Coping With The Loss Of A Parent

When a parent dies, the loss is far-reaching. It affects all of your relationships, from family and friends to work and school. It can be hard to know where to start when it comes to coping with such a major life change. 

Don’t worry: We’re here for you! In this guide, we’ll help you move forward in your journey by exploring some ways that people have coped with the death of their parents and how you can do the same.

Losing a Parent: How to Help a Grieving Friend
Key Takeaways
Coping with the loss of a parent is a difficult and emotional process that can take time to navigate.
Building a support system can provide comfort and strength during times of grief, and can help you feel less alone.
Supporting children through grief requires patience, empathy, and open communication.
Finding hope and meaning after the loss of a loved one is possible with the right support and tools.
There is no single “right” way to grieve, and everyone’s experience with loss is unique. Seeking professional help is a valid and helpful option for those struggling with grief and loss.

It’s Ok To Not Be Ok

It is completely normal to be sad and angry, even years after the death of your parent. It’s OK to not be OK. You may experience a range of emotions: sadness, anger, guilt and fear just to name a few.

Remember these are all normal reactions that everyone experiences when losing a loved one. It is important you take care of yourself during this time because it will help you heal from the loss of your parent or sibling. 

You need to remember that you cannot control how you feel nor can anyone else make you feel better other than yourself; so in times when it gets hard ask for help from friends/family or professionals such as counselors/therapists if needed

“We cannot go through grief alone. Building a support system can help us find the strength and resilience we need to cope with the loss of a loved one. Check out our guide on how to build a support system after a loss to learn more about finding comfort in community.” – Finding Strength in Community: How to Build a Support System After a Loss

Take Care Of Yourself

Don’t neglect your own needs. It’s natural to be very worried about your loved one and his or her health, but don’t forget to take care of yourself. 

You are probably under a lot of stress, so it is important not to keep going without taking time out for rest and relaxation. 

Don’t feel guilty about asking for help from friends or family members or taking time off work if you need it.

Let Others Help You

The death of a parent is like no other loss you will ever experience. The grieving process can last for years and involve complex emotions, such as anger, guilt, and fear. 

These feelings are normal and are part of the healing process. It is important that you let others help you in times like these. 

This means asking friends or family members for support whenever you feel overwhelmed by your emotions or need help with everyday tasks around the house that may seem too much for one person to handle alone in the wake of losing their loved one.

If someone comes to you out of concern about how they can assist with picking up groceries from the store after work or running errands on Saturdays when they have time off work, please do not hesitate to ask them if they would mind helping out! 

Type of helpWho can provide itHow it can benefit you
Emotional supportFamily, friends, support groupsHelps you express your feelings and provides comfort
Practical helpFriends, community resourcesEases the burden of everyday tasks (e.g. cooking, cleaning, child care)
Financial helpFamily, friends, government assistance programsHelps alleviate financial stress

People care about your wellbeing, don’t be afraid to say yes when people offer their assistance (or even just some extra time) so that YOU don’t suffer through this difficult time alone.”

“During times of grief, having a support system can make all the difference. Surrounding yourself with people who understand and empathize with your pain can help you find comfort and healing. Check out our guide on the power of a support system during times of grief to learn more.” – The Power of a Support System During Times of Grief

Talk About It

Talking about the loss of your parent is important. It’s okay to feel sad, angry and scared. You can talk to your siblings if you have them. They may be feeling similar emotions and can offer each other support.

If you don’t have any siblings or they aren’t close by, consider talking with friends and family members who might understand what you’re going through better than a complete stranger could. 

Talking with someone who has been there before will help put things into perspective for you by giving you an outside perspective on the situation that otherwise wouldn’t be available unless they were also experiencing it themselves (and sometimes even then).

