No matter how well we try to protect our children, we can’t always save them from what Allah (glorified and exalted be He) has destined for them. Our children are just as likely to die in an accident as anyone else. A death could be caused by RTA’s (road traffic accidents), fires, falls, innocent bystanders in the street or some freak accident. The accidental death of a child is the most testing for any parent. The internal guilt and self blame that naturally occurs can lead to numerous heartaches and arguments between the parents and these often pave the way to marital discord. As a couple that has just lost your child, you have to turn to Allah (glorified and exalted be He) and trust in His wisdom. Deal with your grief one day at a time and have full faith that, no matter what you did or did not do, the manner in which your child passed away was never in your control.
Guilt of not being there
Being absent when your child leaves this world is something many parents cannot come to terms with. They blame themselves and the circumstances that prevented them from being with their child during his/her final moments. What you must know is that your presence or absence at the time of your child’s passing was never in your control.
Allah (glorified and exalted be He) had preordained the where, the how and the why of your child’s death long before your baby was conceived.
If Allah (glorified and exalted be He) brings you to it He will surely bring you through it. Let Him take away the guilt and know that HE has a plan for everything and a destined time. We have to learn to keep on living despite the pain and this is greatly helped in turning to Allah (glorified and exalted be He) in prayer and reading of the Quran.
The stories of the Prophets and the trials and tribulations they went through will give our hearts peace. Recovery isn’t guaranteed to happen over night. Some days will be worse than others, you just have to take it day by day with plenty of duas and reflection on the Mercy of Allah (glorified and exalted be He).
Learn to accept the guilt in order to free yourself of the pain and the black cloud that hangs over you. Learn to keep a journal where you speak to the deceased and write your feelings of pain, hurt, loneliness and what dreams you had for them. Imagine them living those dreams in Jannah: it will bring you ease and slowly dull the guilt of not being there with them in their last moments.
In their heightened state of grief, many parents question the wisdom of Allah (glorified and exalted be He) and wish for their own death as well. As Muslims, we are advised against this by Nabi (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in the hadith below:
‘’None of you should wish for death because of some harm that has come to him. If he has such a wish, he should say, ‘O Allah, give me life if You know that life is better for me. And give me death if You know that death is better for me.’” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
The road to recovery is a long and arduous one. The moments and days following your child’s death can, and will, severely test your Imaan and patience. Preparing for your child’s burial gives rise to many decisions you have to make and situations that you are not prepared for, such as, identifying your child’s body at the mortuary or dealing with how to give ghusl and shrouding when you may not to be able to physically handle your child’s body.
During times of such unexpected tragedy, our human nature searches for reasons to explain what just happened. Instead of completely accepting it as the will of Allah (glorified and exalted be He), we tend to apportion blame to those we feel were responsible. We do this because of our need for stability when our world has just been turned upside down.
In cases where either a parent or a relative is being unfairly blamed for the death of the deceased child, try to remain silent and implore Allah (glorified and exalted be He) to restore sanity to all those present. Ask Him to infuse you all with sabr and ask Him alone for His help.
At the time of the funeral, many parents feel overwhelmed by the constant barrage of advice given to them. Remember that you are the child’s parent and that it is up to you to decide on the relevant issues such as, should your child’s body be open to viewing or not, the location of the funeral etc. If you or your spouse feel incapable of making such decisions, appoint a trustworthy family member or friend that you can rely on to keep make sure that all affairs are handled smoothly.