What Bereaved Parents Want You to Know (but may not say)

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People of faith who have lost a child are often seen as brave and strong.
We have been through something that no parent wants to experience: the death of a child.

We are not strong or brave. We endure because we must; we have no choice. We have other family members that need us. We have “good works which God prepared in advance for us to do”. We have jobs and homes to care for. We cannot just give up, find a hole to crawl in, and quit living — though we sometimes wish we could.

We are walking through life because that is what we do – we go on. We live. We breathe. We work. And we attend church and school functions because we must. We know that God called our child Home and left us here on earth for His purpose. We know we must persevere and trust Him to help us and to heal us. We do not go on because we are tough or brave or strong. Because the truth is that we are none of those things.  We are most often weak, and tired, and broken.

Our reality is often different than what we show our friends, our coworkers, and the public around us.

We rarely show others the true depth of our pain. It is too personal and too raw to show others who have not experienced it themselves; we know that people cannot understand the sorrow of losing a child unless they have walked this path. And we hope and pray that none of our friends ever go through what we have experienced.

The truth is that if someone you love has buried their child, they probably won’t be completely open about what they’re going through because they’re trying so hard to just function and hold it together.

They are trying not to “lose it” in front of you.

We know how uncomfortable our pain is to others. It is a reminder that you, too, could lose a child in an accident or to an illness. It could be your child in the wrong place/wrong time or in the wrong relationship resulting in his or her death. Our pain reminds you that you could someday bury your child.

We know that our pain also makes you feel helpless – there is nothing that you or anyone else can do to change our situation. Our child is gone. We will not see him again until our great reunion in Heaven.

For some, it reminds you that you have also lost a friend, a student, or coworker. It brings up your own pain and grief when you see us cry or see the sorrow in our eyes. We don’t want to cause you that pain or make you uncomfortable with our grief.

We also don’t want to “lose it” because it is so hard to get control once the tears start flowing.

At first, the tears of a bereaved parent are not “healing tears”. They are tears of a deep, intense sorrow like none other. They are exhausting and embarrassing. We have had friends try to comfort us and tell us it will be okay. It will not be okay! Our child is dead! As time goes on, and if we do the right kinds of “soul care” to help us heal, the tears change to healing tears. But it takes a long time.

We are afraid, sometimes, that if the tears start, they won’t stop. So we try hard not to let them start.

And the tears remind us of that horrible physical grief-pain that lasted so long.  We are reminded of waking up to realize this is not some terrible nightmare. It is our reality now. We are bereaved parents.

 
So we hide our pain.

We smile and laugh and go on living. We thank you when you tell us again how sorry you are and how much you miss our kid. We tell you we are doing well and that God is good.

God IS good. He IS faithful. He IS healing our broken hearts. We DO have joy and peace.  We DO have moments of happiness and fun-filled laughter. We will be healed and go on living.  But our life has changed and we will never be quite the same as we were before burying our child.

As a result, bereaved parents aren’t completely honest with you.  However, if we could be truly honest and vulnerable, we would tell you:

1. Don’t wait for me to call you. Please call me every once in a while. I know you told me to call if I ever needed anything, but it’s hard to call and ask when I am hurting so badly. I don’t want to appear weak. Or pathetic.  And I don’t seem to have the strength to ask anyone to do things with me.  Sometimes just returning a text is too hard.  But I need you to keep trying, to keep calling.  Call with a specific plan like “can you go to lunch at 11:30 next Tuesday?”, not just “let’s have lunch sometime”. I will get better and want to go with you to that dinner, movie, or play some day.  And if I say “no thanks” this time, I need you to ask again. I need you to call me just to chat, even when I may not feel like chatting. I need you to call me to help me remember that the world continues to turn and life goes on and that you want me to be a part of it. (Give them a call)

2. Listen. Really listen. And please don’t assume that because you read my blog or Facebook posts that you know how I feel. I don’t even know how I feel sometimes! And I am not completely honest on Facebook; no one is. I may appear to be doing really well based on social media when, in reality, I am struggling. I need friends who are willing to listen to me without correction or platitudes. Listen as I talk about my kid, yet again.  I will thank you for taking time to listen to me. I will appreciate your patience and caring enough to listen when I need to talk. And I will try to listen to you when you are in need. (God did not need my son in heaven)

3. Don’t assume my tears are because of grief.  Even though the loss of a child is not something we just get over, grief is not always what is bothering me. I may be having an “off day” because I feel ill, or because I had a disagreement with my spouse, or because we are having trouble with one of our other children. Don’t assume that my issues or prayer requests are always because I buried my son. Ask me. I need you to let me have emotions and experiences that have little or nothing to do with grief. And please don’t tell me it’s going to be okay.  Let me be honest with you about my emotions without trying to fix them.

