The loss of anyone you know or love is a difficult process, but it can be truly indescribable when it is a parent that you have lost. Grief is a tricky emotion and it can disguise itself as many different types of emotions. Here are tips for Dealing with Grief After the Loss of a Parent.
I’m going to be brutally honest with you, I didn’t want to write this post and not just because the loss of my Dad is still so fresh, but because I feel like I couldn’t possibly give advice to others who have lost a parent. I mean, what do I know? I am pretty sure I am failing miserably at dealing with the grief from losing my Dad. However, I saw something today on Instagram and it really struck me. It said, “One day you will tell your story of how you’ve overcome what you’re going through now, and it will become someone else’s survival guide.” So maybe I am failing at this, but I am going to share with you what I am trying to do so slowly, day by day, I can learn to be in this life without my Daddy.
“It’s so curious: one can resist tears and ‘behave’ very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer… and everything collapses. ” -Colette
Loss of a Parent: Tips for Dealing with Grief After the Loss of a Parent
I lost my Daddy on June 20, 2019. It wasn’t expected. I got a phone call a little after 1:00 am from my Granny, but I didn’t answer. I heard the phone, saw her name on the screen, but I just couldn’t answer. So I let it go straight to voicemail. I knew. I just knew. So I laid there for what felt like 5 or 10 minutes, but it was probably only 2 or 3 minutes. Then my Mom called. I answered. My mom told me later that I didn’t even say “hi,” I only responded with “no. no. no.” The reason that I didn’t answer Granny’s phone call was because I just wanted to be in a world where my Daddy was still alive for just a few more minutes.
My life and my sons lives forever changed on June 20, 2019. I’m not even going to begin to “tell” you how to grieve the loss of a parent. However, I am going to tell you what I have learned and the advice that has been given to me.
“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid.” -C.S. Lewis
Don’t Expect to be Ready for This
You pretty much know that you are going to have to deal with the loss of a parent in your life. It’s almost expected as being the “natural order” of life. However, I think we need to be very careful with this concept and how we are putting this thought out there for people, especially the ones that are currently going through this. I think Edward Myers says it best in his book When Parents Die: A Guide for Adults. In his book, he states, “Loss of a parent is the single most common form of bereavement in this country. Yet the unstated message is that when a parent is middle-aged or elderly, the death is somehow less of a loss than other losses. The message is that grief for a dead parent isn’t entirely appropriate.”
Even though this might be the “way of life,” and it might be expected that doesn’t mean that you will in any way be “ready” for it. And, frankly, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Feel what you feel.
If you are like me, you are going to be all over the place with your emotions. I feel angry, sad, confused, lost, and more all in the span of one day, sometimes one minute. I feel angry that my Dad was still young and angry that he is going to miss out on seeing his grandsons grow up.
However, whatever it is, allow yourself to feel it. Never allow anyone to belittle your feelings or your loss. Never allow anyone to try to rush your grief or make you feel guilty for feeling the way you do.
It’s going to take time.
This one I am not personally at yet. I have been told by numerous people that it “takes time.” However, I will be honest, it isn’t always comforting to hear. I mean no offense to the people that say it because they are truly trying to help, but right now, at this moment, I just want my Daddy. And the idea that 5-15 years from now that will someone lessen or change doesn’t seem plausible.
Prepare to be exhausted in EVERY way.
Grief will drain you in every way possible. You will feel your grief physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Trust me, I have had many conversations with God over the last 3 weeks. Take that extra nap, if you can. Order groceries to be delivered. Stay in your pajamas. Whatever helps you get through your day. No matter what, remember to be kind to yourself. Do not feel guilty for taking care of yourself.
Don’t expect everyone to be there for you.
This one was hard (still is) for me to stomach. People get caught up in their own lives, and I have been guilty of this too. However, keep in mind that they might be grieving too and one of the ways they cope is by backing away. But the truth is a lot of the people that were there for you (other than close friends and family) at the funeral or even a week or so after will start to fade away. And it can be so heartbreaking and make you feel very alone. Sadly enough even some family members won’t be there for you and it has been hard for me to decipher whether it is because they are caught up in their own grief and depression or if they really never truly cared for me in the first place.
Don’t be surprised at how fast others have “seemed” to move on.
This one goes hand in hand with what I just said above. It can seem like everywhere you look (social media can be evil when it comes to this) people are moving on. People that called your loved one family and a dear friend. The truth is maybe they have or maybe they haven’t. You can’t go by what others are doing or how others are coping. That doesn’t mean your loved one was any less special or loved.
Grief doesn’t go away.
I know this fact isn’t very comforting. But grief comes and goes. Then it comes again with a vengeance. I am still in the thick of it. I’ll let you know if I ever get to the other side where it goes away for a time.
Find what keeps you motivated.
You have to find what keeps you motivated, what keeps you going. My kids and focusing on their day to day needs is what keeps me from curling up into a little ball most days. Do what you need to do to survive.
Sometimes you have to force yourself to reach out.
I am still struggling with this one, but sometimes you have to force yourself to reach out. Seek out support from others who’ve been there, a friend who cares, or a professional if you are really struggling with depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts. Never be afraid to ask for help. It isn’t a sign of weakness, but a true sign of strength.
“Grief SUCKS!!” -Says Everyone Ever
In closing, I hope you have found these tips for dealing with grief after the loss of a parent helpful. However, I know these aren’t magical fix-alls. Love yourself and allow yourself time (and space) to heal.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4