Creating a New Normal...After the Death of a Child

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Your grief is likely to be expressed physically, emotionally, and psychologically. For instance, crying is a physical expression, while depression is a psychological expression. It is very important to allow yourself to express these feelings. Often, death is a subject that is avoided, ignored or denied. At first it may seem helpful to separate yourself from the pain, but you cannot avoid grieving forever.

Someday those feelings will need to be resolved or they may cause physical or emotional illness. Many people report physical symptoms that accompany grief. Stomach pain, loss of appetite, intestinal upsets, sleep disturbances and loss of energy are all common symptoms of acute grief. Of all life's stresses, mourning can seriously test your natural defense systems.

Existing illnesses may worsen or new conditions may develop. Profound emotional reactions may occur. These reactions include anxiety attacks, chronic fatigue, depression and thoughts of suicide. An obsession with the deceased is also a common reaction to death. The death of a loved one is always difficult. Your reactions are influenced by the circumstances of a death, particularly when it is sudden or accidental. Your reactions are also influenced by your relationship with the person who died. A child's death arouses an overwhelming sense of injustice — for lost potential, unfulfilled dreams and senseless suffering.

Parents may feel responsible for the child's death, no matter how irrational that may seem. Parents may also feel that they have lost a vital part of their own identity. A spouse's death is very traumatic. In addition to the severe emotional shock, the death may cause a potential financial crisis if the spouse was the family's main income source. The death may necessitate major social adjustments requiring the surviving spouse to parent alone, adjust to single life and maybe even return to work.

Elderly people may be especially vulnerable when they lose a spouse because it means losing a lifetime of shared experiences. At this time, feelings of loneliness may be compounded by the death of close friends.


  1. Helping a child cope with the death of a parent | KidsHealth NZ!
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  4. Dealing with grief after the death of your baby.

A loss due to suicide can be among the most difficult losses to bear. They may leave the survivors with a tremendous burden of guilt, anger and shame. Survivors may even feel responsible for the death. Seeking counseling during the first weeks after the suicide is particularly beneficial and advisable. Coping with death is vital to your mental health. It is only natural to experience grief when a loved one dies. The best thing you can do is allow yourself to grieve.

There are many ways to cope effectively with your pain. Find relatives and friends who can understand your feelings of loss. I save it all in my thoughts you are on my mind every second of the day. We took them in the car to go sit by the river to eat… as we drove along we both commented on the size of them..

Days have been busy with work, house stuff and a few other things. I wondered whether you would have said Dad or Mum first? We have made a promise to you though, this will be done by the time your first birthday is here! So your Dad and I have decided we need to write a list. First thing on that list is to source the remaining old fence palings we need to finish the screen. So today Henry, your Dad and I need to have some fun!

Sometimes Henry I feel so angry about so many things, about how unfair this seems and I have had to start to acknowledge that anger is ok. Sometimes Henry I am so heavy under the weight of this grief, of how much I miss you, of wanting you here, yet sometimes I smile too and have lighter days. Instead our Sundays start off the same as many others and every other morning, in silence and sometimes I feel just takes us a day further away from you, a day more where someone else may not mention your name anymore, another day where others have now moved on with life as they should, another day of getting ourselves up, of doing, of living of doing what we need to do.

Yet I sat in that moment like I had been so busy and my energy had been going in to work for the year and lists of bills to be paid, everyday life and there it was the reality, our reality right in my face. The tears just streamed down my face over my cheeks and on to my keyboard and I just had to let them, there was no point in fighting it, this, our reality. We loved you so much already and had so many plans and in those pictures you see the happiness, the excitement. Sometimes Henry, sometimes I sob in the shower as I might get a flashback from what happened with you, sometimes I smile thinking of a memory of you like kicking your dad in the back always from my belly, sometimes I feel like I want to scream out, sometimes silence is deafening, sometimes I am out in public and feel tears sting my eyes, sometimes I sing one of your songs in my car, sometimes I stand in the water to feel closer to you, sometimes I can never feel close enough, sometimes I wonder how we keep on going, sometimes I am determined to keep going for you, sometimes life is so unfair, sometimes I am so grateful for what we have.

So many variables, this life of ups and downs like the rollercoaster grief is. We are getting closer to that 12 month mark, your first birthday and its something that can be so hard to comprehend, I sit and ask myself is this really our life? This is what happened? I wonder what that day will bring with it, what we do, how we celebrate you?

