Loss of a Child and a Certification in Grief Counseling
Within the circles of debate of emotional pain due to loss, many have speculated, and probably correctly, that the most intense emotional loss one can experience is the loss of one’s child. The ingredients for it are already present: Extreme attachment and an unnatural and unexpected event.
First, the attachment of a parent to a child is unequaled. Evolutionarily speaking, the drive for one to propagate and replicate one’s genetic DNA is a natural drive. In nature, the drive to protect one’s offspring is apparent. So at the first level, at the most instinctive levels of consciousness, one bonds with a child. Add to the fact that humanity is a rational and sentient species, then one can understand an even deeper attachment with one’s offspring. A spiritual connection develops and an intimate bond of nourishing and care forms between parent and child. The child’s first breath, sight, touch, word and movement is all intimately documented by the parent. This attachment while beautiful and good is also extremely fragile if broken. It is the ironic cosmic paradox of the universe: one can gain love but lose it. The greater the attachment, the greater the reaction to the loss of it- And there is no greater attachment than a parent-child bond.
Secondly, the loss of a child transgresses the natural order of life. A parent is meant to guide and watch the child grow into adulthood. As the parent ages, the son or daughter ironically then becomes the caretaker of the parent. Ultimately, children bury their parents, parents usually do not bury their children. This is especially harder on parents of children whose child dies in his or her youth, but the experience of pain is also great for parents who lose adult offspring . In addition to this, as in any loss, the traumatic nature of the event may also play roles in the pain of a parent, while also the situation of the parent. Is the parent older, alone, or financially dependent?
There is no doubt that the loss of a child is a devastating loss. From tradition, one can merely look at the Pieta which ironically beautifully captures the essence of anguish a parent can experience at the loss of a child.
If you are interested in Grief Counseling Education, please review the program. The Program in Grief Counseling Education is an excellent way for qualified professionals to earn a certification in grief counseling. A certification in grief counseling can be an excellent way to help others grieve the loss of a child. Mark Moran, MA, GC-C, SCC-C