How Couples Grieve Differently After a Child-Loss

A friend of mine told me recently that she is moving on with her life after her only son died 2 1/2 years ago. Her voice sounded upbeat. Her spirits were soaring. Only good things are happening now, and she is enjoying what she has to look forward to: grandchildren growing up, graduating, marrying, a good relationship with her daughter-in-law who just remarried. “Now,” she says, “I want to figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life.”

When this first happened, I could not convince her she would survive the loss. She told me that she realizes now what she misses the most besides her son’s presence in her life. “I miss the conversations we had, the fighting back and forth, most times with a good ending. I miss the exchange of loving phrases. I miss the laughter.”

I tried to make a coffee date to see her and was finally successful. Her calendar was busy with whatever activities she enjoys and people she enjoys being with. She will find her way, I am confident, and I am happy she has come so far.

Sadly, her husband is not in the same place. He can not get past his son’s death, nor the way he died. He only saw a counselor for a year…not enough for him. I’m sure he feels a lot of anger and rage at what happened and probably asks himself (as most of us do) “Why me?” Hopefully, he too, can do it on his own, but he is an example of why I write articles for bereaved parents, hoping that something will click for him too.

And one day, I’m sure it will. It will just take him longer. No two people grieve alike or for the same amount of time. I’m convinced he will come out on the other side of grief as my friend has.

This couple is a good example of how men and women, husbands and wives, aren’t necessarily in the same place after the death of their child. But if they can talk about the child, remember good times and their loving relationship with the child and not concentrate on how the child died or that they couldn’t save them, in the end, their communication will hopefully help each other accept and cope with their loss.

Sandy Fox

More Articles Written by Sandy

Sandy Fox has won four finalist awards for her recent book "Creating a New Normal...After the Death of a Child" with over 80 coping articles and a huge resource section. One award is from USA Book News in the Health/Death and Dying Category for 2010. The second award is from ForeWord Reviews in the Health Category for 2010. The third is from Royal Dragonfly Book Awards. The most recent finalist award is for the self-help category of the 2011 Indie Book Awards. She is also the author of another grief book, "I Have No Intention of Saying Good-bye." “I Have No Intention of Saying Good-bye” tells the stories of 25 sets of parents and how they moved on with their lives after the death of their child, offering hope and survival techniques. Sandy has headed two national bereavement conferences for childless parents and spoken for many years at Compassionate Friends National conferences, POMC and across the U.S. to a variety of bereavement groups. She also writes articles for the Open to Hope site, EZ articles, and Journey through grief newsletter in addition to her own weekly blog: Sandy can be contacted at [email protected] to set up any speaking engagements or to ask any questions related to surviving the death of a child. Sandy was a guest on the radio show “Healing the Grieving Heart“ discussing: “I have no intention of Saying Good-Bye: Coping Techniques for the Now Childless.” To hear Sandy being interviewed on this show by Dr. Gloria & Dr. Heidi Horsley, click on the following link:


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  • Time and memories of one another is indeed a good healer and that is why we need to cherish every moment with our loved ones

    • Janet says:

      When our son died I was shocked to note my husband and I did not grieve in the same way. We really did not grieve together and had two other young children to take care of. My deepest regret was that we did not stick it out with counseling, and now, 12 years later, we have grown apart. Everyone grieves at their own pace and deals with this horrible loss differently. Hopefully a couple can respect each others’ ways of coping and find the strength to hold the family together.

      I just passed Sandy’s book to a couple around teh block who lost a baby who died in utero a few months ago. I like the way the book demonstrates the many ways we need to grieve.

      And Sany-if you are ther, I have been trying to get in touch with you :). Want to catch up!


  • Diane says:

    you know I have heard so many times “kids are only borrowed to us” when I think about it it’s true when they are called they have to leave no option just leave and we are left behind to deal with the grief of letting them go and we can’t do anything about it.
    I lost my daughter 24 years old last September 2013 and it will take time to overcome this pain/hole that we have even though we have 2 beautiful boys it’s not the same we truly love them but it’s still not the same, she had so much to give and she was doing what she loved she was happy.
    All of this because the driver and the passagers fell a sleep in the truck (small truck) and the driver woke up and did not react correctly.
    They were all tired after a week in the woods doing research on spider monkeys, she never woke up which is good she never had the change to suffer, we meet her in the hospital and she knew we were there she made sure that we knew she knew we were there for her and she happy to able to be us for the last time and even thank her for that, after 1 week in coma (artifical) she had to leave and I gave her permission to leave which she did.