(Closed) Have you lost a parent? How old were you?

posted 8 years ago in Family
  • poll: How old were you when you lost a parent?

    12 and under (what I am calling a kid)

    13 to 19 (what I am calling a teenager)

    20 to 29

    30 to 39

    40 to 49


  • Post # 17
    925 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: April 2014

    I lost my mom this past July 4th. I was 25 and she was 48 years young (not to mention my best friend). It was the day our engagement photos were supposed to be shot, to boot (alas, that didn’t happen)…

    As with many PPs, how I coped was… I just did. I had my Master’s thesis due two weeks after her passing and all of my classmates (and even some professors) kept telling me to postpone it until I had had “sufficient” time to grieve. I didn’t. I knew my mom would be piiiiiiiissssed if I put off anything having to do with my education because of her (indirectly). Seriously, I could almost hear her using the dreaded first/middle name combo.

    In addition, her husband (of nine months, who I never liked anyway) was/is being a complete jackass when it comes to money. No shit, the day of her death, he called to tell me that my mom wanted him to have her car. Okay, well I’m more worried about her service, her friends and family, et cetera, so… take the car and shove it. (He can’t drive it, because he is on his third DUI, but that’s a whole different story.) With all that being said–and as you can probably tell–honoring my mother’s memory and her wishes (despite her awful husband), got me mad, determined, and off the couch.

    It is killing me that she won’t be there for my wedding this upcoming April. But, since her passing, I’ve become incredibly spiritual and I truly do feel her around me constantly. The last time I saw her was my 25th birthday–the day she bought (and saw me in) my wedding dress. It is a memory and a gift I will treasure forever. I will also have her in a charm on my bouquet, will wear her jewelry and will have our favorite drink featured as the specialty cocktail. And, of course, I know she’ll be right there with me 🙂

    Post # 18
    535 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: February 2014

    Mom died in 2008, I was 32, after 8 years of illness. When I started dating my fiance 2 years ago, I realized just how much I’d shut down during those 8 years. I don’t think you can cope. You just go each day at a time until finally you stop thinking about it every moment. Every once in a while I have another breakdown, but ultimately I have to take comfort in the thought that she would be happy I found someone.

    Post # 19
    337 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: August 2015

    my dad committed suicide a little over a year ago..i was 22

    i cant answer how to cope cause i dont know how

    Post # 20
    572 posts
    Busy bee

    @MrsPanda99:  I lost my mom six years ago, I was 22. She was battling cancer for a number of years, so we knew it was coming but didn’t make the loss any easier. I try to remember all the amazing times and memories with her. I also talk about her all the time and do a number of things in memory or in honor of her (without others knowing).

    I got married this past June and while planning there were many times I was sad she was not there, a normal reaction. We incorporated butterflies (her favorite) into the decor/invitations and such and used her dress on my boquet and a number of other items.

    It takes time to heal and not be so sad. I honestly cry more now about happy things that remind me of her then sad times.

    Hugs! Try to carry on their traditions and talk about them as much as possible! Keep their memories alive.

    Post # 21
    4605 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: March 2014

    I lost my dad when I was 8. He was in a car accident. It sucks. He missed, and will miss, everything in my life. Sometimes I feel like I haven’t really coped with it at all. It’s been 15 years since he died, so I’ve spent more of my life without him than with him. 

    Post # 22
    136 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: May 2015

    Sorry this is so long.  I lost my dad when I was 19, a few months shy of 20.  It was incredibly difficult.  I had always been a daddy’s girl growing up and my family is very close.  He was diagnosed with cancer when I was 17, but had been in remission for a year when he passed away very unexpectedly.

    He began having a headache the Wednesday before my finals week.  My mom found him mostly incoherent when she got home from work and took him to the hospital.  They admitted him and I drove in that day from school (about an hour and a half) against my mother’s protests.  She didn’t want me to be unprepared for finals and they didn’t think anything was seriously wrong, but I just had this feeling that I had to go home.  By Friday, the left side of his body was paralyzed and he was completely incoherent.  By Saturday, he was in a coma and they still couldn’t find what was wrong.  Sunday night I drove back to school for my finals on Monday, and I hadn’t even gotten to my apartment before my mom called to tell me to come back home.  They found out he had another type of very aggressive cancer that hadn’t shown up in many of their tests.  On Thursday, I finally asked my mom if I could have some time alone with him, as all of my family had done before he was comatose.  As soon as I was done talking to him and was getting ready to let my family back in, he began having a huge seizure and two hours later he passed away with my mom, my brother, and myself in the room with him.  I really felt that he waited until we had all had a chance to say goodbye.

