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Losing An Only Child

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On Saturday, March 26th, My aunt lost her only child in a horrific car accident. Her son was 27 and while driving over an icy bridge slid out of control head on into a semi truck. His truck burst into flames and he was pronounced dead on the scene, his body severely burned beyond recognition. He was single and childless, so this leaves his parents without their child and with no hope for grandchildren.

Has anyone else experienced something similar? I would like some advice on how to best help my aunt and uncle in their grieving. Losing an only child, I imagine, is quite painful and rare.

Thank you in advance for any insight and advice you may give.

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My dear Elisa,

I am so terribly sorry to learn of the horrific accident that took the life of your cousin, and I hope you'll accept my deepest sympathy. I simply cannot imagine how painful this must be for you and your family. I'm sure you'll hear from other members of this caring and compassionate group who will offer you some of the comfort and support you so richly deserve, but right now I want to respond specifically to your request for advice on helping your aunt and uncle, who've lost their only child. I invite you to visit these pages of my Grief Healing Web site, where you'll find links to some very helpful articles and other resources:

Helping Someone Who's Grieving (Sandy Fox's article, Helping Bereaved Parents Cope, is one example)

Death of An Infant, Child or Grandchild

(I'm also moving your topic to another forum that I think more accurately reflects your individual type of loss, and which I hope will be discovered more readily by those members who can relate to your particular circumstances.)

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Guest Nicholas

Dear Elisa,

I lost my only child on Dec 29th last year; even though he was adopted it makes no difference to the awful pain and feeling of loss and emptiness. I cannot imagine the pain of the sudden loss due to an accident, though any loss is traumatic. My son was only 43 and had cirrhosis.

Apart from the usual network of friends and family, and possibly also a caring physician, there are forums such as this, plus a number of helpful books on losing a child, available online, for example at www.amazon.co.uk (or .com). They don't tell you anything you probably don't already know, and they are no panacea, but they might help. In the UK Virginia Ironside wrote an excellent book, though it was about losing her father, but it is still a very good read, it is called Rage (something ???)* - I am sure you can Google it or search for it on Amazon.

Take care


*You'll Get Over It: The Rage of Bereavement

Edited by MartyT
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  • 8 months later...

I lost my only daughter, Imogene Grace aged 23 months, two years ago. She was my whole world after losing my first 4 babies to miscarriage.

I miss her daily, in everything I do, everywhere I go. Don't think it gets any easier. Hope everyone is managing to cope, wearing our 'masks' so as not to make people uncomfortable. Unless you are unfortunate to lose a child, no one can understand the depth of your grief or try and understand that you mourn, ot only the loss of your loved one, but also the future that you will never have x.

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  • 9 months later...

I ran into this group while doing some research on the subject for an Compassionate Friends chapter meeting. The loss of an only child or all of your children creates special problems. I am sure you are finding this out. Alive Alone offers support for survivors through newsletters and a telephone tree. Although Compassionate Friends offers local support groups unless you attend a regional or national conference you will be in a group with many different types of death.

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I can't speak to losing an only child, so I don't know if this is helpful. But the circumstances of your cousin's death struck me. My brother died in a car accident 7 weeks ago. We don't know why, but he veered off the freeway and hit a solid metal pole that holds up the exit sign. He had evidently stopped in the emergency lane for some reason and was trying to merge back into traffic, and possibly tried to take the exit last minute due to not being let in by traffic or perhaps serving to avoid something in the road (based on witness statements). He hit it at 60 mph and died on impact. Two men stopped to help, one out of his car and one a motorcyclist. They got the car door open and dragged my brother out and performed CPR. Right after they got him out, the car burst into flames. The CPR failed. The M.E. said my brother died on impact. But your cousin having been burned beyond recognition is my personal nightmare of what almost happened to my brother. Even though it didn't due to some heroic and caring people who desperately tried to save him, I still see visions in my head of his burned body as I imagine it, and it is so horrifying to me. Even though he died, somehow burning even after death is something I am terrified about. I am so, so sorry to read that your cousin met that fate. My heart goes out to your aunt and uncle in their terrible loss, and to you in your loss as well.

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  • 2 months later...

I am so sorry for everyone here who has experienced losing their child. It is tremendously hard. Praying for each of you during this season, I know it's all the harder this time of year.



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