How do I get over the pain of unexpectedly losing my 30 year-old daughter?

50 answers | Last updated: Sep 27, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

My 30 year-old daughter died unexpectedly, although she fought major illness throughout her life. She leaves an eight-month-old child. How can I get past this incredible pain? I keep yelling at God.

Expert Answers

Martha Clark Scala has been a psychotherapist in private practice since 1992, with offices in Palo Alto and San Francisco, California. She regularly writes about grief and loss, the necessity of self-care, and substance abuse. Her e-newsletter, "Out on a Limb," is available to subscribers through her website.

There are those who say that the loss of a child is the most difficult of all, so it makes sense that you are experiencing incredible pain. In fact, most grieving parents would probably say that you never completely get past a pain like this.

The challenge is to learn to live with your pain, and trust that it will become less intense over time. That involves attempting to stay as present with all of the feelings that are coming up for you.

The mistake many people make is in trying to disclaim or just get over their natural feeling responses to sad events. But attempts to simply get over difficult feelings may actually even prolong them.  So, if you are feeling mad at God, or just plain mad, let yourself feel mad. Write in a journal about how you feel, talk about it with other people--especially if you know any other parents who have lost a child--or talk to a religious counselor, such as a minister or rabbi.  

Consider contacting The Compassionate Friends, a national nonprofit organization devoted to supporting families in the aftermath of the death of a child. You might also find a book that specifically addresses grief due to loss of a child particular helpful. For example, try When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold S. Kushner.

Here is hoping that the presence of your grandchild helps you sustain your connection with your deceased daughter.

Community Answers

Granny2grandsons answered...

Dear Martha,

The pain you are feeling will never go away, you will learn how to :cope with it". I lost my 17 yr old son 17 years ago and it has not gotten any easier. I went through feeling - if only I had been a better Mom, if only I didn't allow him to go, if only . . .

I too, was so mad - but I didn't know who to be mad at since the driver died as well. The two brothers - one thought my son was next to him in the ambulance but it was his brother. That brother later died years later in a very horrible incident, a crazed person who shot him in a parking lot of a shopping center.

God, I prayed every day - "who can I be mad at for losing my son, my buddy". Months later, I realized that God chose to give His son, then I realized "how can I be mad at God"?

I miss my son every day - how greatful I am that we had family portraits done 2 days prior. My son was my buddy - my daughter has nothing to do with me. She has two beautiful sons but recently told me I wasn't allowed to see my Grandsons! She uses them as pawns. I think it is because of her resentment of her recent divorce and I just happen to be the one to take things out on.

How I wish I could tell you things will be better. The only positive thing I can say is that she left you with the most precious gift, her eight month old child. Take the time to be with the child and Dad, they need love and support as much as you! This child will help heal when you play, read a book, or whatever. Children have a way of taking your complete attention. I raised my Grandsons from infancy to age 3 - it was the best therapy! But that "luxury" is gone since they are older now.

Sending a very tight hug and many, many prayers!

Janetm answered...

Dear Martha When my son was 16, two days before school was starting for the year, he was hit in the chest while playing basketball and died of cardiac arrest. Death of a child hits hard, really hard. Many families break apart from the strain of dealing with the death of a child. My husband and I were fortunate enough to have the capacity to talk out our feelings and console each other. Some of the things that seemed to give me the most comfort was to write to my son in a journal . Whenever I thought of something that I wanted my son to know or to share with him I wrote to him. After a few years I realized that I had been writing less and less. No, I did not forget him. I was healing and dealing with his loss. At Christmas each year we put a small battery operated Christmas tree at his gravewith decorations that we placed on it to remind us of him. (Invariably the lights last through the New Year when we take it down.) On his birthday we take balloons and fresh flowers to his grave and spend the day celebrating his life. Try to keep the negatives away from your thoughts and memories of your daughter. Those feelings will keep you down and cause more stress in your life. Try to focus on the good things that you remember about her and that wonderful little child that she has left for you to love. Tell her little one how much you loved your daughter and all the fun times that you had with her. Postive feeling only grow stronger and beget more positive feelings. Pray to God for the healing powers that you need. You will find the things in life that make you smile again. Trust me.

Jade1961 answered...

Dear Martha, Where do I start to tell you that I do know how you feel. I too lost a child, my 6month old Daughter. She passed from S.I.D.S over 23 years ago. I still have moments of grief especially on special occasions. Several years after her death I was in an abusive marriage and had a miscarriage due to being beaten so badly & was told I would never give birth or conceive a child. Well, they were wrong. I was angry about the loss of my daughter, angry at a man who would beat a woman etc for a very, very long time. The one place I found solace was with God. He never left me, no don't mistake what I say, I left him in anger but he always picked me up. He gave me the courage to leave an abusive relationship. The strength to travel to a foreign country on my own & there I conceived my son. He is now married to a wonderful girl who is much younger than my daughter would be but she is also now pregnant with their first child. They are having a girl :-) I never told my son what his sister's name was as I didn't see the need for him to grieve for someone who passed well before his conception. They are naming their daughter the same name I gave mine so very many years ago. Through God, Peace, Understanding and a feeling of comfort will come if you ask. You can scream at him too ... he understands.

Please let me leave you with this small thought. My Daughter passed over 23 years ago, I still cry ... I know she is with God and that makes me stop crying and celebrating her very short life. Try it honey ... it cannot hurt. Sending Great Big Hugs & remember love the little one she left you. Your grandchild is a gift.

Cisca answered...

oh boy this is so hard... a child is not to die before the parents ! how u get over this ? i can't tell u , i can and will pray for u for strenght to go on in ure life ! i am sure that's what she would want u to do ! so sweety....even i don't know u ? u are in my prayers and in my heart !

Mom 3 answered...


A fellow caregiver answered...

Martha: I can only say I am so sorry for the loss of your daughter. It is true, no parent should outlive their child. No it is not fair, but life, unfortunately, is not.

My daughter was murdered when she was 22 years old. The killer has never be aprehended. The reason, remains unknown.