If talking with others doesn’t seem like enough support, consider seeking out professional help from a therapist or counselor who specializes in grief counseling sessions such as those offered by The Sunflower Center in Kansas City MO; The Center for Loss & Transition in Dallas TX; or The Grief Recovery Institute® Inc., located throughout North America including Los Angeles CA

Be Open To Professional Support

If you’re struggling with the loss of a parent, it can help to talk about your feelings with someone who understands. 

A therapist can be especially helpful if you’re having difficulty accepting or handling the death of your parents. 

You may also want to reach out to a clergyman, friend or family member for support during this difficult time. 

If you prefer being around people who have experienced similar losses and understand what you’re going through, consider joining a support group for those who have lost parents in adulthood (such as through suicide).

“Losing a loved one can be especially difficult for children, who may struggle to understand and process their emotions. As parents, it’s important to provide support and guidance to help children navigate grief. Check out our guide on supporting children through grief to learn more about how to be there for your child during this difficult time.” – Supporting Children Through Grief: A Guide for Parents

Find Your Own Way To Memorialize

When you lose a parent, it’s natural to want to honor them in some way. Asking yourself what would have been meaningful to your parent can help guide your decisions here.

There are many ways you can memorialize your parent and still feel connected to them after their death:

  • Write a letter, poem or story that expresses how much they meant to you.
  • Create a piece of artwork (painting or drawing) that reflects how they affected or inspired you.
  • Make something special for yourself and keep it as a reminder of the person who raised you (for example, knitting something for yourself or making jewelry).

This does not need be anything “big”. The key is finding an activity that feels comfortable for YOU so that it serves as an expression of love rather than simply acting out of obligation because someone else expects this from you

Explore Your Faith

Explore your faith. A religious lifestyle is often a source of comfort for people and can be an important part of coping with grief. If you were raised in a religion, try to find ways to reconnect with it now that your parent isn’t around anymore.

Try to find a new way to connect with your faith. If you don’t feel connected to the church or temple you usually go to, consider attending other churches or temples in the area — there might be one that feels more right for you now than before your loved one died. 

You can also look into other religions or spiritual practices if they seem appealing; they may provide different kinds of support than those offered by mainstream faiths do!

Find some way to incorporate religion into your life now. Even if all this information was completely foreign before losing someone who mattered so much (like maybe their beliefs weren’t strongly rooted in any one place), learning about them might help make sense out of why bad things happen.

Look into volunteer opportunities where people help each other instead of relying on themselves alone; perhaps even consider starting up new programs at church!

“Children need support and understanding as they cope with grief and loss. As parents, there are steps we can take to help our children through this difficult time. Check out our guide on supporting your child through grief and loss to learn more about how to provide comfort and guidance during this challenging period.” – 15 Tips for Supporting Your Child Through Grief and Loss

Keep A Journal

Keeping a journal might seem like an obvious suggestion, but it’s important to make sure that you’re doing this for yourself. Journaling can help you process your grief and work through the loss of your parent.

I recommend writing about how you feel, what happened in the days leading up to their passing, what is going on now after their death, how you want to remember them, or any other thoughts or emotions related to losing them. 

Keep in mind that there are no “right” or “wrong” things to write about just write whatever comes up for you! It’s also okay if the journal becomes more focused on one thing than another; it’s all part of working through your grief process.

Be Patient With Yourself And Others

It is important to be patient with yourself. You might find it hard to cope at first and you may feel like you are losing your mind.

It’s also okay if you cry often, or even if you have a meltdown and don’t know how to handle the situation. Don’t judge yourself or others for what they do in their time of grief; instead, try to understand that everyone grieves differently.

Don’t be afraid of asking for help if it’s needed. If anyone offers assistance, always accept it! Be mindful that some people may not know what to do when helping out or offering their condolences because this isn’t something they’ve experienced before either. 

