We all have different experiences when we lose our parents. Yet these periods are dark for everyone. It is a time when one wants to cling on to what existed and try to relive it. Understanding loved ones and remembering some helpful tips on the subject will go a long way to helping them heal and recover.
“No matter what the age of the parent or how the death occurred, the pain for the surviving adult child can be devastating.”
– Katherine Fair Donnelly, Author of Recovering From the Loss of a Parent
1. They will always have a reason to grieve
A parent’s death often comes as a shock to their children. Sometimes there is a mixed feeling of surprise and abandonment. It becomes a struggle to face the fact that someone who was there a moment ago is gone. Those who have lost their parents will always grieve.
2. They have lost a connection
Blood, as they say, is thicker than water. Someone who has lost a parent instantly loses that connection to their childhood and history.
3. They have lost a special kind of love
Let’s face it, no one can love you unconditionally the way your parents can. That special kind of love that nurtured them from infancy to adulthood somehow is gone forever. And is incredibly difficult to have anyone replace that feeling of warmth and affection.
4. They will grieve in their own way
Remember that everyone has a way of grieving. We all grieve differently, but grief itself is universal. There will be a time of grief for them, while depression and isolation may be their only comfort. Questions are asked and memories linger. Let them grieve their own way, because to grieve is human.
5. They have enough well-meaning phrases already
They have listened to many phrases and consolatory messages already: “Your dad was a good man.” “Your mom will always be special.” “Your parents will be missed.” Sometimes all these phrases can choke them, because no one can ever know the depth and realness of their sorrow.
6. They will always treasure their memories
Memories of their lost parents will become a treasure to them. Pictures and sounds of their parents will now matter to them more than ever. Somehow, these can comfort them and heal them through their period of grief. For example, that plant a mother cared for or that music a father played ignites everlasting feelings—the same feelings that make them never want to let go.
7. They become more spiritual
Many may not tell you this, but when we lose something so dear, we all embrace some element of spirituality. People with lost parents try to see life from a deeper angle and face life with hope.
8. They need a support system
Although it is difficult for them to reach out and accept support, they all need a support system. They do need caring friends and loved ones who will provide the understanding they need, loved ones who will face the journey boldly with them. They need people who won’t tell them the wrong words or try to steal their grief from them. They need people who will accept and encourage them to acknowledge their dark moments.
9. They have physical and emotional limits
The feelings of loss and sadness could leave them fatigued. During that period, they may not be able to think clearly or make smart decisions. Their energy level may slow down. There is nothing wrong with them; it is just their body simply adjusting to the grief. Try and respect their wishes at the moment. They need rest, balanced meals, and a light schedule that will not overwhelm them. It is important that they are treated right and with utmost care and attention. It is not about giving pity, but allowing them to adapt to this dark period.
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