The death of a child is always horrendous, whatever the reason. But what if the child is missing, presumed dead? A thread of hope perhaps?
As a relative of one missing person relates… “… [the sister of the missing person] said her parents still suffered from the doubt surrounding the disappearance.”
What’s worse? Missing, presumed dead, or confirmation of the death.
Any parent whose child has died will tell you a similar thing. You don’t ‘get over’ the death of a child, but over time you get used to it, but there is always that ‘empty chair,’ that space in the heart.
Murder is not the only cause of death though.
Death of a child by suicide
This leaves so many unanswered questions for those who are left behind.
Suicide accounted for 1.4% of all deaths worldwide, making it the 18th leading cause of death in 2016. https://www.who.int/mental_health/prevention/suicide/suicideprevent/en/
Stigma – some people never admit that their child was a suicide. Those who know the family sometimes avoid the subject.
The isolation of the parent(s) is therefore increased.
Guilt and blame – Feeling guilty about an argument with a child before the suicide? The cause was more than one argument. For a child (or anyone) to commit suicide the causes have been building up for a long time.
“Losing any relative to suicide is traumatic, but there’s probably no greater nightmare [than losing a child to suicide], since parents feel their job is to support their children, care for them, make them happy, and make their lives good, so suicide can make parents feel like a failure in this most important job of their lives,” he commented. (Dr Zisook)
Disease as the cause of the death of a child
The picture that springs to mind is of Mum and/or Dad sitting by the bed of a child dying of cancer, or leukaemia, but there are many more causes of death of a child. Some of this is dependent on what part of the world in which the family lives. Starvation, dysentery, pneumonia or other diseases which could be cured by antibiotics are distressing causes of childhood deaths.
This report gives some information https://www.unicef.org/health/childhood-diseases
There are other causes
Perhaps, like me, you, or someone you know has had ‘the knock’ and there is a policeman or two on the door.
My thoughts and prayers are with those whose children have died, I know the shock and I know the pain.