I was put on medication by my doctor. I guess that helped, but it does not make you deal with it. I joined every group I could find. There was one grief therapy group that I found only 2 years ago. I wish I would have found this group sooner.

I learned from the group that the loss of a child was the worst loss of all. But, I also learned from the group, I am no one to judge someone's else's loss. The man running the group told me to write a letter to my daughter telling her whatever I wanted to tell her, and tell her goodbye. I did that. I still have that letter. You see, I guess, I finally accepted she was gone.

I would have loved to have a grandchild, but I have nothing of my daughter to hold on to. You do, so cherish your grandchild, you have her to always remind you that you had a daughter.

My daughter was killed 13 years ago. There is not a day goes by that I do not wake up thinking of her and missing her. I do not cry as much as I did, but I do cry, as I am now.

So, besides joining grief therapy groups the only thing that will help is TIME.

Also, to show how crazy I got, and needed love, as I got a divorce, I have 26 dogs. I bought four and rescused l4 from a puppy mill, and then people started bringing me more. They give me such love and I do them. They are my family now.

Try and stay strong. I was angry at everyone, including God, and then one day, I said "I am tired of being angry" and went to confession, as I was raised Catholic.

I wish I could help you. You must be thankful that you have a grandchild, as she is part of your daughter. My daughter and your daughter would want us only to be happy and not cry. Your daughter would want you to be strong for her child.

I have no fear of death, because I know I will see my daughter again.
I will pray for you as I pray for strength everyday and night.

I also keep myself so busy, I do a lot of volunteer work. It does not give you time to think so much.

Renie green answered...

Our daughter, Kara, died unexpectedly five years ago. She was 31. She was married for 10 years, but they had no children. She was a gifted and talented piano player and musician. Fortunately, our whole family believes in God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and heaven, so I have a lot of peace about seeing her again. At first all I did was weep. It was a terrible haunting cry. Gradually, I cried less, but I still cry 5 unexpectedly years later. It is especially hard around the holidays. She passed away on December the 5th. I am blessed to have 2 other children and 2 grandchildren. It is a happy/sad time when they play her beloved piano. All 4 of them are blessed with great talent! I still use medication for depression. I see a therapist and I go to a support group. I have a loving and strong Church Family! My husband and I have many friends who are there for us and that is so helpful. Even in the midst of all these positives I still get lonely at times. I still have her wedding pictures hanging up, even though her husband remarried 18 months after her passing. I still hang her stocking up at Christmas. Santa fills it with canned food for the homeless. I do Volunteer work in a Hospital and at my church, I write in a journal (but not daily), and I think of our family as a family of five! Each day I miss her, but try to do something for me, too. Lean on God, he lost a son, too. Think of Mary as she watched her child die and find comfort in that. Be strong. Keep your sense of humor and don't feel guilty for laughing!

Granny2grandsons answered...

Dearest Renie,

I am so very sorry to hear about your loss. I just thanked you for sending me a prayer but didn't even realize you and I "wear the same shoes".

My only son, Charles (Chuck, Chuckles, Charlie) has been gone for 17 years this past June. He had just turned 17 in May. He was the most caring, loving, and "best buddy" to so many. For months, I didn't know who to be angry with because the driver also died. All of a sudden one day, I finally realized that God chose to give His son! How could I possibly be mad at God or anyone else for that matter!

I was so lucky to have had family portraits done two days before the accident - they had already been rescheduled 3 times! He was 6' tall and I am only 5' tall. If I needed something up high - he wouldn't hesitate or make me wait for him to help me. To this day, if I think I'm going to climb the kitchen counter - I still hear - "Mom, get the step stool". I literally felt and heard my heart break when told of the accident. There are so many times I feel so lonely, felt so guilty (if only I had been a better Mom, etc) and not only the holidays are hard but so are May and June along with Halloween when we would dress up to scare the older kids!

Dad was gone 6 months later (5 in 9 months - all on my side of the family) - Dad thought Charles was "all by himself". While my brother and I took care of our Mom during May 2005 - Mom gave me two "Words of Wisdom phrases to say daily" - 1) Be strong and stay busy (it's a lot harder than I thought) and 2) Find some Joy in today and if you cannot find it - make it! That meant to make someone else smile, laugh, or help them out - just do something for someone else! That one is the easiest for me. No one knows the pain in my heart for being the sole survivor of my childhood family - Mom said that I was her "emotional child". My brother (called him Bro) was gone unexpectedly 20 months after Mom. I was so numb but then remembered what Mom had told me.

I am so very thankful for this website - it helps me tremendously! It gives me comfort and I hope in time, you will feel the comfort from visiting this website. We are blessed!!

Sending tight hugs and prayers

A fellow caregiver answered...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I would agree that the pain of loosing a child never goes away, but you learn to deal with the loss. I lost both my husband and then my child in the last 7 years and some days I have all I can do to pick myself up in the morning. I've realized over the years that it is OK to have good and bad days and not to push myself to do things that I'm not comfortable doing or ready for. It's OK to be mad at God, I still have those days, but I do think that God has plans for us that we may never understand until we reach heaven. Try to surround yourself with people who know and love you and that aren't pressuring you to be happy or move on with your life. You will deal with grief the way you need to. Loosing a spouse feels like the worst pain that you will ever feel until you have lost a child. I think because the love we feel for a child is unconditiional and a part of us. I've often heard it referred to as loosing a limb. I wonder if God made the loss of a child so painful because he wanted us to understand the pain he felt after loosing his own son. Also, Don't try to analyze the 5 stages of grief. You will never follow these stages in order. I'm not sure who came up with that, but anyone who has lost a child will agree that you will jump around stages depending on your mood and how you feel that day. One day at a time. God bless.

A fellow caregiver answered...

As a mom who lost my 20 year old son nearly 2 years ago, I can appreciate all these answers and heartfelt comments you all gave. I don't think you ever get over losing a child or for that matter anyone you love. You learn to live with the the loss.

