Parents or caregivers of children with chronic conditions are often successful in meeting their caregiving demands as well as family and work responsibilities. While they fully acknowledge their child’s condition, parents may choose to view their family and child as normal and incorporate their child’s care into the background of family life.

Sometimes though, an event or situation occurs that magnifies the loss and disparity between “what is” and the parents’ view of “what should have been.” Here are some of the common triggers that may cause a recurrence of the intense feelings of grief known as chronic sorrow:

  • A health management crisis.
  • Unending caregiving.
  • Delays in developmental milestones.

Of course, a health crisis reminds parents and caregivers of their child’s chronic condition and often involves even greater demands than usual. Chronic sorrow may also rekindle when parents compare their child to what is considered normal in developmental milestones, relationships to peers and any loss of previous abilities.

As long as the gap between “what is” and “what should have been” continues, chronic sorrow is likely to recur periodically. Anger and frustration are common emotions expressed by parents with chronic sorrow.