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What You Need to Know About Losing a Parent

What I Wish I Had Learned Sooner

No matter how it happens, losing a parent is always painful. It will always change your view about the world, whether that’s in a positive or negative sense.

When I lost my mom, everyone around me lost someone, too. They lost a daughter, a sister, or a best friend. The majority of the people I saw grieving around me had known my mom for a lot longer than I ever would, and so losing her affected them differently than it affected me. Which is completely understandable. However, the people who knew of her didn’t really know what to say to me, which I understand, too. What do you say to a five-year-old that still doesn’t fully understand what’s happening? At that point, it still just seemed like a really bad dream and that she was on a trip, but would be back soon. So I was sad, but I was not grieving because I was going to see her someday soon. Eventually, I had realized that “someday” wasn’t going to happen. A lot of people assured me that God had a plan for me and that she was in a better place. But to me, her better place was on the couch watching TV with me while we ate mac and cheese. They promised that she was watching over me and making sure I was okay. As I got older, I believed this more and more until I wouldn’t let myself be sad about anything except her passing because I didn’t want her to think I didn’t care that she was gone.

When you lose a parent, every other problem you encounter seems minuscule in comparison, which is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, you aren’t heartbroken about the boy that doesn’t like you back. However, on the other hand, because it wasn’t as painful as those around you warned it would be, you’ll then allow that boy to continue treating you however he wants. Sure it hurts, but losing your mom hurt more, right?

A lot of people are going to have different opinions on your grieving process; none of them are going to be right.

There will be people who tell you that you are “too sad,” that at some point you’ll need to get over it. They haven’t felt the pain you’re feeling. When they were kids, their biggest fear was losing their parents. That was the same for you as well, but then it became your reality.

There will be another group that will want to put you on a pedestal. They’ll preach that you are The Strongest Person Ever because you Made It Through. They’ll apologize for complaining about homework in front of you since their discomfort Can’t Compare To The Pain You Must Feel Every Day. But they’re wrong. You experienced losing a parent, which is the most pain you’ve ever felt. They haven’t, so their “most painful moment” is different from yours; everyone has a different threshold for pain. A boy leading them on might be the worst pain they’ve felt, that does not make their sadness less valid just because you have felt more pain. They cannot comprehend the type of pain you have felt, and that is a great thing! No one deserves that type of pain and my heart hurts for everyone who does.

This idea applies to you, too. Yes, losing them was the most painful you will hopefully ever encounter in your life. But that does not mean other things can't hurt, too. A boy not liking you back does hurt, but it is a different type of hurt that you have been growing up with. Don’t downplay your feelings in fear of disrespecting their death, they understand. They want you to live your life in the best way you can, and that means allowing yourself to feel.

It’s easy to be bitter after everything. It is so easy to push everyone away and hate the world for taking them from you. Dwelling on everything you’ve lost is a much easier feat than putting on a smile and being the Strong Kid. But you aren’t a bad person. You don’t want to be bitter, you just don’t want to get hurt again. Constantly being on edge is exhausting. Bad things happen, often to good people. You can’t change that. But you can embrace it. Being without them is hard, and it will never be easy, but your life wouldn’t be taking the same path as it is today if you hadn’t. You would not have met some of your friends, or discovered your dream school. You’ve learned lessons that some may never learn. Being sad is okay, but so is being vulnerable. Vulnerability is what allows us to survive. Tell people how you feel without worrying about what they’ll say back. Treat others how you want to be treated, but don’t dwell on it if they do not return the favor.

You are amazing. You are strong. You have survived a horrible loss and are still going. That is enough, do not feel as though you are wasting their legacy because you haven’t accomplished Something Great yet. You are accomplishing an amazing feat just by continuing on each and every day. You are enough. They are extremely proud of you, no matter what you tell yourself.

And they love you more than anything.

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