Parents, whether biological or adoptive, have always been there for us when we needed them most. They have taken care of us when we were sick, celebrated our achievements, and have helped us get back up after a defeat. No matter how old we get, we still lean on our parents and hold them in high esteem. But what happens when one or both of those parents have left us? What are we to do when we can no longer rely on them, from holidays to the birth of our own children? It may be easy to feel lost and vulnerable without our parents, but there are ways to help you cope with the loss of a parent when the time comes.
Coming to Terms with the Loss of a Parent
One of the first ways we can deal with the loss of a parent is to realize that people in our lives are not around forever. However, for most people, no matter how hard we try to reconcile with this fact, we have the hardest time coming to terms with it–especially when it comes to our parents. Our parents are invincible, right? With medicine becoming more advanced and more readily available, we can sometimes forget that at one point in our lives, our parents will leave us. Coming to terms with the realization that our parents are mortal can be difficult, but not until we have accepted this fact can we begin to grieve in a healthy way.
Another way to cope with the loss of a parent is to realize that our parents knew that there would come a day when we would be without them. Most parents hope that their children will outlive them, so they do their best to equip us with the skills necessary to be self-sufficient and to one day live in a world without them. With life expectancy at an all-time high, the parent-child relationships that we build become stronger into adulthood, and seeing a parent leave is proving more difficult to handle. It is the wish of many parents that we, their children, will then pass down what we have learned to our own children if we decide to have them. Parents know that they are not immortal, even when it seems like they have tried to convince us our whole lives that they are.
Support During the Grieving Process
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, coming to terms with mortality and the fact that the people who have been with us the longest are no longer here, we can still find it hard to move past the death of a parent. We may reach out to family, friends, and other trusted members of our personal community to talk and share the fond memories of our parents that help us move on. Talking to those you trust about one of the hardest losses of your life can be therapeutic and prove to be a productive way to handle the grief process. But sometimes, we need more than friends and family members to help us in our grieving process; we may need the professional help of a therapist.
Adults who lose one or both parents are more likely to exhibit depressive symptoms, such as binge drinking, smoking, and other unhealthy behaviors. If you find yourself settling into this mindset and falling into these behaviors, it might be beneficial to seek help from a mental health professional who can help you through the grieving process. At Keri Powell Therapy, we offer those grieving with the loss of a parent a support system and a person to talk to. We understand that the grief process is just that, a process. It may take years to get over the death of a mother or father, and we are ready to guide you through the grief process. Just give us a call and we will make sure that you are treated with patience, compassion, and respect as you make your transition from a life with a parent to a life without.
Moving On After the Loss
Grieving and feeling a deep sense of loss is nothing to be ashamed of. After all, parents often like to remind us how much we are going to miss them when they are gone. However, our parents would not want us to stay in a constant state of grief and gloom. Parents know that they have done everything within their power to make sure that we are ready to face a world without them in it. Sure, we will come to find new relationships of our own, but deep down, there is nothing that could ever replace the love, security, and relationship that we have with our parents.