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The Lifelong Effects for a Child After the Death of a Parent


When a child experiences the death of a parent, the emotional trauma can be devastating. But until recently, few studies have examined the impact of this type of loss relative to the age of the child and the quality of parenting that the child received after the loss. In her study, Angela Nickerson, of the Massachusetts Veterans Epidemiology Research and Information Center at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, sought to determine how this dynamic affected these children across their life span. “As the life span progresses and the individual reaches adulthood, the psychological and interpersonal consequences of this disturbance may manifest in long-term mental health problems,” said Nickerson. “There is strong evidence that aspects of the family environment, such as quality of parental care and relationship with the surviving parent, are important in affecting long-term psychological reactions following parental loss.”

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For her study, Nickerson and her colleagues analyzed data from 2,823 adults who had all experienced the death of a parent during childhood. They used the World Health Organization Composite International Diagnostic Interview to assess psychological impairment, parental care, and other factors that could contribute to difficulties later in life. They found that the younger a child was at the time of the loss, the more likely they were to develop mental health problems, including anxiety, mood, or substance abuse issues. The study also revealed that family conditions after the death played a significant role. “While the current study focused on the impact of adverse parenting practices on psychological distress, it is possible that positive family relationships and good parenting practices may act as a protective factor against psychopathology following the loss of a parent,” said Nickerson. She added, “These findings have important implications for theoretical conceptualizations of psychological reactions following the loss of a parent across the life span.”

Nickerson, A., Bryant, R. A., Aderka, I. M., Hinton, D. E., & Hofmann, S. G. (2011, October 17). The Impacts of Parental Loss and Adverse Parenting on Mental Health: Findings From the National Comorbidity Survey-Replication. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0025695

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  • joey October 24th, 2011 at 11:49 AM #1

    losing a parent at a young age would make the child feel helpless and even ‘different’ from the others…there is a lot going on in the minds of kids and not many of us know that they are capable of complex thinking and that these things can have a major effect on them.

  • Rosie October 24th, 2011 at 1:51 PM #2

    I am finding out that this is the same for an adult who was adopted at birth. Being raised by a wonderful family still doesn’t erase the pain that the infant felt when abandoned at birth.

  • Jean Vaughn October 24th, 2011 at 4:32 PM #3

    I lost my mother at a very young age and it has always impacted me negatively. I am always thinking about the things that I am doing now and that she was never able to experience. I have already lived longer than she did and it was hard for me to reach that age that she was when she died and have no problems whatsoever. I am afraid that I will not be able to be a good mom because I never really had her around a whole lot to model that behavior for me. That is something that I still struggle with.

  • E.M.K October 25th, 2011 at 5:49 AM #4

    While death of a parent would affect a child beyond doubt,the changing family structure in these times are not a good thing either.It is very similar to death of a parent because in so many families the parent have separated and the children no longer have contact with one of the parents.Death is not always preventable but the breaking marriages are!

  • Sarai October 25th, 2011 at 1:28 PM #5

    I was a young adult when I lost my dad- while I was in college. And even though I have so many wonderful memories of him it still is difficult to process sometimes that he is gone and that I will not be able to see him again. But I try to remember the happy times and not dwell on the fact that I miss him. I try to remember all of the good things and to still make him a part of my life with my own children now. That still makes him very real to me, and I love that I can share that specialness with my kids now too.

  • Kendrick October 26th, 2011 at 12:00 AM #6

    If something material is missing it can be got later on and you will not miss it forever. But it a parent is missing in a child’s life then that is a completely different story. It’s next to impossible to replace because no matter how good the other parent is the void will always be felt.

  • Mary Andrews October 26th, 2011 at 2:35 PM #7

    No matter how young or old you are when this happens nothing can prepare you for the loss of a parent and there is nothing that can help you get over the pain of that loss of the first people who ever loved you unconditionally.

  • Isiah Bryant October 30th, 2011 at 8:13 PM #8

    My dad died when I was eleven. My mother was always the homemaker and didn’t work much. Suddenly us kids were thrust into a world without Dad where she wasn’t there when we got in from school. The daily routine was all different now because she now had to work. We had strangers coming in to babysit us because my parents kept themselves to themselves and never had friends that we knew of.

    We hated that intrusion. I think that’s why I make sure my family is surrounded by close friends and acquaintances the children know well, so that if anything happened to me that support would be there.

  • themuse October 30th, 2011 at 9:21 PM #9

    I am so glad mine are up into their twenties now and self-reliant, or at least as self-reliant as any average twenty-something can be. I cannot imagine how I would have managed to raise them all by myself when they were small and count my blessings that my husband and I got through those years without incident. It hurts my heart to think about families that have to.

  • Lara Phelps October 31st, 2011 at 12:10 AM #10

    My best friend’s father was killed in a car wreck when she was only months old. Although she never knew him, she’s always felt that sense of loss and bereavement. When her wedding came around it was very hard emotionally on her. In the end she decided upon a favorite uncle to give her away, her father’s brother.

  • Darla H. November 2nd, 2011 at 3:14 PM #11

    I lost my dad when I was seven. I don’t recall much about it. He had a stroke one day at his work. When you see photographs of my dad it’s clear the resemblance between him and I is uncanny. Everyone that knew him comments on it to this day. I went through a phase in my teens of thinking mom must hate me because of that, and how difficult it must be for her to look at me every day and see this face that’s the spitting image of dad looking back at her.

