So You Lost Your Mom or Dad? Let's Talk . . .
Dr. Gilda Carle
Just when you think your life is going okay, and that you
can depend on your parents or your friends or your neighbors
to act as they usually do, something happens to shake up your
world and spoil everything. Right?
know that the only thing they can count on in life is that
people and circumstances will never stay the same. It's a
real bummer, and nobody likes it. But we are all together
in this feeling.
face it, we all know what we have, and change means having
to start again with new people, new relationships, and new
way some adults get to feel better about change is by telling each
other this joke: "Do you want to hear God laugh? Tell him your future
plans." The joke's punch line reminds us that things NEVER stay
the same. Life's changes often make us feel awful because they shake
up the routines we're used to, and make us feel insecure about what
is going to happen to us next. Sometimes we become very angry that
this has all happened to us, and we never had a say in any of it.
Yet, believe it or not, without change, we would not grow. And frankly,
do you want to stay 7 or 10 or 15 years old forever?? That would
mean that you would never graduate, or drive a car, or get a good
job, or be able to buy things for yourself you really, really want.
Now THAT would really be a bummer!
So what do you do when you've lost your mom or dad? How do you handle
those deep feelings of sadness and sorrow? First, give yourself
permission to feel bad. Allow yourself to cry and talk to friends
and other family members again and again and again if you need to.
someone special at school or at home to confide in.
could be a favorite teacher, a loving aunt or uncle, an understanding
grandparent, a caring neighbor.
Whoever it is, make sure it's someone you can trust and be
is a difficult time for you, and it's okay to have real feelings--and
express them. People who love you realize this, and they will be
happy to hear your thoughts. To be healthy, you must release your
feelings so that they don't stay stuck inside you to muck up the
rest of your life.
way to release your feelings is to write them down on paper. You
can write them in a special journal you are keeping, or write a
real letter to your mom or dad, put it into an envelope, seal it,
and put it away where only you will see it. Whether it's your journal
or this letter, years from now, you'll want to re-read what you
wrote. Be sure to put a date on it, and write your age. It's a beautiful
gift you can give yourself--and something your parent would be proud
If you're especially creative, write some poems about your experience.
If you would like, ask a teacher to print it in your school newspaper.
If you want to be more private, write a note to your parent, go
to a river, lake or ocean, and send the note floating into the water.
For a lot of people, water offers a feeling of peace. If you're
one of those people, go for it.
You might also feel good drawing or painting some pictures of your
best memories with your parent. If pictures make you feel better,
create a scrapbook of your favorite photos. Be sure to put dates
on them. This way, your parent may be gone in body, but your private
memories will keep him or her alive in your heart. And reviewing
your drawings, paintings, or photos when you especially miss your
mom or dad will allow you to "see" and "be with" her or him any
time you want.
Be sure to also get into the exercise and sports programs you enjoy.
Working out your body's kinks gives your emotions more strength.
If you're a more social kid, grab your friends and hang out and
have fun. If you're more private, write, draw, paint, dance, sing,
or do anything that will make you happy.
Your parents loved you. No matter where they are now, they brought
you into the world to become the best person you can be. You may
be more on your own without them, but you're not alone. Your beautiful
memories will remain with you forever--and you are growing stronger
and wiser than you ever were.
additional information, contact Dr.