Step-parents have a complicated yet critical part in the loss of a child. Many times, the step-parent takes a step back and becomes almost invisible. Whether they were in the child’s life for many years or a few months, most people will assume that they don’t need condolences. It might be uncomfortable as they find themselves in the midst of the spouse’s ex-family while funeral arrangements are being made. The most beneficial role a step-parent can play is one of supporter. Grief is hard work and it can take years before a parent reaches a new sense of normalcy. It is imperative that a parent be given time and patience. A loving, patient spouse can make the transition much smoother.
Some of the things you may experience or feel:
- A profound longing and emptiness, sadness.
- Crying all the time or at unexpected times.
- Inability to concentrate on anything, frequently misplacing items.
- Wondering “Why?!?”
- May sometimes feel like an outsider.
- Difficulty concentrating and knowing how to support others.
- Anger with yourself, family members, God, the doctor, and even your stepchild for dying.
- Fearing that you are going crazy.
- Great physical exhaustion. Grief is hard work and consumes much energy.
- Grief work from the death of a child is a slow process. Be patient with yourself.
“How very softly you tiptoed into our world, almost silently, only a moment you stayed. But what an imprint your footsteps have left upon our hearts.”- Dorothy F.