The only thing that really bothers me is the constant GOD refrences. I do not believe in a made up man in the sky, if there was a God who created all this heartache for only some of the people on this earth, then he should be punished. The starving children in Africa, the wars, the cancer in small children, etc...... Let us learn to deal with things without the easter bunny, santa claus, tooth fairy, god.

Jersey mom answered...

I lost my 34 year old daughter 2 years ago. She had epilepsy since 8 months old and always took medication. We went through difficult years but shared enormous love. In our immediate family (dad, mom and the two daughters) we had come to the comfort of believing the neurologist who assured us that if our daughters seizures were controlled adequately with medication she could live a long life. We monitored her meds very carefully. Our daughter somehow had a severe seizure and must have smothered in her sleep. We could not bear to have an autopsy and had her buried the third day after her passing.

The only sibling is five years older and is also broken-hearted. She thought that her little sister would live with she and her husband later in life when I would have passed away. My eldest's entire life has been loving and sharing care for her sister. Our lives are so empty without her. All through our lives we would three say "each of us is the air we breath" when describing to others how we felt about each other.

Our daughter/sister was so kind, caring, never judged others, never held grudges against those who made fun of her and loved everyone who crossed her path. She was generous to a fault. She suffered so many humiliations by children and adults because she was somewhat slower than they. But, my precious child would be the first to run up and comfort even one of her protagonists. She was my constant companion. She went to work with me every day and volunteered. We rode and sang in the car together every day. We shopped together and even bought the same outfits in different colors. She was my buddy.

The pain creeps into every day. I share happy moments with my eldest who has always been the other side of my heart, but joy is both muted and fleeting for both of us. We are both married and try not to stress our husbands. They too miss our sweet girl.
I am trying hard to find my way back to God but find it very difficult. I had lost my own mother when I was only 2 and heard my grandmother say many times how "losing a child is the worst thing in the world." I was always anxious about losing anyone I loved from childhood, suffered three miscarriages and when this my second living daughter became ill at eight months old I was in a panic. Just when I started, when she was 34, to relax a little, the rug was pulled out from under us. I went to wake her up for a planned day of walking in town at the end of summer to knock around in local shops, eat lunch and have ice cream (which she loved) to discover her gone forever.

The pain and loneliness almost smothers me. I want to run and run and scream sometimes. Living is difficult but I know I must help my living daughter get through this period. I also know as a Catholic that in order to spend eternity with my two girls I will have to hold onto life until HE is ready for me to leave. Sometimes, I feel that life is a punishment not a blessing. I know that it would be mentally crushing to my surviving daughter if anything were to happen to me , so I put one foot in front of the other and "live."

I have not been able to really pray because, I am not sure sometimes if God hears us anymore. But I want to pray for all of us who have suffered this horrific loss to find some peace, somehow. I will try tonight. Just sharing has helped me. Thank you!

Judycanet answered...

The answers on this page have been very helpful to me. My 20 year old daughter died suddenly last April of septic shock as a result of MRSA, a form of Staph. She died within a day of entering the emergency room, she/we thought she had the flu. My goodness this is so difficult. I cry every day. I just don't want to be this sad forever, nor would she want me to be, but I really see no light at the end of this tunnel. I have returned to work, I work in Social Work, and find it difficult to feel the rewards I previously felt. It is hard to look forward to anything, nothing sounds fun or exciting or even interesting, I don't want to give up, I keep telling myself I will feel better eventually, but frankly have a hard time believing it.

A fellow caregiver answered...

All I can say is that I have no answers for you. I lost my son two years ago and am having extreme difficulty with this. I feel lost every day and really have not been able to fix this. I feel nobody understands and I don't know where to go from here. Take care

Janetm answered...

I lost my son in 1997. He was hit on the chest and died while playing basketball with a group of 16 other boys. I know your pain and your anguish. I wrote a journal to him whenever I needed to talk with him. I also relied on my faith to help me through. There is a book that also may be of guidance-Psychic Children by Sylvia Browne. It answered the only question that I had about my son's sudden death.

Imissmymike answered...

I lost my most precious son Mike to suicide on October 6, 2011. I created a website in his honour which tells his story.

I found a poem - author unknown - that has helped me when other people expect me to get back to 'normal' which may be of some comfort - it was to me.

Don't Tell Me (author unknown)

Please don't tell me you know how I feel, Unless you have lost your child too. Please don't tell me my broken heart will heal, Because that is just not true. Please don't tell me my son is in a better place, Though it is true, I want him here with me. Don't tell me someday I'll hear his voice; see his face, Beyond today I cannot see. Don't tell me it is time to move on, Because I cannot. Don't tell me to face the fact he is gone, Because denial is something I can't stop. Don't tell me to be thankful for the time I had, Because I wanted more. Don't tell me when I am my old self you will be glad, I'll never be as I was before. What you can tell me is you will be here for me, That you will listen when I talk of my child. You can share with me my precious memories, You can even cry with me for a while. And please don't hesitate to say his name, Because it is something I long to hear every day. Friend please realize that I can never be the same, But if you stand by me, You may like the new person I become someday.

A fellow caregiver answered...

I too, am grieving the loss of my daughter and raising her 4 yr old daughter, which brought me to this site. Yes, I was angry too. I also felt absolutely helpless as if I were bound in rope & forced to watch her drown in quicksand. I even wondered if I was being punished for past misgivings. We watched her suffer from a painfully aggressive/terminal cancer and the deadly, disfiguring & horrifying effects of conventional "treatments" she underwent. I had such sorrow & disbelief I was beside myself. It has been three months since she went to live with God and I still sob sometimes inconsolably. I know I need to find a healthy and positive way to process this deep sense of loss. Although her passing was somewhat bittersweet it is still such a stark and painful reality that I really have to work hard towards my own healing. I am not a devout church goer (organized religion is not my cup of tea) yet the entire experience of her illness/death led me to seek a relationship with God that I had not had before. I have derived some comfort from my talks with the Creator. I cling to the hope that my comfort will come in Divine doses (and thru prayer) given time and the belief that although her physical body is no longer in this realm, she is whole again and no longer suffering, her essence/spirit is and always will be here within me.

