As we grow older, we all tend to experience pain and loss in some form or another. But there’s one loss, the pain of which is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before. It is also something that almost everyone has to face in a lifetime—the overwhelming despair that hits you when you lose a parent. There’s nothing in this world that can prepare you for the death of your mother or father.
They were around when you were taking your first steps, developing habits that prepare you for adulthood, and even when you needed a helping hand while raising your own family. When the realization of never being able to speak to or hug them one last time hits you, it can change you in ways you never thought was possible. You see your life and yourself completely changing and there’s little you can do to control it. But there’s no bypass or shortcut to moving on from the grief of losing a parent, and that is the truth.
1. You feel the words “things will never be the same again” come crashing down on you
You start feeling hopeless and miserable when it dawns on you that things will never be the same again. You wonder how you’ll move on without them because you have never known life without them. It takes you so long to wrap your head around what happened. You still wonder what you could have done, even though you know that there’s nothing you could do or could have done to change it. You start feeling overwhelmed with emotions, and you finally understand how life can come to a complete standstill.
2. You feel like a part of you has gone with them
Losing a parent feels like you’re losing a part of yourself. You’ve known them your entire life and they were the anchors of your family. When they are no longer with you, you feel like you’ve lost a friend, a source of strength and the person closest to you, all at once. They knew you inside out; they could tell what you were feeling even before you had the courage to say it. They always supported you through the good times and bad, and they rooted for you your entire life. But you feel all those comforting things taken away with them.
3. You feel a hurtful pang each time somebody talks about their parents
Whenever people mention the word ‘parents’, your mind will instantly replay memories of them and remember all the best bits. And if you hear people complain about their parents calling them up constantly to check up on them, you will feel that hurtful pang, wishing you could take back all those times you ignored their calls. All those times you prioritized something else over spending time with them, you start regretting all of it. And now, you know how to appreciate and cherish the loved ones in your life. You don’t hesitate to call them up and check up on them or tell them how much they mean to you because you’ve realized the value of relationships.
4. You suddenly feel alone in this world because nobody can take their place
Everybody in your life has a unique place in it, but parents will always hold an extra special one. Sometimes you feel alone when you desperately want some advice but you can’t call your parents and rant like you used to. You’ve realized that nobody can take their place in your life and that’s okay. You still hear your mother’s voice filling you with strength or your dad’s voice pushing you along when you face a challenge in life. And that is something that will always remain.
5. Celebrating even the biggest milestones in life feels incomplete without them
Every little goal that you achieved and every little milestone you crossed, your parents were always there to cheer you on. They celebrated all your wins and they were the happiest when you were happy. Now, you miss them even more than before, when something big happens in your life and you don’t have them to share it with. Whether it was good news or bad news, they would have been one of the first ones to know. You miss how they would be patient and eager to know every little thing that happens in your life, and you don’t celebrate those big moments in the same way.
6. You start adding little traditions to your day to keep their memory alive
For a long time, you would wake up and instantly remember that your parents are no longer there. But eventually, there will come a time when you wake up and think about them but realize that the pain has eased a little bit. Every Christmas, you will smile when you remember your mom and dad whisking away in the kitchen making gingerbread houses together and pulling you in to decorate the Christmas tree. You start doing little things to remember them by, like listening to your father’s favorite songs every morning and serving your mother’s favorite Thanksgiving recipe during the holidays. You will find small ways to keep their memories alive in the little things you do every day.
7. You hold on to every memory they left you with and finally live life the way they wanted you to
You always knew they wouldn’t be by your side forever, but they left you with a countless number of memories to live by. The pain may never erase completely, but you know they would have wanted you to keep moving forward. You start finding comfort in believing that they are in a better place now, watching over you from wherever they are. And you make them a promise, vowing to live each day the way they would have wanted you to live.