4. Don’t ask me about how I feel. That is a very hard question to answer honestly.  Some days are good, some are bad. Some moments are good and the next may be terrible. Ask me what I have been doing lately or what plans I have for the upcoming week. Ask me what I am studying or what my kids are doing. Ask me almost anything, but please don’t ask me how I feel. (What NOT to say to a grieving family)


5. Be patient with me and forgive me when I am rude or short with you. The death of a child changes one in ways you cannot imagine. And one does not “get over it”. Not in six months, not in a year, not ever. For some, the grief lasts a very long time. Our child is frequently on our minds. We may forget for a little while, but even small things can remind us that they are gone. If I snap at you, or ignore you, or seem unhappy, please give me some grace. It is most likely not about you at all.

6.  Forgive me if I am not interested in small talk.  Losing a child changes our perspective regarding what is important. We don’t seem to care about “trivial things” anymore.  I really do want to listen to you and care about those things that matter to you. But sometimes I just don’t see the point of talking about stuff I can’t do anything about. My perspective has changed; time is short. I want to care about what the Father cares about. I want to care about and think about eternal things.

7.  Forgive me if I am forgetful. Grief often causes what if called “Grief Brain”. If I forget a date or a meeting, forgive me. And know that I am doing my best. If I supposed to be at something important, you may want to send me a text reminder. I will appreciate the help.

8.  Know that I will forgive you. Don’t avoid me because you don’t know what to say. I will try to give you grace when you say hurtful things, because you will. We all do. We don’t know what to say around bereaved parents. That’s okay. I will be glad you have taken time to be with me and that you tried.

9.  Talk about my child.  And let me talk about him.  He was a huge part of my life. He still is. It helps to talk about him.  And I love that you have stories to tell me that I did not know!  If I begin to tear up, know that you did not cause my pain. My child’s death caused my pain. I will pull it together after a few tears or I will excuse myself and find a place for a good cry.  It really is healing to know that others care about and miss my child. (Please Mention Andrew)

10.  Don’t talk about my child.  There are times when I just need to talk about something else.  I want to hear about your family, your children, your life.  I want to talk about that new study I am doing or the trip we have planned.  How do you know whether to talk or not talk about my child?  Listen for clues: if I ask you about your family, talk about that.  If I am especially quiet, ask if I want to talk about him or ask me what I would like to talk about. (And know that I don’t always know what I want.) When at social events, I sometimes just enjoy listening to others talk. Don’t try to make me join in; let me have some room to just listen.

11. Give me time.  Grief does not have a timetable.  The loss of child is something I will be dealing with the rest of my life.   I know that God is good, faithful, kind, compassionate and loving.  I know that He will help me through this.  But I need time.  Some of us heal quickly, some take longer.  Some days the burden is light; other days it is unbearable.  Please ask me to participate in activities with you, but understand that when I say no, it is not about you.  It may just be the grief.  It may just be too hard for me right then.  But please ask again. And again. (How are you? No, really! How are you?)

12. Church is particularly difficult.  We may not know why, but we tend to get emotional at church. Even those of us who never cried at church before often cry now.  It is not that we are sad in church. It is just that being in worship, singing, and being in His presence bring the emotions to the surface.  For us, the reality of Heaven, Hell and life after death is more pronounced.  We are often overwhelmed by God’s love and greatness.  By His omnipotence.  By His grace and love that caused Him to send His only Son to die for me.  The reality of all of this is so…well, REAL!  If we cry at church, don’t try to comfort us and tell us it’s going to be okay or that you understand.  Just let us cry.  Offer a tissue and maybe a gentle hug.  Allow us to worship, even through our tears.  If a bereaved parent attends church alone, ask if you may sit by her.  And just be near.  Or better yet, offer to pick her up and let her ride with you. After service, don’t make light our messed up makeup or runny nose.  Give us a few moments to pull ourselves together.  Again, a gentle hug and an “I love you” or “I’m sorry you are hurting. I miss him, too” goes a long way. (Tears in Church, Tears in Church Part Two)

