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5 Ways to Support Yourself After Losing a Parent


The loss of a parent -- biological, adopted, or chosen -- is a profound and deeply individual experience. It alters the landscape of our world and leaves behind a void that can feel impossible to fill. Emotions run the gamut from intense sadness, overpowering emptiness, anger, confusion, and even relief, especially if the parent had been suffering. 


The journey through grief is unique for everyone, and navigating the complexities of loss while managing one's mental well-being can be a challenge. Contrary to popular belief, we don’t all progress through “seven stages of grief,” and skipping a few of those “stages” doesn’t mean you’re not grieving correctly.  Grief is not a linear process. It's a rollercoaster of emotions that ebbs and flows over time.


At times, it might feel like the pain is unbearable. Other moments may bring a sense of peace or acceptance. Emotional stability during this time can be fragile and it's crucial to acknowledge and address any emotions rather than suppress them. Here are five ways to support and care for yourself while you navigate this difficult period in life.


1. Remember that it's okay to not be okay

Give yourself permission to grieve, to feel pain, to cry, and to be emotional. They’re all vital parts of the healing process. Bottling up feelings or pretending everything is fine often exacerbates mental health challenges in the long run.


2. Keep up your self-care routine

Engaging in activities that bring comfort and peace such as meditation, exercise, journaling, or spending time in nature, can help manage stress and promote mental well-being. Prioritizing self-care isn't selfish; it's a necessary step towards healing.


3. Honor Their Memory 

Intentional remembrance can also be an integral part of coping. Creating rituals, dedicating time to reminisce, celebrating their life, laughing with other loved ones, and engaging in activities they loved can keep their spirit alive and maintain a sense of connection. 


4. Heal in your own time 

There is no correct timeline for grieving, and it's okay for the process to unfold at whatever pace you need it to. Don’t listen to people who tell you, “It’s time to let it go and move on.” Allow the initial pain to gradually transform into bittersweet memories and a sense of resilience, carrying forward your parent’s love and lessons.


5. Seek social and emotional support

Friends, family, counseling groups, and mental health professionals can all be part of a support system providing solace and guidance during this challenging time. Speaking to a therapist or counselor can offer a safe space to process emotions, develop coping mechanisms, and navigate the complexities of grief.


Losing a parent leaves an indelible mark on one's life. However, with time, support, and self-care, it's possible to navigate the journey of grief, prioritize your mental health, and honor the legacy of the parent who holds a unique place in your heart. Seeking the help and support of one of Bodhi Counseling’s professional therapists can help you navigate this unpredictable period of life.


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