our everyday life

How to Grieve the Death of an Adult Child

by Nicki Callahan

Grieving the death of a child may be one of the most difficult experiences that a person can go through. Unlike the death of a parent or spouse, the loss of a child is often an unexpected and unnatural event that may require support from outside resources. Learning how to grieve the death of your adult child is a painful, but cathartic process.

Excuse yourself from work. It might seem easier to bury emotion beneath a pile of business; however, suppression of emotion will only make the pain grow. Give yourself time to think about what has just happened, how life will change, and how you will handle it. It is okay to question your beliefs and priorities during this time.

Receive professional counseling. The best way to explore and work through your own emotion and pain is to acknowledge it and speak about it with someone. While a friend or family member may seem like a more comfortable listener, a professional with training in grief counseling can help you to identify the root of your emotion and work through it in a structured manner.

Find a support group. Even if you have family members or friends who are going through the grieving process alongside you, it can be extremely beneficial to hear the stories and testimonials of others. Finding people to walk alongside you during this time will make you feel less alone. Let your story help others as they simultaneously comfort you.

Nurture your body. While your own health might be the last thing on your mind, a weak body can prolong and intensify your grief. Try to obtain adequate amounts of sleep and eat nutritious foods.

Develop ways to remember your child in a positive aspect. Whether this is bringing flowers to your child's grave on special days or developing a way to give back to the community in her honor, it is important to keep her memory alive. Talk with local schools or community centers to find a need that you can give to. You can make a donation in your child's memory or create an annual scholarship that will help yourself and others consider and celebrate the life of your adult child.

About the Author

Nicki Callahan began her literary career in 1989. Her work has appeared in "The Charlotte Observer," "The Patriot Ledger," "The Wasatch County Courier," "Utah Homes & Garden Magazine" and "The Retired Officer Magazine." Callahan studied English literature and creative writing at the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Utah.