    I talked about that once to her. She told me it was painful at first when he died, but over time the pain subsides to be replaced with a sense of comfort that he’s never far away. She need only look at her daughter to remember that, she said with a smile. That made me feel much better. :)

  • Clint Dunlap November 2nd, 2011 at 5:57 PM #12

    I get angry when I hear teens complain about their parents and how they won’t buy them this or let them do that. They don’t know how lucky they are to have them!

    Try growing up in foster homes and see if you are still so quick to badmouth them, boys and girls. You have no idea what it’s like to be on the flip-side of that nasty coin.

  • Rosie August 19th, 2012 at 4:55 PM #13

    I was 3 when my ‘dad’ left and 7 when my dear mum died of cancer. I’m 17 now and have been raised by my aunt and uncle who have been like a second mum and dad to me. However despite how lucky I am, I felt as soon as my mum died that id grown up and that my childhood had ended. Now I suffer from seperation anxiety disorder where I’m scared my aunt and uncle will die if I’m not at home and therefore am terrified about sleeping away from home, panic attacks and I’ve always been the weird kid at school as I’m always thinking and worrying.
    I think the death of my mum is something ill never get over and will always affect me but its also something that I feel has made me stronger and more level headed than most teenagers my age. I appreciate what ive got and what I had and hope one day that the empty feeling inside me will be filled one day when I have my own children.
    I don’t know what other affects the death had on me but I try to look at the positives. I mean I’m lucky, Ive experienced 2 sets of parents, I’m close to my auntie and my uncle is more of a dad to me than my real one ever was! :)

  • lindsay pitt September 6th, 2012 at 2:05 PM #14

    my son is 5 and just lost his father in january of 2012 suddenly of a heart attack. ever since then he has turned into this child i dont know, misbehaving and such. i know hes 5 and doesnt always listen but before his father died he was a very well behaved child, iv sent him to counseling but i dont think its working….he still continues to be disruptive in class and lies to me alot…what should i do??

  • Glenn stoker September 26th, 2012 at 10:08 AM #15

    Dear lindsay, I ran across your post while i was researching all the different psychological effects loosing my father at 10 yo via drunk driver may be having on me now 14 years later(24 y.o now). First let me say i am no psycologist but i feel i might offer some some helpfull advice. Apparently when a kid looses a parent at that age it can cause them to backslide into former habbits that they were originally broken from. Also, and also my best guess is that the little guy felt as though the majority of his disipline was being inforced by his dad, thus now that his dad is no longer around he dosent have the “disiplinary coach” that he is used to a recognizes. I think you need to eventually let him know that his behavior is not acceptable and that you are a force to be reckoned with; but dont let your temper blur the fact that his actions are more than likely a form of grief or mourning. Oh yeah, As far as counselling goes. . . I DEFINATELY advise you to KEEP HIM IN counselling. If you feel its not doing anything then try another. I know i was 5 years older when i lost my father and that may make a signifigant difference as far as what effect it had; But no one ever forced me into counselling. . . They just asked me if i wanted it and being the lost, confused, hurting, and ignorant kid that i was i denied and mom was to busy worki g to raise my brother and I to make me go. . . That is one thing i wish i could change. Dealing with that hurt, the loss. . . On my own. . . I am mentally/emotionally broken in so many ways. Not only will something like that cause depression long after, i also have ptsd. It caused me to go down hill in school and i quit some of my favorite activitys because all of my emotions aside from mad and sad seemed to be numb. I began disrespecting my mother and getting into trouble. . Its amazing the profound effects an event like that will have for years to come wotb out proper care. Im not sure any of this will help you but i felt like i needed to atleast try. I wouldnt wish the hell i went through on any kid or anyone for that matter. I know its probably hard on you aswell, but no matter what; in the end, no matter how hard this is on your son, i promise you that aslong as he has a loving and careing mother to wipe his tears away and eembrace him during his roughest moments he’ll be okay. And one more thing. Fill his ears with as many happy memories, thoughts and stories about his dad as you can after hes gotten thru the initial grieving. The more he learns about dad from your stories, the closer he will feel to him and the less he will have to always wonder about. . . . Good luck and ill pray for yall.

  • Ruben V September 29th, 2012 at 1:28 PM #16

    I just stumbled uponthis and felt I should comment…I lost my father when I was seven years old, suddenly from a massive heart attack. I still remember to this day, my mom coming in and telling us to pray for my dad because something happened although she didnt specify. I prayed my heart out that day, to no avail of course as when we arrived at the hospital we were informed he did not make it. That event changed my life then and continues to affect me everyday of my life since. I went through hell, but it was somehwat delayed as I did not begin to havemajor issues until iwas a teen. I was into drinking, drugging, crime, and sex. I was a terrible teenager and was placed on all types of antideppressants and was even arrested three times. However, thanks to an unrelenting mother who refused to see me end up in prison or the dirt, I am now a pharmacist in my first year of residency…dont get it twisted, I still struggle everyday with his loss….

  • Kurt October 7th, 2012 at 11:48 PM #17

    My mother died when i was 11 years old. She tried to kill herself by Oding on sleeping pills less than a month after we moved from New Jersey to Memphis. We celebrated my 11th birthday on October 15th in Lakeside Hospital Mental Ward. She came home at the end of October because she showed that she was getting better by caring for herself again. {putting on makeup; showering; etc}. She cut her left wrist and throat on November 10, 1982. She left a note saying that she was a bad mother and thought my sister and I would be better off without her. She was so wrong. My 15 yo sister found her and ran out of the house to the neighbor across the street and was so hysterical, we couldn’t understand what she was saying: Only that it was about mom. I went back across the street with the neighbor’s 13 yo son.

