Losing a child is something that no parent should ever have to go through. Every parent wants their child to outlive themselves, as is the natural process of child rearing, but when tragedy strikes and a parent loses a child, it is arguably the most devastating thing a person can go through. When this happens, incredible care should be taken to help the grieving process unfold in a healthy way. A parent who has recently lost a child is facing a very difficult journey; one that will take them through heavy emotions, pain and confusion. These emotions must be worked through in a mentally healthy way so they do not become a permanent scar on the heart of the grieving person, altering their life forever.
First of all, a grieving parent should allow their support system in close, and keep them close by. A grieving parent’s support system wants to help, and even if miscommunications arise, love and the strength of relationships is very important to healing. Secondly, a grieving parent needs to allow themselves the time, focus and energy they need to process their emotions. Grieving is a process with documented steps, and in order to recover, none of these steps should be overlooked or skipped. And lastly, once all the steps of grieving are complete, the person needs to practice moving on and coping with an awareness that it is the right thing to do.
Sadly, many grieving parents do not work through their grief like they should. Many are not aware of how to grieve healthily, or they refuse healthy grieving in anger and devastation. It is not uncommon for a grieving parent to turn to addiction and substance abuse in order to cope. Many people choose to get through difficult times by self medicating with drugs and alcohol. This is an unhealthy choice as drugs and alcohol only temporarily mask the pain of life’s hardships, and the more they are relied on, the more problems they create for a person. Consciously working through grief is the only chance a person has of eventually making it go away. If you or someone you care about is struggling with grief and needs guidance through their emotions, seek professional mental health services right away to begin counseling and rehabilitation.