Chapter 4: When your parent dies
When your last parent has died
My mom died when I was in my twenties, and I don’t have siblings, so it was just Dad and I for the last 33 years. It’s been a really challenging year since he died. It’s hard to describe the loneliness. Despite having some really great friends, I still feel lonely…even when I’m with them.
Regardless of how old you are when your last parent dies, you are now part of the oldest generation within your family. This can be a profound and sometimes frightening realization when you are confronted with new responsibilities or independence. Below
are several other ways you may feel. Click
on each one to view more information.
Despite your age, you may feel childlike and dependent, yet feeling “all grown up” for the first time in your life.
You may feel totally on your own in the world now, despite having close friends and other family. Some people feel “orphaned,” with all the emotions that word evokes.
Regardless of your age, you may have seen your parent as your foundation or anchor and you may feel adrift. This can be unsettling, but it can be helpful to know that this is common.
Your mortality may suddenly seem more real after the death of your last parent. This might be a valuable opportunity to reflect on your life and what’s important to you.
What may help
Consider which parts of your parent’s legacy you wish to take forward with you in your life. Which values, beliefs, and memories are important to you? Are there other parts that you wish to discard or say goodbye to?
Share stories and memories with family and friends. Consider creating a memorial to your parent or parents.Helpful resources