Health & Wellness

Guest Column

Losing a Child ~ Losing a Friend

Maria Sikoutris Di Iorio, Hellenic Therapy Center

The loss of a child is like no other. Losing a child to a tragic accident is grief that lasts a lifetime. It can be difficult to know what to say or do when someone you care about is grieving. You may be afraid of intruding, saying the wrong thing, or making the person feel worse. While you cannot take away the pain of the loss, you can provide some needed comfort and support. You can let the family know that you care and offer help in practical ways such as buying groceries, running errands, dropping off meals, etc. Listen with compassion and be willing to sit in silence and most of all refrain from giving advice. You want to avoid saying things such as:

  • It’s part of God’s plan
  • Time heals all wounds
  • They are with your loved ones now
  • They are at a better place now
  • They are with all the angels
  • Avoid should’s … “you should go to church”

The death of a child is one of the most difficult experiences one could ever endure. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Grief does not unfold in orderly, predictable stages. It can be an emotional rollercoaster, with unpredictable highs, lows and setbacks. Feelings of guilt, anger, despair and fear are common reactions. A grieving person may cry uncontrollably and it is important for us to reassure them that it is normal what they are experiencing. Grief can affect us more than just emotionally. It can affect us physically, mentally, socially and spiritually.

Elisabeth Kubler-ross, author of “On Death & Dying”, identifies five stages of the grief model: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. She explains that there is no script for grief; that we cannot expect to feel any of our emotions in a particular set pattern. It’s a misconception to think that one moves through these stages chronologically. Instead, people will move through all five stages rather haphazardly. Some stages are repeated, while others are never fully experienced.

Sign Up for E-News

There is no timetable for grieving. It can take months, years or a lifetime. Remember that the bereaved will always remember the loss of their child and it will forever change their lives.

For the last 30 years, my family and I have been Westfield residents. In that time, we have grown to love our community.  In light of the horrific tragedy that took place over the weekend, The Hellenic Therapy Center would like to extend grief counseling to those grappling with the recent significant loss, free of charge. Three group sessions will be made available to the community free of charge on: Friday, March 10  at 6 p.m., Sunday, March 12 at 6 p.m. and Wednesday, March 15 7 pm.. Please call The Hellenic Therapy Center and ask to speak with Founder, Owner and Psychotherapist, Maria Sikoutris Di Iorio at 908-322-0112.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Guest Column.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Information on Parking and Traffic for Saturday's March for Our Lives in Union

March 23, 2018

UNION, NJ – Several hundred people or more are expected to participate in the Union County March for Our Lives event on Saturday morning in Union.

Students, teachers, parents, clergy and public officials from all over Union County will be walking from Burnet Middle School to Town Hall in an anti-gun violence march.

Parking will be available in the following ...

Synopsis of Westfield Board of Education Meeting on March 19

March 22, 2018

Following the board announcements, I noted the increased police presence at each of our ten schools, thanking the town and police department for their efforts.  I also noted that we’ve been working on updating our crisis communication plan in light of today’s climate of instant communication.

Board president Gretchan Ohlig thanked the mayor and police chief for working with ...

Upcoming Events


Sat, March 24, 10:00 AM


March for Our Lives - Westfield

Government Law & Justice

Sat, March 24, 10:00 AM

Burent Middle School , Union

Union County Wide - March for Our Lives

Government Law & Justice


Sun, March 25, 11:00 AM

Shackamaxon Country Club, Scotch Plains

Hear Our Voices: MemoryCare Plays

Health & Wellness

Westfield Police Blotter: More Than $2K Worth of Items Reported Stolen from Business, & More

March 21, 2018

March 11, 2018 6:42 p.m.

Marion Bethea, age 56, of Roselle, was arrested on the strength of an outstanding warrant for her arrest from Columbia Municipal Court in the amount of $500 pursuant to a motor vehicle stop. Subject was processed and released on recognizance.


March 16, 2018 11:16 a.m.

Blas Barquin, age 34, of Cranford, NJ, was arrested on the strength of an outstanding ...

Westfield 20/20 Sponsors Healthcare Forum with NJ Citizen Action

March 24, 2018

On Tuesday, March 27, at 7 p.m., Westfield 20/20 and New Jersey Citizen Action, a statewide grassroots advocacy organization, will co-sponsor a free public educational Healthcare Forum at Pollard Hall in Mountainside.

The topic is very timely. Exit polls from the recent Pennsylvania election confirm that voters rated healthcare as their most pressing concern. New Jersey citizens are no ...

Westfield Parents Host 25th Annual Awareness Expo

More than 200 parents, educators and other members of the Westfield community attended the 25th Annual Awareness Expo on March 14, hearing from well-regarded specialists on such topics as resilience, anxiety, decoding dyslexia and more.

“As a relative newcomer to special education three years ago, I have been overwhelmed by the quality of support this committee offers to ...

Staying On Top

Some people are bulldozers. They move mountains, conquer countries, achieve the seemingly impossible. But then when there are no more mountains to climb, they falter. Routines, maintenance and sustainability are not their strong points. They respond to excitement and challenge, not to the uneventful, monotonous daily grind.

The title word of this week's Parshah, Tzav, means ...

White Standard Poodle Missing from 700 Block of Belvidere Ave. in Plainfield

A Plainfield neighbor in the 700 block of Belvidere Ave. is missing Chanel, her standard white poodle, who ran out the door and was last seen near Leland and Cushing avenues toward Union County College on Wednesday evening.

Chanel is not wearing a collar or tags, and is not micro-chipped.  She has been recently groomed and weighs about 36 pounds.  She is friendly, but may not come if ...

'Trying' explores age, youth and points of history in poignant production

‘Trying’ explores youth, age and points of history in poignant production

By Liz Keill

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The George Street Playhouse presents an engrossing, two-character play based on the real life of Francis Biddle, former Attorney General.

Biddle, a Harvard educated lawyer, served under Franklin Roosevelt and later Harry Truman during the Nuremberg Tribunal. His ...

Can I Change My Partner?

March 21, 2018

Couples oftentimes look to change the “other.” “If only” the other would make these changes, or do as I say, our relationship would be great. We tend to focus on the other. We tend to focus on changing the other. We tend to focus on the other’s negative behavior. Couples like to report what their spouse/partner is doing and how they are ...

16 Homes Sold Last Week in Westfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Mountainside & Cranford

Sixteen homes sold last week, March 11 to March 18, 2018, in Westfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Mountainside and Cranford:*


TOWN        ADDRESS                  STYLE           RMS    ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 13

On this episode of AtlantiCast, new clinical studies in the fields of cardiology and immunotherapy, national and statewide recognitions for Atlantic Health System medical centers and the inaugural AtlantiCast Collab Challenge!


Financially Savvy Charitable Giving: Donor-Advised Funds

Americans are known to be philanthropic, with an estimated 83% donating to charitable causes. Making the donation convenient and tax-effective is a win-win for both charities and those with a generous heart. Donor-advised funds (DAFs) are a simplistic funding structure available to those with both small and large charitable giving pots.  

Mechanics of Donor Funds

DAFs can be set up ...


Kathleen Marie Christian (nee Helmstetter), age 73 of Surf City, NJ, passed away peacefully at home ...
Read more

Suspended Hillsborough HS Athletic Director Charged with Theft

March 19, 2018

HILLSBOROUGH, NJ — Suspended Hillsborough High School Athletic Director Michael Fanizzi has been arrested and charged with the theft of $10,704 in athletic event receipts over a four-year period from 2013-2017, according to Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson.

Fanizzi, 53, a resident of Conover Way in Hillsborough who had been athletics director for 14 years, had been ...