How do I cope with losing my mom

Kaileen McMickle, MS, LPC
Kaileen McMickle, MS, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor
I'm so sorry you lost your mom.  

Grief is a tough process.  Usually the pain from loss doesn't go away, but changes in ways that are manageable for your life.  When most people lose someone, others offer a lot of support.  After a while that support tapers off even though your need for support doesn't.  It's important to identify people or resources that can be there for you when you are still hurting.  Do you have anyone in your life that is pretty constant?  There are also many grief support groups online (e.g., https://www.griefshare.org/), and are usually some in person depending on your area.  These may be temporarily discontinued due to the COVID-19 situation, though they may be doing these groups online as a way to offset the social distancing requirements.

I know nothing about what your relationship with your mom was, the manner in which she passed, or how old you are, but many times that can come with some pretty complicated emotions.  I also don't know if you lost your mom through death--some people lose a parent via abandonment or a disease, such as dementia.  No matter what the situation is, whatever pain shows up for you is completely OK.  Many people feel much more than sadness, especially if the relationship with their loved one was problematic or if the loss was unexpected or traumatic.  It's normal to feel intense anger, guilt, feelings of disbelief, even happiness or relief.  Grief does not have the same path for everyone and whatever path you are on is not wrong.

When I work with a client that has had a significant loss, there are a number of things I may work on with them.  One is letter writing.  This isn't for everybody and some people need support and guidance with this.  Sometimes there are things we feel have been unsaid and it can provide a sense of closure.  For some people it helps feel connected to that person again.  Closure is not necessary to be able to move through grief, but it can be helpful.  

If the client feels it would be useful, we also try to find a way to honor that person.  That may be through talking about them, having a monthly or yearly ritual, or carrying on a tradition they enjoyed.  It also depends on the culture you come from as well.  Many different cultures have different beliefs about death and loss and the ways they think of or honor their loved one.  Stick with what you feel speaks to your heart.

Of course, a counselor who specializes in grief may be a great option.  You can find someone in your area or online in your specific state that has the training for that.  Counselors without that specialization may also be able to provide you some help--I don't know any counselors who haven't had training in this area.  Counselors are usually happy to answer your questions about their qualifications.

I hope this helps you find some support!
The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide.   If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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