Everybody ages–and so do their parents. It can be harrowing to lose a parent, regardless of how much you’ve prepared for their passing. If you’re mourning your mom or dad, no matter when you lost them, consider these tips for grieving the loss of a parent. These strategies won’t bury your sorrows, but they can help you navigate and process them.
Address and Validate Your Emotions
Sadness reveals itself in myriad ways. You may feel anger or frustration, numbness, disbelief, or guilt. All emotions surrounding a significant loss are valid.
Acknowledge your feelings when they arise so you can find the best approach to walking through life without them. If you find yourself irritable, perhaps a regular workout will relieve the frustration. If you feel numb, try journaling and talking with loved ones about their experience with the loss.
Keep Your Well-Being a Priority
While grieving, daily routines can prove tough to complete. However, getting adequate sleep, nutrition, and exercise is still important when dealing with negative emotions.
Adjust your schedule as necessary to ensure your body receives the self-care it deserves. It can feel selfish to prioritize yourself after a loss, but your well-being is crucial. Take time for the activities that bring you joy, reflecting on your coping progress every once in a while.
Celebrate Their Life
It’s important to mourn a loss, but it can be just as powerful and healing to celebrate a life. Check out a few tips for grieving the loss of a parent that involve celebrating their treasured life.
Holiday gatherings may not feel the same without your loved one’s presence. Celebrate them by relishing in holiday memories with family and friends. Sharing a favorite story about your parent is an honorable way to make it feel like they’re at the table with the rest of the family.
Birthdays can bring up sorrowful emotions. It can feel jarring to celebrate your loved one’s birthday without them there, but it’s a wonderful way to carry on their memory. Check out a few ideas for celebrating a deceased loved one’s birthday for some inspiration.
Did your mom love gardening every spring? Or maybe your dad hosted an annual family barbeque? Sometimes, it’s hard to partake in things that remind you of the loss, but there’s solace in knowing they’d be smiling seeing you join in on their favorite pastimes.
Consider Talk Therapy
Death is an intricate thing to process, and some days might feel more overwhelming than others. Regardless of when you lost your parent, it can be helpful to talk through your feelings with a professional.
Therapists offer extra support, confidentiality, and validation throughout the grieving journey. They can help you find a healthy coping strategy or two that works with your lifestyle, enabling you to tackle complex emotions instead of neglecting them.