It does not appear to make a difference whether one’s child is three, thirteen or thirty if he dies. The emotion in each of us is the same. How could it be that a parent outlives a child?

- Harriet Sarnoff Schiff

The agony of losing a child of any age is unparalleled. There is no age or point in time that makes it any easier. No parent expects to face the death of their child and no grandparent expects to lose their grandchild.

The death of a child goes against the natural order we expect life to follow. The loss carries with it the loss of the future, the hopes, dreams, and potential that can never be fulfilled. The longing for the child and the feeling of emptiness can last a lifetime.

Some parents describe feeling complete disbelief, mixed with flashes of reality too awful to think about. You may feel numb, empty, enraged, anxious or exhausted. You may feel guilty, feeling that you were responsible for their safety and that you should have been able to prevent what happened. Some parents also feel guilty because they have survived their child.

There may be nothing you could have done differently, but such feelings can be strong and can be replayed over and over again as you try to make sense of what has happened.

More information:

When a child dies – a loss like no other

Other guidance films that may be helpful: When a grandchild has died

Saying goodbye to your baby or child

The death of a grandchild

> When your baby dies

> How we grieve and what may help

Finding support

Everyone is different in what they need and there are no rules on how to grieve. You may have lots of support around you, but even so, you may feel you need additional support.

> Find support near you

> Child Bereavement UK support services

> About our Helpline