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How do you move on from loss of parent?


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I am grateful for the time I did have with my dad. But I am devastated. I’m lying here in bed just crying again. And once I get the energy I’ll head back over to his house to continue preparing it for sale. I feel like I lost so much. It’s been 19 days. 

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I'm so sorry.  It's hard to lose a parent.  I found that the grief came in waves for a long time after my dad died.  It's still very fresh for you - allow yourself to grieve however you need to and take care of yourself as well as you can.  Sending hugs.  

 

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I am going to recommend my favorite book to those who have joined the club of people who have lost loved ones and those people who love them.  It's OK That You're Not Ok by Megan Devine.  After my sister died from cancer four years ago, I found few people could relate (or wanted to). I needed to understand why that was. This book does that exactly and with explanations that made sense to me. I hope it will do the same for you.  Please don't expect to get over this important event quickly or easily. It's better to travel through the feelings and such and not stuff them away.  May the Holy One give you strength and extra love during this time.

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Thank you for this.
My 85yo dad just was diagnosed with Covid today, after have Vax #1 two weeks ago (at their retirement village).
I'm just so sad, tho he and my mom took many, many risks over these past 10 months.

My dh's mom (89yo) is ailing as well.
It's honestly something we've known would happen . . . it's just very sad to see it happening now.

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So sorry. I spent a fair bit of time in the early weeks putting together every photo into a scrapbook, making different themes, gathering them together, including quotes he'd said, things he was interested in. Another sister did the same but with video, another sister gathered messages from friends. This kind of 'grief work' helps you spend time with the person you've lost, in a way. All of us took at least a month off work - my workplace offered more than that, they were great. 

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34 minutes ago, Beth S said:

Thank you for this.
My 85yo dad just was diagnosed with Covid today, after have Vax #1 two weeks ago (at their retirement village).
 

I'm sorry and hope your dad will be okay.  That is very scary.

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I'm sorry for your loss.

My father died when I was 12, it was devastating and my life had a drastic change.  My mother's attitude towards death was "when you're dead, you're dead."  Subsequently, there were some events I can't share here - that were very counter to my mother's teachings - that played a big part in getting over his death.  I am now religious, and I have a very solid belief in life after death which is part of it - but not all.

My beliefs (and previous experiences, and my life stage)  completely changed things when my mother died. (about 12 years ago.)  I was sad, I cried, I missed talking to her, but it wasn't anywhere near devastating the way my father's death was.  I do believe I will see both of my parents again.

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It’s been more than 15 years and I still cry about missing my dad probably once a month. You never really get over it, but it does get easier with time. The waves of grief become gentler and further apart. You get used to it being true that he’s gone. My dad’s parents died in the few years before I was born and he cried about missing them at least once a year for the rest of his life. 

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With the others.....time.

Do the work of grieving.  It is purposeful.  It helps you put relationships into context. It helps you prioritize your life. It helps you work through the things that need to be work through.

It is painful, and it can be isolating. As a culture, we do an awful job of supporting other people who are grieving.  Most of them will move on by the six week mark, and you'll be left to sit in your feelings.   

A piece of advice? Put phone reminders in for about a month before his birthday and for about mid-January next year that simply say, "Be gentle to yourself".  Grief bombs are real, and it's easy to get caught up in thinking you should act/feel/think a certain way. Don't buy into that crap.

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I did some writing. It helped.

I cried. A lot. It helped.

I talked about my dad with others who knew & loved him. That hurt, but it also helped. 

I honor his memory. That still hurts more than it helps. But I feel like it will yield the most fruit long-term.

Time lessons the pain but it hasn't made it go away. Many hugs.

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I am very sorry. I have not lost a parent but grief is hard and can rightly take a long time. You have very fresh grief. Be patient with yourself. 

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Gently, its just been a few weeks and you aren't supposed to be okay right now. If I helps you process to clean out the house, then do it.  If it doesn't,  then give yourself some time.  It won't ever be easy, but you might be pushing yourself too much.  

I'm very sorry for your loss.  

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I am sorry for your loss. 

You never really move on if you had a close relationship... you just sort of 'adjust' to a new normal. As other's have said, it takes a lot of time. I started to grieve my father before he ever left this earth as his diagnosis was terminal and we knew his time would be likely relatively short. I am a Daddy's girl so losing him was crushing for me. With Mom, we also knew she was terminal but she lived with a terminal diagnosis for many years. I naively took for granted that she was truly terminal as she was so healthy for so long and I just could not envision her not just keeping on. 

