Grieving a parent's death

Originally Published: January 17, 1997 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: May 24, 2013
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Dear Alice,

My mother just died and I've just gone back to school. If this was on paper, you would see my teardrops covering it. I feel like I have no one to talk to. I see the school grief counselor once every three or four weeks, but I was wondering if there is anything else that I might be able to do to lessen my feelings of depression and the feeling that I've been abandoned.

Signed,
Lonely and Depressed

Dear Lonely and Depressed,

You are experiencing normal feelings of grief. Grieving for a loved one, especially a parent, takes time, energy, and caring. Life has changed irrevocably. Your family structure has changed. You may feel that you are growing up faster than you had ever anticipated. You may feel as if there is no one to take care of you, and it is difficult and painful to feel abandoned.

During this time, it is especially important that you seek out and talk with people you feel close to. Often, people are happy to help; however, they may not know how. They also may be waiting for you to seek them out. You could choose someone, and ask her/him to do something very specific: to listen to you, sit with you quietly, hug you, see a movie, or take a walk with you. Just sitting quietly or reading different books together can be comforting. Sometimes, exercise can make a difference. It is important to get your feelings out and take care of yourself more frequently than every three or four weeks. By the way, maybe you could talk with your school's grief counselor more often — at least for now.

Think about your family, friends, and neighbors. Who is already close to you? Who can you talk with? Who do you feel might understand? Your father? A sister or brother? An aunt or uncle? Cousins? A close family friend? A good friend's mother? A neighbor, or someone you feel close to or admire who lives nearby? Someone from synagogue, temple, or church could be understanding and helpful. Perhaps you can open up to a teacher.

There are also books you can read. An internet search or someone at your local bookstore will be able to steer you in the direction of books that are written for young adults about death. One suggestion is Hope Edelman's book, Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss. Death is a normal part of the life cycle, and something we all face sooner or later. There are also fiction books that deal with similar issues. Reading these kinds of books can help people experience, understand, and manage their feelings in a full and complete way.

You can also keep a grief and healing journal to compose your thoughts when you are happy, unhappy, or when you want to tell your mother something — just like you've done here. You can write her letters that express your feelings — this outlet will help you heal more quickly.

Wishing you peace and strength,

Alice

November 20, 2009

21326
To the reader:

I just lost my mother to lupus. Even though it has been a long long fight, it still came as a bomb. I am still very confused and angry. I am sorry that anyone has to lose a parent....

To the reader:

I just lost my mother to lupus. Even though it has been a long long fight, it still came as a bomb. I am still very confused and angry. I am sorry that anyone has to lose a parent. I have lost grandparents and friends in my life and yet my mother's death has really hit a place in me that I can not understand. I know that it will all take time to cry, talk and write my way through it. Lost can not even begin to describe how I feel. I am going to start going to a group grief counseling session in my area. I really feel that having other people that are were I am will help me and anyone that is in this spot. I did go to my doctor first and talk with him. I am excepting any help I can. This is a time to search out what ever will help. No one can/should do this alone. My dad's best advice to me that I will share with everyone is. "Pick up your phone and keep talking, she will always be on the other end listening."

Best Wishes to everyone.

February 18, 2008

21413

To the reader:

I hope this is of some help to you. I am in my twenties and my father died a year ago. I can only describe what I went through in the hope that it offers some kind of comfort...

To the reader:

I hope this is of some help to you. I am in my twenties and my father died a year ago. I can only describe what I went through in the hope that it offers some kind of comfort. My father died a slow death from pancreatic cancer. I can't begin to expain how I grieved for him. I came from a patriachal family from NW Ireland and my father was the centre of our family. I worked as an economist in London. After returning to work, I felt as if I was going mad — the cruelty of what had happened to my father fuelled my rage for months afterward. I found it difficult to cope with work, friends, my partner.

It was only after several months and some counseling that I could look back on my father's passing with any clarity. Now, I talk about how he was when was alive. I talk with my siblings about stories of when we were children and I can think of him without being blinded of the cruelty of the disease that ended his life. I hope you can someday reach this point.

October 16, 2006

21141
Dear Lonely and Depressed,

My dad died 18 months ago by committing suicide. I also feel like you. I can't talk to anyone, but I found it helps if I write about the way I feel. I'm not sure it...

Dear Lonely and Depressed,

My dad died 18 months ago by committing suicide. I also feel like you. I can't talk to anyone, but I found it helps if I write about the way I feel. I'm not sure it'll help you... everyone deals with these things differently.

I hope it does help you.

— xxconfusedxx

September 29, 2005

20951
Dear Alice,

Dear Lonely and Depressed,

I know how you feel. I am in 8th grade and my dad died like 2 months before I went to 6th grade. I felt like I was on my own to figure things out. I...

Dear Alice,

Dear Lonely and Depressed,

I know how you feel. I am in 8th grade and my dad died like 2 months before I went to 6th grade. I felt like I was on my own to figure things out. I tried to relate to my cousins because their dad died a yr. before mine. It didn't work. I always feel like talking about my dad is hard. I always talk about him like he is alive. I know he is dead, but I hate knowing he won't be able to walk me down when I get married. I did feel like I was on my own for a long time and still sorta do. I like to talk to my mom a lot because her dad died when she was 6, even though they weren't close, she still had to deal with it. I miss my dad and think about him a lot. But I know that he wouldn't want me to be depressed. He would want me to be happy and be successful.

August 19, 2005

20945
Dear Alice,

Dear Lonely and Depressed

There is a beautiful website called "Mom's Halo." There you can write a memorial free of...

Dear Alice,

Dear Lonely and Depressed

There is a beautiful website called "Mom's Halo." There you can write a memorial free of charge and post it; you can chat with people that have lost a mom. It is all ages, all types of diseases that have taken their moms. One woman was your age that just lost her mom. Try it, I am a regular.

(dragonfly) JIll