Grieving the Loss of a Parent

By: Vaughn Greene Funeral Services
Sunday, February 4, 2018

When a parent dies, we’re supposed to be prepared for this normal life passage. Or, at least be ready to accept it when it happens.

We’re expected to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and move on. However, just because the death of a parent is commonplace and is the natural order of things, it doesn’t mean we can or should be expected to simply and quickly bounce back. When a parent dies, it can be unexpectedly devastating and can cause considerable upheaval in our lives. As adults, we are often surprised at the emotions which can threaten to overwhelm us following the death of our mother or father. After all, we reason, it’s in the natural order of things that we will one day bury our parents. Why then the immense pain, the sense of confusion, the feeling of having been abandoned? This may be because, buried in our subconscious, is the belief that our parents are immortal.


Grief is exhausting physically, mentally, and emotionally. If you have recently lost your mother or father, be especially kind to yourself. These pointers can help you work through your sense of loss:


Allow yourself to feel what you feel. Well-intentioned people may try to speed up the grieving process for you. They’ll try to keep you busy, and some of them won’t mention your parent’s name for fear of hurting you. But you must allow yourself to grieve. If you try to stay busy and put it out of your mind, it will catch up to you. You’re going to feel it at some point so it’s best to let it happen naturally.


Don't put a time limit on your grief or question your personal process. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, and there's no set time limit on the process. The wound of losing a parent never fully heals, but the pain does get more bearable over time. How long it should take? No one can say. For some, it’s weeks; for others it may be months or even years before the grief subsides.
Allow yourself to have bad days. Even long after your parent has passed, you will have days when you miss him or her dearly.  Let yourself feel the grief again. Those days will come, no matter how long it's been.


Find your comfort and peace. People find solace in different things. For some, taking a walk in nature helps. For others, a long, hot bath does the trick. The important thing is not what you do, but that you do something for you. There may be songs, smells, or images that bring comfort to you, as well. Find whatever works for you and don’t let anyone diminish the importance of those moments.


When you’re ready, forge ahead and live your life. At some point after your loved one’s death, you will find reasons to smile again. This is one of the greatest things we can do to honor our parents and the love we have for them. Find joy again. Laugh heartily. Love deeply. Live like they would want you to. And remember: after they are gone, your parents will continue to be a part of your life, just in a different sense. You will always be their son or daughter.


On those days when you just miss your mother or father, don't fight it. And if you feel the need, seek out support from others who’ve been there—a friend who cares, a clergy person, or a professional who can help guide you through the work of grief. When a parent dies, yes, it is the natural order of things.  But taking time to grieve for them should be, as well.

Leave a comment
Name*:
Email:
Comment*:
Please enter the numbers and letters you see in the image. Note that the case of the letters entered matters.

Comments

Please wait

Previous Posts

Live Stream Funeral Etiquette: Eight Things You Should Know

Live streaming allows mourners to take part in memorial ceremonies at any time, from anywhere. For a variety of reasons that extend beyond the COVID-19 health crisis, it isn’t always possible to ...

The Most Common Funeral Planning Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Planning the funeral for a loved one is a solemn responsibility that’s filled with emotion. It may add to the stress and deep sorrow you are likely already feeling, particularly if you have to dea...

How to Get Over the Guilt of Grief

Guilt is a common emotion following the loss of a loved one. Perhaps you feel remorse over how you treated your deceased parent or friend before they passed. Or maybe a close family member is mak...

Practical Tips for Dividing Your Loved One’s Possessions

When a loved one passes away, figuring out what to do with their belongings is stressful for most families. Many times, it’s not the expensive things that are problematic. Keepsakes like family p...

Here’s Why You Should Avoid Making Major Decisions While You’re Grieving

The passing of a loved one is among life’s most stressful events. The shock makes even small tasks and minor decision-making particularly difficult. Given the severe emotional and physical toll t...

How to Help Your Child Understand Grief and Loss

Talking about death is a difficult conversation to have with your child, but it's one of the most important. For adults and children alike, grieving is a critical part of accepting loss and saying...

What do Aging Life Care Professionals™ Do?

The graying of America has created the need for a new dimension in life care advocacy. Many people feel overwhelmed when an aging family member needs care. Should my mother age in place or move t...

Do You Know the Meaning of These Popular Funeral Flowers?

People have long expressed their condolences by sending flowers. This gesture is a wonderful way of showing love, support and concern for grieving family members. While the general message of sympa...

Sinai Hospital Creates a Family Space with Support from Vaughn Greene Funeral Services

  "Vaughn Greene Funeral Service generously donated support to Sinai Hospital to create a warm and welcoming space for family members to grieve the loss of a loved one. Within our service d...

What to Say (and Not Say) to Those Who are Grieving a COVID-19 Loss

The COVID-19 pandemic is robbing us of many things. Chief among them is physical connection while social distancing measures remain in place. Although hugs are sidelined and public funerals are not...