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Hard to feel sympathy for those who lost their parents as adults


Deidre68

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Hi all, I'm new here. First post. I lost my dad to cancer when I was 9, and my mom died that same year in a car accident. I didn't really mourn for nearly a decade, and I don't recall mouring in the conventional sense. I would say that the grief manifested itself in the form of resentment and anger. Coldness, and sometimes isolating myself from others. I dated a lot in college, and think that I always struggled with love...as I associate love with loss. Now, being 40 yrs old, what I struggle with now, and have for some time...is that I have a hard time feeling sympathy for those who are say my age...or older, and who's parents have died recently. It's like I just become icy cold. I feel like saying...''are you kidding me? Do you expect your parents to live to 300 yrs old?'' It's not my desire to be this way, but it's almost an automatic response when I hear of my friends who are losing their parents now, as adults. Anyone else experience this? Is this a normal stage of grief?

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I understand how you feel losing your parents at such a young age. No matter what age you are when you lose a parent it's such a shock. Especially when it's not expected. It's not that we expect them to live forever and personally with my dads death I've never felt that i got any closure with his death. My dad was killed in a horrible accident out of state and we had to make the decision to have him creamated (my dads wished) out of state because we were told that we shouldn't see him the way he was. So my dad came back to us close to a month after the accident in a box. So i never really felt like i got to tell him good-bye. This is something that i'm having trouble dealing with. Personally i think that everything you are feeling is normal so don't feel that you are being a cold person. We all have to deal with the loss the best way that we can. I was lucky to have my dad around for 43 years but i still feel like i was cheated because the accident that killed my father never should have happened.

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I understand how you feel losing your parents at such a young age. No matter what age you are when you lose a parent it's such a shock. Especially when it's not expected. It's not that we expect them to live forever and personally with my dads death I've never felt that i got any closure with his death. My dad was killed in a horrible accident out of state and we had to make the decision to have him creamated (my dads wished) out of state because we were told that we shouldn't see him the way he was. So my dad came back to us close to a month after the accident in a box. So i never really felt like i got to tell him good-bye. This is something that i'm having trouble dealing with. Personally i think that everything you are feeling is normal so don't feel that you are being a cold person. We all have to deal with the loss the best way that we can. I was lucky to have my dad around for 43 years but i still feel like i was cheated because the accident that killed my father never should have happened.

This helps to read this, thank you. I had a friend tell me...'dee, pain is relative. you have a certain kind of pain from your loss. well, so do others.'' I do know that, on a conscious level. You know? But, it's like this deep cold part of me, that shuts down, and I can't even muster up any feelings for someone, when I hear their parents died...and the person is my age or older. But, reading this here...you make me realize that it's not all about me. lol Others feel pain, and I sometimes forget that my pain is far from the worst anyone can feel. Everyone processes things differently, and how your dad died...yes, I can see why you feel cheated. I''m so sorry for your loss. When my dad died, we were somewhat ''prepared,'' as he was sick with cancer for a year. My mom died suddenly, and so yes. I can attest to your feelings. It is very hard not being able to say goodbye. {{HUGS}}

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dizzydancingway

I'm 27 and I only have one friend that lost a mom at a younger age than me. When my mom first died, I sort of resented all the consolation I got from coworkers, in their 50s and 60s, who's moms were 80+ when they died. I felt that what they experienced wasn't the same and that they had no idea how distablizing losing a mom at my age was. Their moms all survived to see their daughters marry, to meet their grandkids. Now that I've processed my moms death, I don't think its ever easy at any age. I'm grateful my mom see me grow up and saw me independant and on my own, but it doesn't make me miss her any less. She was the most important person in my life and I'm a totally new person without her.

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I lost my parents when I was young too and I have a hard time sympathizing with those people who still have living parents or their parents die in their 80s and 90s. Maybe we've just shut down that part of us because we grieved so long ago. I like the point you made about equating love with loss.

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I lost my parents when I was young too and I have a hard time sympathizing with those people who still have living parents or their parents die in their 80s and 90s. Maybe we've just shut down that part of us because we grieved so long ago. I like the point you made about equating love with loss.

Aurora,

Loss is loss no matter what the age you are or your parents were when they passed. I would argue that because a person is older when their parents die, they have developed a longterm, very deep and abiding relationship that was a huge part of their life for many years. It is difficult to lose anything after you've had it awhile. In the case of parents, it's devastating no matter what and to spend decades with someone and then lose them is hard.

