The greatest grief

How do we ever get over the death of a small child?  All of can deeply empathise with any parent who has had to go through the anguish of losing their baby or toddler – and it’s a sadness that never goes away.

In fact, parents who lose a child are far more likely themselves to die young, a new piece of research has discovered.  These parents are twice a likely to die in the 15 years after the death of their child than someone who does not endure such grief.


The scientists who tracked the phenomenon say they cannot explain it other than that the parents died “of a broken heart” (BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care, 2011; doi: 10.1136/bmjspcare-2011-000025).

Such is the tragedy of the human condition – too often we carry around enormous grief and heartache, and that burden can become unbearable.

Essentially, we become time-heavy, and that heaviness of past time creates psychological space, which distances us from the world.  We feel isolated and separate.

Every death is a call for us – the living – to attend.  It invites us to explore the deep mystery of who we are, and what dies.  Only when we penetrate this can we begin to lift the burden of grief.

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