This post sucks to write, and it’s even worse to go through. Dealing with parental death isn’t something you ever think about. One day it hits you.
I feel like I was lucky, I knew it was coming. My father had cancer for two years and he was fighting it hard.
Last spring things had taken a turn for the worst and he was moved into hospice care. He was in a lot of pain, and some days were better than others. I never thought he’d be that much of a fighter, and he really surprised me.
We had a troubled past and he wasn’t in the last 18 years of my life. However I’m not sure how much his passing would affect me, even then I noticed cracks in my armor. Parental death is tough because you’re losing an anchor you’ve had your entire life.
Keep in mind that I wrote it all in the past tense. My father passed away. Dealing with Parental death is never fun, but it’s inevitable. With the right network in place, and knowing you have limited time.
You can make a difference, and create memories that’ll get you through the bad times. It won’t erase the pain, and it still sucks. However, whenever I started crying his memory would make me laugh.
Parental Death; Deal With Your Problems Holding on Is Not Worth It.
Growing up my father was abusive. The story is something I chronicled in my book ‘Hurricane Jerald.’ I remember hating him for years and I even plotted to kill him at one point.
The thought of his death once made me smile, but now I’m really going to miss him.
I loved my father, and I miss him every day.
Why he did and said what he did is irrelevant. My family has a lot of theories from different types of mental illness to him being a dick, but I don’t think the reasons matter as much as the choices.
If I’m affected negatively by his choices from 18 years ago, is it still his fault? He made choices, and they hurt my family and me, but I’m an adult now, and as an adult, it’s my choice to form my own worldview and self-view. This means letting go of the pain, heartache, and anger.
If his actions are still pulling me down, that is no longer his fault. It’s mine.
I could’ve let things go in ages past, but for some reason, I’ve held onto them. That is my fault, I’m torturing myself because I can’t forgive and let things go.
Keep in mind, I’m not saying what he did was okay or wrong, but I’m saying it’s not helpful to hold onto the pain and heartache his choices caused.
Parental Death; Reconcile Now Before It’s Too Late
2 1/2 years ago, I walked into a restaurant and broke an 18-year drought of speaking with my father. It was a hard thing for me, and I almost bolted into the parking lot. I was still a 15-year-old boy who had been hurt, and all the emotions came back instantly. I hadn’t felt some of these in years.
However, I’ve learned a lot about myself in the last 18 years. I’ve grown up and learned that I need to face my fears, and challenge those who’ve hurt me.
So, I took a deep breath and walked into the restaurant, and had a conversation with a man that I hadn’t spoken to in years.
This was where I decided to face the music. My father was dying and we needed to reconcile before things happened. I was hopeful that he’d recover but knew there was a chance he wouldn’t. Either way, this day was going to happen.
When you’re dealing with parental death. Make sure you have those difficult conversations. Talk with your parents, clear the air, and don’t let anything be left unsaid.
Once they’re gone, you have the memory and the burden. You can still move forward, but the guilt can become a lot to bear.
After Parental Death, Reconnecting Isn’t Impossible
I was writing my book, Hurricane Jerald, for the better part of a decade. Even before we reconnected I’d put pen to paper. I was writing my book to release my emotions and get everything outside of me.
For a time my ending was;
“and he died angry and bitter, not knowing why he was alone.” Hurricane Jerald; Original Ending
I didn’t have to write that ending, because he’s not alone anymore. God restored our relationship by bringing us together and helping us to forgive each other.
I made mistakes too, and those mistakes are not canceled out by him.
Is Parental Death Traumatic?
For the most part, this is how I’ve dealt with it, and full disclosure. I’ve never been good at dealing with emotional turmoil. Part of me wonders if something is wrong with me. Like my heart is busted and nothing can fix it.
There are times that I break down and cry for quite a while. Crying is okay, and you’ll need to do it from time to time. Let the stress and the pain out.
One of the big annoyances I have involves my friends, and I know that sounds funny. However, I get tired of people asking me how I’m doing. Usually, it’s because I’m trying to forget and that question brings me right back to the situation I’m in.
It makes me wonder if I’m broken, but that makes no sense either.
Gather Your Friends And Family Around You, Handling Parental Death:
When dealing with parental death. You’ll need a good support network. That network will see you through. I wrote about being annoyed in the previous chapter, but I had multiple friends asking me regularly if I was okay.
That’s a blessing.
If you’re dealing with the death of a parent, or they’re in hospice.
DON’T WALK THIS PATH ALONE
Find someone to talk with, someone who will walk this path.
How Does Parental Death Affect A Child?
I didn’t write this to get a lot of views, I just needed to get it off my chest, and this was the best option for me. Sometimes you need to be vulnerable and this was my best option.
If you’re struggling with parental death or the passing of a loved one. Here are some things I’ve been doing that have kept me sane. (Even when I don’t feel anything.)
7 Ways To Handle Parental Death (My List To Stay Sane)
- Stay in contact with other family members. It really helps. I talk with a few of my siblings daily now. We’ve gotten closer through this.
- If you don’t have a close family. Call some friends up, at this time in your life, being alone is a bad thing and should be avoided.
- Start a new hobby, I’m thinking about picking up the cello again.
- Workout more, the endorphins released from working out can help relieve stress, and you’ll be in better shape.
- Go Snowboarding
- Grab My Mountain Bike And Hit Up A Hill (There Are No Mountains In Minnesota)
- Play Sand Volleyball (Whatever I can do, to clear my mind)
In addition to the list above, here are some items I tried to avoid when dealing with parental death. Mostly because they make me feel bad the next day. Although at the time I absolutely love some of them.
Coping With Parental Death My List To Avoid:
- Drinking Excessive Amounts Of Alcohol. Never Mask Your Pain Through Self Medication It Isn’t Healthy. Instead, Let It Out Among Friends And Family Where You’ll Be Supported.
- Eating excessive amounts of pizza or other foods (pizza is my weakness)
- Allowing Depression To Steal Your Energy. So You Sit On The Couch And Watch Fight Depression
Whatever you’re going through, the pain will eventually become bearable. I won’t say that it’ll go away, but eventually, you’ll become stronger and be able to bear it.
That’s the essence of pain, friends I lost years ago still cause me pain. I never stop missing them, but their memory helps me to be the best man I can be.
I miss my father daily now that he’s gone, and I’ve broken down and cried a lot about it. However, I am also blessed. For 18 years we lived as strangers, but I can’t help and think. I came back into his life for this.
I was there to help him find peace before he goes.
Praying for you as you’re reading this. God has placed you at this moment, and if you turn to him you can find peace.