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It Makes No Sense
Written by Clara Hinton   |  Apr 22, 2002
When a child dies, try as we might to understand why, the final summation is that it makes absolutely no sense. There is nothing that seems right when a child dies.

Many things, including accidents and illness, can claim the life of a child. A fatal accident will knock the air right out of you. Illness is no different. Even though we may have known that the outcome of the child did not look good, we still begin the grief journey by being in shock. It makes no sense at all for a young child’s life to end. Child loss is an unexplainable loss.

Following the shock of losing a child comes a season of questioning. Why? Why did the accident have to happen? Why didn’t I keep my eyes on the pool for a few more minutes? Why did my child have to be the one to get cancer? Why didn’t the doctors do something sooner? Why? Why? Why? Parents are plagued by the question, “Why?”

The reason we labor so much over the question of “Why?” is because the death of a child is so totally unreasonable. It makes no sense for a young child to have been snatched away too soon. We have grown used to the fact that the aged will die, but it is never acceptable for us to hear that a child has died. The death is out of order. Parents are supposed to die before their children.

Because the death of a child makes no sense, acceptance of the death becomes a very difficult thing to do. It is extremely difficult to process the fact that the child is gone, and therefore the grief can become an overwhelming pain. When we have not accepted the fact of the young child’s death, there can be an expected, unnatural longing for the child to return. This, of course, is not possible, and can often turn the grief into an unmanageable type of pain where professional intervention becomes necessary. Acceptance of the death is a very essential part of grief work.

How can a parent accept the fact that the child has died when nothing seems to make any sense? It takes time to get beyond the initial shock of the death. How much time needed is a very individual matter. Some parents will understand the reality of loss in a week or two. Others will need three months or more to begin to understand that a child did indeed die.

Even though a parent might return to the motions of living, acceptance of the child’s death will only come after many tears and many painful experiences. Child loss is difficult to process!

Reality settles in when a parent begins to understand that a lunch does not have to be packed, the child does not have to receive weekly chemo treatments, or that there is no longer a need to participate in a carpool for soccer. The daily routine of living has been changed dramatically.

The mundane activities of life change instantly when a child has died. The world as we once knew it is totally different. There is now an emptiness that can never be completely filled.

Acceptance of a child’s death is the most difficult part of grief. Once a parent understands the reality of loss, as painful as that is to be, a parent can then begin to move forward in the long, step-by-step journey of grief.

The death of a child might never make any sense, but the ability to move beyond the death into a more hopeful living where joy returns is possible once the child’s death has become a reality.
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