Losing a parent is a traumatic experience and hiding under your blankets may sound like the best idea for you…or simply wish that it all went away. However, we all know that
this may work short-term, but it is important to have long-term plans on how to cope with the loss of a parent. The most important thing to remember is that everyone grieves differently. You can find a million and one ways to cope and grieve but it is important to find coping skills that work for you. Also, be aware that your coping skills may be different than other loved ones coping skills and make sure to respect that during this difficult time. There is nothing better than the support of family and the feeling of teamwork when coping with a loss.
The first and most important process is to honor your parent’s wishes. Give them the proper burial and plan their celebration of life as they see fit for their death. Local funeral homes, wills, other family members, and memories of their life will help you through this process. The financial obligation can be stressful, but there are beautiful ways to honor wishes and provide a wonderful service without it getting too pricey. Many times, parents will have money set aside, but in cases where they don’t, do what you know you can handle, as I am sure that is how your parent would want it.
During the coping process it is easy to shut people out and want to spend time alone. Alone time is extremely important during the coping/grieving process, but having a support system around you also helps heal the way.
It is wise to find a good balance when alone time is right and when it is time to add support to the process. Remember, many around you are also grieving and having you there for support will benefit all as well as ease some pain.
A unique way to cope the loss of a parent is to play out something your parent always wanted to do. We all know that there may be a “bucket list” item that may not have been crossed off. Take the time to experience that opportunity and live out something your parent always wanted to do. This will help you feel close to your parent and give you a feeling of joy that their wishes live on.
With that said, it is most important to keep your parent’s memories alive. Keepsakes, valuables, pictures, and stories are all good ways to do just that. Telling stories of your parents to your children will continue their life and add value to their life even after death. Don’t ever be afraid that you are telling too much. It is helpful during the grieving process to talk of your parent and to find joy in a time of sorrow. Remember, your parent will want you to move on and continue with your life, and in doing so, keep their love close to your heart at all times.