Growing up, most of us viewed our parents as some form of superheroes. It seemed like there was nothing they couldn’t do. They were indescribably warm, yet frightening when you got on their bad side.
As we grow up and become adults, the dynamic of our relationship with our parents change. The fear of getting in trouble ebbs away and you’re left with the same warmth, but now with a spark of a new relationship – a type of friendship.
Therefore, when the inevitable happens and we’re faced with coping with the death of a parent, we hardly know where to begin. It feels like we’re simultaneously coping with the loss of a mother or father and a friend.
We can help. Take some time to read through this article for some helpful suggestions.
Allow Yourself Space to Grieve
One of the most important elements of coping with the death of a parent is allowing yourself the freedom to do so. Grief is one of the most painful and potentially debilitating emotions humans feel. However, it’s a testament to our boundless love that we are capable of such intense feelings.
Don’t attempt to numb the pain or stifle your feelings. Cry at the sadness, scream at the pain, and laugh at the good memories. No matter what you do, be gentle with yourself and feel your feelings.
Relinquish Any Negative Feelings
There are some feelings, however, that you should abstain from giving into while coping with the death of a parent. For example, feelings of guilt or blame have no business being included anywhere in your grieving process.
There may have been rocky moments in your relationship, things that shouldn’t have been said and things that should have. However, this is normal. Don’t taint your grief with unnecessary self-deprecating emotions.
Forgive yourself and/or your parent for any past differences.
Ask for Help
When it comes to making preparations and setting up funeral plans, don’t try to take it all on by yourself. You can find helpful resources that explain what to do after the death of a loved one.
Additionally, reach out to friends and other family members for help. Surely, you weren’t the only one who cared for your parent, nor was your parent the only one who cared for you.
Take Time for Yourself
Make sure you take plenty of time for self-care for your own mental and emotional health. This isn’t going to be an easy process and no one expects it to be. Take time off of work, away on a trip if you need it, etc.
Find healthy ways to grieve and move past your pain.
Be There for Others Who Are Grieving the Loss
Finally, remember that you aren’t the only one who’s hurting. Like you, many other members of your family are likely struggling with their emotions.
One of the most helpful things you can do (both for you and others) is to reach out in support. Be a shoulder to cry on, share memories, laugh with one another, and learn how to move on together.
Need More Help Coping with the Death of a Parent?
No one is perfect, nor does anyone have all the answers. Your way of coping with the death of a parent will be unique to you and your relationship with them. However, if you’d like more help, we have resources that can assist you.
Take your time moving on, but don’t forget to live your own life while grieving the loss of another.