The bitter grief of a mother who lost her 9-year-old son. Another tragic incident was committed by a housemaid “The death of a child is considered the single worst stressor a person can go through,” says Deborah Carr, Ph.D., chair of the sociology department at Boston University. “Parents and fathers specifically feel responsible for the child’s well-being. So when they lose a child, they’re not just losing a person they loved. They’re also losing the years of the promise they had looked forward to.” Although parents mourning the loss of a child are, in many ways, experiencing classic grief responses — the usual battery of psychological, biological, and social repercussions — there are many unique challenges. The trauma is often more intense, and the memories and hopes are harder to let go of. As such, the mourning process is longer, and the potential for recurring or near-constant trauma is far greater. As with all major grief responses, the trauma of losing a child can kick off physical symptoms, including stomach pains, muscle cramps, headaches, and even irritable bowel syndrome. A handful of studies have found more tenuous links between unresolved grief and immune disorders, cancer, and long-term genetic changes at the cellular level.