    The next thing I remember, I was in the neighbor’s recreation room in the middle of the floor playing Asteroids on their Atari 2600. Apparently I was unresponsive. After that, I remember I was asking if mom had made it like last time. She hadn’t. We buried her according to her wishes in her home town of Baltimore, MD at a Jewish Cemetery. My father took my sister and me to psychologists and counselors, but he made a very big mistake that I hope others can avoid. With each counselor and psychologist over the next six years, I went in to see the counselor first and then dad went in.

    I never told them anything except talked about baseball because I soon found out that the things I said were repeated to my father. I then got yelled at about what I had said to the shrink for the rest of the evening. There was no confidentiality because the counselors all worked for my father, not me. Counselors beware, it is not your job to tell someone that they are at fault for the problems in their lives, especially when your patient has ADHD, and has been asked all his life: What did you do to make the bully come after you. I called him a jerk and that was all the bully needed as an excuse. Do you ask every victim these questions? Do we ask rape victims what they did that got them raped? No. So why is it acceptable to ask anyone else these kinds of questions? These are the kinds of things you might tell an addict, but I never drank, nor do I do drugs. I never have and never will. If you are a counselor and you ask your patient what they did to provoke a bully or anyone else who assaults them, you should lose your license, and I hope you do. I was hit over the head by a guy who lived in my building a few years ago. I was questioned by police and at the hospital, but it wasn’t until my family called that anyone even remotely suggested that I had provoked this man who hit me over the head with a metal fence spike. Some things never change.

  • Gina October 8th, 2012 at 5:01 AM #18

    I lost my mom when I was 8 but I always knew she was going to die because she told me. Subsequently I was raises by my paternal grandmother who hated me I know because she told me. If your childhood ends with the recollection of death does that mean I never had one because I’ve always understood?
    Throughout my life I’ve been wildly successful graduating early, awards,
    even accomplished a masters degree at 22 years old. As I’ve gotten older however (35) im really starting to see how the loss is affecting me.

    Im angry at my partner for having the love and support I never did, I’m depressed and jealous, and untrusting.

    I am positive these actions will eventually sever my relationship and bring about the very thing that I fear.

  • Elizabeth Farrell October 22nd, 2012 at 9:44 PM #19

    I lost my mom at the age of 6 and have no memory of her.
    I remember things that happened when she was alive, but do not have any recall of her presence, though I’m told she was definatly there. I’t had a big impact on my life and how I was as a mother, but I would most like to know what you would classify this type of what I presume would be amnesia? I would highly appreciate it if I could have an answer to this question sent to my email.

  • Chris October 25th, 2012 at 3:17 PM #20

    I was 13 when my dad was murdered. About 8 months later, after my dad’s ‘friend’ swore an oath to look after us whilst holding my dad’s hand in the mourge (an oath he broke straight away by pointing the finger at me and saying,”he will turn against me”, my mum, little brother, me and ‘friend’ moved away from family and friends, leaving older brother behind. I felt desperately alone and felt we weren’t able to grieve properly with ‘friend’ there. I bottled everything inside and only now, 25 years later, after a trail of destruction that is my life behind me, am i able to talk about my feelings. With proffesional help i may be able to live some sort of normal life on the path i might have chose if i had received proper help after my dad’s death. My journey began about 6 weeks ago and have a long way to go, but i’ll get there, somewhere, i hope.

  • Chris October 26th, 2012 at 10:22 AM #21

    To Lindsay. Sometimes children will go back to a time when they were a bit naughty after suffering the loss of a parent. It could be something miniscule that has amplified through grief. Maybe think of something naughty that he did before his dad died and forgive him for it until it sinks in that ‘it’s not his fault’. If you’ve formed a relationship then you need to get to know your child’s feelings about it. i hope this helps x

  • Worried November 3rd, 2012 at 3:24 AM #22

    I can’t help but wonder, and search for help, and understanding. My neice just turned 14. She lost her mother due to cancer, at 3, and her father from drugs at the age of 13. She moved in with me and her uncle, bc we were not going to let her go to foster care. I can not even begin go understand her pain. She has given some trouble, which is understandable. She is getting counseling, but is telling us she wants to do drugs to take away the pain … Like she did before she came with us. We love her with all our hearts. I don’t know how to get her help, b/c I don’t think couceling is enough, and I can’t find many teens that have lost both parent, been exsposed to drugs, and a drug life.

  • Gabriela November 4th, 2012 at 8:59 PM #23

    I lost my father @ 9 to cancer and my mother @ 15 to heart problems. I moved in with an aunt I hardly knew immediately after my mothers death. I was a mess. I had lost everything I was accustomed to and thrown into a family structure with rules and ideas so foreign to me. I was lonely and moaned not only my parents but also the life I was used to. I was miserable and could only think about leaving my aunts house. I didn’t. I had no where else to go, so I dug deep into my own life. I shut out my extended family because I didn’t feel they understood what I was experiencing and began behavior that went against everything my parents instilled in me. Why? It was an escape… Eventually, I learned the hard way that I wasn’t much happier either. By this time, I was 18 and I started to really reflect on my life and my goals. I eventually got a job, got married, had kids, and had a normal life, but I was still plagued by my childhood. I went to counseling and got help for my anxiety, depression, and ptsd. All that resulted from my parents death… I now see my past as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit… I should be a statistic, yet I have a normal family filled with love and my life is only getting better.

