This page contains a collection of downloadable graphics for child loss and grief. All graphics available in multiple colors and sizes; click individual entries to view.
Child Loss and Grief[shared_counts]
There is a tendency in our culture to avoid talking about “negative” things like loss and death. We often use euphemisms or try to cast things in a better light. I choose not to do this. Death is not a dirty word; it simply IS.
We are often asked to excuse hurtful behavior because the person had good intentions…An important corollary is that when someone has good intentions, they will want to make amends for any unintentional hurt. “Good intentions” are best revealed by changing behavior you’ve been informed is hurtful.
People like to talk about healing after loss, but “healing” from the death of my child is about as likely as regrowing a missing limb. It’s not happening.
“Positive vibes only” sounds like a great message, but it unfortunately acts as erasure of the full emotional spectrum. Authenticity is always preferable.
What you need to understand is that your loved one isn’t there right now; they are here. And here, today, they are hurting. As much as you want to point them to “someday,” it is so much more important to acknowledge where they are, today.
This meme has been floating around for a while, and I honestly can’t stand it. Trauma is not your fault, period. Healing is never an obligation. Telling someone they have an obligation to heal from their trauma is just another form of toxic positivity.
Adoption is often held up as the “solution” to the “problems” of both child loss and grief. This is an unfortunate misunderstanding and oversimplification. Adoption is a beautiful thing. It is not, however, easy or automatic, or guaranteed. There is definitely no “just” about the process.
Sometimes I feel like the bereaved live in the real world and everyone else lives in the fantasy. It’s the only way the world makes sense.
e loss community is divided on this subject of guilt and fault. I know many bereaved parents find comfort in the sentiment, and I don’t seek to take that away from you. I only ask that you also acknowledge that other people may feel differently.
Children are not replaceable. I know you probably don’t think they are…
I know you probably don’t think you can grab one baby out of a parent’s arms and then give them a different one with no consequence. (You DON’T think that, right?)
But this is what we are sometimes hearing.
The death of my son changed me as a person more than any other event in my lifetime. The death of a loved one does that.
Death changes you. Permanently.
I used to lean pretty naturally, thinking that everything in nature was naturally the best. Natural living; natural birthing–these things made sense to me. Humanity had been doing them for millennia. Who was I to question them?
In the Before, I always thought of death as a sad experience, but one whose impact would eventually fade. I know now that you never really “get over” the death of someone you love; you can only integrate the loss and pain. And this is a process that is never-ending.
When someone you love is in pain, it’s natural to want to comfort them; to reassure them that everything will be okay. Unfortunately, when you are dealing with permanent changes like death, sometimes this simply isn’t the case.
Everywhere I go, someone is missing. It’s an absence that lives with you; a missing that remains.
Fathers Day 2020: Gentle wishes for bereaved dads on Father’s Day. May the Day be Kind.
One of the more important things I’ve learned is that if what you’re feeling is authentic, then it’s valid, no matter what. Feelings don’t have to follow rules; they just exist.
I’ve seen this quote in many places, and it has always felt wrong to me. Especially if we acknowledge grief as tied intrinsically to love, then we understand that grief CAN’T be a passage; grief simply IS.
People say that grief is selfish. I say that it maybe needs to be. Sometimes being selfish is the most important form of self-care possible.
If you ask a widow about the worst kind of grief, they are going to say it’s losing a spouse. If you ask a bereaved parent about the worst kind of grief, they are going to say it’s losing a child. And they are both correct. Grief is not a competition.
Grief is often confused with sadness, or even depression. But grief isn’t sadness, and sadness is only one facet of grief.
I think one of the hardest things I had to do was accept that grief isn’t always overwhelming. Sometimes it just exists, present but not always screaming.
In case you need permission—you never have to celebrate if you’re not feeling up to it. Holidays are and always can be optional. Give yourself the time and space to spend these days however you need.
My child’s death didn’t end our relationship. I still parent them and honor their life and memory in my life. I am a Sea Glass Parent; Parenting my child after their death.
Growing up, I heard the words “be strong” a lot…And maybe this is something I have internalized. This sense of false stoicism, where emotions are suspect.
When someone has experienced tragedy, it is common to say, “I can’t imagine” how they are feeling. But the truth is, you can. Please take a moment and try.
When someone is important in your life, you shouldn’t have to wait for them to “come around” to acknowledge and respect the things that are important to you. You deserve enthusiastic support from the very beginning. I do too. I deserve enthusiastic support, both in life and in grief.
My child isn’t “a stillborn”. The term makes it seem as if he is an abstract concept; a “thing”. He’s a child, though. He was BORN. He had a funeral. He HAS a name. When I speak about him, I use the term “stillborn” as an adjective: My son is a stillborn CHILD; an individual person; a human being.
