Loss of a Loved One 

couple grieving and comforting each other 

Of all the challenges in life, the loss of a loved one is one of the most painful experiences you will encounter.

Grief is the normal response of sorrow, emotion, and confusion that comes from the loss a loved one. Mourning, on the other hand, is the open expression of thoughts and feelings regarding death and the person that has died. Mourning involves such rituals as funerals, memorials, wakes, as well as expressions of sorrow, devastation and anger.

Grieving and mourning are essential elements of the healing process.

Becoming an Orphan in Midlife

The parent-child relationship is perhaps the most fundamental of all human bonds. Your parents provide you with a link to your childhood. They also, in part, define who you are.

The loss of a loved one, especially a parent can mean losing a part of you. It changes who you are. Facing the death of a parent reminds you of life's fragility and mortality—that no one is immune to heartbreak.

Helping a Child Through the Loss of a Loved One

Adults mourn. So do children. Experiencing grief doesn’t require understanding. It’s important to recognize that no one formula can be followed for every grieving child. Be patient. Observe the child's behavior and emotions and adjust to individual needs.

  • Encourage questions about death and give honest, direct answers in language children can understand.
  • Respond to children with sensitivity and warmth.
  • Share your spiritual beliefs in concrete terms.
  • Allow children to participate in funeral arrangements and to attend the funeral but don’t force them to attend.
  • Communicate that grief is a natural expression of love by expressing your own feelings of grief.

Online Resources

The following list of organizations and websites provides information and support for coping with grief:

  • The Compassionate Friends
    A national, self-help support organization for those grieving the loss of a child or sibling.

  • Fernside
    Grief information, resources, and support for grieving children and their families.

  • RENEW: Center for Personal Recovery
    A grief counseling center for individuals and families that are experiencing loss, with a specialty in grief recovery counseling for traumatic deaths.

  • GriefNet
    GriefNet is a professionally directed, on-line grief support community. It has over 50 monitored support groups covering the loss of a parent, of a child, of a sibling, of a friend, of a spouse, of a pet, loss due to military service, and other unique losses.

  • Transformations
    A website about self-help, support, and recovery issues.

Northwestern Mutual Can Help

The loss of a loved one demonstrates the need to keep your financial items in order. Financial planning for your loved ones is the gift you can give to help them through the grieving process. Estate planning eliminates federal or state laws dictating how property, personal items and assets are divided, with no regard to your intentions or the best desires for family members.

When grieving the loss of a loved one find comfort in the memories they’ve given you. Memories that will forever be a part of your life.

Have an Advisor Contact You
Find an Advisor
Customer Service
Most Requested Forms
Tools and Resources 
Related Products and Services