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Prolonged and Intense Grief

To lose a child is the worst loss of all but there are some circumstances that may make grief even harder to bear.


If our child was the victim of an accident, natural disaster or crime; if we have no surviving children; if he or she took their own life; if we had been estranged in the period leading up to their passing; if our child died from illness or hospital negligence and you had to watch them suffer – all of these can add extra layers to the immensity of our grief. We may find that we remain in a heightened state of mourning, overwhelmed by guilt or depression, finding the activities of normal life impossible, with this intense grief continuing on and on.

This state is known as Complicated Grief and may actually be a form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In these cases the typical strategies for living with grief may not bring 
us relief and we should consider seeking professional help as this unresolved grief may eventually contribute to mental and physical illness.

TCF’s new leaflet Prolonged and Intense Grief examines these issues in greater depth; and the leaflets After Suicide, When our Child has been Murdered, The Sudden Death of our Child and Living with Grief may also be valuable.

The loss of our child has changed us forever. The circumstances of our child’s death, and/or their previous life contributes to how we are feeling now. It is important for our own health and wellbeing to recognise when our grief is too prolonged and intense for us to manage alone. Being in a better state of mental and physical health will only boost our efforts at honouring our child’s memory.

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Each year thousands of parents suffer the loss of a son or a daughter. Please help us to support families in their time of greatest need.

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