Mourning the Loss of a Parent

Whether you have a good, bad or indifferent relationship with your mother and father, most people still love their parents deeply.

Sadly, at some point, you will likely face the reality of your parent’s death.

It is important that you take time to mourn the loss of this significant person in your life.

Mourning allows you to express your thoughts and feelings about death.

Your relationship and the circum-stances of the death will determine how you travel your journey through grief.  Grief is unique for everyone.

Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D., C.T. and internationally noted author, educator and grief counselor advises, “Don’t try to compare your experience with that of other people or adopt assumptions about just how long your grief should last.

“Consider taking a ‘one-day-at-a-time’ approach that allows you to grieve at your own pace.”

According to Dr. Wolfelt, while everyone has unique feelings about the death of a parent, some of the more common emotions include:

  • Sadness: It’s natural to feel sad, so allow yourself to embrace your pain.
  • Relief: If your parent was sick before the death, you may feel relieved when death comes, knowing the suffering has ended.
  • Anger: The death of your parent may bring unresolved anger and painful feelings to the surface. Or you may feel angry because a loving relationship in your life has prematurely ended.
  • Guilt: You may wish you had said things that went unsaid – or wish you could take back hurtful things you did say.
  • You also may regret not spending  more time with your parent. Guilt and regret can be normal responses to the death of your mother or father.

As strange as some of these emotions may seem, they are normal and healthy.

Allowing yourself to feel whatever emerges without judgment is part of the mourning process.

Dr. Wolfelt offers these tips to help you along your grief journey:

  • Recognize that the death has an impact on your entire family.
  • Each person in the family had a unique relationship with your parent, so each will mourn the loss uniquely.
  • Reach out to others for support.
  • Be tolerant of your physical and emotional limits.
  • Embrace your spirituality.
  • Treasure your memories.
  • Move toward your grief and heal.

If you need help coping with your grief, Milward Funeral Directors offers two monthly support groups at 6:30 p.m.
– Third Monday at 391 Southland Drive
– Third Tuesday at 1509 Trent Boulevard
Milward Funeral Directors, in collaboration with Hospice of the Bluegrass, will host Dr. Alan Wolfelt for its annual Holiday Hope program at the Celebration Center of Lexington, 1509 Trent Boulevard, Monday, Nov. 12 from 7-9 p.m.
Info: 272-3414.