Question: What is the worst age to lose a parent?
As we all know, there is never a good age to lose a parent. I’ve met people who don’t remember their parent because they lost their parents at a young age. They had to live their whole life wondering how life would be like if their parent was alive.
Losing a parent earlier on in life can mean a few things:
- You’ll likely grieve over the loss of your parent’s participation in life’s most important moments, such as your wedding, birth of your child, celebrations of mother’s and father’s day in the upcoming years, etc.
- The loss of a parent may lead to lesser guidance in life, not being able to have someone to talk to during times of stress and hardship
- You may feel abandoned like an adult orphan who finds herself/himself scrambling when no one is there to help you with taking care of the kids, school activities, etc.
- If the parent who died is a abusive father or mother, you may feel relieved that they are no longer able to cause more destruction in your life. However, you may occasionally feel guilty that you are feeling such relief.
Losing a parent later in life can bring you a different set of problem:
- Because grief isn’t taught in school, you may find yourself losing friends and family members after you have lost a parent. When they unsure of what to say, that’s when you’ll find them drifting apart.
- When you have a imperfect relationship with your parent, you’ll might feel guilty for not spending enough time or putting in enough effort to repair the relationship.
- You may also be upset at your parent for leaving behind a mess to clean up – this could come in a form of asset distribution, finances, relationships, etc.
- There could also be many things that you have hoped to achieve in your life time. Without your parent being there with you to celebrate your achievements, you may feel life is incomplete.
Infancy Stage – When You’re Too Young To Remember Their Love
While infancy is a young tender age, an infant is able to sense the loss of his/her parent, even without understanding what death is. A parent’s absence can disrupt their daily routine which eventually leads to emotional distress.
The surviving parent may also feel guilty for not giving the child a complete family. This guilt can cause a sense of unfulfilling emptiness that can last for years.
Children who lose a parent at an early age often feel guilty for their own shortcomings. When you lose a parent at a young age, you become more of a perfect ideal as compared to a person who just “merely exist” in life. You’ll spend your life wondering how it feels like having your dad/mom by your side, imagining what their love would be like – this is especially true when that loss leaves behind unfulfilling emptiness.
Personally, I feel that the worst age to lose a parent is when you’re young as that would mean that you’ll never get to experience the whole experience of life. There will be questions unanswered and “what could’ve been” would come up a lot in life.
Adolescent Stage – Parents Are The Only Person Who Remembers Your Childhood
The loss of a parent can lead to devastating effects on young people. The consequences of this loss are serious, which may even lead to depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress. Fortunately, there are many ways to cope with the pain and loss.
While adults have a few decades to prepare for a parent’s death, young adolescent do not have that luxury. Without the proper opportunity to bid farewell to their parent, it is easier for young adults to feel irrationally angry and depressed.
During this phase of life, grieving for the loss of a parent can be complex. Losing a parent can be especially devastating for young adolescents because death often comes as an unexpected surprise, making the experience more difficult to deal with.
The loss of a parent can also result in the child’s inability to develop long lasting relationships in the future. During the years as a young adolescent, it is the best time for awkward first encounters that sets the foundation for long-term relationships, marriage and eventually starting a family. Without the guidance from your parents, you might feel lost and not know what are realistic expectations in a relationship are.
Adulthood – Your Children Won’t Know Who Their Grandparents Are
Losing a parent at adulthood is equally tough. During this phase of life, your kids are still young and you’ll probably have a lot on your plate. At the beginning, you’ll be busy with settling all the administrative matters that comes with the death of a parent. Eg, Will execution, funeral preparation, etc. After the funeral, the acceptance of the death of your parent being final and irrevocable starts to sink in.
Many think that losing a parent at any stage in life would be difficult, but for some, the hardest time is losing them when they have grandchildren waiting for some guidance from Grandma or Grandpa, only to realize that it is never going to happen anymore.
Imagine the feeling of a grandchild who has many questions that will be left unanswered. In addition, when your child is not able to see the love shared between you and your parents, this could potentially change the way they express their love towards you and your partner when they grow up.
Losing A Parent When He/She Is Sick
Some believe that the worst time to lose a parent is when he or she is sick or about to pass on. If you have become complacent of their love and presence, as soon as the threat of them leaving you becomes real, it’ll feel like someone ripped your heart out with no warning.
When you start to see your loved one’s health slowly deteriorating, you begin to worry and very likely, your conversations with them will become strained – you won’t know what to do or say. My advice is to take each day as it comes and cherish each day as it passes. Show him or her care and attention as they require.
Surviving the Loss Of A Parent
While adjusting to a parent’s death may seem difficult, it does not have to be impossible. Talking to your surviving parent can help you process your emotions and stay connected with the family. Establish a regular time or routine to talk to your surviving parent and siblings and try to keep this time sacred and separated from other activities.
Connecting with your family members during this difficult time can bring you comfort and wisdom and is helpful as you adjust to the new normal.
Related: How To Heal A Grieving Heart? (6 Easy Steps)
13 Lessons You’ll Learn After A Parent’s Death
- You’re never going to see the person again (at least physically on this planet).
- Friends and family will become oblivious to your pain after a certain amount of time.
- Just because the person is dead, doesn’t mean his or her life didn’t matter. Your parent deserves to be memorialized.
- The experience of a parent dying of cancer or a chronic disease is beyond cruel.
- The clock might feel like it’s ticking during your parent’s final weeks, but do cherish the last few moments. Spend time together and say what you need to say. The last thing you want is to move on in life with regrets.
- It is more taxing when your parent die than compared to the whole illness itself.
- Know that it is okay to not be in the room when your parent dies, this doesn’t make you a coward.
- Know that there is nothing you can do as you watch your parent’s health deteriorate.
- Despite the loss of a parent, you have the rest of your life is ahead of you.
- Some people find relief after the death of their parent, and it’s okay to feel this way especially if your parent is suffering before his/her death.
- Different people experience grief differently.
- Grief counseling isn’t for everyone. But it is usually helpful for most.
- Grief can return at any moment.