Losing a parent can be a traumatic event. Even for those who may not have had the best parent-child relationship, it can still be a struggle to know how to begin the grieving process.
For starters, try looking over the stages of grief outlined by Elizabeth Kubler Ross. Everyone’s grief looks differently and some people jump back and forth from stage to stage. Be patient with yourself and remember it is perfectly okay to feel sad, angry, shocked, and confused.
Next, I typically recommend you find a way to honor your parent. It can be as simple as going to the ice cream store and ordering your loved one’s favorite ice cream, watching their favorite movie, or volunteering at their favorite charity.
Not everyone knows what it is like to lose a parent so some people may not always say or do the right thing. Try and be patient with these individuals and remember that typically their comments are coming from a place of love and empathy. Some time alone during the grieving process is okay but if you find you are isolating yourself then push yourself to get out and surround yourself with positive people. If you have a sibling or someone who was close to your parent then lean on each other and provide each other support. This can strengthen your bond and no one understands your loss like another sibling or person who was also close to your parent.
Remember that feeling emotions can be uncomfortable but it is a healthy thing to do. Suppressing your emotions or covering them up with mood altering substances can be a slippery slope. If you find you are not coping well with your loss then reach out to someone who can help you process your loss such as a licensed counselor or social worker.
Reaching out for help is never a sign of weakness but a sign of strength and a willingness to grow.