How to comfort a parent whose child has died



candlelight candles

It is often said that there is no greater loss than the loss of a child. It is what every parent fears. It is very important to be there for the parent who is experiencing this devastating loss.  What a bereaved parent wants the most is to have their child back. Sadly, no one can grant that wish however you can help them through their grieving process.

1-  Remember that your help or support will be needed long term. It is going to take time to feel better, be there for them in the long term.

2- There will be false starts, and setbacks. Be prepared for the emotional ups and downs with them. Your love and compassion will be very needed.

3- Be practical. Grieving parents need space to grieve.   You can help this by providing meals, offering to keep any other children or  offering to run errands for them. Do the everyday mundane things that suddenly seem pointless to them. Stay in close contact; simply calling and visiting can be a huge source of practical support.

4- Be free with physical shows of support. Give lots of hugs. Give the parent your shoulder to cry on literally.  Many many tears are normal and healthy.

5-  Expect the grief to increase not decrease. This is grief for life,  it’s not something to “get over”. Accept that there is no time frame on grief. For now, it will continue to grow in magnitude and you are much needed as the grief overwhelms your friend. Be a shoulder to cry on, someone who will listen, someone who will not judge, and someone who will keep being there, no matter what. Accept that a bereaved parent will never ever get over the loss of their child, but know in time,  they will get through it.

6- Never compare a child’s death with a non-child death of your own you’ve experienced. The loss of a child carries very different connotations from the loss of a parent, sibling, or friend. Parents will often tell you that they wish it could have been them instead of the child and this is a feeling that  may haunt them for many years after. The pain after loss of a child does differ from any other loss of a person you know and love; accept this and acknowledge it where needed.

  • Share your pain over the loss of their child, but remember your pain is nowhere near their pain unless you have lost a child yourself. There is no greater pain than the death of one’s child. Never tell a bereaved parent you know how they feel or you understand because you probably do not.
  • Do not compare the loss of your job, marriage, pet, or grandparent to the loss of their child.
  • Don’t ever tell the parent to “Get over it”, or “Get on with your life, your child would want you to.”
  • Never say “You can always have more children” if the parent is mourning  the death of a baby or very young child. This is one of the most insensitive things to say to a grieving parent. And grandchildren are no substitute for lost adult children either; just don’t go down this avenue of platitudes.
  • One really good phrase is simply: “Tell me how you feel.” This lets the parent open up and talk in any direction wished. And to cry or scream if they want to as well.

7-  Don’t be afraid to talk about the child. Every parent wants to know their child is not forgotten. And listen to the parents when they want to talk about their child. Whether the child was young or an adult, there will be many memories that the parents will want to talk about, as a way of bringing the child back into temporary existence.

8-  Don’t just disappear. This can be the ultimate letdown for a grieving parent, to lose someone who was once a friend,  The concern you feel at not knowing what to say or do is nothing compared to the pain, sadness, and loneliness the grieving parent experiences. It’s better to put your foot into it and apologize than to just fade away and cease to be a resource your friend can count on.. Remember the child’s birthday. Send a card saying that you remember their child.  Remember the child’s date of death. Send a thinking of you card, call them, share good memories about their child, and listen.

9- Give them space. As well as letting them know you’re there for them, also accept that the bereaved parent may want to seclude themselves. Be wise to signals of distress about having you around and gently withdraw, still letting them know that you’re there for them whenever they need you, just a call or text away.

Celebrating Mother’s Day when your Mom has Passed Away

Although it will lessen as  time passes, the pain of losing your mom is something that stays with you forever.  This will be my 2nd Mother’s Day without my Mom and although the pain is less sharp it is still there.   Mother’s Day  can be wonderful time to spend with your family and children,  however it can also be  somber if your mom has passed away.

I’ve compiled a list of ways you can remember your mom on  Mother’s Day, this will keep her in your thoughts on a day which can be difficult to get through.


Make Her Favorite Recipe

Making a recipe that she really loved will help you to feel close to her and if you have children have them help you and you can talk about and share memories of your Mom.

Eat at Her Favorite Restaurant

If  possible visit your Mom’s favorite restaurant with your family or siblings and reminisce about when you went there with your Mom. 

Plant Her Favorite Flowers

Planting her favorite flowers will help you remember her and you’ll think of her every time you see the flowers.

Write Your Mom a Letter

Write her a letter telling her what’s going on in your life and how you’ve been feeling.  You can put it in a scrapbook or box of memories of your Mom.

Make a Scrapbook

Fill a scrapbook with mementos of her life, things she loved, pictures, cards she gave you, anything that reminds you of her.


I hope that these ideas will help you to have a good day as you remember your Mom on Mother’s Day.

The Loss of a Parent

Losing your parent is something which happens eventually to most of us.  It is a huge loss for most people and will take time to move forward.  My mother passed away 1 year ago and it has been difficult but after experiencing all the firsts, such as her birthday,  Mother’s Day and other holidays it has gotten easier and now I can celebrate her life more than mourn her death.

Sometimes losing a parent can feel like losing part of yourself.   It can sometimes feel impossible to cope with life without them.  However getting through this bleak time will prove that you’re stronger than you think you are and you have an inner strength that can help you to overcome grief and smile again.


These steps will help you during this difficult time:

1. Forgive yourself.

When a parent dies, guilt can become a burden because of past arguments you now regret or maybe because you think you didn’t do enough to help them.  Remember no parent/child relationship is perfect and going over negativity from  past will not help you to move forward.  By recognizing the past as something that is finished and unchangeable, you can begin to free yourself from guilt and reflect on the good times instead. The good times are what they would want you to remember.

2. Face your feelings.

Feelings of loss or anger can grow stronger if left unchecked, especially if you’ve never known death so close.  Mindfulness meditation is one way to help understand the flow of these feelings.

3. Keep talking.

The sudden reality of not being able to talk  to your Mom or Dad again is hard  to accept.  For a long time after losing my Mom, I would talk to her even though I didn’t expect an answer it was nice to just get the words out.

4. Look after yourself.

Grief can take its toll  on your body and health in many ways.  Loss of sleep and reduced appetite  are common after losing a loved one.  The remedy is to protect your health and fitness.  Try to go  walking with a friend, eat healthy  food, and stay hydrated. When your body feels healthy, it will often lift your mood and help you cope.

5. Take time out.

During the immediate aftermath, you’ll have an overwhelming to-do list. From making funeral arrangements to addressing legal matters. All of this is physically and mentally exhausting.  It’s important to rest and not feel guilty for taking time off.

6. Be patient.

Missing a parent is natural, and if you were very close, it will take time to adjust.  Time heals the acuteness of pain, but you will continue to miss your parent.   Recovery will happen at its own natural pace.

7. Enjoy precious memories.

There was a time I couldn’t think of my Mom without  crying.   However as time has gone on I’m able to recall the good times we shared and smile rather than cry.  The  time will come when you smile or laugh to yourself when you think of the good times you had with your parents. Let your parent live on in your thoughts, and enjoy seeing them there any time you wish.

Although the death of a parent is considered the natural order of events, it is still a very difficult loss and it’s difficult to get through it.  The steps above will help you to continue to enjoy your life and move forward as you remember your parent.   Remember to live your life with the knowledge that your parents would want you to live a happy and fulfilling life after they’re gone.