Losing your parent is something which happens eventually to most of us. It is a huge loss for most people and will take time to move forward. My mother passed away 1 year ago and it has been difficult but after experiencing all the firsts, such as her birthday, Mother’s Day and other holidays it has gotten easier and now I can celebrate her life more than mourn her death.
Sometimes losing a parent can feel like losing part of yourself. It can sometimes feel impossible to cope with life without them. However getting through this bleak time will prove that you’re stronger than you think you are and you have an inner strength that can help you to overcome grief and smile again.
These steps will help you during this difficult time:
1. Forgive yourself.
When a parent dies, guilt can become a burden because of past arguments you now regret or maybe because you think you didn’t do enough to help them. Remember no parent/child relationship is perfect and going over negativity from past will not help you to move forward. By recognizing the past as something that is finished and unchangeable, you can begin to free yourself from guilt and reflect on the good times instead. The good times are what they would want you to remember.
2. Face your feelings.
Feelings of loss or anger can grow stronger if left unchecked, especially if you’ve never known death so close. Mindfulness meditation is one way to help understand the flow of these feelings.
3. Keep talking.
The sudden reality of not being able to talk to your Mom or Dad again is hard to accept. For a long time after losing my Mom, I would talk to her even though I didn’t expect an answer it was nice to just get the words out.
4. Look after yourself.
Grief can take its toll on your body and health in many ways. Loss of sleep and reduced appetite are common after losing a loved one. The remedy is to protect your health and fitness. Try to go walking with a friend, eat healthy food, and stay hydrated. When your body feels healthy, it will often lift your mood and help you cope.
5. Take time out.
During the immediate aftermath, you’ll have an overwhelming to-do list. From making funeral arrangements to addressing legal matters. All of this is physically and mentally exhausting. It’s important to rest and not feel guilty for taking time off.
6. Be patient.
Missing a parent is natural, and if you were very close, it will take time to adjust. Time heals the acuteness of pain, but you will continue to miss your parent. Recovery will happen at its own natural pace.
7. Enjoy precious memories.
There was a time I couldn’t think of my Mom without crying. However as time has gone on I’m able to recall the good times we shared and smile rather than cry. The time will come when you smile or laugh to yourself when you think of the good times you had with your parents. Let your parent live on in your thoughts, and enjoy seeing them there any time you wish.
Although the death of a parent is considered the natural order of events, it is still a very difficult loss and it’s difficult to get through it. The steps above will help you to continue to enjoy your life and move forward as you remember your parent. Remember to live your life with the knowledge that your parents would want you to live a happy and fulfilling life after they’re gone.