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Loss of a Parent

Special days in May and June have been set aside for the celebration of our parents.  Whether alive or not, these are the special months for them.

If not alive, they live in our memories for many their memories bring a bitter sweetness.   There exists quite a range of possible emotions. Regardless of one’s position on that spectrum, a parent’s death is a life-altering event.

Le Anne Schreiber1 “What I have learned from my friends is that a single death can transform your life, especially if the death is that of your mother or father. And it doesn’t matter whether that parent was beloved or resented, whether the relationship was close or distant, warm or cold, harmonious or hotly conflictual. It doesn’t even matter how old you are, or how old your parent was at the time of death. For most people, the death of a parent, particularly when the parent is of the same sex, is life altering. Anyone who has lost a mother or father knows this, and yet there is little social recognition of parental death as a milestone in adult life.”

Nancy Stordahl2, “Here are a few suggestions for coping with the natural order of things, or when a parent dies:”

1.Don’t expect to be ready for the natural order of things; you won’t be.

2.Never let anyone belittle this loss, make you feel guilty for grieving deeply, or hurry you through your grief. You are entitled to feel all of grief’s intricacies and all of grief’s intensity.

3.Grieving for a parent, like all grief, can be exhausting emotionally,    physically and spiritually. Be kind to yourself.

4.This work of grief takes time; the process must not be hurried. And it is never entirely over.

5.Even as an adult, don’t be surprised by feelings of abandonment and uncertainty that you experience.

6.After they are gone your parents will continue to be a part of your life,       just in a different sense. You will always be their son or daughter.

7.Grief does not end. Rather grief comes and goes. And then it comes again.

8.If you feel the need, seek out support from others who’ve been there, a           friend who cares, or a professional who can help guide you through the work of grief.

Here is where Counseling on Demand3 comes in- especially if your grief is unresolved. “Complicated mourning, unresolved grief, chronic grief, or delayed grief are some of the names given to describe complicated grief. Here, a person is overwhelmed, resorts to maladaptive behavior, or remains interminably in the state of grief without progression of the mourning process towards completion such as:”

1)Persistent, intense yearning or longing for the deceased

2) Frequent feelings of intense loneliness or emptiness

3) Recurrent negative thoughts about life without the deceased or               recurrent urge to join the deceased

4) Preoccupying thoughts about the deceased that impair daily functioning


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  1. Le Anne Schreiber, When a Parent Dies, dies-dealing-with-the-death-of-a-parent
  2. Nancy Stordahl, 8Tips for Coping With the Death of a Parent,
  3. Matthew Hunt, Grief- Why is Mine Unresolved?,


I am the Founder and CEO of Counseling On Demand with a Master's Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy with over 25 years of experience in helping Individuals, Couples, Adolescents, and Families who struggle with a wide variety of Life's Challenges. I thus have developed an Array of Effective Counseling Tools and Evidenced-Based Interventions to help you towards Your Road to Better Mental Health and Wellness. You are Never Alone...I look forward to meeting with you or your family member soon!