Adult Grief After a Traumatic Death

Death of a Parent

As we grow to adulthood, we come to realize that death is a natural part of life. Most of us understand that with the death of a loved one comes pain and suffering. Parents usually die before their children. However, when a mother or father is killed suddenly and violently, grief reactions of their adult children can

be intense, complicated, and long-lasting. Without a doubt, parents play important roles in our lives that we might not realize in the moment. They watch us grow and are witnesses to our lives. Your mother or father may have been the only person aside from you to remember particular events, occasions, or gatherings.

Parents are witnesses to our lives.

As a child and even as an adult, you may have enjoyed hour upon hour in your parent’s home. Today, the house may be gone, along with the mother or father who so diligently cared for family traditions and rituals within its walls. Often, parents act as a buffer between siblings or other family members. If a mother or father was the “glue” of the family, relationships among remaining members may fall apart. At the very least, the nature of these relationships is sure to change. People may have to get to know one another and interact like never before. Some victims/survivors experience the added stress of assuming the empty roles of their parents. If your mother or father was the primary caregiver of a younger sibling or elderly relative, you may be concerned about who will assume the role in their absence. It may never have occurred to you that you would face such a responsibility. We tend to view our parents as immortal. A death of a parent brings us closer to our own mortality. And when our parents die, we believe that their deaths will be peaceful and pleasant. If your parent was killed, no matter how old he or she was, you may deeply regret that their death was a tragic one. Although some may say, “He lived a good life,” it may feel wrong that you could not say, “Thank you for all you have done for me,” or “Goodbye.”

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