Losing a Parent
I lost my Mother when I was 18. There is nothing in this world that can ever heal you from that pain.
But you can manage it. Here’s how:
- Keep them alive in your life – I say yes to social obligations because my Mom would have said yes or would have been there for the people who are inviting me in their lives. I show up whenever my Mom would have showed up. I try to do everything that she would have done. In doing this, in maintain the relationships and in keeping her spirit alive, I find peace. Obviously, do this when you are ready and do it for people who are worth it. Your Parent would have told you about people important to them.
- Use tiny little things that belonged to your Parent – I often wear my Mom’s clothes. All my Wedding clothes were made using her Sarees. I use her vanity kit. I use so many things that belong to my Mom. (Notice: I said belong and not belonged) It reminds me of her when I sit and think about it. But otherwise I get on with life, knowing I have things that belonged to her and that gives me immense strength. I think.
- Think about yourself the way your Parent did – Talk to yourself like how your Parent would talk to you. I often repeat my Mother’s words and in the same way she used to say them. It makes me miss her but also makes me smile. Of course it has taken a long time to reach this phase but it’s something I would recommend. That way you keep an a conversation with them alive.
- Do the things they would push you to do – Nobody wants better things for you than your Parents. So remind yourself about the things they wished for you. Remind yourself about the things they asked you to do. Do them. Because no matter what happens, you know you are acting on your Parent’s advice and most likely it will be for your own good. It also helps you be accountable in life. Remember those statements that felt like nags but were for your own good?
- Cry – I never got the chance to cry as much as I wanted to. But nothing helps our healing more than mourning. Sometimes you have to cry out loud. Lock yourself in a room and cry. Cry in front of your trusted circle of loved ones. No amount of crying will heal you and there will never be an end to missing your Parent. That eventually becomes a good thing. You never stop missing them which means…
- Don’t fear forgetting them – As time passes and you get on with life, and I hope you do, you might fear not remembering them enough. You might catch yourself feeling happy. So don’t be guilty and don’t fear forgetting them. Because honestly, you can never forget them. They will show up in your dreams and memories when they are supposed to. When you need them.
- Share your experience – People who have suffered loss, can console those going through loss. Help those around you and you will heal as well. It’s a lovely thing to do. To be accessible to people who are going through similar pain as you.
- Dedicate – Write something for your Parent. Dedicate an award, achieve something for them, create something in their name. You could donate or help an orphan. You could write a poem or write a blog. Doing this will heal you. I bet anything you’ll cry while doing it but it will make you happy.
I made a huge mistake of not letting myself heal. I didn’t take the time off. I jumped into a relationship, into my first Job and started being available for my Father and my Siblings. This gave me purpose but it also took a toll on me which came back to bite me many years later.
I would highly recommend, taking some time to reflect and heal. At your own pace, whenever you can take that holiday or talk to someone. But make sure you talk about it. Make sure you let out your emotions.
I wish I gave myself more time to heal. It did help that I had things to keep me busy. This helped me move on very quickly. Surprising for most people around me.
But the pace at which things were happening, kept me away from the pain. The pain was hidden within. It will always be there. But I didn’t let it come out.
Let your pain come out and you will be able to manage it better. Don’t feel sorry for letting it out. Don’t feel sorry about telling people that you miss them.
I feared being judged as too weak or someone who can be depressing (talking about death of loved ones) I didn’t talk about it enough. As a family, we barely spoke about in the last 10 years. This has affected each of us.
So let it out.
More power to you !