For Anyone Who Has Lost a Parent or Will Lose a Parent

I don’t want to ruin your day or anything, but let’s discuss something really sad, because sometimes life stuff is sad. A lot of the time, actually. Sad things happen, and I think it’s important to talk about them.

Our parents are going to die. Not right this second (I’m not predicting a parent apocalypse), but eventually they will die. They will die before we do (unless something goes terribly wrong, but let’s not make this any sadder). It’s just the way time works. They’re older. They die first. That’s how they want it, and that’s how it should be. But that doesn’t make it any easier.

By now, most of us have lost someone close to us, so we can imagine how awful it is to lose a parent. But until it happens to you, you won’t fully understand the gravity of the awfulness. And that’s okay. Not understanding is not feeling the pain, and living without the pain is something we should be entitled to do for as long as we can. The pain of waking up every morning and for a split second, forgetting that part of your heart and soul isn’t here anymore, and then remembering is awful. Part of who you are and where you come from is gone. No new memories will ever be made with your parent again.

When something really great happens to you, like when you get married, or have a baby or win a Nobel Peace Prize (or a fun prize in one of those claw arcade games), the person who would care the most isn’t here to be proud of you. If something really bad happens to you, your first instinct is to call your mom or dad for support, but you can’t. Their phone has been disconnected. When your parent dies, you instantly lose the feeling of being connected to your childhood and where you come from. You can no longer ask questions about your family history, medical questions or how to do life questions. No one will ever love us in the same unconditional way our parents have loved us. The pain of losing a parent never goes away, you just learn to live with it.

Everyone grieves differently and in their own way, but ultimately, our feelings are universal. There are different stages of grief, but they don’t happen in order. One day you may feel angry or depressed, and the next day you may think, “If only I did something differently, she’d still be alive.”. Maybe the next day you accept that he’s gone, then five minutes later a memory pops up and you can’t stop crying. There isn’t one correct way of grieving (like there is one correct way of eating an Oreo). If you want to stay home to be alone with your thoughts, then do it. If going out with friends helps you feel better, then go. However you are grieving is how you’re supposed to be grieving.

I’m not a grief expert, but I know that I’m not alone in wanting to talk about it. My mom died two years ago. It was sudden and terrible. I’m still grieving, and I always will be. And you will grieve too, if you aren’t already. But we will be okay, because we have to be. Our lives continue without them. As hard and as heart breaking as it is, we don’t have a choice. Our parents did everything they could to prepare us for being on our own. Not just living in a different home or city, but living when they no longer are. Doing life the way they prepared us to. And as long as we feel like they’d be proud of us, then we’re doing it right.

This post is dedicated to my mom, Margie Silver, and to all the moms and dads who are greatly missed.

.Featured image via ShutterStock

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