How to deal with loss of an adult child

Adult Child Loss

My partner and I lost our young and beautiful adult daughter , she was just 23 yo a Uni student. 

One, believe it or not, is that people say, “Well you’ve had them so much, lucky you had it for so long” to the parent who lost an adult kid. Cruel without thought.

Losing a kid — at any age – violates the laws of nature. It is not appropriate for parents to bury their children. 

The sadness and loss are unfathomable, shattering, and all-encompassing. Every relationship evolves, the family structure shifts, and there is always an empty seat at the table.

Any kid’s death, regardless of the cause or age, is overwhelming for parents, who can never be entirely prepared for their child to die before them. Parental bereavement is profound, long-lasting, and complicated.

For all grieving parents, sorrow and the healing process are comparable, but for those whose adult child has died, there are extra variables that may impact their mourning. 

Others frequently believe that because the kid who died was an adult, the parents’ sorrow is less intense than if the child was a toddler. When a parent’s adult child dies, their grief is sometimes dismissed or denied.

Grief and mourning can be especially tough for parents when an adult child dies. Because their child is considered an adult, the loss should be less severe and have less of an impact on his or her parents. 

Even the most well-meaning people sometimes forget that when a friend’s spouse dies, that guy was also someone’s son. His mother, father, and relatives are all in mourning.

Grief and mourning are complicated for parents who have lost an adult child.

What Are the Different Kinds of child Loss?

Predictable losses, such as those caused by terminal disease, allow us to plan for the loss, but they also generate two levels of pain. Anticipatory sorrow (grief associated with the expectation of loss) and loss-related grief

Sudden Losses are losses that occur as a result of an accident, a crime, or a suicide, and they leave us with little time to prepare. These kinds of losses frequently upset us to our core, calling into doubt the stability of existence. 

The loss can be sudden, intense, and terrible. It can be difficult to process several emotions and sentiments at once, and it may require time and space to adjust to the loss.

One of the most terrible aspects of loss is that it is very much permanent. Our lives as humans are so fluid that the concept of permanency can be difficult to understand. 

Furthermore, if your life has been organised around the person, thing, or concept that has passed away, it can be difficult to transition to new patterns and routines.

Initially Following Your adult child’s Death: When your adult child dies, it appears that all significance has been taken from your life. It’s tough to get out of bed in the morning, let alone live a “regular” life. 

Everything that was once right with the world now appears to be wrong, and you’re wondering when, or if, you’ll ever feel better.

We’ve been there and understand some of the anguish you’re experiencing right now.  

My partner and I lost our young 23 yo daughter recently and our sadness is enormous. We are trying to cope with it. 

We are delighted that you have discovered us, but we are really disturbed by the cause. 

We understand that you are attempting to find your way through a perplexing situation for which no one can really prepare.

When you are freshly lost your adult child, you are thrown into an emotional whirlwind with no idea what to anticipate next. 

The Future After Adult Child Loss

Trust me the  feeling of purpose and meaning will return, and the sorrow will decrease.

Refocusing your life will be one of the most difficult difficulties you will encounter. It is not unusual to reevaluate priorities and even challenge belief structures.

If you work outside the home, prioritise obtaining additional time off from work and planning ahead of time how you will manage significant occasions such as anniversary dates and holidays. Often, the day is easier than the fear that preceded it.

Discuss the death, grief, and suffering with any remaining family members. Not just the immediate recollections of your child’s death, but all of your child’s happy memories, should be revisited.

Try to realise that everyone in the family will be mourning in their own unique way. Crying has been shown to be beneficial and therapeutic; it is preferable to internalising sensations.

Allow friends to assist you. When they ask what they can do for you, don’t be hesitant to express your requirements. This will also benefit them.

Bereaved parents frequently wish to do something meaningful in remembrance of their sons or daughters.

Many people have started memorial funds, scholarships, donated to particular charities, donated books to libraries, planted trees, and become engaged in assisting others.

For many, such gestures keep their children’s memories alive and vivid, allowing them and others to experience the beauty of their child’s life and love.

These activities are not only a beautiful way to pay homage, but they may also be incredibly therapeutic while giving the parent a sense of purpose.

