It’s Worse at Night

The pain of losing a child is often described as a feeling like having a hole right in the center of your heart. The hole leaves an empty, alone feeling, and nothing seems to be able to bring comfort or joy for a very long time.

Every parent who has gone through child loss knows that feelings of deep, inconsolable grief do eventually become more bearable, and for most parents, joy does slowly return. A parent’s heart is able to heal, and that empty hole in time will not feel so raw and lonely. That takes a long time, though, and it takes lots of struggles and tears as a parent treads the difficult path of child loss.

Keeping busy and interacting with others during the day often helps a parent to get through the grief a little bit easier. Taking care of the daily tasks of everyday life often keep a parent’s mind busy enough not to dwell on all of the painful details of losing a precious child.

Many parents express a sincere dread of the night, though. When all is quiet and the lights are turned off, one must come face-to-face with grief, and the pain is once again inescapable. Many grieving parents cannot fall asleep, and their hurting hearts become more consumed by loneliness than ever imagined when night arrives.

If you find yourself falling into a cycle of not being able to sleep because the grief overwhelms you at night, talk to your doctor. It might be necessary to take a short-term sleep aid to get you through the anxious moments of being alone at night with your grief.

Practice taking deep, cleansing breaths. By slowly breathing and repeating calming words, you can help to reduce the anxiety associated with being alone at night with your grief and fears.

Pray. There is a peace that is associated with prayer that is healing to the mind, body, and soul. When a parent can express fears and heartfelt emotions through prayer, a feeling of calm often follows. Many grieving parents have claimed the phrase “let go and let God” as their remedy to getting a calm and peaceful night’s sleep.

Remember that morning will come. Often, our greatest fear is that this feeling of complete darkness following the loss of a child will never leave. Remind yourself often that every day is one day closer to the time when you will see the sun begin to peek through the clouds again. Grief will not always consume you. Joy, even though different now that your child has died, will return to your broken heart and you will begin to see life through new and different eyes.

Finally, remember that it is normal to have difficulty dealing with grief at night when your grief is still very fresh. Every problem seems to magnify when darkness falls, and grief is no exception to the rule. Turn on a light; get up and fix a cup of warm milk or a soothing cup of herbal tea. Put on some headphones and listen to a healing CD or listen to a calming radio station. You will no longer feel alone in the dark, and morning will arrive before you know it.

~~by Clara Hinton~~


4 thoughts on “It’s Worse at Night

  1. It is the nights that are the hardest, so long and quiet. I’ve taken to watching too much tv and sleeping not nearly enough. . .

    I’m sorry for the loss of your son, my infant son died in April, and though it is surely different than losing a child to suicide, I’m sure the nights without them are awefully similar.

  2. I’m so sorry, Erin. You’re right, the night allows the unknown to get close. When we are tired, we can’t stand strong any longer. It’s the nights that I cry the most.

  3. Melissa

    My son passed away in April actually on good Friday. It is so true the nights are awful my husband works second shift so it is very lonely. The other night I was up until 6 in the morning and then had to get up at 8 to go to church. The vision of my son just kept going through my head over and over again. I was able to lay in the bed with my son when they disconnescted him from life support I am so thankful I had that opportunity but at the same time I see his beautiful face all the time. Sometimes I really think I am going to go crazy.

  4. It’s good that you took that opportunity, Melissa. Some people pass on such opportunities and then regret them later. I’m not a counsellor, and I lost my own son not quite five months ago, but I feel that you will eventually find seeing Nicholas’ beautiful face comforting. The pain of those moments will ease. You’ll never forget, but the image will not be so hurtful. I hope that’s the case anyway.

    You’re not going crazy. You are suffering intense grief. I know because my counsellor has told me this when I told her I thought I was going crazy.

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