I am just 45 and have lost both of my parents and it is hard. My Mom just passed in Dec 2019 ( so a little more than a year ago) and my Dad passed in 2013. Mom had metastatic breast cancer and Dad had ALS. With both parents we utilized hospice and were able to be there for the final days of their lives. After they passed, my heart physically hurt and I cried often. I felt like I was in a fog much of my days.  It still feels raw with my Mom some days even after a year. With Dad, I am able to smile more at the memories but still have days and moments where I ache and hurt over his death. I am sad that my parents both died so early in my life. At the same time I am so thankful that I was so close to both of my parents and that I had the life I did with them. I am sad for my boys that their grandparents are gone. They are the only grandparents that were involved and they were my son's biggest cheerleaders and supporters. 

Feel free to PM me if you need or want to talk. 

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I'm so sorry. Please be gentle with yourself and give yourself time to grieve and process. It will take weeks in the initial shock stage, and then months and months after that as you deal with various things as they unexpectedly pop up and trigger the grieving again. It is especially difficult because of the unexpected way in which your father passed, and the suddenness of his passing -- that will take even more time for you to process in the coming months. ((((((hugs)))))

In some ancient cultures, a year was the unstated expectation to give people the time they needed to go through the grieving process. Our modern Western culture expects us to just get up and get on with things within a week or two of the death of someone close to us. That is so very unrealistic. At some point, some weeks or months from now, the book It's Okay That You're Not Okay: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn't Understand, by Megan Devine, might offer some tidbits of help.)

In the meanwhile, it is very okay to be numb or crying or any other number of emotions and reactions right now. I'm so sorry for your loss and that you are having to go through this very sad and painful time.

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20 minutes ago, BusyMom5 said:

Gently, its just been a few weeks and you aren't supposed to be okay right now. If I helps you process to clean out the house, then do it.  If it doesn't,  then give yourself some time.  It won't ever be easy, but you might be pushing yourself too much.  

I'm very sorry for your loss.  

Yeah, if there’s no reason to hustle, it’s ok to take your time. 
my mil passed from covid in December unexpectedly and they’re still sorting things and probably won’t sell the house till spring. 
I’m so sorry. It is really hard. I’ve lost my mom and my dh has lost both parents now.

one day at a time.

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I am so sorry for your loss. It's been 5 years since my dad died. For a while, we just did the next thing, he'd been so sick and we found solace that he was no longer in pain or having to make trips to the ER. My mom, my son (he was a teenager), and I talked about him a lot, we dreamed about him. We used part of his insurance money to help ds pay for a school led trip to Japan. My dad had been stationed in Japan during his service time and ds was into everything Japanese. My son had just found out about the trip when my dad died. My dad had been so excited about the possibility of ds going to Japan, so it was fitting to use some money to help him go. 

A lot has changed in the last five years, I still dream about him sometimes, that I get to tell him all the good stuff and believe that he's happy. 

The grief comes in waves, over the years it has lessened, but I'm crying right now thinking about him. The tears remind me that he is missed, the memories I have remind why I miss him. 

I am sorry for you family's loss. 

 

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It’s been 21 years since I unexpectedly lost my dad. I still have bad days. Don’t rush it and be gentle with yourself. My dh had to give me a push to seek therapy but it did really help me. Let yourself feel whatever it is you’re feeling now and know it’s ok. Take your time. I’m really sorry for your loss.

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3 hours ago, Beth S said:

Thank you for this.
My 85yo dad just was diagnosed with Covid today, after have Vax #1 two weeks ago (at their retirement village).
I'm just so sad, tho he and my mom took many, many risks over these past 10 months.

My dh's mom (89yo) is ailing as well.
It's honestly something we've known would happen . . . it's just very sad to see it happening now.

I am so sorry. How is he now? My dad has had his first Covid shot too.

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I'm so sorry for your loss! My mom died 7 years ago last week.  It was a grief I was not prepared for in any way. I really struggled for a long time, but life forced me to keep going and deal with it. 

Find things that comfort you and make room for them in your life. I found comfort in a few songs, and oddly they weren't even songs my mom knew or liked. I took piano as a child, and we have a keyboard, so I took up playing music during that time. I think I did it because she would have liked it, but there were some specific songs I played as well that comforted me. I did that for maybe a year or so and it tapered off. 