    Your nice will have a hard time dealing with the death of her parents… But its all about the support after that will make her or break her… I received almost none and relied only on myself and had a hard transition into adulthood… Thankfully, as an adult I have more support systems then I can count and it has allowed me to really focus on healing the scars left so long ago. I am now a better mother, wife, person than ever before.

  • AC November 9th, 2012 at 9:15 AM #24

    How about when the teen is not emotionally moved by the death of the main parent providing care. Or hAs a reaction that would be opposite of what would be appropriate for the given situTION (feeling happy not sadness) It’s hard to find research like this or information about this sort of response to an emotional trauma . a year after the passing, there were physical manifestations in the form of intestinal inflammation. There needs to be grief that must be dealt with, but how? Those emotions are hidden away somewhere. locked with a key and surrounded by a few steel walls.

  • NW November 27th, 2012 at 9:07 AM #25

    My best friend lost his dad when he was 3. He was the youngest of his siblings. Now 32, he has always seemed to have trouble being in relationships. He also had a few issues with substance abuse. He and I dated for a while (as teens), and have been talking more recently, and he still, seems to have this “mental block” whenever we seem to be getting “too close.” Is this a potential manifestation of fear from the loss of his father at such a young age? Incidentally, he just turned the same age as his dad was when he died, and seems to be having a hard time with that. IDK..I just want to be able to be there for him in any way I can, but would like a bit more information to try to understand him and his mental state better. Thanks

  • Leonard December 5th, 2012 at 11:02 PM #26

    @Rosie Well how about being an adult who was adopted (shortly after birth) and then experiencing the loss of a parent. Sounds like I got dealt a great hand.

  • Paula January 9th, 2013 at 7:11 PM #27

    Get your niece involved in a church youth group, surrender the whole situation to god. Find a good therapist fo her, that is important, hang in there that is a heart breaking situation.

  • Mark January 13th, 2013 at 9:23 AM #28

    Its not a competition

  • Katie February 3rd, 2013 at 4:34 AM #29

    My mother died when I was nine and as an adult of 34 I am still dealing with the consequences. Not just of the loss of my mother, but also of the subsequent neglect and verbal abuse I experienced at the hands of my narcissistic, emotionally immature father. He never re-married and intimate relationships were not normalised in my household. I found it very difficult to form relationships as an adult because of an acute fear of rejection (related to the death) and because of extreme feelings of low worth (related to my father’s lack of empathy and verbal abuse. I agree with Joey’s comment that children who lose a parent would feel ‘different.’ I did, and also subconsciously interpreted the loss as something I somehow deserved, which must have meant that I was a bad person.
    On another note, this forum is about the death of a parent, not divorce. When I was a kid some people even hypothesized to me that going through parents’ divorce would be worse for kids than bereavement. Well, please don’t trivialize the pain of the bereaved in this way. It is greatly insensitive.

  • Fran February 16th, 2013 at 1:35 PM #30

    I am now 75 years of age and lost my father to a heart attack when I was 14. I realize I am still looking in many ways for the comfort and support that was not forthcoming or available at the time. Until he died our family had lived a very stable life. My dad owned a small business in a midwestern town and my mother was a homemaker to him, my two older sisters and me. After his sudden and unexpected death, my mother took over his business and I was left to keep house, make meals etc. after my sisters returned to college. I felt abandoned and neglected and was told by mother’s friends that I was now to “take care of her”. In my heart I wanted someone to take care of me and in thinking that, I felt selfish. I was the first of my friends to lose a parent and they had no idea what to say to me. No one else did either. Fortunately, I have lived a very productive life: college, graduate school, a career with hospitalized children and many friends and have lived happily for many years on the East Coast. I have had one long term relationship of over twenty years that recently ended with his increasing dementia and a return to his children. I have no children. I have solid and loving relationships with several nieces and nephews. All my life, with my fear of abandonment and responsibility, I have placed importance on learning how to survive on my own and have been successful at that. It has been what has gotten me through. But I do wonder if my life could have been even richer if I had received some counseling and comfort and support at the time. I just felt so alone and taking care of myself seemed the solution. One of my sisters was killed in an automobile accident some years later, leaving behind a husband and four children, continuing the family experience with sudden death. I have been in much successful therapy for many things over the years but feel I’ve never gotten to the bottom of this early loss and wonder if it is too late to explore it more fully. At my age now, I experience the regular loss of friends and family and each one takes me back to that early devastating loss.
    Yes, Katie, I agree, do not compare death to divorce–each leaves its’ very different tangled mess to deal with.

  • Christopher February 17th, 2013 at 9:02 PM #31

    I was 11 when my father committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. I was the one who found his body. I had to keep the true cause of his death a secret from everyone except immediate family members. My mother then started abusing drugs again heavily and died from an overdose when I was 15. My younger brother and I then went into foster care. As much as I tried to tell myself that I was alright I realized years later that I was never alright. The losses I experienced left me deeply scarred in ways I never even realized. It made me feel not only different, but completely alienated. I never talked to anyone about what I experienced (aside from the therapists I was forced to see while in foster care).