13. My kids are hurting.  They lost their brother, their friend.  They may not show it, but they are hurting.  They don’t want to be known as “the dead kid’s sister” or “the one whose brother died”.  They are still who they were before with the same interests and talents.  They still need to be with friends and enjoy life apart from their grief. They don’t want to talk their sibling or his death and don’t want you to bring it up. Except when they want you to talk about him or bring it up.  Be patient with them.  See items 1-12. (Supporting a teen or young adult)

14. Dads hurt as much as moms, they just don’t often show it. See items 1-12.

15. God is still on the throne. Though our child has died, we still know that God is God. Or maybe because we have experienced this life-changing event, we believe more strongly in the sovereignty of God. We know we are not in control; God is. Our faith may be tested, but we choose to believe. And because of our faith, we will be able to go on living. (Grate

One thing I have heard myself saying to my husband recently is that I want to live until I die.  I don’t want grief to paralyze me.  It has changed me, but I don’t want it to stop me from living a full and joyful life. The death of my son has made me realize how precious life is and how it can be gone in a moment. I want my friends to see how precious their children are.  I want young people to stop making stupid choices.  I want those I love to live a full and Spirit-filled life!  I want you to know the Creator and to know that He loves you!  Even when ugly things happen – and they will happen – God is beautiful and caring and loving and compassionate and gracious!

Christ said, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life”.

Choose Christ and all that He is and all that He has to give!

Live well, my friends.  Live well.

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If you have lost a baby, you may want to read and share What Parents with a Baby in Heaven May Want You to Know

The Day My LIfe Changed Forever

If you have experienced the death of a child may I introduce you to While We’re Waiting? They are a faith-based ministry to bereaved parents. You can find them on Facebook and at www.whilewerewaiting.org

164 thoughts on “What Bereaved Parents Want You to Know (but may not say)

  1. Pingback: Love them well | kathleenbduncan

  2. Thank you for your insightful blog. I’m struggling right now with a lot of these issues. My 17 year old only child was diagnosed with leukemia the summer before her senior year of high school. She fought bravely for 5 months and beat the cancer. Sadly, chemo destroyed her fragile body and she passed from complications shortly after she turned 18. She never walked across that stage to receive her diploma with her friends like she wished. I raised my child almost to an adult and than poof, she’s gone. It will be 4 four years Saturday. A couple of years ago I was blessed to meet and fall in love with a man raising 2 boys on his own. I’ve found moments of happiness and yet I still have this huge hole in my heart. I feel so lost, almost like I have an identity crisis of some sort. I spend all my energy keeping her memory alive and also trying to keep it together because I know Chelsey would want me to go on…to be happy. I try but that will never truly be so. Thank you for listening and reminding me that I’m not alone. Hugs

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    • Our child being forgotten is a common fear among bereaved parents. I’ve come to accept that I will forget many things about Andrew. Many of his friends will forget him. But GOD will never forget him! His name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life! And it cannot be erased! I take great comfort in that.

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  3. Pingback: What Bereaved Parents Want You to Know (but may not say) | kathleenbduncan

  4. Thank you! We lost our 44 year old son by suicide Dec. 29, 2015. We are people that stay busy most of the time. (I teach school) School is now out and this Memorial Day weekend, it really is seeming to hit. I’ve found myself crying more the last several days than even I did at his death. People sometimes think that because your children are grown that it hurts less, but they need to know that your feelings for your children do not change just because they are grown. Sometimes, my husband, daughter and myself feel like “What if I …….” It is so easy to feel guilty because we think we should have seen the signs. My church and school have all been so supportive and I appreciate it so much, but there is that void that will never be replaced. God has given us lots of grace, but I almost feel like I need it more now than I ever have.

