Which parent is not shaken when they learn their child has died? It will be hard to accept reality, considering the wonderful years we have spent together. Being a witness to his growth and development since he was in the womb until he was born into the world.
Then, suddenly fate said otherwise. Facing the days without the presence of the child is certainly not easy. Moreover, if the child is the hope to change the family’s future for the better.
What is the psychological condition of parents who have lost their children? How long does it take to come to terms with reality?
1. Covered with guilt
A bereaved parent may be inundated with negative emotions such as guilt and regret. They may blame themselves for thinking that something they did or neglected might have contributed to the child’s death.
In children who die of health problems, parents may feel guilty for ignoring the symptoms or not getting them to the hospital earlier. Mothers who miscarried may feel guilty because they thought they were not careful or had too much activity during pregnancy.
If the death was caused by suicide, parents may feel guilty for “not being there” when the child is down. In general, parents may regret not spending enough time with their child or not fulfilling their wishes while they were alive.
To quote The Compassionate Friends , grieving parents need to find someone to share their grief with. In addition, parents also need to learn to forgive themselves so they are not haunted by guilt.
2. Angry with the situation
Anger is a very natural reaction. Parents may be angry with health workers because they are considered unable to save their children and do not try their best.
If a child’s death is caused by juvenile delinquency, parents may be angry with their child’s friends and think they are a bad influence. They may also be upset that others treat their child badly and perceive that person as ungrateful for their child’s presence.
In fact, there are parents who are angry with God for taking the life of their child. They questioned why it should be his family who received this disaster, not someone else.
Anger is difficult to express and eventually forced to be kept to yourself. This may make him irritable or even take it out on other innocent people. The best solution is to discuss the anger issue with a professional.
3. Feeling empty and empty
Death leaves a feeling of emptiness and emptiness, as if some of them also died. After the death of their child, maybe some parents still carry out certain routines, before finally realizing that the child has gone forever.
In fact, there are parents who feel their children are still there. Like hearing his child speak, seeing him in the crowd, to feeling his presence at home. They need time to process what happened.
Keep in mind that all of these feelings are normal and valid. Later, the time will come to be free from feelings of emptiness and emptiness. On a journey through grief, the presence of supportive family and friends is very important.
4. Drowning in grief
It is undeniable that the loss of a child can cause parents to feel deep sadness . The early days of being abandoned must have been filled with tears. Everything feels unreal.
According to a 2015 study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry , the unexpected death of a loved one is associated with the development of symptoms of depression and anxiety. In fact, it not only affects the mental, but also physically.
Reported by Good Therapy , sadness can cause joint pain, headaches, back pain, and muscle stiffness. The trigger for this pain is the amount of stress hormones released. Fortunately, this is only temporary.
Extreme sadness can increase a person’s chances of having a heart attack. This is known as broken heart syndrome or Takotsubo cardiomyopathy . Symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath, high blood pressure, and fainting.
To prevent that from happening, there must be a caregiver who accompanies and strengthens parents who have lost their children. Whether it’s children (who are still alive), siblings, in-laws, and others. If symptoms of depression persist, especially to the point of self-harm or suicidal thoughts, consider consulting a professional.
5. Filled with fear or anxiety
Parents may experience intense fear when their child dies suddenly, tragically, or unexpectedly. Such as being the victim of a traffic accident, murder, natural disaster, fire, or suicide.
Fear can make parents overprotective of their families. For example, prohibiting children from driving themselves for fear of becoming a victim of an accident like their late brother.
Fear may be even more so when the one who dies is the only child, aka the only child. Parents may be afraid that no one will take care of them in their old age. Moreover, if his partner later died before him.
No one knows for sure when the grieving period is over and they can resume life as usual. Our relationship with the deceased during his life determines how much sadness and loss we will bear.
Well, that’s a little picture of the psychological condition of parents who lost their children . May you always be strengthened and be able to let go of the departed with grace, yes.