    As an adult now, many years after all of this, I am still haunted by my losses. There’s still a part of me that is a child crying for those who will never come back. Deep inside there is still that child who screamed for his daddy to come back to him as he watched his mother give him mouth to mouth. The blood was everywhere. Those images can never be erased.

    I needed someone to hug me and tell me everything would be alright. I needed someone to hold me and tell me there was nothing I could have done to stop it. I needed someone to comfort me. No one ever did. No one who knows me now knows any of the things that I went through. No one knows the pain and lonliness I felt. I learned to take care of myself as best I could. I didn’t really do a good job. There is an emptiness inside of me that can never truly be filled. I needed someone to talk to. I still do. But even if I could I know I wouldn’t.

  • Lucinda Hamilton February 19th, 2013 at 10:58 AM #32

    My father died in front of me from a heart attack when I was almost 7. I was an only child, and have no memory of him before that day. I do have some memories of that day but not a lot. I am now 65 years old and think I want the memories but still don’t remember. Was hypnotized once by a doctor but remember he said I would remember what I wanted to remember and forget what I didn’t. Anyone else have a memory block.

  • KIMBERLY BLACK February 19th, 2013 at 8:57 PM #33

    I lost my mother at age 11, i helped my Dad raise my lil bro. and lil sister, I had three older siblings, of which I have only an older sister , both my brother and one other sister were killed in auto accidents, I was only three when my then 11 yr old sister died, and my bro died when i was in my late thirties, i am 48, none the less…time tells all….grief never leaves…and reminders are part of a life time. My thing is how I can see all the personality problems I have had since the death of my mom…..I have always tried to “take” care of everyone and nurture their feelings, I have always wanted to be taken care of loved, hugged and nurtured….becoming almost disabled by these feelings, I had four children , they all have problems, three oldest are women with children, one son youngest, no children, he’s 27…..anyway I have 10 grands. But my feelings of guilt for their problems, and my own need for nurturing are crippling my life.

  • KIMBERLY BLACK February 19th, 2013 at 8:59 PM #34

    my dad died in 2003, it’s 2013, we were very close

  • James February 22nd, 2013 at 3:12 AM #35

    My mother committed suicide when I was 4, and there are still a lot of loose ends surrounding it. I spent my entire life thinking that she killed herself and building a better relationship with my father. Through my high school years I was extremely rebellious to my dad because of the awful relationship between me and my step mother. I feel because of my behavior, ruined this marriage. Afterwards, we slowly rebuilt our relationship to where now it’s better but kind of shaky. Once I turned eighteen on a visit to my distant maternal grandparents, they told me there was a lot I didn’t know. My mother showing them people were following her, stress from my fathers addictions, and I gambling problem that I was unaware of. When the FBI did their investigation, they said that the whole situation was bizarre. There is even accounts on record of me at four years old saying there was a strange man lurking around the outside of the house. This is still an outgoing investigation, but it has gone cold. I have no idea what really happened, but it seems like my father had some hand in this. Now as a college student, I have a much better relationship with my dad. We have never gone into detail about the situation, and every time I ask he doesn’t tell me anything relevant. This has put me in an awful position. I don’t know where to confront him about it and risk destroying the one solid family relationship I have left, or just let it go and go on living with the person who could have caused all of this pain for me. I’ve gone on just ignoring it, trying to better myself and get through school. It is still a large burden on me emotionally and I am completely torn. Every time I’ve gone to a counselor I complete the course and they say I’m alright, but I really don’t think so. I feel like I’m going to go through life without being able to trust anyone, and will die lonely like I’ve always been…

  • Scott Homer February 22nd, 2013 at 3:33 PM #36

    Hello Lucinda,
    I lost my dad to a sudden and unexpected heart attack when I was 8 years old. I can remember everything about that day as if it was yesterday. But like you I cannot remember anything about my dad before that day. I was kept away from the funeral to protect me but I have always felt angry about this although I know my mom was doing what she thought was best at the time.
    I’m 42 now and still have problems as I don’t think I ever truly grieved.
    I’ve managed to track down some of my dads old friends via email and have obtained some good info, simple things like what his favorite drink, food, TV program was etc.
    can’t explain why I can’t remember anything myself unless your memory shuts everything out to cope.

  • Lady Harp March 5th, 2013 at 8:34 AM #37

    There is so much pain on this website, it is devestating. I am 53 years old, female, and lost my father at age 7. He was sick as long as I can remember, and did not have the time of day for me. His death resulted in terrible nightmares and a fear of heights for some odd reason. I kept dreaming that I climbed the stairs in our home. At the top I was standing in front of closed elevator doors. When they opened, my partially decomposed father came after me. The nightmares subsided, but I am left with a fear of heights and now that I play a musical instrument, this fear has translated into performance anxiety. As I realized the origin of my fears, I have begun to research the effect of a parent’s death. I was surprised how much material I found on the web. This subject is finally being explored and studied in great detail. Apparently boys and girls are affected differently. Girls tend to be successful and fiercely self reliant. Boys tend to manifest their grief in more disruptive behaviours, especially if they are young(around 5 years old). It also depends wether it is a mother or father you lose, and the manner in which you lose them. No doubt it is a journey and my heart goes out to all of you who travelled it with me. Blessings!

  • sarah March 9th, 2013 at 11:16 PM #38

    thanks chris for sharing your story helped me alot.. my dad committed suisude when i was 13 and i too bottled everything inside untill it came out itself. again in destructive ways. i an 24 now and started recovery about a year ago it is hard but freeing at the same time. its just nice to know that i am not alone.. i fell that way alot in relation to this topic.