As I want to celebrate you, I want to acknowledge your little life, You are our baby.

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So I begin to try to think of what that looks like, how we do that I want it to be meaningful for you, I want to really honour you. So now my thoughts drift to what we do for you. I wondered last night Henry as I sobbed by myself in bed, I wondered do you know? Do you Henry? Holidays Henry, Christmas holidays, New Years, the season to be joyous, to celebrate to give each other gifts, see family and friends. Christmas cheer.


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How do I Henry? How Henry?

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Finding Your “New Normal” After a Loss

This year I became a mum, this year you were born, meeting you was something else, my words are not even enough to describe the immense amount of pure love I felt seeing you, of how much I had dreamed of that moment and to finally be here, this, You, made it the best year of my entire life, yet the absolute heart wrenching aching, shattering pain of losing you made it the absolute worst… the best and worst year of my life. You look for support from family and friends for them to listen or make you a meal, to be there on your bad days and the good.

I can attempt to with many others I know break the culture and stigma around grief and loss, so that we might Henry and others be able to grieve openly and honestly without any shame or guilt in a society that can become very uncomfortable around those who have lost a child. Everyone does this differently and I respect this so much. As we ate Henry there were small conversations but missing for us was any talk of you. What can others say though Henry? After dinner and dessert everyone rushed off so quickly, I understand there were kids to get to bed, and routines and things people wanted to do, there also is not a lot of toys at our place for the kids to play with, but it was so quick, one minute so much noise, then just quiet and your Dad and I left standing looking at one another, I felt as though because we were preparing the food we barely got the time to actually talk to anyone and then they were gone.

I wondered how different it may have been if you were here, if they maybe would have stayed longer, felt more comfortable, I wondered if you were here would we be rushing off from somewhere to put you to bed, how would it have been? I took with us your little blue bear and a paper daisy I had dried out from a bunch I was given, we got their early and not many people were out yet, as your Dad and I stepped in to the cool refreshing water and waves washed over me as always it was like a relief from the pain I always feel just for a moment, as we got out far enough I released the flower in to the water and your Dad and I watched as it floated about, staying near us for quite some time, your Dad captured some images as he had his camera to take photos in the surf.

We held on to one another and watched it gently float in the water until a large wave came and took it away and we stood after the wave and saw it float further and further away from us. I do wonder if anyone found that flower on the sand that day Henry, and wondered where it came from? Without knowing it, by their wondering they would be thinking of you.

After we left the water we came home and cleaned, so much for Christmas, spending Christmas Day cleaning but we needed the distraction as we cleaned your Dad got a message something was left on our doorstep. I went out later to get it and bring it inside, three boxes high one on top of the other wrapped carefully with ribbons. As we opened the next box a candle that smells like the ocean, cook books full of healthy recipes, and some other small treats, we could tell it was all picked out with us in mind, thoughtful gifts, a candle like the ocean to light for you, treats and recipes of good food as we love to cook.

Helping a child cope with the death of a parent

I opened the card and the incredibly heartfelt words inside brought tears to both of our eyes once more, talk of lighting the candle as I cook so that I can think of you while doing something I love. The rest of the afternoon was spent playing monopoly, your Dad got a head start buying some of the more expensive properties and put houses on them quickly my finances got low and I found myself bargaining prices giving your Dad money and other properties to help me pay the rent I owed. We left the game to go back to your beach to watch the sunset while I held your bear in my hands.

Yesterday the though of you and my physical ache that I feel to hold you, to want you here was too much, I spent the day in sadness with lots of tears, I had flashbacks which brought panic and found it hard to breathe your Dad holding me as he encouraged me to breathe and I could eventually talk through it with him.

The New Normal - KARLA HELBERT

I still remember what it was like to hold you, your weight against me as I held you close what you felt like, I long for that so often, my arms they ache to hold you close. We left there feeling listened to and heard at least which was nice. I can tell your Dad is already planning the next game and how he will win. We can though recognise the bravery we have found in ourselves, how loving you has forever changed us and continue to support one another through.

We can take what hope we have to keep us holding on in to the year ahead and know. Maybe we will find more hope and hold on more to the love we have for you everyday. We love you to the moon and back Henry, forever and always. My words escape me recently Henry, I feel like I have no words to describe how I feel, what is going on, all that is sitting with me right now.