Joy e answered...

I feel so sorry for you. I lost my 48-year-old daughter in April last year She took her own life, and I know I will never feel the same again. I miss her SO much! One of her friends gave me a beautiful poem which I want to share with you:

Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free, I'm following the path God laid for me. I took His hand when I heard His call, I turned my back and left it all. I could not stay another day to laugh, to love, to work, to play. Tasks left undone must stay that way, I've found that peace at the end of the day. If my parting has left a void, then fill it with remembered joy. A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss; ah yes; these things too I will miss. Be not burdened with times of sorrow, I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow. My life's been full - I savoured much, good friends, good times, a loved one’s touch. Perhaps my time seems all too brief, don't lengthen it now with undue grief. Lift up your heart and share with me, God wanted me now He set me free. ANON Realising that my daughter took her own life, I take comfort from what one of my best friends said at the time. I asked many people to pray for my daughter, but she had told me she didn't want to live any more - she had had enough of this life. My friend said God did not appear to answer our prayers, but He did answer hers. I take comfort from the thought that she is now at peace and is safe in the arms of Jesus. Rest in peace my darling.

Aurum answered...

My 13-year old daughter passed away in December two years ago. An OTC drug administered to her by the school nurse resulted in a fatal allergic reaction. She could have survived if she arrived in the hospital on time. But the heavy traffic due to the Christmas rush made her suffer from a cardiopulmonary attack. The hospital managed to revive her vital organs but massive damage to her brain brought about by lack of oxygen caused her death two days later.

It was terrible. I only have two kids -- a boy and a girl and my girl was my constant companion. She was a very sweet and fun-loving person who would often shower me with hugs and kisses. Losing her was really devastating. My legs would turn to jelly and my heart would feel like bursting whenever I think of her. I couldn't believe that my perfect life would be shattered all of a sudden. I wanted to die too. But I would think about my husband and son and the desire to end it all would fade away.

However, never did I get mad at God for what happened. My faith taught me that mankind came from Him, thus, He has all the right to take back what is His. God knows what is best for my daughter. Who am I to question Him?

After the initial mourning, husband and I decided that we couldn't allow the situation to affect our marriage and our son. We didn't want our son to be deprived of our attention and love just because we were in pain.

So we had to deal with our grief. For my husband, it meant going to her grave every day until he came to terms with her death. For me, I devoured every self-help book I can get my hands on -- books to uplift the spirit, books about people who suffered the same loss, books on faith and spirituality.

Together, we constantly prayed to the Lord to ease the pain and help us move on. We went on with our family routine. We had our house renovated and all furniture replaced. We talk about our daughter constantly. We tried our best to inject laughter into our life because we cannot allow the heavy feeling in our house to persist.

During the first few months, I cried a lot but I only gave myself five minutes to pour all my pain. After the allotted time, I would again compose myself and put a smile on my face. From daily crying fits, it became weekly, monthly, and now I hardly do so. Not because I don't miss her anymore. If ever, the longing is much stronger. It's just that the pain is hardly there anymore. I could now look back at our times together and smile when I remember her antics. Sometimes, I ask the Lord to bring her to my dreams and whenever she does appear, I wake up feeling very light and happy.

Losing a loved one, especially a child is not easy. It takes time, a strong support group, lots of prayers, and a will to move on and be happy to survive such an ordeal. It is a challenge and just like any challenge, it can be surmounted.

Pvw answered...

I too lost a child. My daughter was tragically killed in an auto accident at the young age of 24. She was a registered nurse and just completed her Batchelors degree of science in nursing. The accident happened a month before she was to receive her diploma. The university was gracious and presented her diploma to me at the graduation ceremony. The ten year mark is coming up in September. I close my eyes trying to see just how ten years have passed. The pain will never go away although is it much better. I still cry for her, oh my how I miss her. After the first three years of horrific pain and suffering I realized I could not live like this anymore. I wanted my life back and I wanted my self back. For sure I am not the same person; I am much stronger. I will never the happy person I use to be but I am happy. I can laugh again, sing, dance and love unconditionally. I have two sons and one step daughter along with three grandchildren. My daughter didn't have any children yet. I put all my love into my family and like some one has posted previously, my grandchildren have been a god send. With out them I do not think I would be at the place I am today. My marriage stayed together but at times it was rocky..until we both knew what we had to do to survive our loss. As all of us who have lost a child we would give anything to have them back. We know wits not possible and we must go on with our lives. People are always telling you "she would want you to go on". Well of course she would and I did after time realize that is true. Our child knows we loved them and miss them. I cry often still but I have control now. I live my life knowing one day I will be with her. Instead of living my life always wanting to die so I could be with her, I now live my life to live and live happy as I possibly can for me and my family. I was mad at God for sometime but God is the one who has helped me grow through this terrible loss. I can set and smile when I think of by beautiful and loving daughter. I get sad over the things we never got to all know. TIME is truly the ONLY thing that makes it bearable. I do as much as I can keeping her memory alive. Scholarships, heart walks in her memory. I have candy machines placed in business to help supplement the scholarship..anything I can possibly do,to keep her memory alive. It feeds my soul..over time I found as well that one must be easy on them selves thru the grieving process. It is hard enough. I hope my post will help some grieving parent. It has helped me today posting. My love to all of you and I wish you all the luck in your journey.

B badgley answered...

