Losing Parents, Why It Hurts So Much Regardless of Age
They say the bond between parents and their child is unique that when our parents die, it feels like losing a part of ourselves. Whether we lose our parents unexpectedly or they die of old age, the level of grief is still the same, and it is still inconsolable.
Stages of Grief
When grieving, we go through different stages. We grieve in different ways. Some go through a lot of stages while others experience two or three stages. One thing is for sure, there is no shortcut to grieving and anyone, over time, still, grieve for their lost parents whenever they come across with things that remind them of their childhood and their parents.
Confusion and Denial
Denying the reality of the situation is a common reaction upon learning the death of someone we love. It is our defense mechanism against the pain that death brings. If we can block the words that people are saying about the death, we will. We deny hearing or believing any of what they are saying. Regardless of age, this is a common reaction among children upon learning that their parent/s passed.
With the death of our parent sinking in, we start to feel anxious about the situation. Even if we are old enough already, independent and is living on our own, the thought that we are now orphans can hit us hard.
As we deal with our loss, we start to think of what we could have done to make our parents happier. If the parents died of old age, what could have we done to make their lives more comfortable? If they died of illness, what could have we done to make them comfortable? These thoughts will automatically run in our minds. It means that we are starting to accept the death of our parents.
As we come into terms with the death of our parents, we are starting to accept the fact that we are now on our own. If you are the eldest in the family, you will start to fear your responsibilities as the eldest child to your siblings. You are now realizing the truth that you have to live independently knowing that you no longer have a parent to run to in case you need help.
As we accept the fact the fact our parents are gone, we feel frustrated knowing that it is something that we cannot change. There is zero chance of bringing them back. There is nothing we can do to make it up for our shortcomings as their loving child when they were alive. Such thoughts are frustrating but once we come into terms with our frustrations, acceptance of their death becomes easier.
Yearning is a stage of grieving that no one passes completely. It comes and goes. You might get over with your yearning now but an event or an occasion will remind you of them and makes you yearn again. Yearning is when you miss them and wish that they are with you again. Birthday and holidays are among the times when we often yearn for our dead parents.
This stage of grief is something that only a few people have to go through. Adults and children who lost their parents yet with strong emotional and personal supports often go through the death of their parents without experiencing depression.
Depression occurs when someone feels like they are totally alone after the loss of their parents. They resort to drinking and drugs to forget about their pain, frustrations, remorse, and yearning, resulting in depression and addiction.
Losing a Parent as a Child
According to studies, losing a parent or both parents at an early age can impact a child’s development, learning, and growth as a person. It can affect the way they build a relationship and their sense of security. Still, the grief of a child is the same with the grief of an adult who lost parents.
How to Help a Grieving Child
To protect a child from the pain of death, some adults will try to distract a grieving child and tell half-truths. Most adults think that children are too young to understand death and grieving. So, at what age can we say that a child already understands death and what it means?
Child Psychologist Alan Wolfet said that anyone who knows how to love is old enough to grieve. This means that if a child yearns for his or her parents after they are gone, then that child is old enough to grieve the loss of his or her parents.
To help a grieving child, help find ways, so they can release their expressions and emotions. If it is in doing activities such as painting or playing baseball, support them and let them join clinics and additional classes.
We are all children of our own parents and most of us will experience losing a parent or both in our lives. Despite our ages, successes in life and our current situation, losing a parent is still a numbing, sad, and fearful event.
Coping with a parent’s death is extremely difficult. However, with support from people we love, we can also get into terms with our loss. We might not experience the stages mentioned above (and we pray that you don’t too especially depression) yet if you do, don’t worry, it is normal and it shall pass too.