Posts tagged “Loss of parent”

When someone you love, or are close to dies, it’s hard enough, but suddenly things have changed. Our hearts go out to the families and friends who are now not able to share last moments with their loved ones who have been hospitalised with COVID-19, who can’t see family for a hug, and instead have to self-isolate after a loss. 
 
The order of things has been turned upside-down. People can’t say goodbye in the way they would expect. There may be a ‘guilt’ element that your loved one has died alone, even though it’s out of your control. Lives and indeed relationships have suddenly been cut short. And then the funeral. Many friends and relatives have had the ritual of saying goodbye taken away from them; something that is part of the normal grieving process. 
Not being able to say goodbye
If you work with children in an educational setting, hospital, professional practice or elsewhere, you may have heard about Adverse Childhood Events, or ACEs. 
 
Adverse Childhood Events can include traumatic events, parental separation, violence, family substance misuse, family mental health problems and other events that impact young people between 0 and 17 years of age. ACEs are common, and those who have experienced 4 or more have a much higher likelihood of exhibiting developmental disruptions, social, emotional and learning problems and poor health and wellbeing outcomes later on in life. 
Adverse Childhood Events
For those who are having a hard time this Father’s Day, just remember: 
 
It’s okay to be sad. 
 
You don’t need to be strong for anyone else. 
 
All feelings are normal. 
 
You don’t need to grieve alone. 
Father's Day for Grievers
Father’s Day is on Sunday – how will you be celebrating? 
 
For many of us, Father’s Day brings about memories and thoughts that may be painful. Here are just a few of the situations that can make Father’s Day a difficult holiday to enjoy: 
Having lost a father (or father figure) 
Wanting, but not being able to, have children 
Having a difficult relationship with your father/children 
Being a widow with children who will miss their father on Sunday 
Being a father who has no contact with his children 
Being a father whose child has died, gone missing, run away 
Growing up with an absent father or a father you never knew 
Having a serious illness and spending Father's Day in hospital 
Father's Day when you're grieving
 
Is recovery from grief really possible? 
 
This question is often the topic of debate, as those who have suffered a loss know that their lives will never be the same again. It has also been said that we do not recover from grief, but rather that we learn to live with it over time. 
 
So...what is recovery? 
 
When we refer to recovery in the context of the Grief Recovery Method, we refer to the set of action steps that allow grievers to heal the pain that they are experiencing as the result of a specific loss. We also discuss the myths that our society continues to pass down that can compound the feelings of sadness and isolation that grievers are already experiencing. 
recovery from grief
 
This weekend mothers all over the UK will be receiving gifts from their children and partners to celebrate motherhood. We would like to look at the holiday from a less common perspective, acknowledging those who may be experiencing more painful emotions than happy ones on Mothering Sunday. 
 
Some of us may find this occasion difficult to celebrate because we have never been able to experience motherhood even though it has been one of our hopes and dreams. 
 
Others may struggle with this day because motherhood has not been everything they expected it to be. 
I remember vividly within days of my husband Kevin dying being asked about his stuff. Honestly! You would imagine that there would be a whole host of other topics people would ask about before this, but no. Everyone wanted to know "have you done anything about the clothes yet?" 
If you are reading this and grieving yourself I bet you will have immediately noticed that these possessions which sat next to his skin have been de-personalised. THE clothes, not his clothes. "The Clothes", as if they are wild animals which left untamed & uncaptured will riot around the house (ie your life) out of control.  
So having lived this, discussed this with dozens of other grieving people and read hundreds of accounts of dealing with these wild beasties here is my suggested way to go about it:  
Clothes after a bereavement
 
Whether you always made a big deal of Father’s Day or it barely raised a mention in your household there is no doubt that this year it will feel like it’s everywhere and unrelenting.  
 
Continual reminders of the life you no longer have, rubbing salt into your wounded heart. 
 
Unfortunately, however much you want to put your head under the duvet and not come out until Tuesday you can’t. You have to continue to be both parents to your kids who also are being bombarded with images of kids playing or bonding with their Dad’s. So what can you do to get through this as best you can? 
 
1) Make it a team effort 
Talk to your kids ahead of time to discuss what they’d like to do to mark the day or not mark it at all. Be sure to let them air their ideas and show them you have listened equally you have your say too – if something is going to be too difficult for you it is OK to say so. 
Father and child in the sunset
 
Age is not a factor here, as in it doesn't matter how old you are. 
If your Dad has died Father’s Day sucks. Yes I know that is an American phrase but it’s one that I think says it all really succinctly without swearing. 
 
If you are a Dad whose child has died Father’s Day sucks. 
 
If you are a Dad whose child has run away or gone missing Father’s Day sucks. 
 
If you are a Mum whose husband has died Father’s Day sucks. 
dad with child
 
In 2006 my husband Kevin died aged 41 from the most curable form of cancer. When his life ended so did my world. When people said (trying to be helpful) he’s out of pain I’d look at them in dumb shock. On a bad moment I’d reply “lucky him, mine has just got unbearable.” 
 
How I could still be alive and in so much pain? I wouldn’t let myself think of continuing to live with this pain and without him, I started to exist from moment to moment, these were the darkest days of my life. I remember sitting on the harbour wall in Malta at Christmas – I’d fled there to try to escape – leaning forward and contemplating letting go and falling in. 
Kevin Batchelor - husband of Carole Henderson MD Grief Recovery UK
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