Coping with Parent Loss

As Father’s day approaches, I feel numb reflecting on the past 10 months of not having my father around and evaluating how I coped with grief since  he passed away just a few days shy of my 25th birthday. I do not know how I am supposed to feel. My 25th year has been a roller coaster since then, filled with peaks of joy and valleys of sadness. I do not know what to expect but I am reminded that there is no defining way to grieve. The test of time may make coping easier but it also depends on the individual. So I can’t promise that you’ll overcome your grief with these methods but it may hopefully make things easier for you. What helps me cope are the powerful words of Jesus Christ and this quote in particular in 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10 reminds me that one day things will be a lot easier: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” So beautifully stated and humbling to know which makes this is one of my favorite scriptures! Notable Neurologist and Psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud also said

“One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.”

We all strive to reach this point. So in efforts to help you cope, I’ve listed the 6 coping mechanisms that have helped me find peace in my struggle:

1. Stay Prayed Up

I found that having a consistent prayer life has helped me when my emotions begin to stagger. I am a witness to the amazing results consistent prayer can provide. When I pray, I trust that God will deliver me from whatever is troubling me and He does. Also trusting in God will help you realize that there is something far greater than your troubles. This is the most essential part of the grieving process.

2. Build and Maintain a Support System

Having a great, circle of supportive family and friends can really improve your outlook on life during this time. The first thing you will probably think of doing is isolating yourself but absolutely do not do this, it will only make matters worse. I am an introvert by nature so this definitely fell victim to isolation. Therefore, I can’t say there aren’t going to be days when you do not want to do anything, go anywhere or be around people for that sake. However, we heal and grow faster with human interaction and relationships. Surround yourself with family and friends who have a positive vibe and provide words of encouragement. If you do not have this type of support system, then join a support group. There are many ways you can meet new people with awesome websites like meetup.com.

3. Allow Yourself to Hurt

Do not allow yourself too much time alone to dwell on negative thoughts such as the “I should haves” or “I could haves.” Hence, this event was out of your control. Yet, create a balance in which you’ll be able to maybe go to a park and cry or even cry in the shower if you have to. While surrounding yourself with supportive friends on other days. Either way, you should never hold it in. I find that talking to a trusted friend helps but do not allow yourself to get angry at someone’s response to your despair. Not everyone is going to understand or know how to react to your loss. I still struggle with reacting appropriately to other’s loss. Therefore, you may need more time alone to grieve before surrounding yourself with people.

4. Develop a More Positive Outlook for this World’s Finite Nature

This was a tough pill to swallow for me but I understand that everything in life is finite. Not only human life but even this state of being that you may be experiencing. You won’t always feel like crap.  There will be good days. Learn to appreciate the bad days and trust that it is only temporary. Demonstrating this gratitude will assuredly bring you out of this funk. However, it’s easier said than done.

5. Keep Yourself Occupied

After my dad passed away, I wanted to keep myself as occupied as possible. Although it has been difficult to even climb out of bed some mornings, I refused to just lay around depressed. I wanted to get involved and possibly help others who were experiencing similar struggles. Use this time to keep yourself busy. The best way to relieve depression is to be a blessing to someone suffering in a even worse situation than yours. Initially it is very hard, I have faltered many days when I do not want to do anything at all but it’s so worth the pain in the end once you have finally pushed yourself. This will galvanize a change in your attitude that others will marvel at. You will feel stronger  and one day you will relish in retrospect at your own strength.

6. Reflect on the Good Times

I know this may be difficult but it helps. Remembering your mother or father’s laughter or the loving words they shared with you can be all the joy you need to make it through the day. I love my family. They have a way of recreating the feelings of laughter and joy that we’ve felt in the past and in return changing the mood in the room. This is why reflecting on good past experiences are very important.

Are you a victim of parent loss? How have you dealt with it? I appreciate your comments. Thank you for reading! I hope this helped. We’re in this together.

Author: Vanessa Mack

A Christian millennial, fascinated with grace, passionate about learning, tech, finance, expressive writing and encouraging others.

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