“Losing a parent is like losing a part of oneself”
by Elizabeth Postle, RN, HV, FWT
In what we consider to be the great scheme of life, it is a natural progression to lose a parent. Part of the slings and arrows of life's misfortunes.
Fate determines the life span we are able to share with them. Recently two dear distant relatives died aged 97 years. My dear parents had been dead over 40 years by then, seemingly a lifetime ago.
Society doesn't really expect adults to have a strong reaction to the loss of a parent. After all, it happens to everyone and is expected, especially if they are aging. However, as the quote above states, a parent is a huge part of oneself whatever age you lose them.
We are still someone's children until our parents die, so their deaths mark our final passage into adulthood.
We might also lose our connection to our childhood home or familiar surroundings that we are used to visiting and feeling safe. For those who have children, there is great sadness that the grandparents are no longer around to see the children grow up.
So, parent loss is very great, especially with only children and those who never married.
It is always a
major loss and difficult to cope with whether the relationship was
good or bad. The parent-child relationship is strong.
When you have had a loving, friendly, happy relationship with your parent, their passing will create feelings of emotional turmoil and despair. Feelings we all experience after the death of someone we love very much.
As well as the loss of their physical presence, there is also the loss of their advice, support, help, knowledge and counselling in times of life's stresses.
There is a very special bond between parents and children. To lose one's parents is a traumatic time in life no matter what age they may be at the time; no matter what relationship you had with them.
The shock, numbness and pain of the loss is no less, even if the relationship was not as good as you would have liked it to be. Losing a parent with whom you had a difficult relationship can be complicated, with feelings of guilt, blame and regret to contend with.
Though some people do feel relief that they can get on with their lives if their parent was violent or neglectful. In spite of that, there is still regret that the relationship was not better.
If the relationship has been feisty, detached or difficult, perhaps between two individuals who were so alike they usually ended up moody with each other, there comes into the mix a huge amount of guilt. There is sadness that the relationship was not as good as you would have liked it to be, plus the sense of loss that there is no longer the opportunity to put it right.
If you had a relationship like that, then forgive yourself. You were only one part of that relationship and can't take total responsibility, especially since you were the child, not the responsible adult.
Many close relationships have a love-hate balance in them. If you were indifferent, you'd not be grieving or worried about what you did or didn't do. What you said or didn't say.
The pathways of bereavement are difficult enough, don't burden yourself with more imaginary wrongs. Your parent probably knew you and understood you better than you did yourself.
Elizabeth Postle had a varied and fulfilling nursing career, culminating in running her own high dependency hospice. She is the author of this website. Read more about her here.
Sales from our pages result in a small commission to us which helps us to continue our work supporting the grieving.
Check out our lovely range of memorial jewelry for any lost loved one. Pendants, necklaces, rings or bracelets, we have them all in all kinds of styles. Choose for yourself or buy as a sympathy gift.
Try a gentle hypnotherapy track to relax the mind. Learn how self-hypnosis can help you cope with grief at any time of the day or night.
Our free downloadable and printable document "The 10 Most Important Things You Can Do To Survive Your Grief And Get On With Life" will help you to be positive day to day.
The 10 points are laid out like a poem on two pretty pages which you can pin on your fridge door to help you every day!
All you have to do to receive this free document is fill in your email address below.
You will also receive our newsletter which we send out from time to time with our newest comforting and helpful information. You can unsubscribe any time you like, and don't worry, your email address is totally safe with us.