I’ve decided that I’m going to start making some of my posts about how to cope with various things that happen throughout our lives. These topics will range from light-hearted to a little somber, with the goal of being helpful and inspirational. This first “How to cope” post is a bit on the somber side but I hope some of you will find this helpful, if not, just tell me to shut up 🙂
How to cope…with the loss of a parent
Over the last few years, I’ve had far too many friends lose parents at a fairly young age. And every time I hear about these losses, I’m reminded of the loss of my father.
I lost my amazing father, Bruce Brock (isn’t that such a strong name?!), when I was 25. I didn’t know anyone my age who had gone through something so horrible. Unfortunately, my two wonderful cousins would soon be in the same situation, as my sassy and fun Aunt Cece passed away three weeks later.
I didn’t really know how to cope. I didn’t know how to be there for my younger sisters, who were only teenagers at the time. What could I even say to my step mother that would remotely make her feel better? Some days I felt numb, many days sad, angry and often confused. When I think back during that time, I wish I had some words of wisdom that could’ve helped me a cope a bit better (mom you were great during this time, don’t get me wrong!) and let me know that feeling a certain way was ok.
So, to those dealing with the loss of a parent, here are my thoughts on how you’ll probably feel and how to cope:
- Losing a parent sucks. You can’t sugar coat it and people who have never been in this situation won’t understand, even though they’ll try. But, don’t push them a way.
- CRY – for goodness sake, cry! Let it out, even be angry if you need to. Don’t hold any feelings inside because they’ll just show up at a random time and you’ll end up yelling at someone for no reason. Screaming at your co-worker to “hurry the eff up!” when they’re simply filling up their water bottle at the fountain, might scare some people.
- Be prepared for hugs. People like to hug sad people. Sometimes a hug will come from someone you’ve barely spoken to and it gets weird. Almost hilariously weird.
- The first year is the hardest. Special occasions (birthdays, mothers day, fathers day, holidays, etc.) will bring up memories. It will be tough, but try to focus on the good memories and also allow yourself time to grieve/cry/whatever.
- There will be unexpected things that may upset you i.e. weddings. Father/Daughter dances at weddings get me every time! And seeing a parent with their kid! Ugh…you kinda get pissed off and you’ll wince a little with pain, but then smile as you think fondly of your parent.
- Do rely on family (or friends that are basically your family) as they will become even more important now!!
- Appreciate the little things and ENJOY life. Once I lost my dad, I refused to be worried about the stupid things and now I really try to just enjoy life (some days are much harder than others) but life really is short!
- You are now part of a club that doesn’t want to take any new members, but unfortunately, it does. We are here for you with arms opened wide.
- Over time, you’ll be less sad and you’ll smile when you think of all the great memories you had with your parent…I PROMISE!
I’m now giving you all a big weird virtual HUG. 🙂