Adults Affected by Losing a Parent. When we lose a parent, it can be difficult to come to terms with a world in which they no longer exist.  Our lives immediately change, day to day living takes some getting used to without the parent that we may have known for our whole life.

It can seem as if we can no longer feel whole without them. A client once told me that after her father had passed away, she felt as though she had walked into an empty, unfamiliar house into which, all of the lights were off. As complete darkness enveloped her for some months, she slowly slowly she began to find her way into and around each of the rooms. Over time, the light in her life started to return. 

In the early days of my counselling training and then moving into private practice as a newly qualified counsellor, I naively believed that working with grief and loss would be one of the easier issues to both understand and to work with. How wrong was I?! 

When a person has experienced the loss of a parent, whatever their relationship was like, they lose a part of who they are. Working face to face with such powerful loss, puts us in touch with witnessing raw intense and often wordless pain. It can be related to a silent inner, defeated scream, encompassing every part of that person who is grieving both physically and psychologically.

For many, giving up or letting go what they are experiencing is often similar to giving up the person whom has died. In a distorted way, this can allow feelings of love to remain. And so, bereft of the parent, the adult child, can rarely see a future in the beginning, because the pain of loss is so raw, blinding any prospective thinking. It is a sadness that can completely engulf a person. 

When no longer consumed by that pain, acceptance of a future without the love of the parent is the aim, and the only way to move forward.

Death in its entirety can be difficult, but when there are complexities involved, the sadness can ripple beyond realistic and logical proportions, leading to the bereaved to act out with unfamiliar patterns of behaviour affecting all of those around them.

It is this pattern of unfamiliar behaviour that often presents in therapy rooms and in the face of all professionals, groups and organisations working with the complexities of grief, loss and bereavement.

Sue J Daniels
MBACP & UKRC (Snr Accred).
EMDR Practitioner
Professional Counsellor &
Trauma Specialist

The following books supporting this article are available on Amazon and all major high street and online book stores…

Little Book of Seeds: For Adults Affected by the Death of a Parent

Trauma Therapeutic Workbook(80 Key Points for Working towards Post Traumatic Growth)

The Blanket: A Guided Visualisation for Those Affected by Disturbed Sleep Patterns

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