Grief Support Upon the Death of a Child

The staff of C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital wish to express our deepest sympathy. We know there were many hopes and dreams for your child and now the unimaginable has happened. It is traumatic to lose a child and while many may grieve, people grieve in different ways.

We hope these web pages will be helpful as you address necessary tasks following a child’s death and as you address your emotional well-being to experience healthy grieving.  We are here for you.

This page is intended to provide information and support for the death of a child who received care at Michigan Medicine. For information about the death of an adult, visit Grief Support Following the Death of a Loved One on UofMHealth.org.  For support following pregnancy loss, visit Loss of a Desired Pregnancy on the Von Voigtlander Women's site.

Following the Loss of Your Child

In the days and weeks that follow the loss of a child, it is normal to feel overwhelmed about what to do next. At this difficult time, you may wish to ask someone to help you make important phone calls and arrangements.  Many families find it helpful to read through information on what to do next surrounding organ donation, autopsy, and funeral preparations. This information is available on our Following the Loss of Your Child page.

Financial and Legal Concerns

Resources are available to assist families with financial limitations and legal concerns after the death of their child. For information on social security benefits, Medicaid, Children’s Special Health Service, and other potential financial support, view the Financial and Legal Concerns page.

Remembering your Child

There are many ways families choose to remember a child who has died. Our Remembering your Child page has information and advice from other bereaved parents about getting through holidays and other special days, celebrating your child, and making charitable donations in memory of your child. In addition, Michigan Medicine holds formal non-denominational memorial events to remember the children who were cared for at Mott.  The children and their families are the focus of these events and are invited to attend.

Living with Grief

Mourning the loss of your child will likely be the hardest thing you will ever face. Your emotions are raw. Your heart aches. You are shaken to the core. You have spent endless hours loving worrying about, comforting and nurturing your child, but it may feel like these hours were not enough.  It may seem that you will never smile or feel like yourself again.  Yet you may feel pressure to put on a “mask” and go about your daily duties trying to hide your pain and grief. Visit our Living with Grief page for more information.

Resources and Support

Acknowledging that your and your family’s lives have changed forever can be overwhelming. You may feel you will never be able to adjust to life without the physical presence of your child.  It may be difficult to accept help and support but it is often the most important thing you can do to take care of yourself and those around you. Many bereaved parents have even shared that accepting support from others (family, friends, and/or professionals) and caring for themselves is a beautiful way to honor their child.  Our Resources and Support page has a list of programs offered through Michigan Medicine and within the community you may find helpful.

Share Feedback About Your Experience

We realize that remembering the day your child died can be difficult. Sharing your experience may be helpful to you and others.  We hope you will take a moment and participate in the care at end of life survey. Please share this survey with anyone impacted by the loss.

Michigan Medicine strives to ensure that everyone nearing the end of their life receives compassionate care and is treated with dignity and respect. We are committed to providing care, information and support to families and caregivers before, during, and after a death has occurred. Your feedback will help us improve the quality of care provided to all patients and families.

Contact Us

The Office of Decedent Affairs (ODA) is part of the Michigan Medicine Department of Social Work. The ODA is the centralized point of contact at Michigan Medicine for ongoing questions and concerns before, during, and after the death of a loved one. To contact the Office of Decedent Affairs, call 734-232-4919 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. You may also email the ODA office at SocWk-ODA@med.umich.edu.