Watching your Parent die is absolute hell and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. Everyone deals with death & dying in their own unique way. Each person works through (or doesn't) the new reality of living without someone they love. Facing the reality of having to actually watch them die is a special kind of torture.
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Emotional Trauma When Your Parent Dies
Watching my dad die was a moment in my life that I wouldn't change, but definitely wasn't easy. When I use that term I am referring to watching him slowly die over time and actually being in the room when he passed. I'd be lying if I said it didn't impact me or leave me with a few scars no one can see. If I had come through unscathed, I would be more worried.
Having a dying parent is excruciating. There will be lessons that are learned with great difficulty and suffering.
Be sure to seek out professional help to talk about what you are feeling and how to navigate overwhelming emotions.
Sad Realizations When Your Parent Dies
I know that it isn't easy to think about that moment they will no longer be with you. It's unconscionable to even think that they won't be here for all the milestones, little moments, and adventures you had planned together.
- What are you supposed to feel?
- How do you keep from running to the nearest hole and climbing in?
- Can we be supportive and still find a way to express our sadness?
Everyone will have a different answer. When it comes to death and dying, there isn't a “rule book”. There is no “right way” to feel, act, or think. There is only where you are right this minute. There is only the person beside you needing your love, support, and the many things that will come along the way.
If you have already experienced the heartbreak of losing a parent or witness the end of life moments of a dying parent, I am right there with you. One thing I wish I could have done was collect the stories that friends and family told me orally when my Dad died. 17 years later, I can't recall most of them. One thing I'm thankful for is that every time I share a photo of him on social someone pipes up and shares a memory.
It's never too late to start collecting memories of your loved one. It's one of the things I've spent time on; to create a method of memory collecting that is easy to use and share with family and friends, at home and abroad. You can check that out here.
Do you have someone you love who is still here? If you do, then you know just how important it is to start those storytelling conversations. Click the button below to get access to 5 Minute Storytelling Scripts to help you get started today!
Christine Burke has written a heartfelt introspective look into how our grief plays out in everyday life when faced with a loved one's arduous and laborious march toward inevitable death. Give it a read and be prepared to grab the tissues. I get something new out of the article each time I read it.
Looking for another article on grief? Check these out… I've been writing and talking openly about grief now for over 5 years. Each story I share prompts someone to share their story and sheds light on how different people experience grief across the globe. Keep sharing your stories and encouraging others to talk about their grief.
Check out the Legacy Recorder Community Guide in print, you can get your hands on that here. If you already have a copy, thank you! The 5 Minute Storytelling Scripts mentioned in the podcast episodes can be found here.
All journals can be purchased through Amazon. You can find the currently available ones here. Including a companion journal to the book linked above. The journals are a great way to create a keepsake. You can also order multiple copies to have as a workbook for groups that are looking to work together to tell their stories together.
The Legacy Program & Activities Package is live. This includes worksheets, specific instructions, activity suggestions, and how to execute an engaging storytelling activity. This is a great addition to your activity planning and can make your lift a little easier when it comes to planning engaging programming for the people your care for.
If you find you need more one on one support, you can always book time on Gael's calendar here.
Image: martin-dm / iStock