What To Do When You Lose A Parent

in , by The Classic Brunette, 4:00:00 AM

I'm honestly not even sure how to really start with this post. If you've been following along with my blog, you have probably noticed I haven't posted much in the past week or so on here or on any of my social channels. Some of you are aware of what has been going on with me and my family, but for the most part I had decided to keep things quiet until I was really ready to talk about things. I wasn't sure that I would ever be ready to talk about things, however I always like to keep my blog an honest place. I guess I will start this off by explaining what exactly has been happening in my life, bare with me as I'm not sure if there's really a right way to go about this. Knowing how difficult these past few months have been for me, I also want to do my best to help others if they unfortunately fall into a similar situation and I figured blogging about it honestly would be the most helpful.

On August 15th my dad unexpectedly passed away. Just typing that is still extremely hard for me, and it still doesn't feel real. There were no warning signs, in fact him, my sister, and I were having a great time spending that day together in Lake Tahoe the day it happened. It was a huge eye opener, and my sister, mom and I were so distraught. It felt like my world was crashing down since I expected my dad to be there for so many more years, especially because he appeared extremely healthy. Things were very hard, but it was a little easier knowing the three of us (me, mom, and sister) still had each other to fall back on. I spent some time at home, but when things settled down a bit I went back to live in Orange. I came back up however for a trip to Seattle with my mom, a trip my dad was also supposed to join us on had he still been with us. Although my mom wasn't feeling super great, she was leading a work conference in Seattle (the whole reason we were going) and she really wanted to make it all work.

We flew up on Saturday September 23rd and by that Monday she was in the hospital. On the 29th she unfortunately passed away. Although my mom was a little less of a surprise than my dad (she had been fighting a lengthy health battle for a few years now) her passing wasn't any easier to handle, especially since it was so soon after my dad. When they say life isn't fair, sometimes it's the most unfair thing you can ever think of. Two months ago my family was happy and together, and now it's just my sister and I. Not to sound like I'm throwing myself a pity party, but it just shows how fast your life can be flipped upside down. Since I didn't know what the heck to do when all of this first happened (and let's be honest, I'm still figuring it all out), I wanted to share the things I do know. This is the toughest time I've ever gone through, but hopefully I can help someone else have a slightly easier time going through tragedy, one way or another. Here's my little bit of advice for how to deal with the impossible.

Cry...Or Don't.

There's been a lot of crying happening these past two months. But there's also been times where I've officially ran out of tears. Obviously things are incredibly difficult and there are random things that make me burst into tears, but I also surprised myself with the times I didn't cry. There's no right or wrong way to grieve, and crying or not crying all depends on the person. Don't feel like you have to force yourself to cry or stay in an overwhelmingly sad mood just because others expect you to be. It might feel weird if you aren't crying over everything, but sometimes your body just doesn't want to do it. Let yourself grieve in whatever way feels best to you.

Write Things Down

Although I haven't done this yet, I definitely plan to. I'm paranoid that now with both of my parents gone I won't be able to remember any of the details about them. I think writing down everything about them, even the weird little things like the fact that my dad only liked strawberries in strawberry shortcake, is helpful just as a way to keep the memories you have of your parent. I know I won't be able to remember everything they've ever told me about themselves, but I will be keeping a running list that I can continue to add to as memories come back to me. If I'm having a bad day I also know that these lists will help me remember the good times. 

Write Them A Note

It may seem weird, but writing my dad a note was extremely helpful for me, particularly because I didn't really get to say goodbye. I wrote down all the thoughts I still wanted to say to him and everything else I needed to get off my chest and put it all in a note that I stuck in his pocket at the funeral. Although I'm not sure if he'll ever 'read' it, I'd like to think that my words somehow made it to him. I plan on doing the same with my mom, although I was lucky enough to have more of a goodbye with her than I had with my dad. Trust me, it may seem odd at first, but for me it lifted a good amount of weight from my shoulders.

Don't Ever Blame Yourself/Wish You Could Do Things Differently

Life has a funny way of making things happen no matter what. Would I have wanted to stop my mom from being intubated had I known she wouldn't have made it? Of course, but I also know that things were going to lead down this same road one way or another. Could I have changed things? Maybe a little, but the truth is you have no control over what will happen in life when it concerns things like this. I believe that when it's someones time to go, it's their time to go. Do I think that maybe that timing is completely unfair, when it comes to my parents, yes, but I can't change a thing and there's no point worrying about what might have been. It's harsh, but it's better to accept what is happening and not focus on what you could have changed, what you might or might not have done, or any other nagging worry that you have swirling in your head. None of what is happening is your fault and there is nothing that you could have done to change things, so please do not put that extra pressure and stress on yourself. I know that's hard to do, but if you try to adopt this mindset early it will hopefully make other things easier to deal with.

I hope that those of you who unfortunately know what this feels like may take something from this post. It will be a very very tough time to get through. I am still not nearly close to being okay and probably won't be for a long time. However, I hope that writing this can can help someone find at least a little peace of mind if they have to go through this hardship. If you've lost a parent or someone close to you, whether it be recent or years ago, I'm so sorry for your loss and I will always be a person you can talk to. My email (theclassicbrunette@gmail.com) is always open if you just want to chat!
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  1. Ah Sam, I read your IG post & wanted to come & read & pass along my condolences...No matter who it is it is never easy & just know you're in my thoughts & prayers...surely, this a post that will help a lot of people dealing with loss.

    Katelyn ~ www.theyellowspectacles.com

  2. Sami, I am so so sorry. I don't know how I missed this on Instagram. My mom died two years ago, and I'm still struggling. I can't imagine what it must feel like to lose both of your parents. I'm praying for you and your sister. xoxo


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