My mum died when I was 10 years old. She had been battling triple negative breast cancer, then the tumor moved behind her eye, which gave her brain cancer. She was 42 years old.
Her death definitely impacted me, our family and our friends. When we had her funeral, there wasn’t enough spaces in the pews for everyone to sit down. People had to stand up at the back of the chapel. Some people were even standing outside of the chapel!
My little kid brain definitely blocked out most of that horrendous time, but I feel as if my mother’s death has made me the person I am today.
Coping with a sick/dying parent is a truly heartbreaking experience. If you have recently lost a parent, or if one of your parents are terminal, then there are a few ways to make the grief a little easier.
1. Time. I can not stress this enough. I know that everyone says that “time is the greatest healer”, and believe me, I got that a lot in the months after my mum died and it annoyed me so much. But, I have to agree with this quote. The amount of time a person may need to heal may differ- it can take months to years for the pain to cease. My mum died in August 2013, so it took me the rest of the year to stop thinking about her with a knot in my stomach. Time definitely is one of the greatest healers.
2.Find someone to talk to (family, therapists, friends). I think this one is especially helpful if you know that your parent is terminal in advance (I didn’t know Mum was terminal until the day before she died.). If you go to see a therapist, they will most likely talk to you about what’s to come, and to prepare you for the inevitable. If your parent has already passed away, I would definitely get some bereavement counseling. If you are skeptical about seeing a therapist (my dad was in the first few months after mum died), then talk to your family about your loss. I had never been to a psychologist to talk about my mum until I needed to go to one for my misophonia. I felt as if I didn’t need bereavement counseling, as my dad, little sister, and I would talk very openly about our loss. But, I would recommend talking to your family before talking to a therapist. Only if you have absolutely no one in your family to talk to, then you should think about therapy.
3. Create/Remember happy memories. If your parent is terminal and they have a few months to live, try and do as much with them as you possibly can, taking their condition into consideration. Try to create happy memories with them. If your parent has already passed away, then try your hardest to remember the happy times that you have shared with them. It may be difficult at first, but then as time passes, you will look back fondly on those memories.
If you have lost a parent, share your story in the comments below (if you are comfortable in doing so). Let people know that it gets better.
You are not alone.