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Grieving the loss of a parent

The death of a parent brings a lot of difficult questions that people must  be prepared to face. Whether you had ample time to prepare or if the death is accidental or unexpected, there are steps to make  grieving the loss of a parent easier.

When coping with the death of a parent, most of us go through a mix of emotions. You may be sad, worried, scared, shocked, confused or some combination of these. An empty feeling also occurs. Your emotions might feel a bit stronger or deeper than usual, or you may experience completely different feelings than ever before.

Typically, the sadness due to the loss of a parent will be more significant than other losses. Furthermore, everyone is affected by death in a different way. Some people have trouble concentrating, sleeping or eating when they’re coping with the death of someone close .

Others lose interest in activities they had always enjoyed. It’s quite common for some people to resort to “losing themselves” in video games or excessively eating or drinking. Other people feel numb, as if nothing has happened.

How to grieve the loss of a parent

In order to overcome grief, one should grieve and mourn whenever the need arises. Masking emotions in an effort to look tough or to protect others will only extend grieving . The more you share and the more you talk about it, the easier it will be for other people to help you move on.

Do not be afraid to ask for and accept help, since you need support from your family and friends.

The most important thing in accepting the death of a parent is to make peace with the cause of death. This will help you recompose yourself and achieve the peace of mind you need and want.

We tend to return to the old favorites of grief coping strategies—sharing with your friends and family, giving yourself time, and perhaps  seeking out counseling. While all of these can be essential to the grieving process, there may be a more direct way of releasing your grief. A creative outlet can many times be just as comforting as the old standards. Here are positive and effective ways to address your grief.

Write a goodbye letter

You may not have had the opportunity to say goodbye, yet closure is so essential to moving on. If you are having a hard time letting go because you have thoughts or memories that you wish you could have shared—you can still share them. Write a letter telling your parent everything  you wish you could have said during their life . In some cases, this could even be the opportunity to put aside past grievances or resolve feelings of guilt.

There does not need to be a set structure, but consider sharing how you are feeling, what you will most remember, and  what you were most thankful about your relationship. Writing can be immensely therapeutic.  Letting your thoughts and feelings out on paper can be the best balm for your grief.

Build a playlist

Think about the songs that your loved one enjoyed or alternately find the melodies that remind you of your parent. Once you have a handful, create a playlist. Keep adding to the playlist as new songs come along and whenever you feel particularly sad or find yourself missing them, tune into this reservoir of solace. Simple as it may seem, music is a powerful tool and can help you through an overwhelming tide of emotions with unexpected ease.

Be alone with your thoughts

Most of us run through life. We are so busy with our intricately scheduled lives we hardly ever take the time to stop and think. In times of grief, introspection is particularly important. Make yourself a priority and set aside 15 minutes to simply sit and think. It can be about your parent, about the day you are having or going to have, or  a personal check-in—How are you feeling? What can you do to feel better today?

Remember, finding pain points and addressing them is a healthy and effective way of resolving grief. Don’t feel guilty about this. This is the most important thing you need to be doing at this time. If you are helping yourself, you will inevitably be better prepared to help and support others who might be suffering with you.

Talk with your parent

Maybe the simplest outlet of all is simply talking to your parent who died. Often it is their very presence we miss the most, including their voice and their opinions. If you are wishing you could have more time to talk, just go ahead and make your own time. Start talking and you will probably find that you’ll be able to anticipate what they may have said, how they would have said it. Take comfort in knowing that, in that knowledge of them, you carry a piece of them. Whenever you need to talk, they are there, waiting to listen.

There is no set way to grieve the loss of a parent. Find what works for you and give yourself an  outlet for expression

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