  • M.McG March 15th, 2013 at 4:47 PM #39

    A lot of these sharings come from a very deep place, and I feel that it is good sometimes for us to share the feelings caused by our losses. And these losses can have untoward effects on our lives.

    I’m currently doing some personal research into gender constructs in society, and looking into androgyny, as I have always found myself with quite masculine traits, as well as feminine (I am female).

    I lost my dad at the age of 13 to heart failure, and my mother, who already had issues with alcohol abuse, became more dependant on alcohol, which resulted in my siblings both leaving home (one through choice at 16, one by social services at 10) when I was 14. I am wondering if the fact that I was left to pick up the pieces of my mother’s shattered life, left me becoming the husband, the brother, the son, the father, that she no longer had (deceased, lost contact, taken away, deceased). I’m unsure if there has been any research conducted into this area. I am trying to search for it (hence how I came across this page), but id anyone could inform me of anything, I’d really appreciate it.

  • Heather March 26th, 2013 at 2:44 PM #40

    I’m not really looking for advice about my own life, as much as advice for my boyfriend. His dad died of cancer when he was 16 so it was just him and his mom from ages 16-21 (and we’re both almost 22). Without warning (and they think it was a stroke), his mom died and my boyfriend found her dead the next morning. He was a wreck the first few months because he was suddenly an orphan but at an older age rather than as a child, and I tried to be there as best as I could but I feel like he needs more.
    It’s been about 8 months since her death and he finally acknowledges that he should talk to a therapist but is there anything else I can do or suggest for him? I don’t want him having a breakdown in the future that could have been prevented or at least subdued. Sorry it’s so long, any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  • Sarah March 28th, 2013 at 7:54 PM #41

    I had a question for the people that commented on this site. I see that some of you loss your parents at an early age and I would like to know your perspective on how you turned out in the sense of feeling lost or incomplete or having resentment. I lost my mom at the age of twenty and it has been very tough for me. But I am very worried about my brother that was only 6 when it happened. I need to know that in one way or another he will be ok. He is struggling with school, doesn’t want to do homework, it may be because mom used to help him with that. And our father loves him, but he doesn’t have much patience and can be authoritative at times. I am away at college most of the time and I am afraid he will not be ok when he grows up because he doesn’t have that warm comfort that comes from a mother’s love. If anyone has some helpful input on the our situation I would really appreciate your perspective.

  • Christopher April 3rd, 2013 at 4:15 PM #42

    @ Sarah I was 11 when I lost my dad and 15 when I lost my mom. I do have strong feelings of being lost and incomplete. My feelings of resentment stem from the fact that they were responbile for thier own deaths. If I had someone to help me encourage me and just be there through the years I probably would have had a better time dealing with it. But that is my case. Everyone is different. Your brother has you even if you’re not always physically there for him. I recommend that you encourage him as much as possible to talk about your the loss and his feelings. Let him know he’s not alone. There are support groups for young people who lost a parent. I attened one once and it was very helpful. I’m sure your brother will be ok because he has you and your father. It’s not going to be easy but even if you’re there for him he will be ok.

  • Tattoo jimmy April 4th, 2013 at 6:24 PM #43

    I grew up in a home with lots of domestic abuse. i have 4 sisters and I was the only one never physically harmed. My dad was in the navy and my mother was a severe alcoholic. While she loved me very much my father was cold and unsympathetic. To this day he has never complimented me or told me he loves me. They got divorced when I was 10 and that was basically when the trouble began. my first crime was that summer when I stole $1200 from my moms boyfriend and used it to buy rare comics. She died when I was 12 from acute ethanol toxicity “alcohol poisoning”. Shortly there after I was kicked out of 2 private schools within a month, failed the 6th grade , (straight a’s prior, spelling bees, chess club, you name it) started fighting all the time, became increasingly violent and destructive, etc.. My first time arrested was age 14 and have been arrested dozens of times since. I started doing drugs around then and dropped out of school at 15. I was very sexually active, with little regard for personal safety. I’ve done a total of about 6 years behind bars and I’m 27 now. I did 5 years from age 17 to 22 for malicious wounding ( Virginia). I got out, did good for a while, then started with drugs again and eventually started shooting heroin. I’m practically clean now ((except for pot and alcohol)trust me, it’s an improvement). Doctors try to label me as, sociopathic, bi-polar, narcissistic, anti-social, attention deficit.. Maybe I’m all of those, I don’t know. I do know that I was a good kid with a family at one point, and I was okay until my family disintegrated. I acted out a little when they divorced, but when she died I went bonkers. I think it’s because I went from being loved, with positive and negative reinforcement from my mother, to an absent, purely negative father. To this day I have had no lasting relationship, although its very easy for me to meet girls and make friends. My advice to you is to fully support your brother and don’t abandon him. He needs you to help him in this crucial stage of his development.

  • Deb April 7th, 2013 at 11:27 PM #44

    Does anyone know how we, the public, can get hold of this article? I would really be interested to read it.

    My dad died when I had just turned 3, and coupled with the fact that I have “Insecure Attachment” issues with mum, I’d like to know what their studies unearthed.

    I empathise with those still struggling with issues… you’re not alone. That’s so cliche, but it’s either that or a long-winded monologue that will end up confusing rather than helping.


