You may wonder why we would be talking about the child of loss on a website designed to talk about the child of divorce or cohabitating parents. Usually when you think of the child of loss you automatically think death. Have you ever thought about the child of divorce or the child of splitting cohabitating parents as a child in grief?
Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted. [Matthew 5:4, NIV]
To the child, it is the death of their once intact family. They experience deep grief because the living environment they once knew no longer exists, but few of us realize these children are in mourning.
When my mom told me they were getting a divorce, I got confused. I didn’t understand what divorce was. I just knew my dad was moving out. I didn’t understand he was moving out moving out. I thought he was visiting a friend for a few weeks. I didn’t know what was going to happen to me and my sister. I was scared. I mean what was happening to our home? ….a second grade boy
Far too often the children are left standing in the middle wondering where they belong – with mom or with dad, or even, “do I belong anywhere?” Two parents who were once one unit are now two parents going separate ways. Unlike bereavement in the death of a parent, the child of separating parents usually faces this time alone. For the most part, the family support system is gone and the community of friends, religious leaders and extended family tend to distance themselves over time. All of this leaves the children to navigate this journey by themselves or with their siblings.