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Health Information and Tools > Palliative and End-of-Life Care > Newborn, Child and Youth > Overview >  Palliative Care - Newborn, Child & Youth - Grief & Bereavement
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Newborn, Child and Youth - Family Resources

Grief and Bereavement

The death of a child is something most parents can't imagine. Grief can be overwhelming, confusing, and sometimes scary. Whether a child has been ill for days or years, ​or has died suddenly, everyone will react differently — there's no right way to grieve.

Grief can lead to problems with physical health, feelings, relationships, thinking and memory, and spirituality. Family members may:

  • feel like they're in a fog or bad nightmare
  • have trouble concentrating and making decisions
  • find it hard to do daily activities
  • feel sad, guilty, and/or angry
  • notice a change in eating and sleeping habits
  • ask themselves "what if?"

Grieving can be exhausting. Finding ways to take care of yourself is important:

  • let others help you and your family with whatever you need
  • see your family doctor if you're worried about any problems you're having (e.g., trouble sleeping, anxiety, suicidal thoughts)
  • follow some daily routines (e.g., regular mealtimes)
  • try to get some exercise every day (e.g., taking a walk)
  • don't hide your feelings or keep them inside—talk about them

Some families find it helps to have extra support. It can help you understand and work through grief, and to learn how to deal with it. Don't be afraid to ask for help.​​​