I lost my son almost 2 years ago, September 28, 2012. He was 34 years old and was killed in a boiler explosion at a refinery. I do not believe that you ever get "over it". You simply get "on with it". Some days I feel very strong, others I find myself crying at the drop of a hat. It started this morning because I saw his name from several years ago on a paypal address list as I was ordering an item online. How crazy?!! But the tears fell and I let them. People were amazed at how "strong" I am. I am in the position of leadership in the small town where we live, so the community depends on me daily. However, many days I do not feel strong. I fight going to work, and routines daily. I do have a grandson that looks strikingly similar to his father, and another son and grandson. THese are the blessings God has given me. I have a deep faith and know where my son waits for me. However, we are selfish. We want them here. And that is okay. I have found that looking too far ahead makes it more difficult. Get through this hour, this day, this week. Try, as time starts to heal your heart a little (and it will) to find something to look forward to. People do not realize that grief has a physical face to it. There really is such a thing as a broken heart. But God can and will help you. We have to remember that God does not see death as the punishment we do. He knows that it is simply the next step for us and we will be together again. We really will. In the mean time, cry when you need to, scream if you must, but try to love what is still on the physical earth with you. We do not get to control circumstances but we can control what circumstances to our live and those around us. I pray for peace every day and I will pray for peace for all of us with broken hearts.

Hone answered...

JuCD t lost my 23 months old baby soo angry at God,some days are better than others,today is one of the bad ones.I have other kids but I keep thinking if only I had done this etc..all I hear is ,he is in a better place!!I want him here.all the hopes and dreams are gone and it hurts me soo bad.recently I talked to God,told him to please give me another baby exactly like him.any advice anyone I feel so alone!

Vlh answered...

I am so sorry for the loss of your precious daughter. I share your agony and despair. I lost my beautiful, talented, funny, sweet 23 year old daughter, Helena Gabrielle on 12/16/13. She died unexpectantly from heart complications due to an eating disorder. Months after Helena's death, I was inconsolable. I blamed myself ... until I realized that it wasn't my fault and she would be hurt to know I was punishing myself for something over which I had no control. Something that has helped me is repeating this mantra everyday, 10 times a day, 50 times, 100 times, as many times as I feel the need. I say: I have the strength to accept that Helena is gone. She was a great daughter, and I was a great mom. We loved each other a lot and we will see each other again. This I believe with my whole heart and soul. Try saying this with your daughter's name. It will help, I know it. Please be comforted by the fact i have asked my Helena to look after your daughter in their after-life, to keep each other company until we are all together again. With love, Victoria (Baltimore, MD)

Time stands still answered...

I sit here with tears running down my face as I read all of your posts of your precious children who have passes before us. My head hurts and my heart is heavy. We lost our 22 year old daughter January 2013. She was hit by a truck while out on her morning run. She had just graduated from clarion university 15 days prior. She was my savings grace, always hugs and I love you, they very reason I breathed. Some days I think to myself I can do this... Other days I am brought to my knees, weak and broken. Every night I wonder if this wil be the night she will visit me. I have had dreams of Megan early on. Every dream I would grab her and not let go and tell her how much I love and miss her I don't know how we do "this" but somehow we are, we all are. hugs to you all

Huntske answered...

My daughter was murdered by her husband on December 1, 2013. She wasn't supposed to meet him anywhere, she had discussed bringing the children to my house so he could visit them. (she had left him several weeks before and was seeking a divorce). He got a hotel room and for some reason, probably to make sure he HAD a room instead of running off with the kids, she entered the hotel room with the children and from that point, all I know is she was stabbed to death and her oldest daughter COULD NOT reach 911 because she wasn't taught to dial a "9" first from a hotel room. The pain is almost a year old and is still the same. I feel guilt, (I should have STRESSED that she bring the kids to my house), I feel an emptiness that will never be filled and I see my grand children struggling to understand who they are and where their mother and father have gone. I sit here tonight, having one of those "moments" and the pain never eases. I miss her so.. I fill my time trying to correct the problems when dialing 911 at any location but that will never take away the absolute dreadful pain I feel every day. I just plain miss her and knowing I will never hear the words, "Hi Daddy" or "I love you Daddy" makes it difficult to look to the future. I will continue to try and change the laws concerning dialing 911, I have no choice. I never want another 9 year old child to tell an adult "I tried to call 911 but it didn't work". That should never be a problem in the U.S. I wish you comfort and good memories.

Bill123 answered...

Please I need help and I know I am being selfish by asking other parents who have lost their children but I can not get over losing my daughter Carrie I have tried I really have but I am crying everyday and I feel for my wife and sons who try to help me.I fear it has made me mentally ill as I have lost all my strength and I am a failure as a father and all that matters in my thoughts or life is Carrie and her loss.Carrie was told all the time how much she was loved and she told me how much she loved me but I could not help her and having to watch her leaving me in life will never go away.

Daniela zrala answered...

I'm a stranger so sorry for my English. reading all these wittnesses i'm just crying and found really confort for me. I lost my beautiful daughter last June. She was 26 and she died during the night of Summer soltice in her bed a cause of fulminated pneumonia. She didn't realized she was so bed, in the evening was on facebook with friend and during the night just died without warning. She was very talented bright spirit and i miss her infinitly...... I'm slowly learning to accept and to the deal the fact that the life and i myself will be never the same, that the life i have had i will never have again...i fee the huge pain and the loss of all, but i also feel the possibility to feel well and i'm also able to laught thinking of the real mistery of the life......

Bravehearts answered...

All these comments of lost children bring tears to my eyes. You are all so very brave, you must never blame yourselves. Remember this, your child would not want you to suffer, the best thing you can do is live life to the fullest, because they didn't have the chance. My father died when I was 21 and our whole family fell apart. Different, but still I understand a little what you had to do.

A fellow caregiver answered...

My daughter died couple of months ago when she was five. It gave so much pain after going through lot of issues in my life. I had multiple brain surgeries. Now I do NOT worship god and will not do it in future. This loss is unforgiving and will never leave my mind. Time is healing medicine. Think about the happy times you spent with the kid.

Mahlape answered...

