Part 1 of 3: Accepting Your FeelingsGrieve at your own speed. Don't be too hard on yourself and impose a timeline for getting over your loss. The Victorians took 2-4 years to mourn a death. While that doesn't have to be you, don't expect to be ready to get back into the swing of things after a few weeks, a month, or however much time you think you need. Instead, be patient with yourself and let go of the expectations you may have for yourself.
- Try to keep in mind that grieving is a process. You'll probably be grieving in some way for a long, long time, though hopefully it won't always be this intense. Work through it in your own time.
Accept that your parent would want you keep living. Though it's normal to be depressed, remember that your parent loved you and wouldn't want this event to cripple your life forever. As you work through the loss, try to get back into doing the things you enjoyed before. Of course, this is easier said than done, but it doesn't mean that you should forget about the fact that your parent was happiest when you were happiest. This doesn't mean you have to sweep all of your negative feelings under the rug, but it does mean that you should make an effort to keep enjoying the little things as much as you can.
- Of course, if you feel completely devastated by the loss and unable to get back into the swing of things right away, don't let the memory of your parent make you feel guilty about not getting back on your feet.
- You can talk to the people who also knew your parent about him or her to keep the memory alive. You can also tell stories about the parent to people who did not know him or her, from time to time.
- You can also ask family members questions about your parent to help understand all of his or her life experiences. This can add a new layer to your relationship with your parent, and can make your memory of your parent even more vivid.
Of course, sleeping and eating well won't help you forget your parent completely. But it will make it much easier for you to go about your daily life while dealing with your loss.
Know your triggers. It's important to be aware of when you'll be the most upset and to know that you'll need extra support. For example, if you lost your father, you may need to spend some extra time with your loved ones on Father's Day; if you lost your mother, then you may get upset during certain activities, like shopping, that you traditionally did with your mother. Knowing what will make you upset will help you prepare to not be alone during those times.
Don't get too hung up on the five stages of grief. It's true that there are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, but that doesn't mean that you have to neatly go through each of those stages in order to truly deal with the loss of your parent. You may be angry or depressed first, feel denial later, or bargain after you feel depression, and there's nothing wrong with that. Everyone grieves in his or her own way, at his or her own time.
Avoid making any big decisions at first. Your parent's death may make you realize that your marriage is a lie, that your career is meaningless, or that you should drop everything and become a pineapple farmer in Hawaii. While all of these realizations may be true, you should avoid doing anything impulsive or acting on them until you feel ready to make a rational decision. Making big changes in your life probably won't help you get over your parent's death any faster, and you may end up doing something that you regret.