The Death of a Child


"A wife who loses a husband is called a widow.
A husband who loses a wife is called a widower.
A child who loses his parents is called an orphan.
But...there is no word for a parent who loses a child, that's how awful the loss is!"
- Neugeboren 1976, 154


"The sorrow for the dead is the only sorrow from which we refuse to be divorced. Every other wound we seek to heal, every other affliction to forget; but this wound we consider it a duty to keep open; this affliction we cherish and brood over in solitude." - Washington Irving, The Sketch Book, 1992


"There is no relationship like that of parent and child. It is unique and special...The bond between parent and child is so powerful that its strength endures time, distance, and strife. No loss is as significant as the loss of a child...On the death of a child, a parent feels less than whole." - Arnold and Gemma, 1994


"When are you ready to live again? There is no list of events or anniversaries to check off. In fact, you are likely to begin living again before you realize you are doing it. You may catch yourself laughing. You may pick up a book for recreational reading again. You may start playing lighter, happier music. When you do make these steps toward living again, you are likely to feel guilty at first. 'What right have I, you may ask yourself, to be happy when my child is dead?' And yet something inside feels as though you are being nudged in this positive direction. You may even have the sense that this nudge is from your child, or at least a feeling that your child approves of it." - Horchler and Morris, 1994


"Bereaved parents will recover and reach a place of rest and hope... [They] will never forget [their child], but rather will find ways to keep [the child] a cherished part of [their] inner selves forever." - Horchler and Morris, 1994


"When you accept what has happened, you aren't acknowledging that it is okay but rather, that you know you must find a way to keep growing and living-even if you don't feel like it...[Don't let] grief be your constant companion...Realize that your grief is born out of unconditional love for your child and rejoice in that love which will never end... Embracing life again is not a sign that you have stopped missing your baby, but an example of a love that is eternal." - Wisconsin Perspectives Newsletter, Spring 1989


"When children die, the bond doesn't break... [But] the parents face two mutually exclusive facts. The child is gone and not coming back, and the bond is...as powerful a bonding as people have in their abilities... [Bereaved parents attempt] to let go, not of the child, but of the pain." - Finkbeiner, 1996


Compassionate Friends

The MISS Foundation

Death ends a life, not a relationship

Deadly Roads - Hit and Run Crash