  • Deb April 11th, 2013 at 2:05 AM #45

    I spent some time reading through the posts and wanted to comment on the memory issue for those who were aged 5 or 6.

    I was speaking to my brother, who had just turned 6 two months before my dad’s death, and was surprised to hear him say he has no memories of dad or anything else before the day dad died. His first memory was of one of our mum’s friends taking him shopping to buy a toy car, whilst dad’s funeral was in progress.

    There’s definitely a theme here. I was too young, so I have no memory at all of him. To be honest, I don’t know WHAT my first memory is – I have a very “chaotic” mind…. Dr. Gabor Mate calls it “scattered mind” which is also the name of his book. It’s referring to ADHD, amongst other “disorders”.

    I’d recommend you researching the author on YouTube if interested in how attachment (incl. loss) to parents can have lasting effects on children. Very informative.


  • Deb April 11th, 2013 at 6:23 PM #46

    Apologies, I wanted to add.

    My brother didn’t realise his memory fell on the day of dad’s funeral, mum recalled the event when I was telling her about my bro’s lack of any memory of our father.


    Or perhaps it’s normal for children not to have memories of anything before a cerain age? Maybe the capacity for laying down (long term, conscious) memories can only occur at a certain stage of brain development?

    I’m sure this will become more apparent as others comment on their memories/ages.

  • Deb April 11th, 2013 at 7:51 PM #47


    I just read your post (apologies – that’s my ADHD :)) I don’t have a long attention span so have read more than half the posts, and just read yours.

    I just wanted to tell you – ADHD, and a few of the other disorders you mentioned above (if not all of them) occur due to your environment and sensitivity (which is passed on by your genes).

    You can research this – try looking under neuro (i.e. neuropsychology, neuropsychiatrist, neuroscience, etc.). Start with Dr. Gabor Mate on YouTube and if you’re interested enough your research will branch out from there.

    I’m currently seeing a neuropsychologist who is the ONLY therapist who has been able to target what’s wrong, why, and how to right it. EMDR is good, as is bio/neurofeedback. She doesn’t like to assign labels, believing that everything is a result of the brains development (which is based on our environment (experiences, attachment, etc.), and to our genes (again.. the sensitivity gene).

    Regards and good luck – you’ve done really well from some really challenging times… don’t give up.. and there’s nothing wrong with you (also research addiction, and anti-social behaviour/violence, acting out, etc., from the same author for further understanding).


  • miriam2013 May 7th, 2013 at 2:42 PM #48

    My partner’s 14 year old lost her mother to cancer when she was 8 and she resents the presence of me and my 9 year old daughter in their lives to the point where she gets her way and he visits us but we no longer spend time all together. He gives in to her but it won’t help either of them in the ling run. She is attention-seeking and very materialistic. She reported him go the authorities almost to show him the power she has. She seems lost but I need to think of my own little girl. We tried to be there for them but I feel out my depth in such a complex situation. He isn’t a very open-minded father and at 14 she has come out as gay to her peers. They cope by ignoring the important issues. After 3 years, I don’t hold out much hope other than keeping my relationship casual with him. He won’t leave the house he shared with his late wife 6.5 years on and his daughter told me to my face that she is getting the house. His mother is very dominant in their lives, also widowed. My instincts tell me to keep them all at arms length now. I love him so much but wish I had not gotten involved.

  • Todd W May 9th, 2013 at 8:14 PM #49

    I lost my mother when I was 7 years old. I’m 25 now. She committed suicide right in front of me. I never knew who my father was. I also found my sixth month old brother when dead in his crib when I was 4 years old. I was raised in foster care until I was 18. I have no family at all. I’ve just survived since I was 18. I joined the military and was discharge with borderline personality disorder. I’ve been homeless a lot. I’ve never had a home. Even now I’am facing homelessness again. I have thought about killing myself lately. Something I have no thought of for quite some time. I have never had friends or anything. I have never realized how much of a big deal this is until recently. I won’t go too much into detail. I was sexually molested shortly after my mother died and I never told anyone about it until I was 21. I’m a good person and get told this a lot. I just wish I could be happy and not feel alone all the time. I miss my mother all the time. Not as much as I use to. I wish I could have had a normal life. I never know what to do with my life because I feel like I have nothing to offer. It’s just me and that’s all I’ve ever had. I turned 25 a few weeks ago and that in itself is saddening. My mother was 25 years old when she killed herself. I was in the second grade when it happened. I just want to go back to college and do something with my life but I don’t know how to. I really don’t. There has to be a scholarship or a way for me to go to college. I have never owned a car or had my own place because I’ am too unstable to acquire any of these things. The things I want to do in my life, I cannot because of my circumstances. I’ve always wanted to be a hollywood actor or learn to play the piano, Alas, I cannot because my mind is always focused on surviving. You may be wondering how I’ am writing on the internet right now, I’ m at a friends house, but cannot stay here for much longer. I was always good at video games growing up and when I was in the military. Sometimes I still play when I get the chance, but my life revolves around surviving. I have a very high I.Q. as well. I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was in the foster home growing up also along with Major Depression Disorder. I’ m suppose to be on medicine, however, I refuse to take medicine because I can make myself better if I want. It’s very hard because I cannot hold a job or anything. I want to love the world and show everyone my love even through all of my hardships and strife. =/ I want to live. I’ m tired of just surviving. I’ve never written anything like this before on the internet but I’ m reaching out to anyone that is willing to help me in any way because I want to make a difference in this world. I pretty much keep to myself but lately I just want to let the world know who I am and help change the world and my life if I had some help. Im tired of running from everything. I have gotten through a lot but things just keep getting thrown my way and I’ m ready for support. =/ P.S. It’s not as easy as you may think. Everyone is different.