Just remember: there is no right way or wrong way of dealing with someone who has lost a parent recently—there are only ways that work best for each individual person involved in the situation

SituationTips for being patient
Dealing with griefGive yourself time to grieve, seek support when needed
Interacting with others who haven’t experienced lossRecognize that they may not understand what you’re going through, try to communicate your needs calmly
Adjusting to changesTake things one day at a time, set small goals for yourself

Know That Grieving Doesn’t Follow A Schedule

Before your parent died, you probably had a pretty regular schedule: school in the morning, gym after school, and homework before bed. But now that they’ve passed away, you might find yourself asking “What’s my new normal?”

The truth is that a death can be such an emotionally charged event that it changes how we live our lives. If your mother or father has just died and your life feels thrown into chaos or even if things seem more difficult than usual don’t panic. 

Grief doesn’t happen on a schedule; it’s more of a process than an event. And while the loss may feel like something huge, don’t expect to be the same person afterward as you were before their death.

Consider Your Future Holidays Ahead Of Time

  • Consider how you will celebrate holidays ahead of time.
  • Remember to set aside time for your siblings, if you have them.
  • Think about how you’re going to cope with the loss of a parent. Do you need to change your holiday plans? Your holiday traditions?
ConsiderationTips for coping
Family gatheringsPrepare coping strategies and backup plans in case you feel overwhelmed or need a break
Maintaining traditionsDecide which traditions you want to continue, modify or skip as needed
Creating new traditionsBrainstorm new ways to honor your loved one’s memory or find joy during the holidays

Make Sure To Set Aside Time For Your Siblings, If You Have Them.

  • Make sure to set aside time for your siblings, if you have them.
  • Keep communication open between you and your siblings.
  • Give each other the support that only family can provide in a difficult time like this.
  • Don’t forget that the loss of a parent is just as hard on older siblings as it is on younger ones, so don’t be afraid to reach out if they seem like they need someone to talk too!

“Finding hope after the loss of a loved one can be a long and difficult journey. But with the right support and tools, it’s possible to move forward and find meaning in life once again. Check out our guide on finding hope after the loss of a loved one to learn more about how to start your healing process.” – Finding Hope After the Loss of a Loved One


As we’ve discussed, the death of a parent can be very difficult for children and teens. But it’s important to remember that grief doesn’t follow a schedule, and there is no one way to grieve. 

The key is finding what works best for you whether that’s talking about your feelings with friends or family members, writing in a journal, or seeking professional help from therapists or religious leaders. 

If you find yourself struggling with how to deal with this loss over time, please reach out for support from someone who understands what you’re going through!

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources that may be helpful for coping with the loss of a parent:

Losing a Parent: How to Handle the Grief: This article offers practical advice and guidance for coping with the loss of a parent, including tips for self-care and finding support.

Psychologists’ Tips for Grieving the Loss of a Parent: In this article, psychologists share their insights on how to process and cope with the loss of a parent, including advice on self-care, expressing emotions, and seeking support.


What is the best way to cope with the loss of a parent?

There is no single “best” way to cope with the loss of a parent, as everyone’s experience with grief is unique. However, some strategies that may be helpful include seeking support from friends and family, engaging in self-care activities, and finding healthy ways to express your emotions.

How long does it take to grieve the loss of a parent?

The grieving process is different for everyone, and there is no set timeline for how long it takes to grieve the loss of a parent. Some people may find that they start to feel better after a few months, while others may take much longer to process their emotions and find closure.

Is it normal to feel guilty after losing a parent?

Yes, it is common to experience feelings of guilt after losing a parent, especially if there were unresolved issues or conflicts in the relationship. However, it’s important to remember that these feelings are a natural part of the grieving process and that it’s okay to seek support from loved ones or a mental health professional if needed.

How can I help my surviving parent cope with the loss of my other parent?

If you have a surviving parent who is grieving the loss of your other parent, there are several things you can do to provide support. This may include listening to them, helping with practical tasks, or encouraging them to seek professional support if needed.

Is it okay to seek professional help for grief and loss?

Yes, it is absolutely okay to seek professional help if you are struggling with grief and loss. A mental health professional can provide guidance and support as you navigate the grieving process, and can help you develop coping strategies that work for you.