UPDATED 03/11/2016: Stellar.ie article added.
When we experience the loss of a parent it can feel like we have been shaken to our very core. Whether the loss is expected or not, or if we haven’t had a very close relationship with that parent, suddenly our life can feel very unsafe.
We can experience being sucked into a space within ourselves where we can begin to question ourselves as a person, our own mortality, and the relationship we had with our parent. Perhaps missing the opportunities to create a closer relationship or perhaps to mend a fragile or broken relationship.
Everybody has a unique response to such a life changing event such as being silent, to openly weep, panic or simply despair. Some people may busy themselves by making arrangements. There is no right or wrong way to react, be how you need to be and during this time be kind and gentle to yourself.
It’s not just the physical loss of the person, it can be the support you may have received. Was your parent the person you went to for guidance? Perhaps your parent supported you financially. It may feel like a large empty space has suddenly taken up residence inside of you.
We can perhaps feel angry and alone in life. Angry at our belief system if we have one, or at people for moving on with their lives and at society for expecting you to be over it or moving on with life. Sadly often society wants us to be "better". You are expected to return to work as normal, take care of family or children, when something quite enormous has happened to you.
At times you may desperately want to experience life again as it was before the loss, a desperate longing for things to revert, an ache in your body for that person to be with you again. You may also experience anger towards your parent for dying, for how they were as a parent or for how your relationship with them was. You may experience relief if your parent was ill. There is no right or wrong way to feel.
Perhaps you feel anxious and fearful having being present when your parent died, witnessing such a life event can often be traumatic. You may have had to nurse or watch your parent suffer, these situations can often have lasting effects and stay with us.
If your loss was a sudden and an unexpected loss, within a moment your life is changed. You may experience being flooded with a sense of wanting to tell that person everything you want them to know or suddenly have lots of questions you need answering or simply want the chance to say good bye.
Anniversaries, birthdays and life events may be difficult to cope with, perhaps feeling stirred up in the upcoming weeks or months to them. You may experience the second or following years more difficult than the first, you could be silently sitting and get a smell or hear a song which can bring you right back into your grief.
You may feel like you are a new member to the club where you can now understand and relate to friends or family that have experienced a loss, whilst other people you know may not yet have experienced loss and retain the veil of mortality and may not understand what you’re going through.
You are not alone. Grief is a Journey
Stages of grief
There is no time frame on grief and each stage can come in any order and many times
What you may experience
- Shock and Disbelief
- Physical Symptoms
When to seek help
- If you feel like life isn’t worth living
- If you wish that you had died with your love one
- If you blame yourself for the loss or failing to prevent the loss
- If you feel numb or disconnected from others for extended period of time
- If you are unable to perform your normal daily activities
- If you just need to talk to share your story and get some support
- If you find your thoughts are often full with the events of the death for an extended period of time
How can Psychotherapy / Counselling Help
Psychotherapy can provide a safe, confidential and non-judgemental space where you can explore your thoughts feelings and emotions. Through therapy you can get support and space to explore your individual responses to your loss and through this gain insight into how to move forward in life after loss.
As a therapist, my mission is to
Mindwellness Psychotherapy • 1 Merville Ave, Fairview, Dublin 3 • Tel: (087) 451 8508 • Email: firstname.lastname@example.org