Losing someone you love is never easy. Saying goodbye to a parent is like bidding farewell to a piece of your soul.
Everyone grieves differently, and there’s no timeline for when you should start feeling better. However, the world doesn’t grind to a halt to let you mourn as much as you wish it might. You need to nurture yourself during this time. Here are five healing tips to help you get through a parent’s death.
If at all possible, give yourself time to mourn before resuming your regular responsibilities. Doing so can prove challenging, depending on your circumstances.
If your employer won’t grant you time away, or you can’t afford to take it, clear your calendar of any responsibilities you can safely shed. Talk to any organizations that you volunteer with to explain your absence. If you were planning on something like going back to school, postpone it if possible.
If you can afford to take time away from work, please do so. The standard is three days, but everyone is different. Some people do best when they return shortly after bereavement, but don’t beat yourself up if you need a week or more.
If you’re like many people these days, you rely on social media to stay in touch with those members of your circle whom you don’t see every day or call once per week. However, it’s best to wait until you speak privately with anyone close to the deceased before making your announcement.
Think about it: Would you want to find out that your favorite uncle passed away via Facebook, or would you rather receive a personal call from your aunt? Try to remain considerate, as much as you might want support.
Death leaves a lot of loose ends left untied. Although it probably didn’t happen by design, you can nevertheless take advantage of your myriad responsibilities to distract yourself from the worst of the shock. Submerge yourself in finding a way to cover costs and give your deceased parent a caring sendoff from this world to ward off rumination.
You’ll also need to wrap up your parent’s financial affairs. You’ll need to provide copies of the death certificate to parties like their life insurance company. You should also locate their will if they have one. Going without can mean a lengthy probate process.
Contact Social Security if they received it to ensure you don’t end up paying back unwarranted benefits. Likewise, reach out to their service providers, such as their cable and phone company, to ensure they don’t get charged if their bills are set to autopay.
Stuffing your grief down won’t make it go away. Repressed emotions have a sneaky way of interfering with daily life and can impact anything from your career to relationships. Consider one of the following activities to work through your feelings.
Is there any song more beautiful than Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven?” He wrote the lyrics to memorialize his deceased son. If you play guitar or paint, why not honor your parent through your art?
Physical movement is an excellent way to process challenging emotions. Are you feeling angry about all you never got to say? Hitting the heavy bag is one way to dispel your rage without hurting anyone else.
Another way to process emotions is through meditation. You can sit with your grief, letting it roll over you like a tidal wave. After you experience the depths of your loss, seek the lessons from the experience. How can you transmute your pain and use it to make yourself more empathetic and kind toward others?
If you have coverage, why not reach out to your insurance company and seek a bereavement counselor? These professionals are specially trained to deal with grief. If you can’t afford traditional therapy, you might find more affordable help online through an app or telemedicine.
Your parent may be gone — but you will never forget them. Why not create a lasting legacy to honor them?
Your homage might be private, such as planting a tree in their honor. A charitable donation in their name — particularly to their favorite cause — is a fitting tribute if you have the means.
Getting through a parent’s death isn’t easy. Please be gentle with yourself and follow a few healing tips as you navigate bereavement.
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