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Coping With the Death of a Parent

Coping With the Death of a Parent

By Stacey Feintuch

Created: 07/11/2019
Last Updated: 07/11/2019

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It's hard to put into words what it feels like to lose a parent. The death of a parent can profoundly impact your life whether you were BFFs, estranged or something in between. The passing might impact your living situation or financial stability. It can make you feel sad, angry, alone, scared, shocked, depressed or guilty. Here are some tips to help you cope with grieving the death of a parent.

Know you're not alone.
You may feel afraid and isolated. Still, many other people have gone through the same experience. Yes, it may be one of the most difficult things you'll ever deal with. But it will get easier. Surround yourself with loved ones who make you happy. Ask for those who knew your parent for stories to keep her/his memory alive. Read about 10 things about you that change when you lose your parents.

Take your time.
Don't try to rush through the grieving process just because you think you should've moved past it already. No fixed timeline or cut-off point exists for the grieving process. For example, a reminder of the loss can reignite the grieving process. Be patient. Embrace and acknowledge your emotions. Don't feel like you have to move on or get over your feelings.

Be aware that sadness will come and go.
It's normal for your feelings to come in waves. Sometimes you'll feel low. And other times just fine. Push through the low times by remembering your strength. Talk about your feelings with others so they know what's going on. People want to support you but they likely just don't know how or don't want to bring up feelings and upset you.

Do things your way.
Some days will be harder than others like holidays, birthdays and anniversaries. Think about how you want to honor your parents on these days. Create new rituals or participate in traditions. You may just want celebrate his life, light a candle, tell stories. Remembering the good times can make it easier to cope on these days. Regardless, observe these days in a way that is comfortable for you.

Grieve in a way that's best for you.
How you handle your loss is unique to you. There's no one particular way to grieve. How your friend dealt with a similar situation or how your sister is coping with the death of your mom may differ from your grieving process. And that's ok.

It's ok not to cry.
While a death can bring up fond memories, it can also conjure painful ones. Your last memory may have been a bad one or maybe you had a complicated relationship. Regardless, it's common not to cry. You may just want to shut down feelings that are too overwhelming to deal with.

Talk it out.
If you're having a particularly hard time, consider getting professional therapy from a grief counselor. It's a safe space where you can talk about your emotions with a third-party listener. Or try support groups, where you can connect with others going through the same thing. These methods of support can give you the tools to deal with what's going on.