Adult Orphansby John E. Turner, LMFT and Sally R. Connolly, LMFT
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Some say that they feel very alone
and find the loss significant. Old rituals or habits that must end like
talking things over with a parent, spending social time, holidays or
Sunday dinners with them or even letting go of care-taking
responsibilities may require some adjustment.
Hannah, a woman in her
50’s and an only child without children of her own, remarked that it was
incredibly sad to recognize that there were no other close relatives in
her life. She felt very alone. Bill, a 48 year-old man, said that the
loss of both parents was very difficult for him and he would most miss
the many family rituals that he, his wife and children enjoyed with
Parents hold family memories.
Suddenly, the history is gone.
Parents also often hold unconditional love and regard. As adults, we
often still look for ways to make them proud of us and when they are
gone, we are required to look within ourselves and others to provide
that respect and appreciation that helps us to feel good about who we
Adults who come from difficult families, or have had painful
relationships with their parents, may also feel the loss after they are
gone. Then there truly is no opportunity for a reconciliation or for a
relationship that feels loving and respectful, even if hope for that was
given up long ago.
are some things that you can do:
- Talk out loud with someone that you trust about
positive, negative and even ambivalent feelings about your parents.
- Decide on regular rituals to remember
your parents like visits to the cemetery, planting special flowers every
spring, lighting candles and recovering memories or even just sharing
memories out loud.
ways to move on, even with small steps, giving yourself permission to
let go. Letting go of the grief does not mean forgetting.
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|Feeling lost |
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