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The journey through grief can be long and difficult, but I promise you are not alone!  The feelings and emotions you are experiencing may be all-consuming and frightening.  In the early moments, even happy memories can bring tremendous pain.  Be gentle with yourself and take one minute at a time.

The five stages of grief, as described by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.  The five stages may appear to be in order, but they are not.  Kübler-Ross even said the stages are not meant to neatly package grief.  There is no typical loss and there is no typical grief.  Grief is very individual and is not a linear process.  

Natural and very normal ways grief may affect you:


Trevin's bench
  • Profound sadness

  • Feeling numb

  • Waves of grief

  • Physical exhaustion

  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping all the time

  • Lack of appetite 

  • Anxiety

  • Shock and disbelief

  • Feeling like your child will come through the door at
    any moment

  • Inability to concentrate, forgetfulness

  • A deep longing and emptiness

  • A feeling that nothing has meaning

  • Fearing you are unstable

"What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose,
for all that we love deeply becomes part of us."  

-Helen Keller-


  • Intense questioning: “Why??” -- “If only I had….?” -- “Why didn’t I…?”

  • Looking for blame and blaming yourself or others

  • Physical symptoms such as headaches, muscle tension, and nausea

  • Inability to function at work

  • Talking to your child throughout the day

  • Increased intensity of, or sudden loss of, religious faith

  • A sense of relief following long-term care and then feeling guilty

  • Having a dream visit from your child or becoming upset because you are not dreaming of them

  • Sensing the presence of your loved one in an odor or touch

  • Difficulty in everyday tasks that remind you of your loved one, such as seeing his or her favorite foods on the shelves when grocery shopping

  • Anger with yourself if you smile or laugh, and wondering how you can feel happy when your child is gone

  • Feeling as though your spouse or other family members don’t understand your grief or are not grieving the way you think they should be

  • Avoiding friends or family, withdrawing from social events

  • Losing old friends who don’t seem to understand your pain and grief

  • Making new connections with people who have also experienced the death of a child

  • Feeling “stuck” in an aspect of grief such as denial or anger

  • Inability to go into your child's bedroom or wanting to be in there all the time

  • Visiting the cemetery often or refusing to go at all

  • Repeatedly reviewing the events leading up their passing

  • Keeping things your child touched (books, toothbrush, cell phone, clothes in the hamper, receipts, toys, etc.)

  • Feeling as though your work through grief is one step forward, two steps back

  • Frustration with others who expect you to be “over this” in a specific time frame – even frustration with yourself if you feel you should have “moved on” due to other's expectations

Grief does not follow a linear path and there are no timetables.  In the midst of healing there may be setbacks and times you have to recalculate to find your way again.  There is no right or wrong way to do grief.  Grief is personal and every person experiences it differently.  Your personality, support system, natural coping mechanisms, life experiences, and many other things will determine how the loss of your child will affect you.  Keep grieving the way you need to and not the way well-meaning family, friends, or society believes you should.  This is your personal journey. 

I know it is hard to believe right now, but your grief will shift.  The pain of where you've been will make room within your heart for hope in life again.  You will never forget your child.  They will always be in your heart.  And they are absolutely supporting you on this healing journey.  

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