You are not alone in your grief - other people understand
The viewing and funeral were over. The friends who had surrounded me through my mom’s illness and right after her death had gone back to their everyday lives. For the first time in many months I felt completely alone. But this was a different type of “alone.” It was something I had never felt before – the feeling of complete loss. My mom was gone, she was not coming back, and there was a huge hole in my life that I could not fill. I was truly lost.
I didn’t want to talk to my dad about my feelings, since he was still dealing with the loss of his wife of 43 years. His college sweetheart. I put on a brave face for him. I was worried about my dad and wanted to be there for him if he needed me. I didn’t want to cry in front of my young kids or my husband. So each day I sobbed alone in my home office, doing my best to hide my tears and shield my family from the grief and sadness I was feeling.
I reached out to my friends, who had been so supportive during my mom’s illness. But, suddenly, they were gone. Most of them still had both of their parents and didn’t want to even think about the tragedy of losing one of them. It’s a concept that’s too difficult to fathom until it actually happens. I found myself in a world that no one wanted to enter. I felt completely alone.
No one understood what I was going through.
About 3 months after my mom died, I was talking with one of my friends. She didn’t understand why I was still so sad. She didn’t understand why I was still grieving the loss of my mother. She started to avoid me and even called me a downer. So I did my best to hide the sadness and loss that seemed to completely engulf me. I wanted everything to appear normal, when nothing would ever be the same again.
I didn’t understand that what I was feeling was normal.
“Getting over” the loss of a parent after only 3 months was just not possible. I had started a blog shortly after my mom died, and through that blog I began to connect with people who had lost a parent or loved one and understood what I was feeling. I finally found the support I so desperately needed.
I realized that I was not alone.
I continued to write about my feelings. My posts were raw, often written through a waterfall of tears. But writing about my feelings helped and my readers began leaving responses to my posts. Comments like “I could have written the same thing” or “I understand what you are feeling” and “thank you for sharing your feelings” made me feel like part of a family. It was a family of those who were grieving a loss, but we provided support for each other. Slowly, I began to heal. And when others shared with me their feelings of sadness and loss, I would tell them “you are not alone.”
Losing a parent is different for everyone. It brought out feelings I could had never imagined and had a hard time dealing with. Because of the responses I got from some of my friends, I isolated myself or pretended that everything was fine when really I was completely falling apart. Finding others who understood what I was going through helped me to realize that I was not a freak for what I was feeling. Grief is a process that is different for everyone, but the feelings of grief are real.
For me, feeling alone and lost was just as devastating as losing my mom. Realizing that I was not alone and reaching out to others who were coping with loss helped me to understand my feelings and begin to heal.
If you’ve lost a parent, know that you are not alone in your journey of grief. There are people who understand what you are feeling and want to help.