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When You Lose A Parent Early In Life

May 22, 2015 3 min read

There is nothing easy about losing a parent, no matter your age. But, there are certain things that happen when your parent passes away before you turn 18. Lisa also made a video talking about her experiences with dealing with the loss of her mother.

You grow up much faster

The innocence of childhood is stripped just a little when you first experience death. And if this loss is a parent, you sometimes feel the need to "step up." This is a lot of pressure for a kid even if it is self imposed. The child often feels this is expected, this stepping into shoes that are as of yet too large to fill.

But as a result, you gain a new appreciation

It is like saying "ignorance is bliss." So many children have no idea how much is being sacrificed for them. The remaining parent often has to give up their comforts to make sure the child can stay in a life with as little struggle as possible. It creates a greater sense of gratitude, love and appreciation for the people in your life. It takes work to keep a family together and before your loss, you didn't even notice.

There can be a disconnect with peers your age

It is especially true if the loss occurs in the turbulence of adolescence. There is a strong desire to be understood by people who, through no fault of their own, cannot possibly understand. You could end up resenting your friends for not realizing how good they have it. Grief can do really unfair things in your mind and cause you to form unfair judgments of other people.

You can carry strange feelings of guilt

You could be casually talking to a stranger when they ask what your mom/dad does for a living. And although you could tell the 'truth,' it is sometimes easier to not. You answer their questions without dropping the 'dead parent bomb.' The conversation stays superficial and you start to feel badly. You know once the truth comes out you'll get an “Oh my god, I’m so sorry!” It is hard to understand why you feel apologetic for your loss and the uncomfortable moment it may cause for a complete stranger, but it is there nonetheless.

Change can be a little scary

Okay, so change is more than just a little scary. It is a lot scary. Change is uncertain. It could be a really wonderful thing that can transform your life in a positive way, or it can be a complete nightmare. You approach things slowly. Or you might be the opposite and try to force change, like ripping off a bandaid. You know change is inevitable but it still makes you panic.

You can be hesitant to get close to people

You're scared. You know what can happen when you become attached. Life is fragile and loving someone doesn't make them immune. But when you do love someone, do it completely. And make sure they know!

Milestones are amplified

Moments of huge celebration carry bittersweet feelings. Graduations. Birthdays. Weddings. Huge and momentous events can feel like a reminder. It is hard to explain to people but you could be truly happy and a little sad at the same time. But try to remember that you carry your parent with you, in your heart, forever and things might feel a little more manageable. h/t: Though Catalog

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