 

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10 hours ago, prairiewindmomma said:

With the others.....time.

A piece of advice? Put phone reminders in for about a month before his birthday and for about mid-January next year that simply say, "Be gentle to yourself".  Grief bombs are real, and it's easy to get caught up in thinking you should act/feel/think a certain way. Don't buy into that crap.

Yes! My dad died five years ago around the holidays. My sister was a wreck, calling me nearly every day for months. I was sad but I wasn’t nearly as affected as she was. But then when the holidays came around that first year, I was the wreck. I cried more in that month than in the first 11 months of his being gone.

All that to say, grief is unpredictable and the advice to be gentle with yourself is spot on. 

I’m sorry for your loss, Janeway. 

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(( hugs ))

Nothing "helps" with the pain. With time, and unevenly, the pain recedes.

 

And as other pp have said: it's only been a few weeks. You're not supposed to "move on" by now; that's not how grief works, that's not how love works, that's not how human beings are wired.

People are different in how we process all kinds of things; for SOME people there's a sort of pure adrenaline that carries through the business of necessary arrangements and house-clearing and financial-account-management and stuff-disposal and note-writing so it can look on the outside that "I'm doing fine"... whereas others are flattened at the outset and unable to deal with those tasks until later... and the crashing waves that a number of pp have described hit different people at different times brought on by different triggers. 

Your way is the right way for you to process. There are various "schedules" out there,  and when my father died I found helpful elements in some of them, including Elizabeth Kubler-Ross' and the traditional Jewish framework of 7 days (flattened) to 30 days to eleven months (scaffolded by community) to a public one-year "closing out" with public annual commemoration thereafter.  It can be helpful to have language to attach to the muddled mess of feelings; it can be helpful to know that since ancient times there's been recognition that "moving on," particularly doing so alone without ongoing public acknowledgment of the pain and the work, is unrealistic.

But in the end I found that even those were a bit cookie-cutter. One of the responses I had to my father's death was a sort of ... vagueness... bewilderment.... loss of words that I couldn't find in Kubler-Ross.  And as several pp have described, it's now several years out, according even to the extended Jewish timeline it's high time for me to have returned to the world, and yet there are still moments when the waves crash and I'm flattened again.

Just less often than before.

 

14 hours ago, YaelAldrich said:

I am going to recommend my favorite book to those who have joined the club of people who have lost loved ones and those people who love them.  It's OK That You're Not Ok by Megan Devine.  After my sister died from cancer four years ago, I found few people could relate (or wanted to). I needed to understand why that was. This book does that exactly and with explanations that made sense to me. I hope it will do the same for you.  Please don't expect to get over this important event quickly or easily. It's better to travel through the feelings and such and not stuff them away.  May the Holy One give you strength and extra love during this time.

 

13 hours ago, prairiewindmomma said:

With the others.....time.

Do the work of grieving.  It is purposeful.  It helps you put relationships into context. It helps you prioritize your life. It helps you work through the things that need to be work through.

It is painful, and it can be isolating. As a culture, we do an awful job of supporting other people who are grieving.  Most of them will move on by the six week mark, and you'll be left to sit in your feelings.   

A piece of advice? Put phone reminders in for about a month before his birthday and for about mid-January next year that simply say, "Be gentle to yourself".  Grief bombs are real, and it's easy to get caught up in thinking you should act/feel/think a certain way. Don't buy into that crap.

 

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I too am sorry for your loss of your dad.

As others have said, you have to give it time. Let yourself grieve in the way that seems right. Let your kids see you grieve, so they understand it is normal. 

Grief is so individual. When my father died, it had been somewhat expected for a while. I was mostly in charge of taking care of all the "business" side of it (helping my mother) and had to care for my sister's kids - she was prostrated by grief, could not even get out of bed for a few days - but that was how I ended up processing it all. 

Years later when my  mother died, I was also in charge of everything, but my relationship with my mother was so different, it took me longer to process everything. It took a very long time to stop thinking "oh, I need to call Mom today" or "I need to ask Mom how to do this."  

I still miss them both, and still ache for my mom sometimes (she died in 2002) but mostly I have good memories and enjoy sharing them with my kids. 

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14 hours ago, prairiewindmomma said:

With the others.....time.

Do the work of grieving.  It is purposeful.  It helps you put relationships into context. It helps you prioritize your life. It helps you work through the things that need to be work through.

