Losing a child

Losing a child is one of the most painful losses to bear. There are specialist agencies who can support you. 

Losing a child is one of the worst things that can happen to you. It is a deeply hurtful, upsetting and traumatic experience that you may struggle to recover from. The intense grief you feel is a symptom of the deep and powerful love you have for your child.

Grieving for a child is particularly difficult for any number of reasons:

  • It feels unfair and unnatural to outlive your child, you may feel utterly adrift and as though you’ve lost your purpose in life
  • The death of a child impacts on the entire family and can put immense strain on your relationships with your partner, other children or your own parents and siblings
  • Your loss is often magnified by the happy news of friends and family as their children reach milestones and celebrations your child did not – it can be hard to celebrate these moments
  • Losing a sibling can have a long-term effect on the other children in your family and you may find yourself worrying a lot about how they are grieving

Child Bereavement UK has resources that can help you understand your grief and begin the process of healing.

Connecting with others

Everyone reacts differently to death but it can hurt desperately to see the world move on after your child has died.

It can help to find ways to keep your child’s memory alive, whether that’s through photographs, telling stories or fundraising in their memory.

Sharing your story and experience with people who’ve been through similar loss is important. These organisations can help

Supporting bereaved children

Children, especially young children, can struggle to express how they are feeling. They may show their grief and rage at losing a family member or friend through their actions rather than their words.

There are different ways you can support a bereaved child. Each child may respond differently to a death but it will help them to know that there is someone who can offer love, support, comfort and consistency during this difficult time.

You can support a bereaved child by

  • Being honest with them about what has happened, paying attention to their age and their ability to understand death
  • Allowing them time to talk about what has happened and to ask questions that may appear insensitive or difficult to answer
  • Making sure that they are not overlooked or forgotten about while others are dealing with immediate arrangements after a death
  • Allowing them to resume their normal life, while understanding that they need extra support to do this
  • Finding ways to let the bereaved child remember and talk about the person who has died as they grow

There are specialist services to support bereaved children