Nothing in life can prepare you for death. Whether it be the death of a loved one, young or old, the grieving period that accompanies this troubling time is nothing short of heartbreaking. Being able to cope with tragedy is near impossible, yet essential in transitioning towards life afterward. Don’t let the sudden passing of a son or daughter engorge others propensity to stay stuck in place post-tragedy. Here are some topics to consider the Ins and Outs of an Adult Child’s Death.
The elephant in the room is the age of your child. Why should people feel differently for you if your child is seven or thirty-seven? The short answer is that they shouldn’t; however human emotion isn’t that simple, people consider age when processing their grief. Others may also focus on the child’s immediate family, husband/children, over parents in certain situations. Recognizing the powerful bond that children can have with their parents can be difficult for those on the outside looking in.
After all, the more someone ages, the less dependent they become on their parents which, in turn, affects how much they see them. Meanwhile, growing into their own comes with creating their own family. Those previously molded relationships with parents are now being formed with children; and so the cycle repeats itself continually, resulting in a diminished acknowledgment of you, the aging parent/grandparent.
Of course, the oddity of an adult child passing away before their aging parent brings forth an entirely different type of grief altogether. Survivor’s guilt in the parent can be troubling and snowball into other unjust feelings towards themselves or things around them such as religion for example. Contemplating how something so horrid could happen to such a young, impressionable family member can stay in the forefront of one’s mind for years, if not forever.
The critical fact that’s commonly glossed over is how much parent/child friendships evolve. Not only are parents losing a child, but they are also losing a close friend, and quite possibly a best friend. All the work and passion parents put into making their children have the best life possible goes for naught, and the thought of that can put quite a strain on the parent. Correspondingly, those who struggle with empty nest syndrome, the issue of detaching from your child, may suffer grief to a much higher degree than normal circumstances.
By understanding the ins and outs of an adult child’s death and the effects it has on parents, you can process grief more appropriately and take essential steps towards acceptance. People on the outside of parent/child relationships only scratch the surface when they consider the amount of sorrow and pain the parents suffer through. Hopefully, by reading this piece, the process of grieving can be more commonly understood by those around these specific situations.
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