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Rob Oglesby

The Wrong Way Round

Healing,Life Experience,Relationships

Date : June 6, 2016Comments : 0

As part of my work as a therapeutic counsellor I have spent much time with parents and other family members of children who have passed away, supporting them in their grief at a most difficult time.  I have provided therapy to parents who may have lost their child some years earlier, and also to those whose child died only hours before.



When a child dies many people feel that it is somehow the ‘wrong way round’, in that a child is supposed to outlive their parents or carers by many years.  This can be a puzzling and painful reality, and the question “why?” is often on the lips of those left behind.  Then there are the secondary loses, which can be tough to deal with.  A loss of identity and frequently of purpose can be very bewildering, and the change in daily routine – be that the school run, bath time or story time – can mean that not only is the bereaved parent’s world turned upside down, but that the things which kept them going throughout the day are no longer there to be done as they were before.


Lack of Understanding

I am always struck by how often a parent, grandparent or sibling of a child who has passed away has to be understanding of other people’s lack of understanding.  Sometimes friends, wider family members or work colleagues can feel quite awkward approaching the subject of the recent loss, and can with the best of intentions say or do something which makes things harder, not easier.  The bereaved person, on top of everything else, has to carefully manage situations and relationships with others who have little insight into the world in which they now find themselves.


Moving Forwards

It has become clear to me that each person’s reaction to the death of a loved one is unique and is tied to their situation and other factors.  One common experience that I have observed however, is that over time things look different than before.  That is not to say that time ‘heals’, but rather that time ‘changes’.  It has been my experience that given time, many people bravely face up to their feelings of terrible loss and devastation, and come to some measure of acceptance of the different life that lies before them.  That is not to say that grief and sorrow are not still part of their everyday existence, but that once they have given themselves space and compassion, moving into the future is possible, one small step at a time.



I have had the privilege of working with and supporting mums and dads, grandparents and brothers and sisters of children and young people who have left this world before they should have done.  I am often inspired by the courage they show in choosing to honour their loved ones, by making the most of the time which remains for them personally, and at the resilience they show in the face of the most challenging of circumstances.  Hope, while seemingly absent in the dark hours following the death of a child, is something which many stumble across as they learn how to walk forwards without their loved one physically by their side.

~ Rob Oglesby MBACP B.A. (Hons) BSc | Ashwood Therapy


[Ashwood Therapy provides a discreet, confidential and professional online counselling service by encrypted video call, live instant messaging and secure email.  More details, including tips on wellbeing and information on current counselling session pricing, can be found at]

Author Name : Rob Oglesby

Rob Oglesby MBACP is a fully qualified and insured therapeutic counsellor who is a registered member of the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP). He is a member of the executive committee for the Association for Counselling and Therapy Online (ACTO), and is involved in the development and furthering of online counselling provision here in the U.K. Rob has extensive experience working alongside clients facing mental wellbeing issues such as depression and anxiety, and is experienced in supporting those facing bereavement, particularly after the death of a child or young person. Ashwood Therapy is Rob's private counselling practice in which he offers exclusively online therapy via secure video call, encrypted email and live instant messaging. He has a keen interest in technology and how this impacts on the therapeutic relationship, and aims to improve access to counselling for those who may be unable to attend a consulting room in person due to other commitments or disability. Rob writes weekly of his reflections on the world of therapy, and invites contact from people interested in wellbeing issues though his Twitter and Facebook accounts.

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