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  5. Thank you for knowing what we’re going through. I wanted children all my life, bet due to a birth defect I couldn’t have kids. When I was 44, God graced me with a little baby girl. (Maddisen Nicole Wilks). She was my angel and my everything. I never really knew love until she came along. She was born on 9/8/200. At the age of 12, we were returning from her volleyball practice and we were in an auto accident. Maddisen was killed instantly. That was on 5/3/2013. It still seems like yesterday. My being the driver has brought on a tremendous amount of guilt on top of the grief. Sometimes I just want to go Home, (Heaven). You have put into words what I could only be confused about. Thank you so much. God bless you.

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  6. Thank you for writing and expressing how so many of us feel when we lose a child. Losing two children has been my greatest sorrow, but my faith has carried me on to share their stories and bring honor and remembrances to their names. We lost a daughter to murder, by her husband. And a son to suicide (in part due to his sister’s death). My daughters and I felt compelled to start a facebook page after her death. It has been healing for us personally. Our message, hopefully, sends one of hope, courage, and faith. Much like yours. Again, thank you! Below is a link to our facebook page. We hope you visit.

    https://www.facebook.com/Shanielstory

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  7. It will be one year on the 25th of April that our son was taken from us. It’s still hard to say the word died, passed away. He was 27 years old. everything that you say in this is so true. I do get mad when people say God needed him in heaven. Well I needed him more his son needed him more his sister & dad needed him more, we ALL needed him more. It’s been so hard. Thank you for this now a least I know I’m not going NUTS. I think I am at times but like you said you have to go on. We have others who need us. Thank you again May God bless you for your work & understanding words.

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  9. Whilst I can’t relate to the religious elements in this post, everything else you say rings true with me. We lost our 2 year old daughter in October and are trying our hardest to function so our youngest doesn’t suffer. I work hard to hide what I’m feeling, partly so I don’t break down publicly, partly so I don’t run the risk of changing my relationship with friends who aren’t used to dealing with such emotions, partly so I don’t become a burden on my wife who is suffering as much as I am. Inevitably the grief does come out, usually when no one else is around and the distractions of the day are done. I realise there are “healthier” ways to deal with this, however I’m not strong enough to address these in person. So I bottle it up and let it out when no one can hear.

    I am trying to address this, I’ve only recently started reading blogs on here and I begun writing my own to try to get out some of the things I am desperate to say. Its early days but hopefully it will help. The posts so far have been conversations I’ve staged in my head countless times in preparation for the time when I speak out. The rehearsals have stopped since posting here. I hope it stays that way.

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  10. This says it all so well, after 35 years the pain of loosing our daughter is still so acute. There are time when I look at some of her friends and still think, What if? and still say to God, I know you are in control but Why? Still putting on a brave face for our daughter and trying to be happy for her…She too deserves happy not forever grieving parents. Just one more hug, just one more I love you….don’t forget those remaining, we don’t know now long we will have them or they will have us.

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  11. Thank you. Throughout my life, I have wanted to say all this though I didn’t loose a child, I lost my parents when I was not quite five. Years later, I still grieve. And #12 remains especially spot on for me. Church offers so much that just pierces my heart and brings forth tears that ought not be held back. Tears are part of the healing; make it possible to continue living.

    http://lovedasif.com

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  12. A wonderful article. Very true….My beautiful 27 year old daughter was killed by a cement lorry–while she was on her bicycle, 22 years ago. She is very much with me still and always will be…she communicates with me, putting thoughts into my head which guide me through my life and give me proof of her continued existence in another dimension…which I have always known is part of Reality…it is now being explored and gradually discovered by even by Western Medicine and Science…something we all know in our hearts to be true and is a basic part of the teachings of Jesus…I was not brought up in any “religion” but I do have Faith…I know that LOVE is the strongest Energy/Force in the Universe….God is LOVE…and LOVE cannot be destroyed…the link of LOVE is what links us to our children … forever.

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  13. Thank you for this article. It does in fact explain so much of what we, as parents of lost children , are going through. On 8/28/15, I found my 22 yr old beautiful daughter hanging, dead. I wish I could stop those “i’m losing it again” moments., because it is truly hard to stop the tears once they start. I am so grateful that her friends continue to put her photos up on FB, and talk of her. I hope that continues. I don’t ever want to think that others have forgotten to think of her. I know that sometimes people tend to avoid the death because of the suicide factor. I never want her existence to be forgotten. I only want – and DO- believe that she is in a safe place with no more pain and anguish …(she suffered from bipolar most of her life). Thank you again for “verbalizing” MY feelings.