It is painful, and it can be isolating. As a culture, we do an awful job of supporting other people who are grieving.  Most of them will move on by the six week mark, and you'll be left to sit in your feelings.   

A piece of advice? Put phone reminders in for about a month before his birthday and for about mid-January next year that simply say, "Be gentle to yourself".  Grief bombs are real, and it's easy to get caught up in thinking you should act/feel/think a certain way. Don't buy into that crap.

Ita, especially grief bombs.  I didn't know to expect them and was hit out of the blue.  Now I prepare and that helps.

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14 hours ago, Janeway said:

I am so sorry. How is he now? My dad has had his first Covid shot too.

Thanks for asking. 
My folks are in independent living retirement facility, so they are on lockdown for 2 weeks.
Dad tested positive, Mom tested negative.
They are both in good spirits, & slept well (separately, on our insistance!) last night.
We're trying to get more meds to keep Dad's cough from worsening.
 

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I cried every day for months after my father died suddenly going on 6 years ago.  It is hard to lose your parent.  It is also traumatic to lose them suddenly  in a medical emergency.  Be gentle with yourself and allow yourself to grieve.  Allow yourself to feel joy in your memories and your children.  The burden will get lighter.  You will have harder days.  The first year was definitely the worst.  

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59 minutes ago, Beth S said:

Thanks for asking. 
My folks are in independent living retirement facility, so they are on lockdown for 2 weeks.
Dad tested positive, Mom tested negative.
They are both in good spirits, & slept well (separately, on our insistance!) last night.
We're trying to get more meds to keep Dad's cough from worsening.
 

My dad was in an independent living facility also, but when he started feeling sick they refused to get him help. They actually told us he had tested negative for Covid, only for us to find out later that they had not actually tested him in more than two weeks. I really seriously wonder if he would’ve survived if they would’ve diagnosed him in the first place. Also, in our area, by law, they were supposed to be tested for Covid every week for all the residents. But they had not tested any of them since before New Year’s.

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20 hours ago, Pawz4me said:

Time. That's all the advice I've got. It took me three years to begin to get over my mother's death. Be gentle with yourself and try not to expect too much too soon.

I'm sorry.

This is true for any big loss, I believe. You get the icky feelings and you cry until you can't cry anymore. Repeat over and over. And then one day you don't cry, but you cry the day after that. And so on. But generally the trend will be that you are recovering from the loss as time passes.

An important thing to know is that there are peaks and valleys. One day you may realize you haven't cried for 6 months, and believe that the worst is over. And for the most part, the worst IS over, but that doesn't mean the grief won't return out of nowhere and knock you on your butt when you least expect it. Grieving is not a linear process.  

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The grief process is different for everyone. It's okay to feel devastated. My dad has been gone for over 3 years and my mom, almost 2 years. I miss them dearly. There are times that I still cry. I doubt that those moments will ever truly pass. 

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You allow yourself at least one full year before asking yourself to do much of anything at all. You just go through the motions to bury your parent, settle the estate, and fulfill your basic duties to family and/or work . . . You cry when you have to, and you scream when you have to, and you work hard to be gentle with yourself and your loved ones . . . and you just put one foot in front of the other.

Give yourself a full year. Then it starts to actually get a little easier. The crying fits come less frequently, the intensity of the pain subsides a bit. You never actually get past it, but you learn to live with it. Holidays will always hurt. Great news will always feel a little less great. You'll always miss your parent. 

((((hugs)))) and comfort during this time. Be gentle with yourself and those you love. 

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On 2/10/2021 at 4:21 PM, Pawz4me said:

Time. That's all the advice I've got. It took me three years to begin to get over my mother's death. Be gentle with yourself and try not to expect too much too soon.

This exactly, time. Don't try to jump back into things too soon. Take the time to relive those wonderful memories. So sorry for your loss. 

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Time.

Time.

And more time.

And you don't "get over", you get through each wave of grief and heartbreak from now until forever.

The waves will get smaller and less overwhelming. The heartbreak will not be as sharp and stabbing, but you'll always miss them.

 

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I must be extreme, because it was about 3 years for my inlaws before I started moving on. Can't imagine how long it will take for my bio parents. I would say estimates of a year are really brief. You're literally reframing your whole world a new way and seeing your place, recreating family traditions, everything. That is not a fast thing. You're redefining yourself and having to become the strength you drew from your parents. It's not fast.

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