I have grown as person through the death of my son, But I would give up everything I’ve gained to have not had a reason to
I think our culture idealizes those who use their loss or pain as an impetus for personal growth. While I don’t object to how anyone else chooses to live after loss, I do think it’s important to acknowledge that no matter how much growth is achieved, it is NEVER worth the cost. I would certainly give it all up to have my son at home.
Humans are hardwired to find points of comparison. It’s how we build community. It makes us feel less alone. In some cases, though, comparison feels minimizing. This is especially the case in loss. This is something to say instead.
Before Adrian died, I was a relatively positive person. His death shattered my belief and confidence in the ultimate goodness of the world.
Before Adrian died, I always thought of tragedy and loss as something that happened to OTHER people, but not to me. Of course I feel differently now.
One of the things that isn’t often talked about is that stillborn babies are (usually) born with their eyes closed. And although I explored every inch of Adrian’s body, I couldn’t bring myself to force open his eyes. They will always be a mystery for me.
I was educated & open to new information, & I thought I knew everything…And then the nightmare that is stillbirth rose up & broke me. Despite my curiosity, I was hit by the fact that NO ONE in my world had thought to tell me that stillbirth was SO VERY COMMON. 1 in 160. It’s a freaking emergency.
15 October is International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. By lighting a candle from 7-8pm in your local time zone, bereaved parents and families create a “wave of light” that travels around the world. Customize this graphic to honor your child lost too soon.
I didn’t have much experience with death or grief prior to the death of my son, and so I’m embarrassed that I genuinely used to believe everything was “okay” right after the funeral. This is how it’s often portrayed on TV. This is wrong.
If a bereaved parent feels guilt or blame about their loss, simply telling them not to feel that way is not a solution. Feelings don’t work that way.
We default to these standard phrases when seeking to comfort others in pain. Unfortunately, these phrases actually make the pain worse..
I know this isn’t the intention, but this passage in Ecclesiastes 3:4 kind of rubs me the wrong way. Why must there be a time for grieving, or any of these things? Why can’t the time be always? There is time for everything under the sun. It is ALWAYS time for grieving.
People are going to feel uncomfortable about death and grief…It’s not your job to comfort people who become discomfited by hearing your story. That’s on them.
It’s a common saying: “It’s okay to not be okay as long as you don’t stay that way.” I disagree. Why do we put a time limit on reality? It’s only when we recognize that ALL feelings are valid, that we have the space we need to make genuine change. And even then, change is optional. It has to be.
Something I wish people understood is that it’s possible to laugh while you’re dying inside. Laughter doesn’t mean the grief is over. The two things can exist simultaneously.
It doesn’t matter how far along you were. It doesn’t matter if there was anything “wrong” with the baby or if he or she would not have been compatible with life. It doesn’t even matter how many other children you have, either before or after your loss. You are ALWAYS allowed to feel what you need.
It was months after Adrian’s death, and I was sitting on the couch, trying to focus on mindless TV. It was the point after death where sympathy had mostly evaporated. And I didn’t want casseroles, but damn—I was lonely!
As bereaved parents, it’s natural to think about the lives our children would have lived. My son would have been a preschooler this year; what about your child?
My son Adrian would have been starting preschool this year. This experience is yet one more of the things that stillbirth stole from our family. What about your child?
I’ve been running into a trend recently when I talk about Adrian’s death, especially when I share more “uncomfortable” feelings such as anger or regret. People seem to feel like they need to urge me to find peace or to otherwise feel differently. I wish more people understood the power in authenticity; in feeling whatever and however one needs.
I understand your intentions in wanting to take away my pain. It’s hard to see someone you love hurting. It’s hard to acknowledge there’s nothing you can do. What I need you to understand: (My) pain has a purpose. It speaks to the love I hold for my child. In seeking to take it away, you take away my love as well. You take away ME.
I’ve seen so many people begin a post about grief with phrases like, “This may sound odd,” or “Sorry if this is weird.” I’ve decided I’m going to stop doing that. Grief doesn’t have to be reasonable. Death certainly isn’t.
Often, when I share about my deceased child, that’s all I’m looking for: An ear. A person to open their heart to experience. Someone to take a moment in their day to read and acknowledge, without trying to analyze me.
Sharing about my deceased child doesn’t mean that I’m stuck or broken or even that I am hurting. It simply means I am a parent.
The month of October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. During this month, bereaved parents encourage everyone to learn about pregnancy loss and infant loss, and to remember and honor all children lost too soon.
After Adrian died, many people close to me offered to pray. I generally don’t find comfort in thoughts of a higher power myself, but I understand the desire to want to pray as a means to demonstrate care. If you are ask permission before offering prayer, it is generally going to be okay. I certainly appreciate the intentions behind it, especially when paired with consent.
