Monday, July 19, 2010

Watching Your Parents Hurt

Something I don't hear much talk about these days is how adult children can help their parents cope with the pain of losing their own parents, siblings and spouses. As recent as today I hugged a friend who shared this concern. As distant as 19 years ago I experienced this firsthand. While I was busy mourning the death of my own father, I think I mourned for my mother even more. 

It's tough when you watch someone strong and somewhat invincible, in an instant, become broken hearted and distraught, sad and teary-eyed. The pain of watching a parent grieve, coupled with the grief you might feel yourself can be burdensome and heart wrenching. 

As I watched my mom grieve for my dad I remember trying to help her do things to get her mind off of it. Now, years later I realize how wrong this was! I should have asked her to share special memories she had of him instead of asking her to do the impossible. What on earth did I know at just 18 anyway!

So for all those out there who have experienced this second hand grief, what's your advice? How do we help our aging parents as they lay to rest those closest to them? I'd love to hear your answers!

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