I lost my own 33-year old daughter suddenly and unexpectedly 3 years ago. The pain does not stop; it gets a bit dull sometimes. Some days, very few, I even feel light and I can smile and laugh at a joke. Most of the time I feel numb though I mechanically go through tasks. I know I will never be the same as I was before, but it bothers me that I feel stuck, unable to think of the future. I drift from day to day and from chore to chore. Life has lost its flavour for me. Even though there are other people in my life: my husband, our son and his wonderful family, I do not want to bond with anyone again. I am fearful that death will strike again and then I will broken again. I don't know if I can take another loss before I heal from this one. I don't know that I can heal from this one. My daughter and I were very close. I'm trying to move forward but it's hard and I don't feel that I have the emotional energy to commit to any major project. I'm willing to try all advise I get, but the best for me comes from a comment I heard recently: "Don't think too much, commit to something positive and start doing it immediately". If I don't think too much, I won't need a ton of emotional energy. I am practising with little things that require only a small commitment and very little time. Every small achievement propels me forward.

A moms answered...

I offer my prayers and loving thoughts to all here who have lost loved ones, who's heart has been shattered and broken ,,yet goes on beating. My life and my families has been changed forever since the loss of my 31yr old beautiful daughter Miriam who ended her life after suffering terrible anxiety and depression..she left 3 boys the youngest 9 months. There had been family difficulties and we had not attended her wedding, she had been suffering in her home life but never contacted us, we were devasted to hear what she had endured..We do not see our grandchildren 2 who are not her husbands biological children..We have no strength left to fight anyone..Since her death like the lady above I move silently from day to day, miss her terribly and still cannot believe she has done this,choose to leave her life, her children and that we will never see her again in this life..Some days I drowned on dry land, fighting for an answer, a reason, re-living the scenario of her carrying out the last actions of self execution..My heart physically aches for her, her bright eyes, freckles and sweet smile..She was such a well loved girl and friend, daughter and so much more..We lost our other daughter Victoria 21yrs ago at birth..I never dreamed I would ever lose my eldest child..I thank God for my 20yr old son who has been a light in the darkness, he is caring, loving and ever so beloved to us all, I pray for Miriam everyday, see her in my dreams and awaken never wanting to let her loving embrace go..Some days I have not wanted to go on..wished I could be with my best friend and daughter, I ask God '' Why '' Why did no one stop her, notice something..she had asked her husband to look after the boys if she died, but he never sought help or thought anything was wrong...I do not know how long this will last..the pain, loss and despair..Prayer helps..I feel a guiding strength and inner hope when I ask for it..Thank God..I can only wait and live for my loved ones in each moment, a Mother / parent never stops being the protector and arms of love, the heart feels the eternal connection even in death..It will be a year on June 9th..I do not know how I will be on the day...Another day without her..I will honor my beautiful girl and let my heart feel all that it is....God bless you all..xx

A fellow caregiver answered...

I just lost my 38 year old daughter a month ago. She took her life. My little 9 year old granddaughter was the first to find her. I'll never ever be able to remove the image both of us saw from my memory..

It was very unexpected, we knew she was under some stress but that's always the case with a single parent. I'll never understand why.. just earlier in the evening she had been laughing with friends, planning trips, she had just bought all new underwear. What woman does something like that after making plans and buying new underwear?

The finality of it grips me sometimes, certainly I know that she's gone because... but sometimes still I find myself picking up the phone to text her to say her son is doing fine and I'm making sure he's eating, or that her oldest son is really being so lovingly supported by his friends. I look in my granddaughters eyes and I see the pain I feel and I have to turn away to cry.

You NEVER ever get over loosing a child. My only comfort is my sweet girl is free of the physical illness that she suffered from for so long, free from the demons in her mind that eventually took her. I'm comforted by her sisters and her friends. All of us have come together and hold each other close as each day passes... it doesn't get better. We all just try to get better at dealing with it. My heart goes out to anyone who has lost a child, I've known death: my father, mother, husband... but NOTHING compares to the pain the deep deep deep pain I feel every day. But, at the same moment, the bond of those who survive has proved to be stronger than our grief, and I will never be alone in my grief. There will always be someone close who will understand it. That's what keeps me going, even when I'm so tired and grieved I don't think I can breathe.

Peace to all who post here, and may you find comfort often.

Imasurvivor answered...

No... you NEVER get over it. You DO have to think of the good as much as possible. It is one day at a time. Triggers always pop up. I too lost my youngest daughter of 32yrs old March of this last year. Our stories are very alike. They stated she left do to suicide, but we as family strongly feel otherwise. Her husband was not a good man. There is a lot more to the story...Their two small children were taken by the state, put into foster and we took on a long painful custody battle, we could not afford. It was ugly. It was unfair. After 18 months and at the final hour, after political $ moves, we lost our grandchildren. It was all planned for $ . The foster adopted them this past month and we got an 11, 602.00 attorney bill...for losing??? We don't know how we are going to pay. One month before her loss, I lost my father of a chronic illness and now nurturing my dying service dog of 15 yrs.The pain, anguish, and grief are at time almost more than I can bear. I finally got a little courage and energy to fall onto this sight. It helps to know I am not alone. At times I feel VERY alone. I DO need an understanding friend. Thank you for sharing. My peace goes to all who feel this too.

Mybeautifulbutterfly answered...

My beautiful grand daughter Vanessa was murdered on 7-19-15. She was 28 years and leaves behind a 3 & 4 year old. Never, ever have a experienced such excruciating pain emotionally, mentally and spiritually. We will never forget our beautiful souls that have left us. We must all face our own personal journey of learning how to live again without our loved ones. There really are no easy answers as how to cope with all the pain, every person is a unique individual and will find their own way of healing. For me, it has been many different things. I have, cried, yelled at God, held pictures of Vanessa close to my heart, attempted to write a song/poem about her. I also talk about it to my best friends. I will find a support group. These do help me but I need something deeper, do not know what? Accepting the realty of never seeing her again is beyond devastating. Just reading the stories of others is therapeutic for me, it helps me not to feel so all alone. I would like to connect with some one from this website to help each other through our grief.

Karmakid answered...