Snowballs and sledding and all of the mid-winter fun, but one person’s snowman is missing. These are downloadable graphics you can use to honor and share about your deceased child/ren during winter.
Four years out from Adrian’s death, and sometimes it almost feels “normal” to me. New homes; new jobs; and an energetic little one running around—it could almost be a different lifetime.
I used to be so incredibly naïve. I used to believe all you needed was a positive attitude, and things would just—work out. Sometimes they don’t, though. And positivity is still being pushed as this mindless cure to what isn’t a disease. Positivity is meaningless without authenticity.
It feels like we are conditioned to look on the bright side of every dark situation, but sometimes there isn’t one. Sometimes, things just need to suck
Sometimes; some days, I am just — tired. An exhaustion that goes beyond the surface. An exhaustion that is more than just physical.
STILL grieving? Yes, I am still grieving. I am still grieving, because the work of grief is never done. I am still grieving, because I put into my grief what I cannot put into life with my son. I am still grieving, because he is STILL, and will always, be dead...
“I’m here if you ever want to sit in awkward silence.”
As odd as it sounds, this is one of the most supportive messages I received after the death of my son.
Survivor’s bias is a logical fallacy that equates the experience of those who survived an experience with “proof” that such an experience is safe. It’s a fallacy, because it implies that one person’s positive outcome is automatically going to apply for everyone, but this isn’t true.
People who haven’t dealt with tragedy are often made uncomfortable by any mention of the life that remains. It’s as if there is this irrevocable connection between my son’s death and his existence; as if these things are forever entwined instead of merely adjacent.
I am thankful for my daughter and also missing my son at the same time. Both feelings can exist, simultaneously.
It is common in loss circles to talk about finding thankfulness in the life we have left. There are so many things wrong with this sentiment. The biggest problem is that it assumes the bereaved can’t be thankful and grieving at the same time. The other main problem is the unspoken assumption that thankfulness is a “cure” for grief. It isn’t.
We can sometimes feel a heavy cultural obligation to find a silver lining in every loss, and to hold onto the adage that there is always something to be thankful for. he truth, though, is that this isn’t always the case.
Almost 4 years in this community, and I can identify most of the wrong things to say. I write scripts and stories. I try to make things better for other people. And sometimes, still, when it comes to those I care about, words fail me.
I have continually been surprised by the way my body reacts to various anniversaries surrounding Adrian and his death. Sometimes they are “important” things like his birth or due date, but sometimes they are just random Tuesdays. It reminds me that regardless of the days we consider most relevant, the body keeps a calendar of its own.
There are stockings missing this Christmas; voices missing in this house. There are memories we should be making, and more cheer shared around the tree.
It’s something I experienced, early in my grief: Do what you need, *but understand that eventually you will have to stop grieving and move on. And man, does this hurt! Because who defines this concept of “too much” of anything? Is it really possible to have too much grief? I don’t think so.
Thanksgiving can be hard when you’re grieving, especially when the one who is gone is your child. These are customizable graphics you can use to honor and share about your deceased child/ren during the Thanksgiving season.
Missing my pumpkin this Halloween and all round; these are customizable graphics to remember your deceased child or children during Halloween.
They said time heals, but they lied. Time doesn’t heal. It’s only a measure of the length of the process.
Tragedy is not a one-time event. It happens over and over again–every morning; every milestone; every holiday. Every new experience is touched by the loss. In every experience, something is missing.
Please think, before you request a trigger warning, if the unpleasant sensation is worse for you than it is for the person speaking. You may find it “triggering” to hear about the death of my child. Imagine how much harder it is to live with it.
We need to talk about grief.
We need to talk about death & the fact that it happens.
We need to talk about relationships & how they don’t go away even when someone dies.
We need to talk about the realities of loss & the complexities inherent in planning a life for someone who never gets to live it.
We’ve always been told that what doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger, but I don’t think this makes sense. Sometimes, the things that don’t kill us immediately still affect us strongly in other ways.
When my son died, I thought about suicide. It’s not that I wanted to die, per se; more that I didn’t know how to go on living. How did I make sense of life again? How did I function in a world in which I barely knew my name?
Before Adrian died, I don’t know that I would have understood this, but it is absolutely possible to parent a child after their death. It looks a little different. It’s still very real. #SeaGlassParenting
Pain and grief can make outsiders uncomfortable, and sometimes they may urge you to heal and be your positive self again. This is a reminder that you are always allowed to feel however you need to.
There is often this perception that healing is a required part of the process of grief. I don’t believe this is true. Healing is and must always be the choice of the individual.