Whether it was recently or early on in their lives, anyone who has lost a parent will know how difficult it can be. I found my own experience losing a parent extremely tough, and I struggled to move on for many years. When we are growing up, our relationships with our parents shape us and the way we see the world for years to come. To have the person who raised and cared for you through your childhood years suddenly disappear from your life is a scary thing. Being left with nothing but distant memories to hold on to, it’s easy to succumb to grief and try to blame the world or ourselves for putting us in this situation.
We can feel isolated when we have lost a parent
To know that we will never again be able to look to that parent for guidance in our lives can be so overwhelming. As a child, the most common feeling we face when we have lost a parent is betrayal. As we go through our lives, whenever this theme may arise in our relationships, it will always hit us differently. Dealing with grief within families can also be complicated, as we are exposed to the grief of others, and how they cope will naturally affect us. Emotionally, things can become a blur, and we can lose sight of who we are within our own family.
Apart from coping with the sadness of our loss, we can also develop anger, blaming the parent we’ve lost for leaving us alone. Without someone to guide us through the grieving process, so many of us can develop unhealthy patterns. We can turn inward, isolating ourselves from the world, or act out by damaging the relationships closest to us. Both of these are equally self-destructive, but with the right understanding, we can learn to take an active role in our healing process rather than simply letting time pass us by.
Time doesn’t heal by itself
Dealing with grief is a delicate process. When we have lost a parent, a hole is left behind, regardless of whether they were a big part of our lives or not. Spending some time alone may be healthy at first as well as having close friends who may have also been through a loss of their own. The outside perspective of a non-family member may be a catalyst in helping us deal with grief, as they have objectivity and genuinely want us to heal and grow. Misery loves company, and everyone grieves at their own pace, so also remember to give your family the space they need to mourn the loss in their own way.
Healing after you have lost a parent
So many are comforted by being immersed in work, myself included. However, it’s important to have a healthy balance that allows you to process the hurt you may be feeling from your loss. Remember it’s a healthy part of life to miss someone who leaves us, especially if we have lost a parent. So, spending time fondly reminiscing about the fun memories you shared is part of the healing process. Balance comes from having a level of routine, so let’s look at a few boxes to check at those vulnerable times. 
- Never neglect your diet and nutritional needs. Staying healthy requires maintenance, and this is part of your self-care.
- Keep a regular sleep routine. Sleep restores and regulates your serotonin and dopamine levels, which will help you deal with your loss.
- Exercise. Even a leisurely walk can help break the monotony and prevent us from slipping into lethargic cycles.
- Distract yourself sometimes. Filling your schedule with new hobbies and exploring interests can be an important part of the healing process.
- Allocate some alone time. Quietly reading or meditating can help with processing your emotional state.
- Keep your communication open. Friends, family, and your mental healthcare professional are essential to create a system that supports you. 
Remember that when you have lost a parent, you can honor their memory by being grateful for the present moment. Do not forget them. But, rather than dwelling too much on what can’t be changed, start be celebrating yourself a little each day.
- “The Grief of Losing a Parent Is Complex — Here’s How to Start Navigating It.” Healthline. October 13, 2020