Losing a parent is undoubtedly the most painful experience of my life. As dreadful as it may sound it is quite literally inevitable. Even though we all know it is bound to happen, it doesn’t make it any easier. You may be of any age when you suffer the loss of a parent but it will still transform you as a person. The trauma and grief will change every aspect of your being.
If you also wonder how you’ll spend the rest of your life without them, i see you. i see you struggling and i feel every inch of that heartache. There is no guide to manually to take you through this time so when it happens, feelings, grief, trauma, emotions hit you like a train. No matter how much you’ve tried to feel the pain of someone who has lost a parent, experiencing it yourself will be much different and harder.
Once an occurrence as drastic as this happens its hard to believe that its real for a very long time. For me it happened three years ago. For a friend it took place when he was 9 years old. But its safe to say that both of us are not over it and will probably not be. We are still grieving. it still feels like a dream and it still affects us greatly.
Acceptance comes on its own terms. To continue living without the one person who your life revolves around is a severe alteration. You might even forget at times the loss you have incurred. You might call out their name unconsciously or think about them in the present tense. To normalize their absence may seem unnatural to you for years.
The memories of a person who has passed will most likely keep you in a dilemma. You’ll be stuck between smiling because of the moments shared or crying due to the realization of their death. you’ll either grieve because of not remembering times shared or regret not making most of your time with them.
Grasping the reality of death is a difficult concept because before it happens you don’t bother focusing on your parents. Their existence is a part of your normal routine but their absence will trigger you grief constantly.
shortly after you receive your last hot dish or sympathy text, people will start to forget your misery. You’ll be expected to hop back in life and move on from your grief quickly. As time passed your grief becomes less relevant. 1 week? relevant. 1 year? somewhat relevant. 10 years? complete disregard of grief.
Whats important to comprehend is that your parent will remain your parent and you their child no matter how long it has been. It will not start to hurt less just because some years have passed away. This wound will not heal even after you grow old or become a parent yourself. It will turn into a scar only.
After you start grieving for a parent, you will catch yourself in a state of regret or guilt more often than usual. you might even beat yourself up for minor things that your parents don’t hold against you.
It is natural to overthink every moment you spend with them. After my mother passed away i kept thinking of how i should have been a perfect daughter or how i should have stayed at the hospital that last night. i held myself accountable for all the times i was mean to her and mentally tortured myself.
What i failed to remember in these moments where the countless times i made her proud or happy. This helped me notice how i was punishing and being cruel to myself. I had to let go of this feeling because i knew i loved her more than any of these regrets.
You will probably feel tired of staying strong. The bravery you put up the day of the funeral and the days after will wear out. The strength you carry will weaken after you pretend to keep it all together for too long. In this moment you should know that its okay to not be strong. Some times its not okay but that’s okay. Its okay to let go and grieve for as long as you need.
Its okay to have sudden outbursts of emotions where you lose your composure. Its okay to cry without an explanation and to come to terms with death at your own pace.
Aching through Milestones:
At every achievement through out life, you will be reminded of how a person you’d want it to witness is missing. For me the most important events that seem extremely painful are marriage, graduation, kids and my first job.
Every time i attend an event, the constant reminder of my mom being dead plays in my mind. The thought of any victory or progress i might attain saddens me former than the happiness.
There will be days when i’m relatively doing better or busy in life but at a certain moment i will be reminded unexpectedly of my mothers absence which will hit me like a storm. Sometimes it serves as a trigger that i may not recover from for hours.
The reminder could be as simple as someone talking to their mother or calling them mom which i wont be able to do again. It could also be a movie where someone is sharing a moment with their parent or even while attending a funeral. Anything can set you off guard at any moment. Instead of holding it in sometimes crying it out can help you feel a bit relieved.
Accepting or coming to terms with loss is different for different people. For me its incorporating my mother and her memories into writing or poetry. Sometimes its even simpler things like cooking a dish she cooked or wearing her clothes or scent.
Anything that will help you feel closer to your parents existence will serve as a healthy coping mechanism. Reliving moments you shared with them, looking at old photos or staying closer together as a family will all help you honor you parents life and existence.