Dying is a social as well as physiological phenomenon. Each society characterizes and, consequently, treats death and dying in its own individual ways—ways that differ markedly. These particular patterns of death and dying engender modal cultural responses, and such institutionalized behavior has familiar, economical, educational, religious, and political implications. The Handbook of Death and Dying takes stock of the vast literature in the field.
Chapter 88: Parents and the Death of a Child
Experiencing intense emotional distress following the death of a loved one is a normal human reaction. When a child dies, however, the unique dynamics of parent-child relationship further intensify bereavement reactions of parents. In the modern Western world, children are expected to outlive their parents. Parents not only expect to see their children grown and settled, they even expect to see their grandchildren growing and settling. A child's death disrupts the normal life cycle expectations of parents, and the loss creates the havoc of emotional and ...