A Letter to Grieving Parents

July 28, 2021

Dear grieving parents,

This is not the life that you dreamed of or hoped for. You shouldn’t have face the experience of burying your child; most would say that you were supposed to go first. The passing of a child goes against the grain of what is expected and leaves a series of emotional, moral, and religious scars.

When you welcomed your child, you had no idea of your capacity for love. Leading up you’ve read about parenthood, hear stories about it, or compare it to your love for other family members. But that’s no comparison for what you felt the moment you laid eyes on your child.

And then you have to say goodbye long before you’re ready. In doing so, you also learn about your capacity for pain. It’s soul-crushing. Words are empty compared to the weight of it all. Nothing will ever be the same again.

Allow yourself to feel numbness and acknowledging other feelings.

You will always carry your loss with you. Others may not see it or know about it, yet it’s has become a defining piece of your life. Those precious memories spent with your child and the plans that will be adjusted can obliterate a person. Find ways to treasure these moments and share these stories. Allow for numbness and acknowledging that grief is experienced through a multitude of feelings.

Learn about your personal grieving patterns and triggers.

The amount of grief will be unsettling and it can turn your world gray. For grieving fathers, they might feel as if they have to have a stiff upper lip, keep up the appearance that they are doing well, or need to focus on action-oriented ways to process their emotions in a solitary manner. Whereas, grieving mothers, tend to grieve intensely longer and are generally more apt to expressing their feelings and seeking the support of others.

These responses and other ones not mentioned are natural. Grief can bring aches, chaos, darkness, and stigma that has to be experienced to be believed. Find ways to connect to others and seek help, even if those steps are small at first. It’s important to acknowledge, process, communicate and adjust.

Be intentional about honoring your loss and seek ways to let memories live on.

While grief is mostly thought of as being negative, it can birth positive attributes such as compassion and understanding. With any passing of a loved one, your wells of understanding deepen. It can show strength. There are moments you feel you too might die; you might burst from the anger and pain. There are moments you wonder if you will ever know happiness. If you will ever emerge from the fog.  Grief can reveal the best in humanity. Some say the wrong thing. Some are so fearful of saying the wrong thing that they say nothing. But there are others. They sit with you. They make sure you eat. They fold your towels. They show up.

While you’ll never forget or fully move on. You’ll breathe and process and heal in small ways. And remember this: You are not alone. There is hope.

With love and understanding,

Greenlawn Funeral Home

If you need support following a loss, you can lean on us. We are here to help and offer families extra support through various discounted personalization options, online planning capabilities, and if desired a final resting place. Additionally, our Greenlawn Funeral Homes staff know the best specialists, resources, and support groups that Springfield, Branson, and Bolivar have to offer. Don’t hesitate to contact us today.

Community Resources

Compassionate Friends

CoxHealth Bereavement Support Group

CoxHealth Infant Loss Support Group

GriefShare Grief Recovery Support Group

Lost & Found Grief Center

Literature Resources

Fox, S. (2010). Creating a normal after the death of a child. iUniverse.

Ilse, S. (2015). Empty arms: Coping with miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant death. Wintergreen Press. Andrews McMeel Publishing.

McCormack, J. H. (2005). Grieving: A beginner’s guide. Paraclete Press.

Rank, M. (1985). Free to grieve: Healing and encouragement for those who have suffered miscarriage and stillbirth.

Ronald, R. (2018). Bruised & wounded: Struggling to understand suicide. Paraclete Press.

Stillwell, E. E. (2004). Death of a child: Reflections for grieving parents. Saint Mary’s Press.

Wolfelt, A. D. (2005). Healing a parent’s grieving heart: 100 practical ideas after your child dies. Compassion Press.

Wolfelt, A. D. (2001). Healing your grieving heart: 100 practical ideas. Compassion Press.