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My Son Drowned; My Life Will Never Be the Same Again

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Nov 01, 2018

Question

Salam Aleikom. My 4-year-old child died about 6 weeks ago. He died drowning in a neighborhood well. Since then I have found it unable to move on.

I keep listening to Islamic lectures and Qur'an, but I am still depressed. I can't sleep and keep blaming myself for what happened. I keep saying what if I had checked on him earlier, what if I didn't listen to his sister when she told him he was in their aunt's house, what if I had let him visit his grandparents’ house a day before when he wanted to, maybe this would not have happened, astaghfirullah.

I know as Muslims we are supposed to believe in qadr, but I think I am finding it very difficult because I lost my mum in an accident less than 2 years ago and just as I was making recovery, this happened. He was my first child and he loved me dearly. I just feel I failed him and now my life is never going to be the same again.

Please, what can I do to help me move on and stop this feeling of guilt, especially as I feel I am sinning if I continue like this.

Counselor

Answer


My Son Drowned; My Life Will Never Be the Same Again

In this counseling answer:

• Guilt is part of the grieving process as well and a component of responsibility.

• Speak to your husband; Seek out friends and family who are supportive and uplifting.

• Try to focus your thoughts on outside activities to help you acclimate towards healing and be gentle with your spirit and heart.

• Turn to Allah.


As salam Alaykum dear sister,

I am so sorry and sad to hear about the loss of your precious son. Indeed, nothing can compare to the pain of losing one’s child. It must be one of the most heartbreaking life events that a human can experience. My heart goes out to you during this most difficult time and you are in our thoughts and prayers.

Guilt & Grieving

Sister, we never know what will happen in life. Tragedies can occur for which we have no control over. You are a wonderful mom who took such good care of her child. You have never failed him. Your son knows you never failed him.  He loved you so much. Your questions illustrate how much you love him, how you did look out for him, protect him and care for him. Yet, things happen that we cannot foresee or stop from happening.

When something like this happens in life, we are often filled with guilt and “what if” questions. It is a part of the grieving process in which we try to rationalize what happened. It is a part of a guilt and responsibility we carry that somehow we could have prevented it from happening.

Guilt is part of the grieving process as well and a component of responsibility. It is most difficult to get through. When we feel as if we could have prevented a loved one’s death when clearly we could have not.

Sister, instead of focusing on what you could have done to prevent your son’s death, ask yourself: what did I do with an intent that caused him harm? Nothing right?

Sister, I kindly ask insha’Allah that you make a list of all the ways you loved your son, things you did to protect him, nurture him and ensure he had a safe and happy life. I imagine your list will be long concerning the ways in which you loved him and looked out for him.

Please, look at this list as often as needed to remind yourself of how you did protect him and safeguard his life. When you begin to have thoughts about “what if…”, please refer back to these examples of your protecting and taking care of him.

Comforts from Allah

Sister, the fact is that we cannot control everything. We cannot be with our children every second. They go to school, the go off to play, they explore. And yet despite our best efforts to protect them, tragic things do happen. We cannot prevent what Allah has decreed.

The Qur’an states,

“And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As- Saabiroon (the patient). Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: ‘Truly, to Allaah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.’They are those on whom are the Salawaat (i.e. who are blessed and will be forgiven) from their Lord, and (they are those who) receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided ones”. (2:155-157)

A hadith narrated that Abu Sinaan said,

“I buried my son Sinaan and Abu Talhah al-Khoolaani was sitting at the graveside. When I wanted to go out he took my hand and said, “Shall I not give you some glad tidings, O Abu Sinaan?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “Al-Dahhaak ibn ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn ‘Arzab narrated to me from Abu Moosa al-Ash’ari that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When a person’s child dies, Allaah says to His angels, ‘You have taken the child of My slave.’ They say, ‘Yes.’ He says, ‘You have taken the apple of his eye.’ They say, ‘Yes.’ He says, ‘What did My slave say?’ They say, ‘He praised you and said “Innaa lillaahi wa inna ilayhi raaji’oon (Verily to Allaah we belong and unto Him is our return).’ Allaah says, ‘Build for My slave a house in Paradise and call it the house of praise.” (Al-Tirmidhi, 942) 

Thus, we know that in anticipation of these tragic events, there is guidance and refuge provide from Allah and from our beloved Prophet.

Stepping Back-Perspectives & Supports

Sister, I kindly ask you to take a deep breath and step back for a moment. If this happened to your sister or best friend, and she was expressing guilt or thinking she may have been able to prevent her son’s death, what would you say to her? What advice would you give her?


Check out this counseling video:


Please do insha’Allah, write these hypothetical responses down, read them and try very hard to apply them to yourself.

Often times things become much clearer if we analyze our feelings and gut responses (guilt) from a different perspective such as offering support if it were happening to another person close to us. As we love and care for that person and we know they did the best they could, we would want to try to alleviate their suffering and feelings of unfounded guilt. I ask that insha’Allah you love yourself in the same manner.

You have been through a lot dear, sister. You just lost your mom due to an accident two years ago and you were just healing from that. And now this. I encourage you, dear sister, to speak to your husband.

Try to find comfort and bonding with him over the loss of your son. I am sure he is hurt very much as well.

Seek out friends and family who are supportive and uplifting. It has only been six weeks since your son has died and you are still in the grieving process. A good support system is of great benefit. Try to get out and do some self-care such as a lunch with friends, a walk with your husband, or another activity you may enjoy.

I know you probably do not feel like doing any of the mentioned. However, insha’Allah please do try as it will help you through the grieving process. The more you isolate and ponder on the feelings of guilt, the harder it will be to move towards healing.

Again, feeling guilty is a natural process of grieving as we try to rationalize. But I encourage you to put things in perspective in regards to your role. You did not cause your son’s death. You were a wonderful, caring, protective mother. Your son loved you very much. Insha’Allah, look at this love as a validation as to what a wonderful mom you were to him.

Allah is our Comfort

Alhamdulillah, you are listening to Islamic lectures and Qur’an. These are spiritual necessities. However, I ask that you also just talk to Allah. Pour your heart out to Allah, ask for Allah’s mercy and for relief. Make duaa for ease, sister. Allah loves you very much, and Allah loves when we seek Him out in our times of need. Allah is closest to us. He knows us and He provides comfort.

Please, seek Allah, talk with your husband and close friends/family for support. Try to focus your thoughts on outside activities to help you acclimate towards healing and be gentle with your spirit and heart. Nurture yourself with healing love and affirmations. If you find you are not moving towards healing dear sister, please do seek out grief counseling in your area. Short-term counseling, as well as grief support groups, can be most helpful.

You are in our prayers,

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Read more:

How to Process the Tragedy of Losing My Child?

Died in Infancy: Where Do Children Go?

How to Explain Grandfather’s Death to My Child ?




About Aisha Mohammad

Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word poetry projects.

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