Joan Hagan Arnold, PhD, RN and Penelope Gemma, RN, MS, CS


A child’s death is a devastating experience whatever the cause, whatever the age of the child, and whether it is expected or unexpected. Anyone who has personally experienced this tragedy knows that it is a daunting task to deal with loss of this magnitude.

This highly acclaimed and consistently bestselling book was written to help grieving family, friends and caregivers cope with the death of a child.

While there are no easy answers to dealing with overwhelming loss of this sort, this book offers understanding and support and explicit guidelines and helping techniques.

Beautifully illustrated with works of art and poems that are able to express in an extremely powerful way what words sometimes cannot, this caring, warm and thoughtful book will be enormously helpful to all those who must confront the tragedy of a child’s death, including parents, family members, friends of the family and mental health professionals.


"The authors have been touched by the grief experienced by those who have suffered the loss of a child and they share their responses with the readers of this book. In these pages, you won't find reviews of the professional literature or data that deal with individual or family psychopathology. Rather, you'll find a sense of the magnitude of human and family grief that is felt when a child dies. Using classic art and literature from across the ages, the authors convey the meaning of loss through the words and artistic ability of those who've been deeply touched in their own lives and have the ability to touch other in ways that are unique and powerful.

"The chapters on caregivers help us to reexamine our own issues concerning life and death and our personal limitations when working with bereaved families. The difficulties of exposing ourselves to others' pain, to not having the answers, and ultimately to our own vulnerabilities and losses are thoughtfully presented.

"At the heart of this book is the impact of caring and the use of the self in a therapeutic relationship. While there are no easy answers, the authors have proposed guidelines to help families cope with their loss. The bibliography about death and grief for children and parents is a helpful resource."

American Journal of Nursing

“If I were to recommend one book to grieving families and health professionals concerning the catastrophic experience of a child’s death, it would be this one. The deep truths and exquisite beauty will bring solace to many grieving heart."

Rabbi Earl Grollman, DD

“Well conceived and thoughtfully illustrated, this volume is a valuable tool for anyone who counsels families undergoing this powerful human experience."

Jeanne Quint Benoliel, DNSc, FAAN

“As a resource for a family support group, the book merits an ‘A.’ Taken a chapter at a time, this book should provoke meaningful introspection and also stimulate group discussion.”

Advance for Nurse Practitioners

Softcover. 136 pages. ISBN-10: 0-914783-72-6. ISBN-13: 978-0914783-72-5. LIST PRICE: $24.95