What Parents Might Go Through After Losing An Adult Child:


Adult children typically reside in a different location from their parents and, by the time they reach maturity, will have established themselves with their own houses, families, and careers. Ash was living away from us in the Uni Apartment when she passed away.

As a result ,we had already dealt with the separation and adjusted to their new routine, which they call “empty nest syndrome.” 

Those who have not fully accepted the reality that their child is leaving home, or the circumstances surrounding their departure, may experience considerably increased sadness.

Some parents provided financial help to their adult child due to a physical or mental illness, or because their adult child was addicted to drugs or alcohol. 

These youngsters may have been the centre of their attention, and their loss leaves a huge void in their daily routine, adding to their grief and sense of mourning.

Several parents who have lost an adult child are stricken with regret at having outlived their kid. .

The parents of a dying adult child may wonder how they might have prevented the death of their child, especially when others pronounce judgement on their child.

The vast majority of parents who have lost a child feel terrible for having outlived their child . If the child is still young in their Twenties parent might feel  thier kids could have done so much to this world.

Our child( 23 yo) was in uni doing her degree in Science . We still think she should be alive and should be doing what she loves the most. She wanted to be Clinical Psychiatrist to help young lives that have mental issues.

In the aftermath of their adult children’s deaths as a result of self-inflicted injuries, substance abuse, drunk driving, AIDS, or other socially stigmatised circumstances, many parents experience an even stronger sense of guilt for failing to recognise that their adult child was experiencing significant problems.

It is common for parents to wonder what they could have done differently to prevent the situations that could have resulted in their child’s death from occurring.

Others’ judgemental statements indicating that the child died as a consequence of his or her own actions only serve to exacerbate the parents’ profound sadness, sense of loneliness, and sense of being a failure.

People who witness a suicide may be perplexed as to why no one predicted it, leading parents to feel that they should have been able to detect something concealed deep inside their child that not even experts in the field can always detect.

Disregarded sorrow:

People often say things such as “well, at least you had  xy years with him/her” in the name of consolation. Such remarks indicate, rather than sad, that their child has died, that the mourning parent should appreciate the time with his youngster.

If an adult child of a parent dies as a result of an accident or illness, friends or family members generally say that they should be appreciative to their child for living as long as he or she has.

You are, of course, grateful that you have had your child twenty or thirty years or even more in certain circumstances, but your loss does not become any worse.

Many parents saw that the relationship with their adult kid has become like a friend. Parents think they’ve lost not just their child, but also a friend, often their closest friend.

The relationship between parents and elderly children develops naturally over time from parents to adult children.

Parents who loved, raised and encouraged the growth of their children into maturity and their whole lives will experience satisfaction and success after their adult child completes school.

Parents in their children have made a considerable emotional and financial investment as they mature.

If this existence does not endure for the projected period, a sensation of abandonment is usually combined with total futility.

Parents often wonder their own purpose in their lives since all they’ve spent in their child seems to be in vain.

Related : Is Grieving different when you loose an Adult Child Vs. A small child

Ash Vohra with family

Bereavement with your Adult Child’s Spouse/Partner/Children:

An adult child will frequently have a spouse or partner as well as children.

The focus of the care and grief will be on them, rather than the parent.

This is excruciating.

Grandchildren will need to be consoled in order to relieve stress on the spouse or partner.

This is frequently left to grandparents, which is taxing for parents who are already mourning.

Parents will also be concerned about who will care for them after their child is no longer alive.

When a partner of adult child dates or remarries, you may experience grief

Following a bereavement, the widow or widower will frequently restart some form of relationship with someone else.

If there are children, the parents of the dead adult child will very certainly be a part of the new life with the new partner.

This is sometimes a joyous event, and sometimes it isn’t. Whether or whether the connection with the new spouse is pleasant, the sadness is frequently repeated as the loss is felt as life moves on.

How to Deal With the Loss of an Adult Child:

One of the most frequent emotions to a loss is grief. Grief generally progresses through five stages:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

Whatever your emotions are, it might be overpowering and out of control. Observing, describing, and labelling strong emotions is one method for dealing with them. 

Putting a name to your feeling might sometimes help you articulate it. Also, keep in mind that emotions are like waves: they develop, peak, and then fade.

These steps can occur in any sequence, at any time, or at no time at all.