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  14. This is such a heart rending description. I once lost a cousin who was of my age. I remember how my aunt used to sob, especially when she saw me. As a kid I didn’t really understand the implications and the finality of death.
    Thank you for writing. God bless.

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  15. Jenny – 9/1/15 – All things said here are true. We lost our daughter, her fiance and the pilot of the small plane 10 years ago 8/26/10. He had his best friend fly them over Niagara Falls while he proposed to her and on the flight back to Meadvile, something happened; no one knows what but the plane went down in Lake Erie. It took 6 weeks to find the wreckage and it was horrible for us and the other families. So the one about being uncomfortable in church is especially true in our case. So thanks for writing.

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  16. Kathleen, your words so defined what I have gone through since the passing of my 26 year old son, Dillon, two summers ago. I have often tried to say to people that there are times when I want to scream to the universe, times that I want to go roll in the sticker patches of my south Texas yard to feel again, and times that I to want to crawl into a cardboard box and veg out for the rest of my life or mail myself to some remote place on the earth where no one knows who I am. These thoughts are fleeting as the Grace of God moves me ever forward to His calling. I shared your post on my Facebook page and my best friend said that as she read the words she thought that I had written them. She had to check back a second time to completely make sure that I hadn’t written them. I especially liked your mention of “Grief Brain” and I know all too well about this part of grieving. I lost my husband of 27 years back in 2001 to cancer and there are whole lumps of the year leading up to his death and the two years after that I have a very foggy recollection of. I am reminded of the Poem “Footprints” for I know that I am being carried oh so gently now, as I was back then, by my Lord and savior. I am humbled by your strength and your wisdom. Thank you for sharing and God bless!

    Candace De Jesus

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  17. Every point you made is so true for me save one. The church point doesn’t resonate with me. Having been a lifelong believer, I find church hard for other reasons. Although I know God is on his throne, and I don’t believe him any less, I find myself very afraid of him since my daughter’s death. What will he take next? When I overlay the promises we sing about in worship, this experience doesn’t align with them. Where was the healer? Where was the God who hears my prayers? It’s a selfish position in light of an omnipotent God, but it is how I feel when I sit in church. All things work together for good…. Didn’t quite pan out for Kylie. Maybe my perspective will change. I keep going, hoping it will.

    Thank you for verbalizing this.

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  18. Everything that you have written describes what I feel. Thank you for putting these feelings in words. Thank you for being able to express our deepest sorrows. God bless you.

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  19. It’s been 41 years since I lost my daughter Alicia and 10 years since I lost my daughter Rachel. I still go through those moments of my daughters dying again. Thank you for an article that says it so beautifully.

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  20. Kathleen — I have many times seen that parents who have lost children carry an unbearable but unwarranted sense of guilt. They feel, at some level, that it must be their fault; that they should have done “this” or seen “that”. Blinded by their grief, they cannot see all the wonderful and positive and loving ways they affected their child’s life, and instead focus on some real or imagined shortcoming and convince themselves not only that they failed as a parent but also that they are the singular cause of the death. To others, this may seem irrational (and always unduly harsh), but to that parent it can become all that is real and all that matters. Is there a way to help a grieving parent escape the grip of guilt and self-blaming?

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    • The only thing I know to do is to learn truth. For me that means studying the Bible. Precept Ministries has a great study “Heaven, He’ll, and Life after Death”. It addresses issues that mean help.

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  21. Thank you for your beautifully written article! I lost my 14 year old son, Donovan and my 7 year old daughter in a tragic rock slide on April 27, 1975 and my 23 year old son, Darren by suicide on March 12, 1985. My husband and I attended “The Compassionate Friends” support group and found we need not walk alone in our grief! He died 6 years ago. My faith, family and friends continue to carry me as I walk this journey!

