Chapter 3: Ways your grief may be affected

Your unique relationship with your child

I've been there
Emma says when she became a parent, she thought her role was to be a teacher, but it was her son Tait who taught her. (3:22)Video transcript
Sharon says Hallowe'en is one of the hardest celebrations for her family because her son loved it. (3:22)Video transcript

My son was easy to love and hard to parent, as he would push the boundaries; but his heart was amazing. He was kind and he made friends easily. He was always full of life.

A day didn’t go by that I didn’t see or talk to my daughter. We were so close and, to be honest, I can still feel her with me even though I know she’s gone.

Within a family, no two children are the same. Each has their own personality, outlook, and life experience. You may have felt that your child who died was just like you or someone else in the family; or perhaps they weren’t like anyone in the family. Your child who died may have felt like a “favourite” or may have been the one you clashed with the most.

The nature of your relationship with each child is unique and will affect your grief. Your relationship with your child who has died may have been complex, bringing you great joy or deep heartache – or both.

What may help

  • Remembering the roles and relationships your child had in your family can help you to identify additional losses connected to their death. Naming these can allow you to grieve them.
  • Identify your roles and relationship in your child’s life, and how these losses may affect your grief.
  • If your relationship with your child was complex or complicated, so may be your grief. Be patient with yourself as you come to terms with this.

Helpful resources
See Chapter 4 - Changes to your identity