The death of a child in the family changes our way of doing things. A childs death may occur unexpectedly leaving siblings and parents may experience endless effects. Whether it was a sudden death or because of illness, parents may feel that they have failed. That they were unable to protect their child. The torturous feelings may become horrendous. On the other hand, siblings may fail to acknowledge the death of the sister or brother. They will prefer not to talk about the deceased and have a protective feeling towards their parents. Both the parents and sibling become upset due to fear. Therefore, a childs death in the family affects siblings and the parents emotionally, mentally and physiologically.
Death, especially of a child, is a burden to everyone in the family as it drains people physically, physiologically and emotionally. One of the explanations that have been offered to describe what the family will go through in grieve is the five stages of Kubler-Ross (Miller, 2015). In the initial stages, a few to several minutes after the death of the child majority of the family will experience denial. At this time, they will emotionally and physically not accept the death of their child. In this stage, they will do all in their power including shaking and calling for medical help. All these attempts will emotionally strive to satisfy the family to ensure that their loved child has really passed. The majority of the family member strive not to accept the outcome even when it is very evident in their eyes (Miller, 2015). Grieving at this phase is very crucial as it will be important for the individual as they traverse to other stages. Being stuck at this phase prolongs grieve bringing long-suffering especially when it is their only child. Emotionally family member is always drained in the initial parts and denial at this phase is the common cause. Lots of energy and support are sufficient to overcome the issue
Once the members denial starts to fade away anger starts to develop towards others. In this phase, the family directs them to grieve to other family members, caregivers, and even God if they are religious (Miller, 2015). For a thing precious as a child they will attribute their anger to the things they felt others caused the death. For instance, the family will show anger to the doctor they feel did not do their part well or God for failing to assist their child in recovering. They may also direct their anger to the family member they may associate with the death. All people should do is to understand the family and avoid unnecessary arguments that could prolong the phase (Miller, 2015). Directing anger to family members sometime could be emotionally draining especially when anger is directed to fellow family members. However, family members need to be allowed to express themselves as they see it fit because holding anger during grieve has a dire consequence in the future of individuals. Always there is mental exhaustion in knowing that others did not do all in their power to prevent the death. According to Bruce (2013), some case may see the family blame or direct their anger to themselves which may be emotionally demanding.
Grieve period may be long or short depending on the attachment the family had to the child and its place in the family. The last phases of grieving family see them bargaining, wishing the death did not occur, and depression. Mentally depression and exhaustion occur in family members due to the whole grieve period (Miller, 2015). Depression of the family will depend on many factors. For instance, a child who had been sick for a very long period with a chronic illness may cause less depression compared to a child who died due to acute illness or an accident. The long period of sickness prepares parents for grieve as compared to the shorter period. However, regardless of the duration of illness, there is a period of depression (Miller, 2015). Emotionally, the family member could bargain asking why this particular child expressing the attachments. It is after passing through these stages that individuals will emotionally reach a point of acceptance. Acceptance in grieve is important as it is a point of moving on and moving past the death. Whereas this is not physically possible to forget the child, the burden of its death lessens giving the family members to resume their activities of their daily lives.
The mental implication of the death that family undergoes is always great. Most of the time, the mental grieving may be visible through withdrawal from daily routines and retraction even from family roles. Mentally, the implications are more severe to those the child was closest to including the father, mother and siblings (Bruce, 2013). Another mental implication that comes with grieve is stress. Stress affects everybody as all instances of death is not well prepared for by the family. Whereas it may exist among other extended family members, sometimes they might be mild (Miller, 2015). Accompanying symptoms may include sobbing, headaches, and withdrawal from routine activities (Epperson, 2015). Severe mental and psychological issues like food refuse and self-neglect may ensure where the family is not supported well through the grieving period (Bruce, 2013). Positive support and care during grieve of a child are crucial.
Physiological implications of grieve to the family may sometimes be mild but in other cases may be unavoidable. The grieving period may be characterized by weight loss due to the loss of appetite (Bruce 2013). Besides, grief has been associated with a decline in immunity which in turn could cause some other diseases. Bowel changes may also be evident among the grieving families due to food refuse among other may also come to play (Bruce, 2013). Giving adequate support is crucial for minimizing these effect that may hinder personal health during this difficult time.
It is important to underscore that different families will experience different physiological effects in grief. For instance, some may have difficulty in talking. Managing each others grief becomes very difficult between the two parents (Epperson, 2015). The two partners may fail to unite each other and instead, bereavement make them be resentful, blameful and distant. The relationship between the two may also change. The parents are still grieving). Secondly, others may develop feelings of isolation. A parent may feel lonely to the extent that he or she fails to share their feelings with close friends. They would rather keep their feelings to themselves. The reason for doing this is to protect their remaining children, friends, family members and their partners (Epperson, 2015). Due to strain in the management of the grieve, some physical and emotional problems may emerge.
Indeed, death of a child is strenuous to the family. Members may experience various physiological, mental and emotional challenges in the face of grief. Having the community closer to the family is important to assist the family transit smoothly through this difficulty time. Being supportive and encouraging is very crucial when a family has lost a precious thing as a child. It is through support and collaboration that the family will achieve acceptance and move on in life.
Bruce C. A. (2013) Helping Patients Families Caregivers and Physicians in The Grieving Process. The Journal of American Osteopathic Association
Epperson, M.M (2015) Families in sudden crisis: Grieving process and intervention in families. The journal of social work
Miller, E.T (2015). The Grieving Process: A Necessary Step Towards Healing. Rehabilitation and Healing Nursing Journal
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