When A Parent Dies: How To Cope
The loss of a parent is a horrible thing for anyone to endure.
The world learned recently that rapper, actor and entertainer Andre 3000, originally from the group OutKast, is dealing with the recent loss of his mother.
Having both old and young family members die at different parts of my life always sent me into a state of reflection. The universal thing that I found after each loss is that a healing process has already begun and I just needed to find the tools to help it along.
Here are a few things to help you deal with the loss of a parent:
Time. People say that time heals everything. I feel that time doesn’t actually heal the pain completely, but it definitely can help lessen the pain of losing a parent. For months after losing my dad, I would break down in tears at the drop of a hat. Anything that reminded me of him would cause tears. Eventually, as time passed, those moments of despair weren’t as frequent. So time does help.
Let Yourself Break Down. When faced with the loss of a parent, there is nothing more natural than to shed tears. Sometimes it may take a few days for the reality of your loss to hit you. You may be very busy dealing with the funeral and all of the arrangements that go with it, but when things settle down and you finally have time to realize that you have indeed lost your parent, most people will break down. I have found that this is something my body needed to do when dealing with the loss of my parent. Go ahead and cry or scream. It will make you feel a little better.
Turn To Loved Ones. Sometimes it is easier to grieve the loss of a parent when you do so with a loved one who is dealing with the same loss. Your family and friends can be a great support during this time in your life. If you have siblings that are enduring the same parental loss, lean on each other. You need them and they need you. Your family knows what you are feeling since they are probably feeling the same emotions.
Read Books. When dealing with the loss of a parent, it might help to read a book about grief. There are thousands of books out there that discuss how to deal with the loss of a parent. Do a search at any book store or library and you will find something that pertains to you and the emotions that you are feeling.
Get Counseling. If you find that you are unable to deal with the loss of a parent on your own, you may benefit from counseling. There are many wonderful counselors and therapists out there that specialize in grief. You may even be able to find some that will provide their services free of charge, or who will accept your insurance.
Get Spiritual Support. If you are religious, it may be comforting to turn to it to help you deal with your loss. Many religious leaders will happily support you while you are grieving. Prayer helps many people get through this stressful period.
Celebrate Them. Doing something in remembrance can also help. Plant a tree, make a donation in memory of your parent to their favorite charity, or just do something that your loved one enjoyed. You could even choose an activity to do every year, on the day of their passing, in remembrance of your parent. Or, you may have a birthday party for your parent when their birthday rolls around. Doing anything in remembrance of them will help you remember that they are still a part of you.
Talk. Talking about your parent can actually comfort you. It can even bring you joy. Talk with a loved one or with friends about the things your parent liked, about the things you did together, about the places they had visited. Tell your children about their grandparent, and the things you think your parent would have liked your children to know about them. Talking can help so much.
Remember, nothing can take the place of a parent. But hopefully, and prayerfully, these tips can help ease the day-to-day loss of the great people that helped create you.