Grief of losing a parent can be all consuming. First off all, this isn’t an AI generated blog post. Unfortunately, I have first-hand experience of losing a parent at the tender age of 30.
The day I got the call that my mom had passed away, a part of me died with her. Standing in my classroom and hearing the words “Mom passed away…” literally made the walls spin. Somehow I shuffled down a flight of stairs in the hallway, through a sunny exit, and crumbled onto the sidewalk where I literally wept.
And people walked by.
I’m sure they were scared or uncomfortable. But they literally just kept walking. I don’t blame them. It was my darkest moment, why would anyone want to get involved in that?
Later, two teachers find me on the curb and they gently sat down next to me and didn’t say a word. They just put their hands on my back and let me scream. I’ll never forget that, because that was exactly what I needed.
When grief of losing a parent finds you, you can’t hide. You can’t walk around it or avoid it. You have to walk through it. Therefore, I decided to share the 5 steps that have helped me navigate this terrible road, in hopes that it may help anyone reading this who have lost a parent (or any loved one) as well.
1. Know the Stages of Grief
First, everyone experiences grief differently, however experts agree that they are stages that each person experiences while mourning. Healthline describes the 5 stages of grief as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
In truth, I have experienced all of these stages in my walk with grief of losing my mom, but I would add “shock” to the beginning of the list, as that stage kept with me for months.
My mom passed away from the rarest form of Melanoma in the world, so we were aware that she was sick and battling for her life. In contrast, if someone loses a parent or a loved one suddenly from an accident or illness, the stage of shock will naturally be that more intense.
If one knows there are actual stages (and their loved ones are patient and understand them too), the road to healing is much more manageable. Just know that the stages aren’t linear will help, however the last stage is most definitely the relief of acceptance and peace.
2. Give Yourself Time
Today marks the 7th anniversary of my mother’s death. The only thing that has allowed me to write a blog like this is time. Time is such a fickle thing. We love it but don’t appreciate it at the same time. It has been the only thing that has made my mom’s passing something that doesn’t cripple me.
The saying time heals all wounds may not be entirely true, but it sure does make them more tolerable. With time, in the last stages of grief, one can feel the grip of grief dissipate so you can begin to breathe easier again.
3. Give Yourself Grace
Someone once told me, “It doesn’t get easier, you just become stronger.” I couldn’t agree with this more. During mourning you will have to give yourself grace because you will not be the same. You may withdraw, you may argue, you may be more emotional than you have ever been–and that’s ok! Give yourself grace and ask others to do the same. Just know that there will be moments you won’t be proud of, but that’s when you give yourself grace to get through the grieving process.
4. Allow Yourself to Mourn
Grieving is a temperamental beast that can make even the strongest of people fall to their knees, but it is a natural state that everyone will endure at one point in their life. I fully believe that crying (and possibly yelling) or any physical response to grieving is healthy. It’s almost the body’s way of getting the grief out if you will. By allowing yourself to mourn in your own way, will allow yourself to journey through your stages of grief.
This stage can be tricky though. Some get stuck in this stage, which is why it is imperative to face the hard. If you don’t, you may live the rest of your life mourning and never able to overcome your grief.
5. Face the Hard
Facing the hard facts of life is not fun but necessary. One cannot stay in mourning the rest of their life and enjoy it at the same time, nor would any person who has passed on want that for them either. They would want them to mourn, then live. Live for them. Therefore, by facing the hard, you enter the last stage of grief: acceptance. Once you accept that they have passed, mourned the loss of them in your life, embraced the grace that you need in order to move through grief, you will have to face the hard truths that are now your new reality.
There is Hope
7 years after losing my mom, I can honestly say that I still have hope. I have hope that the next day will be easier. Hope that the pain and ache will go away. Hope that when it’s my time to go to Heaven, my sweet mama will be waiting for me with her big wide smile with open arms. God promises that there is no sadness in Heaven, and I will look forward to that day every day of my life.
If you have lost a loved one recently just know you will find peace again. You will become stronger. You will live again.
Days before her death, and the last time I spoke to my mom she left me with her last words of wisdom for me: “The only thing that matters is love and family.”
If You Are Hurting
The Bible says that one day, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Rev. 21:4
The only way I could ever get through losing my mom is knowing that God loves us, and he sent his son Jesus to show us that we can live eternally with him. I believe that one day I will see her again in eternity. What a day that will be!
I encourage you to put your faith in Jesus and trust that he is the Savior of the world.
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
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