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Losing a child is possibly the most difficult thing a parent can experience. Grief can affect each person emotionally, physically, cognitively and behaviorally. Many people express grief in an outward way; for example, crying, a lack of energy or trouble sleeping. Others, on the surface, may not seem to be grieving. Instead, these people process grief internally. Their grief may go unrecognized and unacknowledged. Be aware that grief is personal and specific to the person. Try not to make judgments about how you, your co-parent or others process the loss of your child. The manner and timing of your approach to your loss and how you work through your grief depends on you as an individual. Grief is not bound by time but, eventually, the intensity of normal grieving does become more manageable.

Siblings and Grief

Siblings are sometimes called the “forgotten grievers.” After the death of a child, the parents are likely to be the main focus of attention; however, siblings need comfort and guidance too during this time. Children may not be able to fully comprehend the nature of death until they’re about 10 years old. However, children are capable of sensing separation and experiencing grief at a very young age. Children’s grief is different than that of adults. The ways in which children experience and express grief depends on their developmental level.

 Read the PDF, End-of-Life Care, for more information on helping siblings cope with grief and ideas for ways to remember your child. 

Seeking Support

Sometimes, a person may become stuck at some point in the grief journey or express grief in an unhealthy way. If you find yourself, your co-parent or children unable to return to daily life or find enjoyment seek the services of a grief counselor or professional therapist.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Information Specialists are always here to help you with information and referrals as you meet the challenges of end-of-life. Call our toll-free number at (800) 955-4572 to speak with an information specialist who will learn more about your request and be better able to respond to your concerns.

 LLS Community 

Join the Grief and Loss of a Loved One group on LLS Community. This group is for individuals who would like to discuss any aspect of the grieving process, at any point in the cancer journey and share feelings about loss, identity transitions, and relationship changes. Click here to visit the group. If you are not already a member, you will need to create an account. 

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