our faith in our loving God, He pulled our family together as we grieved.
We did things together during that 1st year of loss that we probably wouldn’t have done otherwise. We each realized how important it is to love each other fully, realizing how important each of our love is to the others. As our daughters married and each blessed us with wonderful son in laws and beautiful grandchildren our family grew stronger. Our family continued to love and appreciate every moment we were blessed to be together! Try to love each other fully, as God loves you! We never know when will be the last time we see each other!
Lea, How our hearts go out to you and your family as you pull together and love each other well! What a beautiful testimony in honor of your son, led no doubt, by the Lord. I sense the kiss of comfort upon you by the Lord.
I have tears in my eyes in sorrow for all that you and your family have suffered with the loss of this precious son. But my heart is warmed by the fact that you are doing the very best you can, and you are doing it well. Rather than let it tear you apart you draw closer to the Lord and to each other and honor your son’s memory well through your efforts. It’s true that: “Even in the darkness light dawns for the upright…” (Psalm 112:4)
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!” (Romans 15:5-6)