How Does Losing a Parent Affect You?

Life is a journey with several different stages that everyone will travel through uniquely. While no one person’s journey through life is the same as another’s, there are some collective experiences that almost all of us will encounter

These moments transcend continents and cultures. They are part of the universal recipe of what makes us human. One of those shared experiences that all people must face is losing a parental figure.

Death is a challenging topic that many of us try to avoid. Death is a normal and inevitable part of life. Even if we find it difficult to process, we all come into contact with death no matter our age, gender, socioeconomic status, or nationalities. 

Still, we will all experience the loss of a parent differently, and our relationship with our parents is unique and precious.

Understanding Our Unique Relationship With Our Parents

While grief may seem most pronounced in the days following a loss, its effects can linger for years to come

Many of us will experience the death of a parent in our lifetimes, and this loss can feel especially difficult, thanks to the remarkable role our parents play in our lives.

A parent represents a role model that helped teach us how to travel through life. The idea of experiencing new milestones without them can seem unthinkable, and we will always mourn the life lessons they never had the opportunity to teach us.

It can seem unfair that the people who teach us life must also lead by example in teaching us how to process death. When a person loses their parent, no matter their age, position, status, or career, it is normal for feelings of being lost or feelings of uncertainty to mingle amongst the grief. 

How Does Losing a Parent Affect Children?

It’s especially challenging to lose a parent during childhood or adolescence. Although there is never an easy time to lose a parent, these formative years are typically the time we learn the most from our family relationships. 

Children who lose a parent can find healing with the proper support system. Through the memory of their parent, they can continue to learn from their parent’s memory and use their love as a guide throughout their lives. 

Children are incredibly resilient, and they may even overcompensate for this loss by taking on the responsibility of their parent who passed away. It’s not uncommon for older children to take on a parental role for younger family members. 

Both physical and emotional resources are important for a child after the death of a parent. It’s important to help these children feel secure enough following their loss to avoid shouldering the additional burden of parenting themselves or their families.

How Can We Help a Family Who Loses a Parent?

Humans aren’t meant to experience loss alone. The strength of a community can help us overcome even the most difficult times, and the love we share with those around us can help us celebrate the memory of our parents who have passed.

Throughout history, humans have congregated around an individual or a family experiencing death and supported them in practical ways that allow them to experience the grieving process without added stressors.   

There are many ways we can help a family experiencing the hardship of losing a parent. The surviving spouse will be struggling not only to guide their family through these turbulent waters but also to process their own unique loss. It’s a time that will be heavy, unknown, and long. 

Still, with this emotional and physical support, we can help these grieving families find the space to celebrate the extraordinary relationship with their loved one who has passed.

Providing Meals

One of the most practical gifts for a family experiencing loss is to provide meals. This is a time-honored tradition in which a community will provide food during the time of grieving. This helps alleviate the burden of time that preparing food otherwise would consume and gives space for the surviving parent in their week to experience their emotions. 

Providing Emotional Support

Spending time with grieving children is another powerful way to help support a family that lost a parent. A grieving child can feel confused and frightened after losing their mom or dad, and it can be even more challenging for someone so young to process grief. 

These bereaved children may be coping with feelings of sadness, abandonment, helplessness, or even guilt regarding their deceased parent. Parental loss can also be one of the first times children begin understanding their own mortality.

Beyond processing their own grief, older children and teenagers may have to help younger family members manage their own despair as well.

During such a confusing time, providing children with a change of scenery can be a welcome relief. Moreover, offering emotional support and guidance can help anchor children during this challenging time. 

Providing Access to Professional Guidance

Children or adults who lose a parent may also benefit from professional interventions such as a grief support group, a clinical psychologist, or a mental health counselor who can help them process their emotions in the short term or provide long-term support.

How Does Losing a Parent as an Adult Affect Us?

Much more commonly, people experience the death of their parents as an adult. It should be clear that there is no best time to lose a parent, and experiencing this loss is always challenging. Still, losing a parent is typically a milestone in adult life that many of us will face.

Life experience can afford us different strengths and perspectives that can affect how we process loss. As an adult, it may be surprising to many that losing a parent can be even harder to walk through than as a child. 

Losing a key central figure to our reality can be jarring. How are we supposed to continue our lives when the person who taught us so much about living has passed? 

Parents remain a part of your life long after childhood, and many adults experience distress, sorrow, regret, numbness, or even shame regarding their lost parent. 

Each of us copes with loss in our own way, and it is normal for adults who experience losing a parent to feel lost and struggle with their identity. When an adult loses a parent, learning how to grieve, cope in a healthy way, and move on is a challenge that we may have to carry with us throughout the rest of our lives. 

While it’s not impossible to move on from grief when dealing with losing a parent as an adult, the emptiness left behind in their wake may never quite go away. This can be a blessing at times because it means that their impact and legacy will endure. Our parents will keep teaching and inspiring us long after they pass.

How Can We Honor a Parent Who Has Passed?

For adults, the ability to commemorate the loss of a parent is a powerful tool to help cope with daily feelings of loss. No matter how much time passes, our parents’ impact and love will always exist in our hearts. Finding meaningful ways of celebrating their impact can help us heal and give courage to an adult child grieving the loss of a parent. 

Memorial Diamonds

There are many ways we can commemorate the impact and legacy of our parents, such as telling their stories, hanging their photographs, or wearing jewelry they left behind. One way to commemorate a parent’s impact and legacy is to turn their cremated ashes into a memorial cremation diamond. 

A cremation diamond is a physical connection between you and your parent that you can carry forever. Not only will it serve as a portable memorial for this remarkable person, but it will also provide an opportunity to share their memories with people you encounter every day. 

Eterneva uses a seven-stage process to create a diamond from your loved one’s ashes. It starts with a welcome packet detailing the process and giving us an opportunity to learn more about this incredible life. 

Once we receive your parent’s ashes, we use state-of-the-art technology to extract their carbonic elements. After isolating the carbon, your loved one’s remains are brought to a lab that mimics the conditions within the Earth’s mantle. This naturally forms a diamond using heat reaching over 2000 degrees Fahrenheit and pressures up to 725,000 psi (pounds per square inch).

These diamonds are then cut by master cutters and personalized to your specific needs, including added color, jewelry setting, and engraving. These diamonds are all IGI graded, so you can be certain that your diamond is as unique and precious as the love you and your parent share.

Your Parent’s Ongoing Legacy and Impact

Commemorating the legacy of a parent can help us learn how to honor the lives they lived. When we commemorate their impact and legacy, we keep what they meant, taught, and were close to our hearts. 

We can carry this memorial diamond with us through major life events like anniversaries, weddings, and birthdays to keep a physical connection with a lost parent. Because in truth, we never really lose our parents. Their legacy and impact live on within us and the little ways we celebrate their lives every day. 

Sources

Cope with the loss of a parent | Cancer Care

How Does The Death Of A Parent Affect A Child | Parenting For Brain

In Longest and Most Detailed Study | University of Pittsburgh

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