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  22. Thank you for writing this… Depending on where one is at in their journey when reading this may produce one type of opinion or reaction which may be very different at another time down the road….for instance, in the first comment, the reader was a bit put off by ‘People of faith who have lost a child are often seen as brave and strong.’ . Here is my take on all of this and I have been on this journey 3 1/2 yrs. since my daughter was killed by a drunk driver. I understand her meaning…and the meaning of the author…. Religion has nothing to do with faith. Faith comes over time and after much personal and internal thought of where you sit with God in all of it. I look at religion as crowd control… Faith has a much deeper meaning…. The first huge decision is to figure out if you hate God for it all or if you choose to turn towards him and pray for what you need to survive this… That is where we are tested and learn how to give the hate and anger to him that would otherwise eat us alive. Faith comes from letting that part go and trusting that everything else will happen in it’s own time and we will be guided to and given what we need. And from that “Faith” comes the strength and that is where we look strong. So, I understand why the author said that “People of faith who have lost a child are often seen as brave and strong”… We have no choice but to be brave in some form…. We can choose to be brave and bitter or we can truly trust in out heart and figure out what we’re suppose to do now and in doing so, we look strong to others. But really, we are very sad and broken inside. But because we have faith and realize that we still have jobs to do, we try when the time is right, to jump on the merry-go-round of life when we can and get off to rest… and we keep trying little by little until it starts to feel ok again. I just take it in small chunks… I do what I can, step back when I need to, take the time to be alone when I want to and don’t worry about what others think and try not to be rude in the process…But the huge point here is to do what you feel is right and needed for you….To me, there is no “healing”…it gets softer over time but it will forever just be there….and we learn to rebuild around it all and live with it. Those are my thoughts and I’m doing ok considering…. and I’m doing it without any meds….
    This article was very well done and thank you for writing it. To try to put words to it all and explain the journey (which looks different for everyone) is a huge task but this article was very close accurate… Thank you….

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  23. Thank you so much for this very important post; it is spot on. I resonate with every word. I am so sorry for your loss, and SO appreciate your sharing your pain and your heart from a Christian perspective. We lost our son, Robert, age 20, to suicide 5 years, 2 mos ago (lacking 2 days); yes, we can all quickly pinpoint the length of time. God is healing us day by day, and there is much joy in our lives with our 3 other children, 6 grandchildren, and an extremely blessed marriage. But you’re right, we are forever changed. God bless you, and I look forward to reading more of your posts.

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  24. Thank you for this. We lost our 16 year old son to an undiagnosed heart defect five weeks and one hour ago. I am starting back to work tomorrow, and our 11 year old has his first day of 6th grade tomorrow. I still hope to wake up and find that this has been a bad dream, and that he will come banging through the door with his smelly hockey gear and grinning about something stupid a teammate did. I pray for all his friends and teammates who start school tomorrow without his presence in the classroom and on the ice.

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  25. omg it sure hit home cause i no others don’t get me at all sometimes i feel like i’m going crazy and can not go on another step without my sweet baby boy people have pushed me out of there life’s i have pushed back but what do you do when your own hubby tells you it’s been 12 yrs now time to get over this the words that came out of my mouth i’m a shamed of cause he has a son to i begged god to forgive me last night for my words i said but i wanted him to hurt like me after he said that to me my son was my every thing in life i do have two other kid’s but still feel lost without him 7-26-was his birthday god i did not think i make it threw it then i seen this post and it brought a lot of meaning to me thank you so very much for posting it and god bless every one who has to walk the same shoes i do and i no we will all see our babies one day again thats all that keeps me going god is good

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  26. I lost my son 7 weeks ago in a motorcycle crash. He is my middle son and left 2 small children.He was doing what he loved though..riding his bike.He called it ” wind therapy ” He was a recovering drug addict and was studying to be a substance abuse counselor. At times it doesn’t seem real and then it hits me with a sharp pain in my chest…my son is gone,I will never see him again.I work 2 jobs and laugh and kid around with my co-workers but the pain is always there. He is forever 30. Is so hard at times to go on…I feel like a huge part of my heart is gone forever.I have 2 sons that keep me going and a good man but it is so very very hard. I have heard and been through everything you mentioned in your post,I really don’t talk about it too much.People ask how I am and I tell them the truth…I am not good and never will be. God bless us all and we just have to live our lives…though it may seem unreal at times that we do.

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    • Tell the truth! Why lie? If your not fine, why say u are? I suppose ppl think it’s just polite to ask. Idk, but if your not ready for the answer then don’t ask. I understand ppl don’t really know what to say to u but how will they ever learn if u lie. Do u REALLY want to kno how I am because if your not REALLY ready to hear, then don’t ask.

