The death of any family member is a very difficult time for the family. The sense of loss and the emptiness that pervades your life is devastating. It is particularly hard to recover from the death of a child. Children are not supposed to die, we expect to see our children grow up and we leave them behind when our time comes. It was once said that when you lose a parent you lose the past, but when you lose a child then you lose the future.

Sociologists and pyschologists have long agreed that the death of a child is a very traumatic event. Parents feel overwhelmed by their emmotions. Dealing with parental grief requires deep and ongoing work.
Alarmingly a study in the BMJ Support & Palliative Care has shown that parents who suffer a bereavement of their child are much more likely to suffer mental health problems. Also that they are twice as likely to die or become widows in the first 15 years following their loss. In England and Wales bereaved mothers are more than 4 times as likely to pass away as well.  They conclude that there is evidence to suggest loosing a loved one may weaken the immune system or cause unhelpful coping strategies such as drug abuse or alcohol.

It is important to get support from those around you in a time of bereavment, just as it is important to support the bereaved. This study shows how the death of a child in particular and a death generally can effect us for a great deal of time after the event. There is no such thing as a normal grieving process or a fixed time for grieving so keep supporting as long as the person requires.

There is professional help if you feel your grief is interfereing with you life from GPs, counsellors and many support groups.