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How to Help Parents Grieving the Loss of a Child

Actor John Travolta and his wife, Kelly Preston suffered a devastating loss on Friday when their 16-year-old son, Jett, died. Being predeceased by a child is a parent's worst nightmare. The mere thought of losing one's offspring is enough to bring a mother or father to tears. The reality is difficult to fathom so finding the words to appropriately comfort someone who is grieving such a loss can be hard. Here are some tips to use in coping with the sensitive task of supporting a parent whose child has died.

  • Behave naturally
  • Show genuine concern
  • Offer love patiently and unconditionally

To see the rest of the suggestions,


  • Offer hugs or an arm around the shoulder, as appropriate
  • Sit next to the person who wants closeness
  • Make it clear that you are there to listen
  • Express your care and concern
  • Say that you are sorry about the loss
  • Say “I love you” if you feel close enough
  • Talk openly and directly about the person who died
  • Cry if you feel like crying
  • Keep in mind that evenings, weekends, anniversaries and holidays can be extra challenging times.

Our hearts go out to the Travolta family.

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