Fact: “Broken heart syndrome,” also called stress-induced cardiomyopathy, is real. You absolutely can die from a broken heart. Child loss really is that painful. It is the most painful, horrific trauma a human could ever possibly endure.
Ask any bereaved parent, he or she will tell you. Each and every grieving parent is probably nodding in agreement right now. We are not shocked by this. We know how true it is, because we live with the horrific pain every second of every day. We know the unimaginable pain and suffering a grieving parent endures for a lifetime.
There is no word strong enough to describe the lifelong pain of outliving your child. Children are not supposed to die before their parents. It is an out-of-order death. It feels wrong on every level. There truly are no words for the depth of pain a parent endures from child loss. The pain is so great, it really can kill you. And if it doesn’t kill you, you live with a broken heart for the rest of your life.
There is no cure for the pain and heartache of child loss. It breaks a parent’s heart. Literally. This is why child loss is a loss unlike any other kind of loss. A parent never “gets over” the loss of their child. Their grief lasts forever because their love for their child lasts forever. And the empty space their child leaves behind can never, ever be filled.
Living without our child for the rest of our lives is a kind of suffering we wouldn’t wish on our worst enemy. The pain of child loss never really ends— as long as we live and breathe, we will love and miss and ache for our child.
The heartbreak never ends. Compassionate support and unconditional love are literally life-saving to a bereaved parent.
May every bereaved parent find this kind of love and support.
ANGELA MILLER is an internationally known writer and speaker on grief and loss. She is the best-selling author of You Are the Mother of All Mothers, and the founder and executive director of the award-winning grief organization, A Bed For My Heart. After the death of her son, Angela founded A Bed For My Heart in 2013, and has given people around the world a compassionate and supportive community to express their grief and honor their children. Her article, “7 Things I’ve Learned Since the Loss of My Child,” has been shared over one million times. Angela’s website ABedForMyHeart.com has almost two million visitors per year, and has become a trusted resource for grieving families worldwide. She has been featured in People, Psychology Today, Huffington Post, Blog Talk Radio, Love What Matters, Listen to Your Mother, and more. Angela’s writing has comforted millions of hurting hearts around the world. You Are the Mother of All Mothers is her first book, and is dedicated to grieving mothers everywhere.