You are currently viewing The death of an adult child

The death of an adult child

FRIDAY May 12, 2017: All over Zambia, there will be parents who are in their fifties upwards who are smarting because of the death of an adult child.

They have seen this child finish school and get settled in employment and perhaps even marry and have a child or two.
That adult child has now departed from this life through the jaws of death, leaving them with an indescribable sense of emptiness.
Perhaps they even wish the child had died in the womb so that the pain would be less. The death of an adult child is excruciatingly painful.
That is what has come to my attention this week. I am away from home and received news that a member of my church has lost a daughter who was an adult child. She nursed her since the end of last year but the battle against death was lost yesterday. How devastating!
I must admit that I had some kind of premonition that I may never see this young lady again. She had become very precious to me.
The mother often referred to her as “your daughter” whenever she would talk with me about the young lady. Now she was no more.
Let us face it. Death is always painful for those who remain behind—whether the one who has died is an infant or an adult. The Bible refers to it as “the last enemy” (1 Cor. 15:26) and surely that is an apt description.
The pain it causes cannot be compared to anything else.
Without lessening the painful sense of loss that those who lose a baby through death suffer, I still think that the pain of the loss of an adult child is worse.
Therefore, I do not want to think about what my church member is going through right now. I can only pray for her.
Part of the pain is tied up with a sense of loss because the financial investment made in the child who is now an adult is suddenly brought to nothing. All the finances poured into the education of the child, perhaps all the way to university, is gone in a stroke!
Some adult children die after they have worked, owned property, and been married for a number of years and have even given you grandchildren. You take comfort in the fruit that the child leaves behind. You have tangible items to remind you that your child lived.
The death of a child that takes place when he or she is on the eve of a fruitful career journey and has not left any children has a greater sense of loss in it. It leaves you with an extra feeling of emptiness. Photos and cherished memories remind you of them. That is all.
The bigger pain is due to the fact that over the years you build an intimate relationship with the child who is now an adult. Your lives are literally welded together through mutual experiences of life. How do you separate what is welded together without excruciating pain?
With a newly-born baby you neither have such a major financial investment nor such a rich relationship built on mutual experiences of life—unless you are the mother and that for nine months. So, the death of an adult child causes pain to go up to the nth degree.
The death of a baby or a young adult about to launch out of the home is painful because of the reality of dreams curtailed.
Parents dream. They think of what this child might be once he or she is grown up. These dreams die with a baby’s or the young adult’s death.
Let me end my comparisons here. Each life is precious. It is almost morally wrong to compare one life to another.
Any death is always one death too many. The death of an old grandparent who has lived to the ripe old age of one hundred years is also very painful.
My parting words in my diary this week are an appeal that we should do everything in our power to prevent death.
Let us drive carefully so that we do not cause the loss of life on our roads. Let us avoid violence of any kind because it often results in the loss of life.
Let us avoid any form of life-threatening behaviour or dangerously risky lifestyle. The loss of life cannot be replaced.
God gives life. Let us not be the ones to take it away. Any death is one death too many. This is especially the case when it is the death of an adult child.
For comments and counsel, write to: or call or send a text to 0974250084