Coping With Retirement - Loss of a parent

The loss of a parent may affect your family when you or your partner lose a parent, or when you lose a spouse and your children have lost a parent.

It is important to work through the mourning period. Some people respond to death by attempting to plow through the time, as if unscathed by the event. Others shut down entirely and refuse consolation or assistance in coping. Neither response may be in the best interest of the mourner.

Coping with death is a personal experience. Each individual will respond uniquely to a loss of a family member. And each individual may respond differently to different losses. Mourning one's parent will be different than mourning one's spouse. It is important for everyone to remember this when adjusting to a death in the family.

The mourning period can range from several days to several months. There is no correct period of time to spend in mourning. If you are not comfortable with the amount of time you are taking to get over the loss, then feel free to speak to someone about it. But there is no rule of thumb for how long you should spend mourning.

Any inability to function through day-to-day activities, such as eating, sleeping, bathing, grocery shopping, or other mundane events, should be taken as a sign of serious depression and not part of general mourning. You may not feel like socializing, but you should still have the energy to take good hygienic care of yourself. As always, any behavior that is threatening to life and health should be referred to professional counseling immediately. You should watch for such signs in yourself, your parents and your children after experiencing any family member's death.

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