Coping with the Loss of a Parent

EPSON MFP image

May 2017

C.S Lewis once said about grieving, “There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Yet I want the others to be about me. I dread the moments when the house is empty. If only they would talk to one another and not to me.”

I lost my mom a few months ago and it is still feels like an invisible blanket on some days.  I’m studying and working at Temple University and sometimes the long train ride is filled with tears, but most days I try not to think about the loss of my mother. I am still doing all of the same things I was before my mom died on Feb 9, 2017, but sometimes I feel like I’m watching myself rather than living my life.  It’s kind of eerie, but I do know that I love when my own children are nearby…it eases the pain of losing someone that has always been in my life. And my husband is a constant source of strength and encouragement.

A friend, Jeanette Dructor, who recently lost her mother said, “I feel like I’m scrambling to keep my family together. She was the glue, the reason we all came together on holidays, and special times.  Every first without her is so hard.  Even after five months, I find myself teary-eyed and overwhelmed.  I can’t count the times I whisper, “I miss you, mom” in my head. Or when I think of something I want to tell her or ask her and then remember…”

According to grief.com, many are surprised by how deeply the loss of a parent affects them. “Mothers tend to hold families together. They are the ones who keep in touch with all the family members and spread the news around.” The child becomes painfully aware that “no-one is ever as interested in everything you do as your mother, or as proud of you.” Judy Ball, a free-lance writer for Freitage Funeral Home in Bridgetown, NJ suggests some tips on grieving the loss of a parent.

  • Remember you have every reason to grieve. Even if we find ourselves “parenting our parents” before their deaths, it is the parent of our youth and childhood that we bury.
  • Find ways to talk and grieve. Just saying aloud the words “Mom” and “Dad” is remarkably consoling and healing.
  • Forgive yourself for being human. We can be consoled that our deceased parent understands and forgives us.
  • Grow from your experience and tragedy. We can use our losses as tools to help us grow in our understanding of self and our sensitivity to others.
  • Take heart. Our life has not lost meaning; indeed, it has taken on new meaning as we bury part of our past and write a new chapter in our lives.

I’m trying to remember these points as I move forward. After all, I am who I am in many ways because of my mom and although I miss her dearly, she would want me to go on and enjoy life. I believe as Judy Ball says that “life has not lost its meaning, but has taken on new meaning as we bury part of our past and write a new chapter in our lives.” -BBM

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