Particularly when tragedy affects a parent, someone whose presence in your life may have never wavered, death’s finality might seem almost unreal. You successfully completed growing up and reached adulthood, yet you would still require (and anticipate needing) your parents for many years to come. Even if their death was anticipated, the loss of their support, wisdom, and love can leave a tremendous void and sadness that may seem difficult to repair. Or perhaps you and your parent had a tumultuous relationship or were estranged, which caused a roller coaster of conflicting feelings. However, the rest of the world could anticipate that you will get over your loss quite quickly and return to work after the required three days of bereavement leave, possibly padded with a few extra days of personal time. These coping mechanisms might serve as a good place to start when you start to acknowledge your loss even though there is no right or wrong way to grieve the loss of a parent. After the death of a parent, sadness is typical, but it’s also common for other emotions to dominate. Even if you don’t feel depressed, that’s fine. Maybe your sole reaction is numbness or relief that they are no longer in pain. A torrent of complex, frequently contradictory feelings might enter when someone is grieving. Despite the difficulties in your connection with your parents, it was still a vital part of who you were.
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