    As far as coping, for the first six months after, I really didn’t.  I took a month off from my retail job (which my boss was luckily very sweet about).  I cried every single time I was by myself, so I constantly went out with friends so I didn’t have to be alone.  A year later, I moved back to my hometown because it was too difficult to be away from my family.  Time has helped, but as someone posted above, you always have a scar.  I was angry for a long time about the injustice of losing my father when I still very much needed him.  It’s been seven years, and I still think about him nearly everyday and occasionally it will catch you unexpectedly, and make you cry.  But you focus on the positive memories and stories and celebrate those.  I miss him and I hate that he won’t be there for my wedding or to see my future children, but I know that he would love Mr. S and be proud of me.  I’m definitely a stronger person and have grown up a lot, but I also lost a little of my carefree, crazy spark when we lost him.

    Post # 23
    739 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: May 2014

    I was 21 when my dad died suddenly. He was the person I was closest to in the world. I completely lost my shit for a while – I mean completely. Then I became emotionally cold for a long time, lost any faith I had in god, etc. Almost 13 years later, I feel like I’ve finally healed but the holidays are still really hard for me. I am very sad he won’t be at our wedding but he also didn’t get to see me graduate from college or grad school so I’m pretty used to it. 

    There are positive aspects to it too, now I’m a very centered and calm person because I’ve learned what matters in life. 

    Post # 24
    809 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: October 2013

    My dad passed unexpectedly 2.5 years ago, I was 25. We had a very complicated relationship. He struggled with addiction for the last 15 years of his life and while I knew how much he loved me and wanted to be a good dad, he wasn’t really able to be there for me. I had pushed away and alienated myself over the 5 years before his death. I visited with him about a month before he died and he was actually looking and doing well, from what I could tell. We had a long talk and had agreed to both try harder to become close again. I never got that chance. I am so thankful for the last visit I had with him. I’m glad the last memory with him were good thoughts. He gave me a rock he’d found that was shaped like a heart. He said he’d been carrying it for a while waiting to give it to me because I was his heart. Let’s just say it’s the most meaningful rock ever. Right along side the diamond I wear on my finger.

    His death was as complicated as his life. He was in generally poor health so we opted not to do an autopsy. We assume it was a heart attack or aneurysm. Not knowing made it hard. He was living alone in the country in the house he grew up in and was not found for 3 days after passing, so we were unable to do a viewing. Sadly this gave his death another level of difficulty.

    In some ways his death gave me peace because I knew he was no longer struggling and hurting. I wasn’t worrying about him all the time. I know he was unhappy for a very long time, so I take comfort in knowing he’s resting peacefully. I wish we had been able to talk and work things over before he died. But I was finally able to forgive him for his shortcomings, and myself for holding it over him for so long.

    I miss him and love him, but after the initial shock and pain of his death things have been ok. I think about him a lot and smile knowing he’d be proud of me. My mom walked me down the aisle, and that was hard, but I would have had her do it over my father even if he had been alive. I’m actually glad I didn’t have to tell him that. She and I are very close, much closer than I was to him. DH and I are TTC, and I know how much he wanted to be a grandfather, so that will be difficult. 

    To answer your question though, I’m not sure how people cope. I knew life had to keep going on. I had to keep living, and he would have wanted me to. I carry him with me in my heart. I’m agnostic, but I do believe that he’s always with me and watching over me.

    Now my mom, I’ll probably fall apart when she passes. I can’t even think about it.

    Post # 25
    6109 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: August 2012

    @MrsPanda99:  My dad died June 1, 2012.  He was 58; I was 36.  He was dying of cancer.  We even cancelled our wedding due to this situation.  I would have been a wreck if he died the week of the wedding.

    I think I pre-mourned his death far more than when he actually died.  Loosing someone unexpectedly is probably MUCH harder.  We had time to prepare and think about it, and talk to him, ask any last questions we had.

    When he died it was more a sigh of relief.  Dad did drugs secretly (found crack in his bag on the day he died – not good!), and was an alcoholic (on top of having cancer).  He drove when he shouldnt have been driving.  So he really worried us ALL THE TIME.  Like since I was 15 (I’m 37 now). 

    Month 1 after he passed – I was pretty numb.  Plus no one in my current state knew since he died in a different state.


    Month 2 – life kind of got back to normal.

    Month 3 – I was normal again.  We got married 88 days after dad died.  I was 100% ready emotionally.  It was a private wedding with two witnesses.

    I cry a little about him now and then.  I have a bunch of digital files of his voice from voicemails he left me.  That will get me choked up.


    When I think of the moment where the very last breath of air left his body and how I was holding him in my arms as he died in his own bed at home – that is when I cry for sure.  Tearing up as I type…

    How do I cope?  Well here is my mantra:  “In the natural order of life as we know it, every person goes through losing a parent – twice.  So I’m not that special, it happens to everyone.”

