Losing a parent is undeniably one of the most challenging experiences many will face. While the funeral service provides an initial space for mourning and saying goodbye, grief often intensifies in the quiet moments that follow.
The quest to understand how to deal with the grief of losing a parent is both personal and universal. For some, the relationship with the departed might have been estranged or complicated, resulting in a roller coaster of conflicting emotions that adds another layer of complexity to the grieving process.
It’s important to note that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all method to cope, but several practices can offer you or your loved ones comfort and guidance during this difficult time.
Read on below for six helpful tips on how to deal with the death of a parent.
Table of Contents
1. Recognise Your Emotions And Let Yourself Grieve
Understanding and acknowledging one’s emotions is a critical first step when coping with the death of a parent. Many people might find themselves experiencing the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
While these stages provide a framework, it’s essential to remember that there’s no sequential order or timeframe to them. Everyone progresses through these stages differently, and there’s no right or wrong way to feel; each emotion is a valid part of the process.
Avoiding or suppressing grief might seem easier, but it often leads to complications in the healing journey. Sitting with your emotions, as uncomfortable as they may be, is fundamental to understanding and eventually coping with the death of a parent.
2. Take Care Of Your Well-Being
When dealing with the weight of loss, it might feel almost impossible to consider one’s own well-being. However, looking after your physical and emotional health can offer a lifeline even amidst the pain. Simple routines like regular meals, light walks, or even ensuring adequate sleep can provide a sense of stability.
Furthermore, activities that nourish the soul, such as reading or engaging in a hobby, can be a much-needed respite from grief. Such moments foster well-being and offer brief but essential periods of relief and restoration.
3. Plan How To Remember Them
Grief often brings a fear of forgetting. To counter this, finding meaningful ways to celebrate and remember your deceased parent can be immensely comforting. Whether revisiting old photographs, jotting down fond memories, or creating a memorial space at home, these acts help keep their memory alive.
Keepsake jewellery, in particular, offers a personal and intimate connection, allowing you to carry a part of your loved one close to your heart.
Moreover, honouring their legacy through acts like charitable donations in their name or continuing a tradition they loved can provide a tangible sense of connection, ensuring that their impact endures.
Additionally, planning for holidays, birthdays, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, and the anniversary of your parent’s death can be pivotal in the healing process.
Whether you celebrate their life with a gathering, spend the day in quiet reflection, or even start a new tradition in their memory, planning provides a purposeful way to keep their spirit alive during moments that might otherwise feel difficult.
4. Strengthen Bonds With Family Members And Remaining Parent
Losing a parent often leaves a void, not just for one individual but for the entire family unit. This shared sense of loss can either pull family members apart or bring them closer together.
Reaching out to siblings, the remaining parent, cousins, or distant relatives can be a source of immense mutual support. Sharing stories and positive memories and jointly navigating through the difficulties of grief can reinforce family bonds.
Moreover, the relationship with the surviving parent can become deeper. Both of you are grieving the same individual but from unique perspectives – one from the lens of a life partner and the other from that of a child. Sharing, listening, and spending quality time together can offer each other solace and understanding in this difficult time.
5. Learn To Forgive
Upon learning of the passing of an estranged parent, you may be overcome with a roller coaster of emotions, from numbness and anger to an unexpected depth of grief.
There may be feelings of being robbed of the chance to address past wounds or unresolved issues. Life, at times, doesn’t offer the closure we long for, leaving us with feelings that seem endlessly raw and unresolved.
However, holding onto these resentments only continues to wound us, especially when no one is left to address them. Consider penning a letter, expressing all the unsaid thoughts and emotions; it can be a step towards understanding and healing.
Seeking support through therapy can also guide you in navigating these complex feelings, helping you move forward and find peace within.
6. Remember That Feeling Of Grief May Return
Dealing with grief isn’t a straight path. It’s filled with unexpected turns, where emotions might resurface even after significant time has passed after losing a parent. Birthdays, anniversaries, or even seemingly insignificant things or moments can evoke intense feelings.
When such moments occur, it’s crucial not to blame oneself for not “moving on”. Embrace these feelings as a testament to your deep bond with your parent. Over time, with understanding and acceptance, these episodes can transform from moments of pain to cherished memories.
7. Get The Support You Need
There is an unwarranted stigma around seeking professional help, especially concerning matters of the heart. However, mental health professionals, grief counsellors and support groups offer an external perspective, tools, and techniques that can be invaluable during the grieving process.
Remember, seeking professional assistance isn’t admitting weakness but rather a proactive step towards healing. Whether it’s providing coping mechanisms, offering a safe space for expression, or simply validating your feelings, the benefits of such support are immense.
At Casket Fairprice, we’ve partnered with Talk Your Heart Out (TYHO), a Singapore-based online counselling platform, to give our customers and the general public easy access to private, convenient, and high-quality counselling sessions. Learn more here.
Conclusion About How To Deal With The Grief Of Losing A Parent
By recognising your grief, prioritising mental and physical well-being, cherishing positive memories, supporting the remaining parent, understanding the cyclical nature of grief, and seeking professional assistance, you can find ways to navigate this challenging path.
Remember always to treat yourself compassionately, recognise the value of seeking help when needed and remember that everyone grieves differently.
Frequently Asked Questions About How To Deal With The Grief Of Losing A Parent
Is It Normal To Feel Guilt After The Loss Of A Parent?
Yes, feelings of guilt, whether rational or not, are a common part of the grieving process. Talking about these feelings with a mental health professional or seeking grief counselling is essential.
How Long Does The Grieving Process Typically Last?
Grief is highly individual, and there’s no set timeline. Some may find a new normal in a few months, while others might take years. The key is to allow oneself to grieve at one’s own pace. For more details, you can read this article on How Long Does Grief Last.
How Can I Support A Friend Who Has Lost A Parent?
Being present, checking in with them, offering a listening ear, and providing practical help like preparing meals or handling chores can be beneficial.
Is It Okay To Return To Work Or School Shortly After Losing A Parent?
Everyone’s readiness is different. If returning provides structure or distraction, it might be helpful. But ensure you communicate with your workplace or school about your needs during this time.