Preparing For The Loss Of A Parent: Can You Ever Truly Be Ready For Such A Monumental Loss?

Few things in life will shake you to your core as much as losing a parent. Though there's no magical pill or secret method of coping that can make it less painful, you can get help through grief counseling, and that's something you need to consider as soon as you know you're losing a parent.

Understand That Nothing Can Really Prepare You For How You'll Feel

Even knowing beforehand that your mother or father is passing can't fully prepare you for how you will feel when you ultimately realize they're gone. Planning and reflecting can build some level of emotional resistance to the inevitable loss; however, understand that the loss you're facing is profound and may affect you in surprising ways.

Build The Strongest Possible Relationship With Your Parent Now

With what time you have left, see that any rifts between you and your mother or father are healed; spend as much quality time together as circumstances permit, and keep some type of journal, even photographic, of the precious memories you make. Don't leave yourself vulnerable to the haunting questions of what you should have done or what could have been. 

Seek Grief Support As Soon As You Know You're Losing Your Mom Or Dad

There's no rule etched in stone that says you must wait for someone to actually pass before seeking help. In fact, seeking grief support before someone so important to you passes is very logical and healthy. Although it won't make the loss easy or even necessarily bearable, the support can help you start building the bridge between the loss you're going to suffer and the future you must carry on in.

Even if you don't expect your mother or father to pass for a while, introduce yourself to a grief counselor, let them know what you're facing, and ask their advice. This preemptive encounter will make it more comfortable for you to open up after your parent is gone.

Commit To Long-Term Support For Long-Term Healing

Grief may last for a few weeks, or it could go on for a seemingly indefinite amount of time. The effects of grief, particularly a poignant grief such as what comes with the loss of a parent, can take a serious toll on a person's physical and mental health, from causing depression to increasing blood pressure. Therefore, it's crucial that you have the support you need for as long as is necessary. Don't put a timetable on your healing; instead, make sure you have grief support until you're strong enough to carry the loss on your own.

Life may never be the same after the loss of your mother or father, but still, life must go on. Grief counseling is one of the few things you'll have to lean on, to help you navigate the emotional waters, and to set yourself on some path of normalcy. Look to friends and family too, but trust in a professional who helps people deal with losses of such magnitude.