There is no going around it—the loss of a parent is a trying experience. Whether or not you had a positive relationship with your parents, you will likely grieve their death in some form or another. If you are at a loss with how to cope and recover from the loss of a parent, here are a few tips that can help you.
- Understand the Difference Between Grieving and Mourning. Grief, according to the dictionary, is defined as a deep sorrow. It is best described as an internal emotion. Mourning, on the other hand, is defined as an expression of deep sorrow for someone who has died. The expression of mourning implies that it is an outward process—something that is tangible and perhaps physical. Many people grieve, but not everyone mourns. It is a common problem that, if someone internally grieves but does not outwardly mourn, this can lead to a suppression of emotion that lends itself to deep depression.
- Mourning and Its Many Forms. Even people who are verbally and physically expressive can have difficulty mourning. If you are not naturally expressive of your feelings, you are not alone. You may find freedom by stepping out of your comfort zone, or you may find that that can add more stress. Fortunately, there are many forms of mourning that do not necessitate a public stage.
- Confide in a Trusted Friend. If you are fortunate to have a friend in your life who is a good listener, try to open yourself up to them. You may be surprised at how liberating it is to take that weight off of your chest. In order to know whether your friend is a good listener, consider whether they do the following: they do not constantly interrupt you; they do not try to “fix you” and instead only give advice when asked; they do not get upset at you or display impatience; and they check in with you periodically instead of smothering you. This is a person who you can likely trust with your feelings.
- Find a Therapist. Forget the stigma about therapy—the truth is that everyone, no matter how put-together they seem, struggles with something in their lives. Everyone has their “stuff” that they need help with. Even celebrities have recently started to become more open with their problems with substance abuse, depression, or PTSD. If you feel as if you cannot cope on your own or with a trusted friend, seek outside help. A therapist’s job can be compared to that of a doctor: a doctor does not perform surgery to hurt you, but instead they open the hurt so that they can ultimately heal you.
- Prepare Financially. If you are financially prepared for the death of your parent and the accompanying expenses, you will prevent excess anxiety in your life. If you don’t carry that anxiety with you, you will have less distraction to move forward. In addition to life insurance policies that can help offset funeral costs, there are many companies that offer insurance policies specifically designated for funeral and burial expenses. For more information, check out a site like BurialInsurance.org.
- Write a Private Letter. You may find freedom in writing a letter to your parent. If you feel as if there were things left unsaid, writing a letter can lift a huge burden on you and bring much needed closure. Do not hold back—remember that this letter is private only to yourself.
- Find a Medium to Express Yourself. Believe it or not, you have artistic tendencies you may not be aware of. You may enjoy doodling, listening to music, cooking, or writing poems. Experiment with painting, creative writing, or composing songs. If you don’t know how to play an instrument, you can organize a playlist of songs that allow you to feel deeply or uplift you.
- Take Care of Yourself. The present is still important. Substance abuse or impulsive decisions will worsen your problems, not solve them. Instead, take care of yourself in a healthy way. If you are able, relieve pain through physical exercise, treat yourself to a vacation, or give yourself a spa treatment. Don’t fear that you will be judged for enjoying yourself. Some people experience pressure to look sad and feel guilty if they don’t. Don’t rely on such people for validation, and choose to rely on trustworthy friends who will support you to do this.
Despite your best efforts, your depression will rear its ugly head eventually. Do not shade your future by ignoring the present. If you deign not to see a light at the end of the tunnel, then you will never find it. Take on the present today, for a much brighter and enlightened tomorrow.
Submitted by Community Writer.