How life changes after the death of the parents

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Robert Maurer
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How life changes after the death of the parents

Last update: July 29, 2016

After the death of one's parents, life changes a lot, indeed very much. Dealing with orphanage, even for an adult, is a terrifying experience. In the depths of all of us continues to live that child who can always rely on his mother or father to feel protected. However, when they leave, this option disappears forever.



We can no longer see them, not just for a week, not for a month, but for the rest of our lives. Parents are the people who bring us into the world and with whom we share the most intimate and fragile aspects of our life. At a certain point there are no longer those individuals who, in a certain way, have made us who we are.

"When a newborn first squeezes his father's finger in his little fist, he has captured him forever."

-Gabriel García Marquez-

Death: there is a great gulf between talking about it and living it ...

We are never quite ready to face death, especially if it is the death of one of our parents. It is a great adversity that we are hardly able to overcome completely. Usually the best we can get is to accept it and live with it. To overcome it, at least in theory, we should be able to understand it, but death is, strictly speaking, completely incomprehensible.. It is one of the great mysteries of our existence, perhaps the greatest of all.

Obviously the way to accept a loss is closely related to how it happened. A death from so-called "natural causes" is painful, but it is even more painful for an accident or murder. If death is preceded by a long illness, the situation is very different from a sudden death.



The amount of time elapsed between the death of one parent and the other also has its weight: if little time has elapsed, the pain is more difficult to cope with. If, on the other hand, the time frame is longer, perhaps you are a little more ready to accept it.

In reality, not just a body disappears, but an entire universe. A world made of words, caresses, gestures. Even those tips repeated a hundred times that occasionally tired and those "manias" that made us smile or shake our heads because that's how we recognize them. It is now that we begin to miss them in an unlikely way.

Death does not warn. It can be guessed, but it never states exactly when it will arrive. Everything is summed up in a moment and that moment is categorical and decisive. Irreversible. Suddenly all the experiences lived in their company, both the good ones and the bad ones, disappear and become trapped in a memory. The cycle has finished and it's time to say goodbye.

What is there without really being there ...

In general, we think that day will never come, at least until it actually comes and becomes real. We are shocked and we see nothing but a box, with a rigid and immobile body, which does not speak and does not move. Which is there, but without really being there ...

Because it is with death that we begin to understand many aspects of the lives of those who are no longer there. We embrace a deeper understanding. Perhaps the fact of not having our loved ones next to us pushes us to understand the reason behind many of their actions which, up until that moment, were incomprehensible, contradictory and even repugnant.


It is for this reason that death can bring with it a sense of guilt towards those who have passed away. We must fight against that feeling, since it is useless, if not to make us drown more and more in sadness, without being able to remedy anything. Why blame ourselves if we made mistakes? We are human beings and that farewell must be accompanied by a forgiveness: a forgiveness of the person who leaves towards the one who remains, and of the one who remains towards the one who goes away.


Enjoy them while they are there, because they won't be there forever ...

Regardless of one's age, when one's parents die, it is normal to feel a sense of abandonment. It is a death different from all the others. Sometimes, some people refuse to give these deaths the importance they deserve, as a defense mechanism and as a hidden denial. However, those unresolved pains come back in the form of sickness, fatigue, irritability, or depressive symptoms.


Parents are our first love. It doesn't matter how many conflicts or how many differences we have had with them: they are unique and irreplaceable beings within our emotional world. Even if we are now autonomous and independent, even if our relationship with them has been difficult, when they are no longer there, we miss them as a "never again" of that protection and support that, in one way or another, have always made present in our life.

Those who have not met their parents or who have moved away from them at an early age, spend their whole life carrying that absence like a burden on their shoulders. An absence that is presence, because in our heart there is always an empty space that demands them.


Be that as it may, one of the great losses in life is that of the parents and it can be difficult to overcome if there has been injustice or neglect in the care we have reserved for them. For this reason, as long as they are alive, it is important to be aware that the parents will not be there forever, which are, genetically and psychologically, the reality from which we were born; that they are unique and that our lives will change forever after they disappear.

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