Death is inevitable. It comes to everyone eventually. But knowing this doesn’t make it any easier to cope with the loss of our loved ones. Especially not when it comes to saying goodbye to our parents or having to put the lid on our children’s coffin.
Some kids become orphans at a very young age and have to grow up without mom and dad. While other children can make Mother’s Day cards, somewhere, a little boy is fighting back his tears because his mother died of cancer. While some kids get to go to Toys’R’Us with their parents, another child is holding onto the last ragged doll from dad before he passed on in a car accident. These kids are scared, lonely, bitter and are forced to grow up tougher and stronger than everyone else. So look around, don’t avoid them. Be there for them. Let them know that there is still much love in this world.
On the other end of this painful spectrum, we have parents who lose their children. This kind of loss violates the natural order of life. It’s just not fair for someone so young to lose their lives before they’ve even begun to live it. When parents lose a child, they feel hopeless, angry, frustrated, depressed and guilty. They feel pain and they grieve. They would give up their own lives in a heartbeat just to see their child one more time. Here are just a handful of their stories...
A mother lost her child to SLE and refused to have anyone clear out late daughter’s room. She wanted to keep it the way it was and would muffle her screams in the room so her husband would not see her cry. Another parent lost their son in a hit and run case. They had to see him suffer in the ICU for days before he finally breathed his last. No one should ever have to bear this kind of pain.
The month of July is known as Bereaved Parents Awareness Month dedicated to honour parents who are trying to cope with the death of their child. However, it shouldn’t just stop in July. If you know a parent who has lost their child, you can help by letting them know that it’s okay to grieve. But more importantly, let them know that it is possible to heal and have hope again. Check-in on them whenever possible and listen to stories about their children. Don’t pretend it never happened as it is worse to not acknowledge their existence. Empathy and compassion are just what they need throughout this healing process.