I lost my father when I was 45. He did not get to see my children graduate from college, he did not get to see them serve their country. He did not get to watch them do many things with them that he wanted to. He didn't see me get my Master'd Degree, he did not get to see alot of things in my life. My kids miss him very very much. I miss him because so much of my life was centered on him and visiting him and talking with him and taking care of him. It is hard to let go.

Opposite of you, I've often thought it was easier to lose your parents at a young age because people are more flexible, adaptable and spring back quicker. I guess it's a matter of perspective, though--the grass always looks greener on the other side. I wish we never had to lose people.

ModKonnie

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Aurora,

Loss is loss no matter what the age you are or your parents were when they passed. I would argue that because a person is older when their parents die, they have developed a longterm, very deep and abiding relationship that was a huge part of their life for many years. It is difficult to lose anything after you've had it awhile. In the case of parents, it's devastating no matter what and to spend decades with someone and then lose them is hard.

I lost my father when I was 45. He did not get to see my children graduate from college, he did not get to see them serve their country. He did not get to watch them do many things with them that he wanted to. He didn't see me get my Master'd Degree, he did not get to see alot of things in my life. My kids miss him very very much. I miss him because so much of my life was centered on him and visiting him and talking with him and taking care of him. It is hard to let go.

Opposite of you, I've often thought it was easier to lose your parents at a young age because people are more flexible, adaptable and spring back quicker. I guess it's a matter of perspective, though--the grass always looks greener on the other side. I wish we never had to lose people.

ModKonnie

I'm glad I started this thread...thanks for your comment, konnie. Definitely, kids do NOT spring back quicker. They just can't process the loss well as a kid...so it APPEARS as though they are just going along with life...but, really...the pain of the loss rears its head later in life, when as an adult, I was able to process all of it. And at 40, I'm still grappling with different smaller aspects of it...but perhaps, it's fair to say...grief is grief...pain is pain. And while no two deaths and losses are alike, we all experience deep voids when our parents are gone. I'm sorry for your loss...

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dizzydancingway

In some ways I think a loss is harder when you're very young...I think it could be more traumatic because you're not fully developed, you depend on a parent for survival, and its difficult to make sense of such a profound change/loss at such a young age. From what I've read from psychology texts and from my own experiences in therapy, what a child does not understand or cannot process is often suppressed, blocked out, and simply not dealt with...because how do you deal with what you don't understand? Repressed pain/trauma can cause all sorts of dysfunctionalities in ones life, in relationships.

At any rate, I don't know if its worth comparing or quantifying pain. I'm 27 and I just lost my mom and while I feel that, as an adult, I can process the pain much more easily than a child might, and while I sometimes resent when my 50+ year old friends complain about what they went through when they lost their mom, pain is pain. No matter which way the death of a parent disrupts your life, whether you're an adult standing on your own or a scared child, the heartache and longing...its all the same sadness...the same wanting and wishing of something not to be so...

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In some ways I think a loss is harder when you're very young...I think it could be more traumatic because you're not fully developed, you depend on a parent for survival, and its difficult to make sense of such a profound change/loss at such a young age. From what I've read from psychology texts and from my own experiences in therapy, what a child does not understand or cannot process is often suppressed, blocked out, and simply not dealt with...because how do you deal with what you don't understand? Repressed pain/trauma can cause all sorts of dysfunctionalities in ones life, in relationships.

At any rate, I don't know if its worth comparing or quantifying pain. I'm 27 and I just lost my mom and while I feel that, as an adult, I can process the pain much more easily than a child might, and while I sometimes resent when my 50+ year old friends complain about what they went through when they lost their mom, pain is pain. No matter which way the death of a parent disrupts your life, whether you're an adult standing on your own or a scared child, the heartache and longing...its all the same sadness...the same wanting and wishing of something not to be so...

You are so right! The wishing and wanting is hard and the pain is painful regardless of how old you are. Today marks the second anniversary of my father's death. I wish I could simply call him up and say, "Hi Dad. How are you?" I can still picture him sitting in his chair anxiously waiting for us to arrive so he could see the kids.

I often think about pioneer days when people were more connected to the life-death cycle, and death was very commonplace in their lives. I wonder if they had a better way to cope than we have. Many people today try to distance themselves from death by obsessing over youth and staying away from people who are ill and dying.

I really am sorry you lost your mother at such a young age. She must have been young, too, and that is tragic.

ModKonnie

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