Sunday, March 27, 2011

10 Most Upsetting Things To Experience-Part 1

In a 3-part series I want to talk about the 10 most upsetting things that bereaved parents experience after the death of a child. I first read Barbara Paul's list (below) and I decided to discuss it in a recent support meeting. I discovered there are far more than 10 upsetting things, so I will be sharing those thoughts with you from all the parents who attended in Part 2 and 3.

First, Barbara Paul, psychologist, teacher and trainer with all types of grief and loss has compiled the 10 Most Upsetting Things for Bereaved Parents to Experience. Barbara lost her daughter, Jennifer. In David Letterman order I have listed these experiences for you and added a few comments.

10. Going to the grocery store- it’s difficult to see what your child liked that you no longer have to buy for him/her.

9. People avoiding us- when they see you coming, they go in another direction.

8. Holidays and happy occasions- causes extreme pain for your lost future.

7. Religious assurances- “God only takes the good ones.” This doesn’t relate to where bereaved parents are.

6. Unacknowledged birthdays and anniversaries- these are important to parents and the outside world forgets; no one lets you know your child is thought about.

5. Silence- no one talks about the child or shares stories because, most of all, they are afraid. You need to tell them it’s okay; you want to talk about them; all you have left is memories to share.

4. Call me- if you need anything, they say, call me. It’s hard for a bereaved parent to get out of bed in the morning. There is no energy left to call anyone. Others need to take the initiative.

3. Mothers and Fathers grieve differently- it can be upsetting to discover that it is not the same for either parent.

2. Being told to get on with your life- there is no way to ever get over our grief; but we are alive, and one day will move forward when we are ready.

1. How many children do you have? My only child died, and I always say, “I had one child who died in a car accident.” Don’t say, “No children.” Then you are dismissing what was perhaps your greatest achievement in life. Our child lived and we need to acknowledge that.

Part 2 and 3 in the following weeks will cover the thoughts of other parents who have lost children and it's affect on their lives.


  1. "It's nice to see you smiling" or "You are such a strong woman, I can't believe how well you are handling this"! These things send me right back down into the pit of darkness. I strive to find moments of joy everyday but the tears are always lurking in the background just waiting for a crack in the armour. It's been 107 days since my youngest child (16) died and the past few days the pain feels brand new again.

  2. I'm so glad I found your blog... thank you for this!

    I hate "God wanted another angel", well if he did make another! We parents don't understand that. At least this one doesn't.

  3. When someone asks me how many children I have I say, One in Heaven(because that's where he is) the other one here. My son died 6 months ago at the age 18 and I can really relate to most of the list. I do not believe my son is an angel because that's just not what the Bible says happens to us as Christians when we die. Thank you for your Blogging.