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  27. Very good just what grief is all about, we also need to know if they are safe, happy at peace and if we will meet again. My daughter chose to take her life by hanging, tried so hard to revive her as did her sons 25.09.2014. How do we know the above for sure

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    • If she accepted Jesus as her savior you can be sure. It’s a free gift, but must be received. Just because she hung herself, only proves she was not in her right mind at that moment. It doesn’t determine her salvation. In fact, as I’m writing this, the Lord is telling me that she DID make it to heaven. She did accept Christ as her savior at an early age. She never lost it! Now be FREE from fear and condemnation. You WILL see her again!

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    • I believe 100% than she is in Heaven (home) where we ALL came from, where we will ALL return. ALL. We are born sinners, and by God’s GRACE we are forgiven. We are EXPECTED to be this way! Sinners! A sin is a sin. No one sin better than the other. I believe this even if she’d never uttered the words , I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Just as we forgive our children, our God forgives his . If u believe he knew u before u were even born (which I do) then u must believe that No Matter What, he will not forsake u. Suicide, murder, nothing …..NOTHING, I say, can take away his love, or be unforgiven. .Your daughter is Home, in Heaven..Look for the signs … this just may be one

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    • Elaine, I am so sorry to hear about your daughter as well as all the other parents here who have lost children. I have thought a lot about God and suicide, and I truly believe that God is a just and righteous God, and that He knows the fight your daughter had here on this earth. He created her, and if she was struggling with mental illness, (as most suicides are) He knows the depth of her pain more than anyone here will ever know. I pray for God to give you peace about it, even if there is never full understanding of the ‘why?’. He tells us, ‘Seek and you will find.’ Jesus cares so much that it says in the bible that our prayers are held in golden vials before God, and I have found that when I have been in a very hard time, I may not find all the answers, but God opens things to me that help give me peace and strength to go on each day. Believe.

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  28. I truly enjoyed the article even though I am not of one particular religion. I did felt off–put by the first line, ‘People of faith who have lost a child are often seen as brave and strong.’ Whether a person is ‘of faith’ or not, they are still brave for enduring the loss of a child. My son passed away 2 years ago this coming September and the pain is no less sharp than it was the day he died; I have just become far better at hiding it and living in the world around me. I miss my Jonathan every second of every day and sometimes I find myself talking to him like he was sitting beside me playing video games on his xbox. Thank you for the beautifully written article.

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    • I lost my son Scott, 40 years ago, and believe me, it doesn’t get any easier. Like you said, it gets easier at hiding, but the loss is still there and never goes away.

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    • Oh, I do the very same thing. My son and I lived here together (he was age 31) and he died this past Oct 18 of extreme complications from diabetes. I find myself talking outloud to him, still, and every time I pass by the spot where he sat on the sofa, I still “pat his head” there, like I always did, even though now I am patting just the air where his sweet head would be. I miss him and continue to love him so very much. It is hard to lose a child, but somehow it seems even harder when it was just the two of us living here together. Now the house is so very quiet, and I don’t think I will ever stop missing him and feeling this searing grief.

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  29. Really appreciate all that you had to say. We lost our 16 year old daughter 3 years ago yesterday (July 23, 2012). Our Savannah had what seemed like a normal stomach virus. She passed away suddenly and unexpectedly right in front of us in our home. She did have a stomach virus and dehydration. We felt like our world had been turned upside down. We also have 3 boys. 2 grown and one still at home. We miss our Savannah every single day. We view life in a totally different way for sure now. We are grateful we know we will see our sweet girl in glory one glad day! We are thankful for the many ways God has used our daughters life! I will say at first when people said that that all we could think was we just want her back. We started a Grief Share ministry in our church because it was so helpful for us. We have three foster children because although no one can fill the hole our sweet girl left we just felt we had more love to give and our daughter adored children and they loved her too! I would definitely say to reach out to others sure helps you in your own grief. I so appreciated people who could relate to what we were going through. I know it can take time to be able to reach out to others though too. I feel strongly that our Savannah is helping take care of all the many babies and children in heaven! I am going to share this and give credit as I read above as someone just today lost their beloved child. Always looking up, Angie

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