WHAT TO DO WHEN A PARENT DIES:Advice from the people that have been there
We asked members of the Dead Parent Club what they would say to someone that has recently lost a parent.
And the answers are inspiring.
Happy New Year!!
What better way to start the year than with some DPC wisdom?! Trick question of course… there isn’t a better way!
We’re kicking off 2019 with a recap of all the best advice from our previous DPC podcast guests. We’ve compiled all of the answers so far to our closing question: “What would you say to somebody that is going through something similar to you right now?”.
The beauty of the DPC of course is that everyone’s answer is different however, there are similar themes throughout. The main one being one of our key reasons for this podcast… to talk about it!
You can get this advice straight to your ears via your favourite podcast app. Just search “Dead Parent Club” and listen to Episode 14!
We’ve also summed up the key points here for you to read, bookmark and treasure forever.
“Let yourself grieve – it will be with you for the rest of your life – but it will shape your life as well.
Let yourself be emotional. Time isn’t a total healer but it does allow you to process it. It’s always with you but you build your life around it.”
“Get moving and get control of your food. Start exercising more, whether that’s in the gym or simply going for a walk. Your body & mind will thank you.”
Sam actually has his own website which you can access here. If you’re hoping to take more control over your body this year then we would 10/10 recommend him to a friend.
“Everyone is individual and everyone has a different set of circumstances, whether that’s family, friends, where you’re at or what you’re doing. It’s okay. It’s going to be a bit shit, but it’s gonna be alright.”
You’re allowed to be like ‘this is the worst thing’ because it is at the time but it will get better.”
“Writing – write down your thoughts & feelings, ask yourself some questions. Write down a happy memory of them. What advice would they give you? How do you see yourself coming through the other side and what do you need to get there?”
“It’s going to hurt and you have to let that hurt in. It’s hard to imagine at the time but the hurt does lessen as time goes on. It’s true what they say, time does heal, but also remember it doesn’t mean you have to forget them either.”
“It’s important that you still feel that you can talk about your parent; you should never feel like that because that person is dead they didn’t exist. Talk about them as much and as often as you can.”
“If you feel like you’re going to be a burden on your friends, I can guarantee that will not be the case.
Talking is the best therapy.”
“Reach out, even if it’s not someone you know, it will definitely help just to talk to anyone, e.g. Macmillan. Reach out to close friends and family and have things around you that . bring you comfort and also make you happy.
“Let the experience help you as much as you can, I always think ‘what would Mum say? What would Mum do?’.
Talk to people, get your emotions out and have a massive cry – you can’t hold it all in because you’ll combust.”
Laura Tierney and Amy Freer
Advice to the friends of someone who has recently lost a parent…
“Open up a conversation with them about it. You don’t have to do it all the time and if you open up that convo and the person gets upset then be a bit careful about how to bring it up next time. But more often than not they’re looking for someone to open up the conversation about it first.”
“Try and support them in a way that you would a friend that has been through anything else.
The things that work for other friends that have been through something will work – make a cup of tea, bring them biscuits, watch a film with them. The power of the brew goes a long way.”
“Take time for yourself. Listen to yourself. Take yourself out of whatever situation you’re in. Lock yourself away and cry for a bit if you have to.
Don’t keep your mind off it forever – the more you think about it and the more you talk about, the easier it gets to think and talk about.”
“Don’t drink it away.
Surround yourself with good people – if you have people that are being a bit shit, don’t have them in your life.”
“It’s a never-ending process – it’s so important to take the time to heal, focus on good memories and have your loved ones around you.
Don’t accept the pressure that you’re meant to bounce back and be ok. Listen to yourself, listen to your head and listen to your heart.”
“It doesn’t get better – for most people, you’ve lost the most important person, the person that’s brought you into the world – it doesn’t get better but it does get easier.
Talk about it. It doesn’t have to be all grief and death and darkness – it’s ok to speak about it and tell people how you’re feeling. Those are the moments that make you feel like everything’s gonna be ok and make you feel a bit more human.”
“The thing that’s helped me more than anything is going to therapy. There is still a stigma attached to it but everyone at some point in their life needs help. Don’t let yourself reach rock bottom before you get it.
Life doesn’t stop.”
“Death does weird things. It can make you angry but what it should teach you more than anything is forgiveness. Because life is too short to hold grudges and it is so precious.
People might not always behave in a way you agree with, but that’s them. We don’t know people’s full stories, don’t judge people.
Everyone is dealing with some kind of battle. Grief is universal. Everyone is going to deal with it at some point, but not everyone will deal with it in the same way, and that’s ok.”
“Never lose sight of yourself.
Use the situation to your advantage. It will give you passion, it will give you a lot of energy. That energy may be anger for the first period, but eventually that anger will turn into something good. Think about how to take that energy and turn it into something good/worthwhile that will change your life. Whether that’s you saying to yourself “I’m going to go to 20 countries”, “I’m gonna go head down into my career”, “I’m gonna write a book.”
“These things are sent to challenge us not end us.
It’s not about the situation, it’s where you go after the situation.”
Tobey Vidler: DPC member since 2014
“Everyone handles things differently, so don’t feel pressured to do things a certain way just because someone else does. You gotta do you at the end of the day.”
“If you find it easier to talk about, then talk about, if not, you’ve got to find what works for you.
It won’t happen straight away.
Don’t get drunk and throw shoes at people.”