My daughter died last year. I miss her on every level and deep into my soul. I carry with me a profound sadness that is there all the time.
I feel like I'm really just learning this year that what I went through was traumatic. I lost my child. That is not something you downplay.
This resource has been designed to help you understand and care for yourself as you grieve. It was developed by the Canadian Virtual Hospice in collaboration with national grief specialists and people who have grieved a child’s death. We are grateful to those who shared their wisdom and experiences.
About this module: When your child has died
All grief experiences share common threads, but when your child dies, it is heartbreaking. The death of a child can shatter your assumptions about children outliving their parents. If your child was an adult, you may have assumed that they were now “safe” from a premature death. If your child was younger, it may feel unthinkable that someone could die so young. You may not know anyone else who has experienced the death of their child, and as a result you might feel very alone in your grief. You may be experiencing a range of thoughts and feelings that can change as time passes.
We recommend that you review the nine Grief Basics modules found on our MyGrief.ca site:
As you read through this information…
You might recognize your experiences or find that some of them aren’t reflected here. If there is something you believe should be added, please tell us about it in the survey at the end.
You may have strong emotions or feel uncomfortable as you read this information. It’s okay to step away from it for a while, or it might help to talk with a trusted family member or friend. We encourage you to revisit this resource whenever you need, as what you find helpful might change over time. You may also find that you can take in only so much information at once.
You might be reading this shortly after your child’s death, or sometime down the road. Canadian Virtual Hospice provides online Discussion Forums where you can connect with others who may have experienced similar losses. You can also ask a confidential question to our healthcare team at Ask a Professional. You will receive a written response within three business days (not including Canadian statutory holidays).
A note about language
Parent is used inclusively in this resource to denote the role of a parenting relationship with another. This refers to anyone in a parental or caregiving role to a child of any age. The relationship can be biological, adoptive, through a marriage (stepparent), by fostering, through family of choice, or any other connection where there is a parent/child relationship and dynamic with another.Within this reference, child refers to someone of any age who has a connection with another person in a parent role. This relationship may be biological, adoptive, through a marriage (stepparent), by fostering, through family of choice, or any other connection where there is a parent/child relationship and dynamic with another.