It makes me so sad to read all these stories, I lost my son Josh last April, he was 37 and a very successful attorney in New York, he was married with two little babies 6 months and 4 years old. He got a rash and ended up at the hospital, 10 days later he passed away from Leukemia. My two daughters and my adopted son myself spent a week at his bedside, he was in an induced coma but we talked to him, my youngest daughter spent hours reminding him all the fun times they had experienced together and I hope he could hear us. I miss him every second of the day, he is the first thing I think about in the morning and the last at night. The pain is still horrific. His wife finally let us talk to the four year old a month ago, I have been writing and asking since we got home after he funeral. I just don't understand some people, I heard she was in a relationship a few months later, which is her perogative but don't deny the whole family access to the babies, it's all we have left of Josh. I need to join a group and learn how to deal with this because I am still in a state of shock and confusion. I have felt life was just not worth living, but I have two daughters who also are mourning the loss of their older brother. When their dad passed they were 12 and 15, Josh flew back and took over as their dad, he was amazing. Spending hours on the phone with them picking out their college classes, buying them their first car, he truly was an amazing son and I couldn't have been prouder of him. A couple of years before he passed he started pulling away from us, maybe because he started his own family, I don't know, I met asking him what was going on and he would always tell me nothing. I thought it was his wife but I still don't really know what happened. The last phone call we had wasn't good and for that I have extreme guilt. I wish it had been different but it is too late now to do anything about it. I sympathize with any parent going through this,a child is not supposed to go before a parent, ever.

A fellow caregiver answered...

Our 30 year old daughter was killed by hospital negligence in May 2014. I know if I had stayed instead of leaving for the night, our daughter would still be here with us. Each day I wake and blame myself for leaving, especially since our daughter told me not to leave her. Why did I leave? This goes through my head constantly. My daughter was my best friend, we did everything together. My life is empty without her. I wrote this poem about her life.

My dearest Shannon, as year two approaches without you. Each and every day, I have no idea what to do.

They say time can mend a broken heart, How can it heal when we are apart?

My life is useless, and so am I, As I sit every day and do nothing but cry.

To say I want to live, it is jut a lie, As I pray for your help to make me die.

The anger builds, knowing you were betrayed, Screaming at myself, knowing I should have stayed.

Trusting your life with the ones who hate It was my biggest mistake that decided your fate.

The lies, which are told, everyone will believe, It hurts me to know people are so naive.

Families, which have suffered from the same fate, Who are told to go to the family room and wait?

What are they doing when you are not there? Anything they want, they don’t really care.

When allowed back in after a very long time, Your blood was shooting everywhere, from the main line.

They should check the patient’s line after a reposition, Why were they not concerned with your condition?

What do you do when you don’t trust what they say? Giving a different diagnosis every other day.

It is so hard to be at their mercy year after year, Especially when it is riddled with so much fear.

No one know the battles you fought, Dealing with the neglect from the very start.

Seven times to the emergency, to no avail, Causing your body to shut down and your kidneys to fail.

Three days of coughing up red blood, and nothing was done, A faulty catheter kills a kidney donated from a loved one,

A stoke is given as the reason, when it was an overdose of heparin, Administered incorrect by the nurse and left forgotten.

Treatments not performed, faulty lines remain the same, And recording in their memos that you Shannon were to blame.

Marking you as an illicit drug user and not taking your meds, I would really like to ask them what is wrong with their heads.

What causes them to show so much hate? Blaming you Shannon for your terrible fate.

They make the mistakes and give you the blame What is wrong with them? Don’t they have any shame?

My anger seems to grow every day, It gets stronger each day you are away.

I can’t stand this pain; I want to hold you, See you, and hear your laughter again.

I feel so useless when you are not around, And pray my ashes soon to be strewn on the ground.

I’m so sorry I caused you to die, And still every second I ask myself why?

Why? I cry…

I don't want to be alive anymore. I feel bad for my husband and my son. My husband is awesome and he deserves someone better to share his life with. I am not me anymore.

Gio answered...

I can certainly understand the enormity of the grief you feel about your loss; my heart goes out to all of you. You are my new community, whose pain I respect, but whose endurance I respect even more. Three months ago, I lost my 23-year old soul-mate daughter Alessandra to cancer and then to leukemia that was caused by the cancer treatment. Her three-year battle was one in which she could not catch ONE break, the worst of which was not getting a solid bone marrow match, with my two other children being a perfect match for EACH other but not a match for Ali. I fully know that my pain is mine. It is not FOR HER. It is MY PAIN within me, which is a slight but important silver lining. I do talk with Ali both within my head and out loud. I write to her weekly. I even call her cell phone voice mail and leave her messages, which I use as a way to speak with her. I have had my share of other life bumps, bruises, and traumas, but of course we all know that nothing compares, and perhaps many of you, like I do, feel we had already dealt with enough life-difficulty already in our lives and that this was one final last straw in a Job-type of life. I am no victim, but I do suffer from constant grief which feels at times intolerable, though I am still here to write you, so I hate to admit I guess I am tolerating it. I am still linked to Ali through my pain, as unhealthy but normal as this is at this stage of my grieving. There is a part of me that is deeply invested in carrying her spirit on my mortal back in order to continue to connect with her, but then there is also that rather contrary desire to just "pack it in," having little hope at times that there could be any compelling reason to live without her. At this stage, I often think that it is betrayal to not mourn her intensely, and when I am working and distracted and have a very busy day, I often feel guilty for not having invoked her memory all day. At times a rush of pain comes over me as if I am catching fire with nowhere to run. I struggle with the fact that I am feeling sorry for ME, rather than for her, who is no longer suffering. I admit that with no apology. As is typical, my other two children and my wife are coping with Ali's death in a much more quiet way ostensibly, which makes me feel incredibly lonely at times, and irrationally angry at them for not being the ones that I can rally my identity around to help them with the loss of her. I am tired of people asking me how my wife is doing as their first response to my telling them that Ali has passed. Most of the grief books talk about how women emote more and men tend to use work and other distractions to get through this crisis. Well I do both, and it is hard to find other men who can admit their gut-wrenching pain that cannot at times be contained. As all of the prior posts have illustrated, there are no words that replace a lost child, but there is solace in the relating to others who have endured or are trying to endure similar losses. Even writing to you all is helping me in the moment, but then of course you know that at some point in the future the pain will at times reach excruciating levels, and really I am left to just go to bed or to cry it out. Our commiseration is our best coping, although the few support groups I went to did not appeal to me because many of the parents were in the groups for years and seemed to be exclusively worshiping their deep wounds. I don't judge them AT ALL, but I do fear that I may be one of them and I have resolved not to be in my daughter's honor, of course having no guarantee that I will be able to do this. Thank all of you who had the patience to read this and for giving me a forum to vent my own wounds. Thank you original writer for bringing so many of us out to share here.

