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9 Ways to Handle Grief of Losing a Parent As A Mom

by victoriavadenking
Published: Last Updated on 3 mins read

The presence of a parent in your life is invaluable, and this is one of the main reasons losing a parent can be very difficult. The sudden loss of their support, guidance, and love can bring a lot of emptiness and pain that can feel impossible to heal.

While the world might expect you to recover from your grief quickly, it might not be a very simple task. You should know that there is no wrong way or right way to handle the grief of losing a parent, but when you focus on the following strategies, you have a good starting place to acknowledge your loss.

This post is all about how to handle grief of a parent as a parent.

1. What You Feel Is Valid

The feeling of sadness is common after losing a parent, but it is also normal to have other feelings take over. Sometimes, you might feel numb or relieved because they are no longer in pain.

Sometimes, grief opens the gate to various conflicted emotions, which can be very complicated. Some people experienced anger and frustration, while others might experience guilt, shock, or confusion.

Whether you are feeling physical pain, hopelessness, or despair, always remember that your feelings are valid even if they don’t align with what other people think you should be feeling.

losing a parent
we said goodbye to my dad right after my birthday

2. Let Yourself Fully Experience the Loss of A Parent

Different people react to grief differently, but it is vital that you let yourself feel it completely.

As a mom, I have struggled to find time to grieve with three small kids tugging at me all day. But, they are the greatest distraction which I have gratefully welcomed.

However, please do not deny your feelings and let yourself feel them and experience them. Shut out the expectation of people to bury your grief and move on.

Remember that grief is a difficult process and it’s a painful one, and therefore, going through it is essential for moving forward. No matter how long it takes, it will help you more than you know.

3. Take Care of Your Well-Being

When you are grieving, there is a chance that you will experience sleep problems, irritability, poor concentration, or loss of appetite.

You might even find it tough to work or experience difficulty doing household tasks.

Admittedly, I’ve never cared for household tasks, but I cannot tell you how many times I broke a glass or flooded the kitchen absentmindedly.

The added frustration in having to clean up a mess I didn’t intend to make because of a feeling I tried to ignore made my grief spiral because I was mopping up tears along with spilled water.

Finding balance is going to be key to ensuring that you prioritize your health and dedicate time to your self-care.

Ensure that you get enough sleep, avoid skipping meals, and hydrate. And if you need help in doing any of the basic needs, reach out for help.

My husband was paramount in making sure I always ate, cooking my meals for me, and allowing me plenty of shower time to cry.

To help you process emotions, you could also consider keeping a grief journal or a safe place to write and release your daily thoughts and emotions.

grief as a parent
Embrace self-care even if it’s just going to the nail salon

4. Forgive Them

When you hear the news of the loss of your parent, you might feel cheated of the opportunity to address the past unresolved hurt properly.

Sometimes, you must accept inadequate conclusions even though they may look unfinished or painful.

When my dad was being moved to hospice, I felt extremely disappointed because I felt like he gave up on life. I just gave birth to his first and only grandson, and it felt like he was walking out on us, in a sense.

Knowing that you might no longer address the feeling, you might have the feeling that you are to carry the hurt forever.

Harboring resentment only harms you, and therefore, you can consider writing a letter expressing previously unsaid things.

You can work with a therapist when going through forgiving and letting go.

It took prayer and God speaking to me, in that car ride from the hospital when I realized that it was my dad’s time to go.

Sure, in my mind, it was depicted one way, but regardless of what events occurred, he would still be called home whether I wanted to accept it or not.

5. Share Memories

You can consider talking to your family members or loved ones about your parents and what they meant to you.

These stories can help you keep their memory alive. For instance, if you have children, you can tell them stories about their grandparents and how keeping family traditions was important to you and your family in childhood.

Having three small children who all knew my dad has helped me to talk about “Pop-Pop” as if he is still physically present.

My middle child, Mariah who spoke to him every single day while we were away in Florida still plays hide and seek with him in our home.

As the stories start to flow, you will realize that your grief begins to ease. Just watching her laugh and giggle with him, even though I can’t see him is reassuring that he’s still here with us.

And if you cannot speak openly, you can collect pictures of special times and write letters expressing your grief about their passing.

6. Do Something in Their Memory

Most people find that some actions aimed at honoring a deceased parent can bring comfort.

When my dad passed, it reignited my childhood dream to become a writer. And I wrote my first two books with him being one of the primary characters.

Another idea is to create a small home memorial with mementos and pictures. You can also decide to plant their favorite tree or flower in your backyard.

Or you can do is continue with the work they found meaningful. As an example, my dad was always very involved with my kids. He was there for every event, birthday, concert, stageplay, etc.

So far, I haven’t missed any of these major events for my kids and it honestly brings even more joy to be able to continue what I found so important when I would see him sitting in the audience as a kid.

Besides that, if they had preferred charity or organization, you can donate to it or even start a scholarship in their name.

grief of a parent

7. Let Others Comfort You

Your friends and relatives might not know how to express their condolences to you, but their presence can be very comforting.

It is normal for you to have time for yourself but sometimes, completely isolating yourself may not help you. Trust me, walking through grief alone is going to make your grief process insurmountable.

Every single person on this planet experiences grief. You are NEVER alone in what you’re experiencing.

The kind of support that those who are close to you can bring when you are overwhelmed by your loss cannot be underestimated.

Your friends can help you with meal preparation, childcare, or even handling errands.

You can also talk to them if you want to talk about your parent, or they can help you engage in distracting activities like playing a game, watching a movie, or working on a project in your house.

When my dad passed, I didn’t realize that more friends than I could count also lost their fathers, as well.

Just knowing that they understood was comforting enough because it reminded me that someone could relate and knew exactly what I was feeling. And that made all the difference.

8. Consider Grief Support Groups

Even though friends and loved ones can offer you some support and comfort when grieving, grief support groups can provide the social need you probably require.

You will be able to connect with people who have experienced similar losses and have a shared understanding that comes with validation of the emotions you feel and have not been able to express to anyone else.

If you’re an introvert or one who doesn’t like to express emotions, I strongly encourage you to try a support group.

My close family members who are similar personalities found so much joy in finally opening up, particularly because grief is a major life event that no one wants to experience or discuss…and they found joy and solitude.

But most importantly, they are learning to find closure.

9. Talk to a Therapist

There is absolutely no reason to feel ashamed if you need extra support to begin processing your parent’s death.

There are different types of counselors that have specialized in providing grief support.

The good thing about seeing a therapist is that they will teach you coping strategies, especially when you are adjusting to life without your loved one you may have lost.

Being a mom, we struggle with self-care and just time to ourselves in general.

Being Black, there is a stigma that we don’t go to therapy, but when I mentioned it to my husband and mom, there was no question. And that was the most comforting.

losing a parent

This post was all about losing a parent.

The kind of emotion you get after you have lost your parent can leave you drained, irrespective of your relationship.

Always remember that grieving is a normal and healthy process.

You must take care of yourself with kindness and compassion and embrace the process.

It will help you go through grief successfully and become stronger when the grief is over.

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