Adult Grief After a Traumatic Death

You may be pre-occupied with the question, “If I don’t have a child, am I still a parent?” And at some point, you will be faced with the dilemma of answering the question, “How many children do you have?” There is no right or wrong answer.

Answer questions in any way

Answer the question in any way that feels comfortable to you. You may answer with, “My precious son or daughter died,” or simply say “None.” Many parents feel guilty when they deny their child’s existence. Another possible response is “I had a son or daughter.” The person may then ask you to tell your story.

that you feel comfortable.

Keep in mind that when you attend a support group, you may be the only parent who has endured the death of an only child or all children. In some communities, there may be specialized support groups for parents who have no surviving children.

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Stepchild Grief The heartbreak of a child’s death brings extreme pain to all affected. For some parents, the effects of such a tragedy can be further complicated when the death occurs in a blended family situation. If you are a stepparent, you may find that your grief is not understood or valued. You may realize that the responses of others are less than supportive. You may not receive the same validation as parents in traditional nuclear families, and the needs and wishes of stepparents in these complex situations may be ignored or misunderstood.

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