Some persons experience some, but not all, of the grieving stages. Because there is no such thing as a normal loss and each scenario is unique, determining a “typical reaction” is difficult. Some individuals believe:

Disbelief and shock – trouble believing what happened, numbing
Sadness is one of the most frequent emotions that people experience. This might also be emptiness, sorrow, loneliness, or sobbing.

Guilt – Things you said, should have said, or wanted to say, but didn’t, resulting in the death.

Anger is characterised by sentiments of rage and bitterness.

Aches, pains, headaches, nausea, changes in sleep or weight are all examples of physical symptoms.

Related : Life after the death of an adult Child

How to Cope with the Death of an Adult Child:

Talk to people who adore you and make you feel good about yourself. Lean on those who love and care for you.

Don’t expect yourself to “get over it very soon” Going through the phases of grief is the only way to “get over” a loss. There’s no need to strive to be the strong one; simply allow yourself to feel as you feel.

Make a note of it. Writing out how you’re feeling can sometimes assist to clarify those sentiments and help you grieve your loss. Please do not hesitate to utilise Band Back Together to share your difficulties and tales.

Allow yourself to mourn the loss. Going through the phases of grieving is the only way to get over a loss. You can’t avoid it, no matter how much you try. Acknowledge and sit with your emotions.

Speak with a therapist or grief counsellor – someone who has been trained to assist you in working through your grief.

Exercise: Run, Gym or Yoga- Exercise produces endorphins, which are the “feel-good” chemicals.

Don’t downplay your own loss. If there was a loss, there was a loss. Losses are supposed to be mourned.

Don’t compare your loss to the losses of others. It’s a case of apples and oranges. You experience a loss in the way that you feel it, not in the way that someone else feels it.

Make careful to look after yourself. Perform your regular hygiene rituals, then get up and do something.

How to Soothe Yourself After the Death of an Adult Child:

Take good care of yourself: When you are mourning, it is easy to ignore yourself. Remember to eat healthily, sleep on a regular schedule, and get some exercise outside.

Share your emotions: Discuss about your child, your grief, and your rage. Create a diary. Create a blog. Post your thoughts in there! Get your emotions out.

Be patient and kind: Be kind with yourself. Allow yourself to grieve while simultaneously allowing yourself to have fun. Some tasks will require more time and effort than others, so be patient. Healing will not happen overnight.

Surround yourself with memories: You have a lifetime of them. Put them in a box and store them in the attic. Make sure you have photos and reminders around. It’s hard at times, but seeing their face, happy and healthy, is therapeutic.

This is especially essential if your child had a terminal disease and was nearing the end of their life in a hospital or hospice facility. You want to remember them as the cheerful, lively, and cheerful person they were.

Participate in a support group or consult a counsellor: Many locations provide support groups for a variety of diseases and reasons of death.

Churches and hospitals are two of the most prevalent types of structures. Support groups are excellent tools for recognising that you are not alone in your suffering. 

You will learn and heal from other people’s compassion, and they will heal from your support.

Allow others to assist you. When others ask what you require, don’t be afraid to tell them. People want to assist; they just don’t know how.

Remember the happy and bad moments with your Adult Child. Don’t spend all of your time thinking about your child’s death or how he or she died; recall the good times as well.

Accept your inability to be okay. You’ll most likely have doubts about your religion. It’s your life. 

You’ll ponder whether you could have averted your child’s death. These are common — and often difficult – obstacles to overcome. Don’t expect to be OK for a long time following the loss.

Find a therapist who specialises in bereavement; this might be your lifeline to regaining control of your life. Things will never be the same again, but that’s okay. In due course. 

On an individual basis, a counselor may be able to assist you in working through certain aspects of your grief.

Author’s Note

On Friday 3rd September 2021 , my family’s life changed when we lost our beloved daughter (24 yo), Ash. Ash was a healthy young girl doing her Bachelors in Science( Swinburne University) and Living in her Uni apartment in Melbourne City.

Saying goodbye to Ash is difficult, but the days, weeks and months that are coming will be  even more difficult, as we navigated grief, adjusted to living without an important member of the family and made decisions regarding her ashes & memorial.

This is why I have created blogs, to provide practical advice and emotional comfort for those dealing with adult child loss.

Div & Manny
Loving Parents of Ash

Div & Manny – Lifestyle Bloggers