The death of a parent can be accompanied by so many
feelings. Some parental relationships are complicated while others are
profoundly nurturing. Our parents gave us life and we have a lot of history
with them. When a parent dies, a family can be forever changed as new family
dynamics and tensions emerge. You might feel like an orphan if your only
surviving parent has just died. Perhaps you were a caretaker or you relied on
them for support. The nature of your relationship will very much affect your
grief in the coming days and months. The loss of a parent can change your
worldview, but it can also change your daily life if you have inherited
practical and legal matters.
Here are some things to consider:
balance – if you have to manage an estate or other financial and legal
matters, you could easily become consumed by a to-do list. Block out time for
self-care, to clear your head, and to create space for your grief. Even though
you will carry your grief with you in all your tasks, give it proper attention
by taking time to reflect, share, and get support outside of a potentially
robust to-do list.
breaks – family dynamics often change after the death of a parent. If
tensions arise, pace yourself and choose your battles carefully. This is often
a very emotionally charged time where many people aren’t on their best behavior
because they are hurting. Schedule an appointment or chore to break up the day
or foreseeable feuds.
- Call a
friend – if you are struggling with family dynamics, identify a friend who
is a good listener and can support you with your grief and family challenges.
- Exercise – grief is not just an
emotion. It comes with fatigue and other ailments. Exercise is a healthy coping
strategy if you’re able to do so.
- Name your
needs – while not every family member is a good listener, it can still be
helpful to name what you need, the role you want to play in planning a funeral
or dealing with an estate, and sharing your emotional needs.
TEDx Talks - No Child Should Ever Grieve Alone