The Grief of a Parent / Child at Physical Death

This blog is about the separation of parents and children at death. It’s been prompted by two experiences last week, one at a place whether a father had scattered the ashes of his little girl, and the other at a funeral of a young father, and his anguish at leaving his daughter. The searing pain of parent /child loss is one that we all hope we never experience. Grief is powerful and overwhelming. I feel inadequate in even trying to express what I felt and experienced in the emotions of the spirit father and child I met. On both occasions, it was so raw that it stopped me in my tracks.

I was at White Park Bay in Antrim. This is a spectacular and spiritual place to visit. The bay stretches for miles, and inland, there are a number of ancient passage (burial) cairns overlooking the bay. It is a sacred landscape. Walking along the beach, I came across a child’s shoe on top of a boulder. I saw flowers scattered on a hillside. Then, as I walked along I heard a child called Aine* who has passed into spirit very recently. She told me her father, John*, had been to the beach to scatter her ashes, it was a favourite place of theirs. Aine told me he had said “Goodbye little one”, and she told me of his pain and suffering and the emotion in his voice as he spoke. I was, in effect, alongside him. Aine wanted to convey to me that she was very much alive in spirit and free of her illness. She was in a place of deep joy & happiness, and had been reunited with her pet dog, which she played with every day. She wanted to make it clear that though she had cut the bonds of the physical body, she was more strongly bonded to her father John now she was in spirit.

In the same week, I was at Armagh Cathedral with a friend. On arriving we found a funeral was being held, so we waited a discreet distance away. As we stood there, I became aware of the spirit of the young man, Peter*, whose funeral was taking place, and who wanted me to help him. Peter was sobbing and said that he felt unable to cut the physical cords that bonded him to his very young daughter, Marie*. He felt that in doing so, he would be ‘letting her go’ and not supporting her. He had a strong pull to the world of spirit, but he also wanted to remain with Marie. Over the course of that day and evening, I talked to Peter about how he would be in a better position to help her from the other side; that he could do more to support her from there, and that he would not be leaving her at all. Then as he wished, I helped to support him as he journeyed into the light of the spirit world.

I know that both Peter, and Aine, are now in a joyful place of light, and that they remain very connected to their loved ones here on earth, supporting, loving and helping them.

Death is like a re-birth, at birth the umbilical cord is cut in order that we live and form new bonds with those around us. In Death, we cut the cords to our physical body and move with our soul into the next world. We are still connected to our loved ones, our soul group.

Anam Cara refers to the Celtic spiritual belief of souls connecting and bonding. As John O’Donahue the Irish poet, philosopher, and priest put it, “You are joined in an ancient and eternal union with humanity that cuts across all barriers of time, convention, philosophy and definition. Blessed with an Anam Cara, the Irish believe, you have arrived at that most sacred place: home”.

(Anam Cara: Soul Friend). There are no goodbyes.

*Names changed out of respect to the families concerned