    It has to happen to everyone (if things are in natural order).  Our parents will go before us. It is how it is.  Acceptance.


    Post # 26
    1166 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: January 2015

    I lost my father when I was 19, he was an extreme alcoholic. 

    Post # 27
    752 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: May 2013

    I lost my dad last July unexpectedly, just before my 27th birthday. The first few days were excruciating and unfortunately a lot of the memorial planning was left to my older brother. I realized it wasn’t fair to him to have me relying on him too, so I decided to try my best to quell the emotions and that’s pretty much what I’ve done since.

    I’ve had some long drives home from work where I’ve broken down and cried, but for the most part I haven’t really since the first few days so I can’t really say if I’ve coped. As others have explained, there’s just an ever present hole in my heart now.

    I think about him all day, every day, how much I miss him and can’t believe I have the rest of my life to live without him. I walked down the aisle without him and will potentially raise children that will never know him….that’s the worst.

    To make matters worse (or better?), his death literally changed my life. He had a substantial life insurance policy. If he didn’t die, I’d be 90k in student loans, would not be living in the new house DH and I just bought, and wouldn’t be driving my new car. As much as they say money doesn’t buy you happiness, as awful as I’m about to sound saying this, I do honestly feel it has helped me. I can’t imagine having to pay for my father’s funeral, cope with his death, AND cope with the daily financial struggles I was experiencing beforehand. But I’d give it all back if it meant we had more time.

    I ground myself by realizing that I got more time with him than some of my friends had with theirs and I’m thankful for that.

    Post # 28
    756 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: September 2014 - Jacksonville Inn

    I lost my Dad to a sudden heart attack when I was 27, he was 62. I lost my Mom last January when I was 36, she was 71. My Dad’s death was very hard for all of us, my Dad was the foundation of our family. It’s hard that he’ll never know my partner or give me away at my wedding this year. My Dad was my best friend. My Mom and I were somewhat estranged, her new husband hates gays and I happen to be one. We barely spoke the year before her death. Over the last year my anger has started to turn to sadness, but in no way have I really mourned her death. I just hope she has forgiven me for being so angry and stubborn, I have forgiven her. I just wish that could have happened before she died.

    Post # 29
    2851 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: August 2015

    @MrsPanda99:  I lost my dad when I was 11 (over 14 years ago). It was sudden (heart attack). I basically didn’t cope for a long time. Just sort of ignored the situation. Didn’t talk about him for years, didn’t really cry at all. I didn’t want to look at pictures, or hear anyone talk about him. The one time I was in the car when my family went to the cemetary to see his headstone, I refused to get out of the car.

    Finally started to deal with it when I was 17 because my friend’s brother passed away and it drudged up all the old memories. I went to the cemetary with my friend. It sucked. I haven’t been back, but I feel more comfortable mentioning him or talking about him briefly. I’m okay with looking at pictures or home videos. Two Novembers ago I got a tattoo of his custom designed bass that was basically his other child (he used to play in classic rock bands). Part of the tattoo says “I love you” in his handwriting…I pulled it off a postcard he sent me when I was like 4 or something. 

    My Fiance never met him, and that really makes me sad. I think he would have liked him–they certainly have some similar traits. I’m so excited to get married, but the fact that my dad won’t be there is pretty devastating. It’s the one thing that makes me sort of not look forward to the wedding.

    Sooo yea it’s been tough. And I get jealous of people who have their dads. It’s been a long process.

    ETA: also it makes me really scared that something will happen to my mom. I’ve been worried for years about what would happen. Even now that I’m 26 and my youngest sister is in college, I don’t feel ready to take on the responsibility of being the head of the family.

    Post # 30
    6109 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: August 2012

    To add to the ways I coped, I also had a single therapy session.


    On top of finding crack cocaine and a pipe in my dad’s belongings on the day he died, he also said he took care of all his funeral arrangements months ago (he did not, also found ot the day he died), left my mom $6.13 to her name to put on a funeral (he blew all the retirement on drugs and gambling).  Every person I met at his wake thought my dad was a saint.  Yet he hurt us so much, throughout our whole lives with his drinking.

    And to top it off – he told all his relatives that HE paid for all his kids’ college tuition and paid off his house years ago.

    These were all lies.  I worked my ass off and paid for my own college, so did my sisters.  The house was no where near paid off – it was almost taken away in foreclosure. 

    I don’t know why he lied, but I had a lot of angries and I did not know what to do with them.  That’s why I sought out a therapy session.  He said I was normal and the angries will go away. 

    Post # 31
    2851 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: August 2015

    View original reply
    @SouthernGirl:  just read your comment…I lost my dad when I was 11, a little over 14 years ago. Your comment about spending more time of your life without him than with him really struck me. I hadn’t thought about it that way. Sorry for your loss. I know it’s hard growing up without your dad.

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