There's no person or thing that can replace loss. It just sits there and then life takes its course and the pain turns into memory that is ultimately distorted by some degree of denigration or idealization depending on the compromise formation that occurs in the psyche of the mourner.
On January 20, 1980 Mary McCarthy, never known to mince words in print or in person, was asked on Dick Cavett's PBS talk show whom she considered overrated writers. After a moment's thought, Lillian Hellman came to her mind.
We should recognize that children are far more resilient than we believe they are. Love, and honesty, go a very long way, even with severe social and personal stress. And thankfully we're mostly past all that Freudian nonsense about absent fathers and clinging or refrigerator mothers.