A fellow caregiver answered...

I lost my beautiful 37 daughter 11 weeks ago in unusual circumstances in NZ while she was on her first overseas holiday. I am still waiting to hear from the coroner with a cause of death. Violet and I were best friends - she was my little mate and my heart is broken. I don't know how I even get up in the morning and have just resigned from my job. I am trapped between nowhere and nothing and I don't know what to do now without her in my life. Violets older sister Lisa died when she was 14 so I have no children now and for the first time in 41 years spent Xmas without one of my girls. I know I survived Lisa's death - Violet was my reason to get up and eat - to take her to school - go shopping etc. Now without her - there just doesn't seem to be any reason at all to ever keep breathing. I don't know how to recreate a life out of the rubble that is left of me but I don't even know who I am without my girls. Without them - my life doesn't make any sense anymore.

And there are friends who want to see me happy again - who don't talk about her - who want to play games and drink and have fun thinking if they keep me distracted long enough - I will forget. They are no longer my friends.

My life will never be the same again.....

A fellow caregiver answered...

I recently loss my wife as well and I searched around the web for some hope. I landed on this page and noticed your post is very new assuming your loss is recent. I don't know much to say, even though our loss is a bit different, but I want to offer you my support and I truly hope that you can feel better. I do and know EXACTLY how you feel, so please do not feel you are alone. I hope that this brief message can at least give you some comfort.

My wife was only 23, she was 1.5 months away from turning 24.


Lindalisa answered...

Seven years ago I lost my youngest daughter Lisa, to cancer. She & I were very close & I thought I would never recover however, 7 months later my oldest daughter Linda also died of cancer. I was numb with grief.

Whywhywhy answered...

My daughter passed on 12/21/16. She was 32. I watched as the ER team tried to get her to breathe. She had cancer and died from internal bleeding. We didn't know about the bleeding and it happen so fast - and now we are numb. She was so young and one of 3 child. My only daughter. The posts here somehow are comforting. We are all lost, drifting in a place we don't belong. The acceptance of her not on this earth, getting her daily calls and texts is unbearable. She was pregnant and had to terminate because of chemo and radio. No words, prayers nothing will comfort me because they will not bring her back.

Choochunks answered...

I have just lost my Daugther age 25 unexpected know ones know why ! She was so healthy full of life she has a little girl poppy my grandaugther just need to know what I can do please help !

Wheelergolf answered...


I too lost my daughter. She was 20 and just gave birth to my second grandson. Next month it will be 20 years since she passed. The pain is still there and the cloud still hangs over me once in a while. My grandson's are my connection to my daughter. If it wasn't for them I would never find peace. No one can tell you what to do. But I suggest getting as close to that granddaughter as you can.

Anitaj answered...

It's heartbreaking to read the posts here but at the same time comforting too ... because we all can genuinely understand & empathize ... what we all are going through ... I recently on 2nd January lost my 33 year old daughter to a fatal lung infection which she contacted on her vacation to Chile ( she contacted a virus called Haunta ) .. a hail and hearty daughter just GONE unexpectedly ! How do I get over this unexpected loss .. Externally people think I am very brave but deep down I am shattered ... not a day has gone when I have not cried myself to bed . I will try to apply some of the tips I read in this post ... Sometimes I wonder ... whether I will ever be ... my normal self again ?! Overnight the whole meaning of life has changed ..

A fellow caregiver answered...

I lost my daughter April 14th 2017 following a long illness. I feel I lost my mind. I can't concentrate on anything. I never felt that much pain in my live. She was 42 and left 2 grandchildren behind. She was my only child! All I am thinking why?? She was so full of life.

Sandy1985 answered...

I lost my 28 yr old daughter May 2, 2014. has been over 3 years. I feel like I carry the weight of this great loss always. Friends I haven't seen for a while recent,you told me I look 'so much better'. Well, I have learned to mostly hide it, I go about my life often able to wear the facade until I am alone. After my daughter first died, a friend who lost her son 10 years ago said: "it never goes away". I thought: oh no! That can't be! I now know she was right. The pain is always 'right there'. But as a word of encouragement to those whose loss is new: Life does go on, I sometimes have joy, and I often laugh. I do enjoy my friends- in limited amount. I am far more selective who I spend time with. I know my son and husband need me- so I go on. My grand daughter used to cause me pain as I so missed my own 'little girl', but after faking it with her for 2 years, I'm now enjoying her as her own person. I still have great darkness and sadness, but I also recognize there is life to live. Still.

Kapik answered...

I can say one thing - the time does not cure anything... I have lost 2 daughters to cardiomyopathy, before their first birthday.. I am sure I will never get past the pain. Maybe having third child will make some relieve but it will never cure.. But having third child is complicated and costly.. ..

A fellow caregiver answered...

I'm so sorry for everyone's loss. My 23 year old daughter passed away suddenly on July 24, 2017. I am a single mom and have no one else. I couldn't get out of bed for two weeks. I feel like I can't breathe. I don't think I can go on doing the usual everyday things. I have to go back to work tomorrow, and I'm scarred to death to do so.

Sadmom48 answered...


A fellow caregiver answered...

I just loss my 25 year old daughter and I am really hurting because I do not understand why. She was ill for a couple of years, but we did not realize she was this ill. It has been only 5 days and I do not know what to do.