Why is the Death of a Parent so Difficult?

If an elderly parent dies, their death may be dismissed by: “Oh well, they had a good life, didn’t they?” It may make you feel that you don’t have a reason to grieve. This is not true.

• Your parent may be the most influential and powerful person in your life. When a parent dies you lose someone who loved you and cared for you. The death of a parent brings with it the loss of part of your childhood.

• When your parents have both died, a buffer between you and death is removed and you become more aware of your own mortality.

• It may be that there are many things you wish you had said or done. You may be overcome with guilt. If this is the case, it may help to talk to someone about your feelings or seek professional advice.

When you lose someone you love you go on a journey of grief. At first your unbalanced and stumble along. You may even fall as the path is uneven, dark and unknown to you. As time passes you will get more balanced with friends and family willing to help you.

Then one day you will realize that you haven’t fallen in a while and that you can see into the distance. The path will become more even and you will be able to look back to where you started and see how far you have come. You realize that your grief journey has changed and you’re healing.

The bereavement process has nothing whatsoever to do with time, age, or gender. The expression of grief is extremely personal, and must be respected.

Give yourself permission to grieve, to feel the pain and to accept the reality that your parent is no longer with you. Be patient with the process. It takes time for grief and yet in many areas of our lives we expect immediate results. Grief is different – take the time to heal.

Most of my bereaved friends have learned to be at peace with the loss of their mother or father in their own time and in their own way. To say that there is a time frame for the bereavement process is unwise and maybe even cruel as it suggests that there is something wrong with a person when their grief does not stop within a specific time frame.

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