Losing a Child Unexpectedly


We were prepared to lose Hadassah.

Kenny and I had 16 weeks to prepare our hearts for Hadassah’s death. I’m not sure if you would call that fortunate or not. But the reality is that we could grieve before it actually happened, meaning we could jump back into real life faster.

Many of your stories happened much more quickly. One minute your baby was giggling with that gummy grin and the next you were walking away from his casket at the funeral.

Or maybe your story happened later in your child’s life. You were driving down the Interstate and careened into traffic, the back end of your car crushed to a pulp. Only you lived to tell about it. You still tremble every time you get back into your car.

Maybe you lost your baby in pregnancy. You were laughing and gasping every time the baby kicked your ribs. Then, you didn’t feel any kicks for a while.

I remember when Kelly came over to tell me her story.

“I can’t even imagine having to carry your baby full–term, knowing that she might not make it,” she said sympathetically.

“And I can’t imagine thinking I would bring my baby home in a few weeks, buying all the cute baby gear, and then having to pack it all away when the baby dies.” I knew I would have grieved harder had it come so unexpectedly.

I can’t know everything that you might be feeling right now after losing your baby unexpectedly, but just know that I care. Many others around you do care.

You’ll need more time.

If you didn’t have much preparation for losing your child, you will probably need more time before you can even think about going back to a semblance of normal life. I knew four months in advance, and I still needed a month.

This psychology site says that how you lost your child can seriously affect how long you deeply grieve.

“When the loss is sudden or unexpected, parents are left in a state of shock and disbelief even greater than that which is normally expected. People regret they had no time for goodbyes.” It goes on, “Suicides, murders, and accidents are especially difficult for parents to process.”

Truthfully, we all need a lifetime to grieve for our children. But the initial grieving process can take longer and feel more traumatic if you weren’t expecting it to happen. Give yourself the time you need.

Live in the Moment.

Anne Vachon lost her son suddenly in a snowmobile accident. The doctors held onto him for 24 hours, but they couldn’t find any brain activity. They had to let him go.

Anne said, “At first, you live hour to hour. I couldn’t think of anything past one hour.”

You don’t have to worry about tomorrow. Just get through right now. Somehow, you’ll eventually find the strength to think past the moment, but don’t try now. Pray for God’s strength to take your next step.

by Sarah George





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