If you have lost a parent as a young adult, you have likely found yourself wondering how to keep going from here on. A road without that life-long presence is often hard to see, especially immediately after their passing. It is important not to ignore how you feel in the weeks to come, but there are ways to help you process what has happened and continue with your life in a healthy way.
Recognize Time Passing
Continuing with daily life after your parent has passed on feels impossible. It feels impossible the day after, the week after, and the month after. Yet, if you allow yourself to return to your life, what seems impossible will simply happen anyway. Every instance where you take a step back into your day-to-day may be painful, but the next time you try will likely be just a bit easier. Your loss may stay as a weight you carry, but slowly, time will shift that weight from looming on your shoulders to comfortably resting in your arms as just one more aspect of who you are.
Look To the Experiences of Others
Loss is one of the most difficult things to navigate, especially for someone still in the process of self-discovery. That immediate feeling after losing a parent is beyond words, as if fear, pain, sorrow, and anger have all met to bore a hole into your being. However, this intensity is part of being human.
The more you open up about the event and explain that you are continuing on a road sharply turned by the loss of a parent, the more likely you are to find someone else who has had a similar experience. If you look to others for their stories, you will discover the tools to articulate and understand your own story.
Speak With Your Lost Loved One (& Yourself)
One of the only things we want as young adults coping with the loss of a parent is to speak with them again, to rely on them for help and guidance one more time. If you find yourself desperate to speak with your late parent, don’t hesitate to do so.
Speaking out loud and using that opportunity to say everything you didn’t get to, vocalize your questions, and accept the silence that follows will help you navigate the chaotic thoughts that come with grief. While it may seem silly to talk to yourself, bringing some of those thoughts into the audible space can help you wrestle with your emotions in a more honest fashion.
There are many misconceptions about grief, some suggesting that there are rules for it and others attempting to define such a raw, ever-changing emotion. Understanding that grief is one of the quintessential human experiences and accepting the unique feelings it brings your way is one of the best ways to keep going as a young adult who lost a parent.