Missing the child never goes away. The age of the child at the time of death does not lessen the hurt. Parents describe the feeling as having a hole in their heart. It is common to feel alone and isolated because family and friends are often a loss as to how to respond.
If you know someone who has lost a child, put that child on your Christmas list. Let the parents know you wrote a check to your favorite nonprofit or bought a toy for a child who would not have one as a way to remember their son or daughter, or write a thoughtful note sharing a memory.
It will not make the pain of loss go away, but it will help to know their child has not been forgotten.
Charlotte Lankard is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.