Stages of Grief

Denial is the first stage, in which you may try to convince yourself that your child did not die. You may feel numb or be in a state of shock. Denial is a protection strategy that we use, unconsciously, when life overwhelms us.  

Anger is the stage in which you may become angry about your child's death. One of the best ways to deal with bursts of anger is to exercise or participate in some form of physical activity. Talking with family, friends and other parents who have lost a child and LCH staff may also be helpful.

During this stage, questioning God and asking "Why my child?" and "What did we do to deserve this?" are common. Guilt takes over during this stage, and you may begin searching for answers to determine what you did wrong and how you might have contributed to your child's death. This is a normal part of bargaining. Always remember that there is nothing you or your child did that contributed to his or her death.

Depression or Sadness
This is the stage in which the death of your child can no longer be denied, and you and your family feel a profound sense of sadness. The sadness may be accompanied by physical changes such as insomnia or excessive sleeping, changes in appetite or difficulty concentrating on simple, daily activities. These are signs of depression.

If you exhibit symptoms of depression, it is important to talk with a healthcare professional, such as a social worker or counselor, or join a support group to help you express, understand and cope with your feelings.

Acceptance is the final stage in which the death is accepted. You adjust to the loss and incorporate the death into you daily life. This doesn't mean that your emotions will not, at times, take over, but at this point, you are better able to control them.