  • aimee-sue May 10th, 2013 at 12:24 PM #50

    I was 4 when I lost my dad. I didn’t understand it at the time but I remember vividly the last time I saw him, I have frequent dreams about it. Ten years on, im 14 now, and its only gotten worse for me, while everyone else has gotten over it. I self harm a lot because I can’t handle the stress of everyday life. I am severely depressed and suffering panic attacks three to four times a week. I also suffer with anxiety issues and trichotillomania. All because my dad died ten years ago.

  • Dorrie May 11th, 2013 at 1:02 AM #51

    I may be young but I’m willing to help you :) if you get the chance email me. My names Dorrie. Stay strong until then :) and usually the people who are the most hurt tend to be the brightest as in smarts and in heart.

  • emma May 17th, 2013 at 3:12 PM #52

    about a year ago i lost my grandad he was the main father figure in my life.It was due to a heart attack and i was the one who found him.i was 11 years old the time and i was devistated and lost , i thought if i wished hard enough he would come back he never did!
    people tell me to “get over it” but its very hard to even accept they are never coming back.it is still painful now just thinking about it.

  • Lama1111 May 24th, 2013 at 5:50 PM #53

    I am currently a 43 year old female. My father died of cancer when I was almost 5 years old. After he died, my family was very dysfunctional. I am the youngest of 5, the oldest being 13 years older than I. My Mother worked from 5 pm until 3 am or longer; and my once safe home became the ‘Party drug house’ for my older siblings who had not an ounce of concern for my young mind. My Mother was not their except as a provider as my Parents did not have any money prior to my Father’s death. My childhood was filled with fear, anxiety, and I never felt loved. My Mother tried to make it up to me later in life, but the damage is done and I cannot seem to overcome and rise above all the bad things that I had happen to me. I was molested as a child (after Father was gone) and I was teased in school. I have tried EVERYTHING to better my psyche….but I always come back to the old scripts. I think I give up…it is just a part of my DNA now and there is no healing. My Mother past away 9 years ago; before she died I could not bring myself to feel, about 5 years later the anger has been very hard to deal with. It is like I don’t feel guilty now for being pissed at the lack of concern for me as a child. My Mother and I were close in my 20’s up until she died when I was 34, but it doesn’t do anything about the past. I am at a loss…I guess the feelings of being doomed will never go away and I am tired of dealing with the repetitive circle of failure that is my life…who would I be if my Father didn’t die??? I often wonder :(

  • Elizabeth June 4th, 2013 at 7:30 PM #54

    I lost my dad when i was 12 years old. he died while being restrained in the psychiatric wing of the V.A. hospital they caused him to have a massive heart attack. i was so numb from that age till almost 17 years old when it finally hit me that he was dead and not coming back. my mom got sick 7 months after his death but she told us she was fun then my cousin died of a drug overdose that same year my mom was sent to the hospital for complete renal failure. she never told me and my sister how bad it was until she told us she was too sick to get a new kidney. she stayed alive for mine and my younger sister’s sake and died 9 months ago. i do have to say losing a parent as a child was much harder on me then when my mom past and i was 24 about to turn 25. i was ready for her to go and i was prepared for it, but my dad’s death was a shock and i am still grieving over his death more then i am my mother’s which makes me feel like a terrible daughter.

  • KATHRYN OGLE June 6th, 2013 at 11:11 AM #55

    When I was 6 years old my father had a fatal heart attack in front of me. I am 62 and I can still clearly see him dying – falling down on his bed with his eyes wide open staring at nothing. My mother then was unavailable mostly to me and my 2 sisters because of religion. She got very fanatical. I started having sex at a young age – doing whatever I could to find a guy who would love me. I made horrible decisions with choosing men in my adult life. I put up with so much emotional and verbal abuse. I was a very intelligent and beautiful woman (still have some traces :) )… but didn’t realize my worth – no self esteem and horrible abandonment issues.. My husband of 32 yrs (very troublesome marriage) who I had 2 sons with committed suicide 6 yrs ago.. and all of that horrible loss, abandonment and feeling of rejection came back. I know my dad did not mean to die, but I felt his absence all of my life and always will it seems.. It seems like some people just get so so much emotional pain in life, but the lucky ones had someone that helped them at a young age deal with it in a positive way and so had a much more satisfying and meaningful life. So sad and sorry for all of your pain… I can relate to much of it…

  • Bridget C. June 15th, 2013 at 11:27 PM #56

    My dad passed away in the cardiac center of Good Sam. Hospital when I was 9. A few years before that he had a massive stroke that left him In a wheelchair, unable to walk because he couldn’t move his right arm or leg. When he passed, I was okay with it. Almost emotionless at the viewing and funeral. Every year since then has went down hill. Me and my mom always had a distance relationship, even when I was a young kid, her abusive relationships were always more important. I being stuck in a few of them. My grades dropped, I got lost in self- harm, suicidal attempts, depression and social anxiety.
    Me and my moms relationship crumbled when I was 14 and I moved in with my older half- brother, whom I’d seen once since my dad passed, on my 15th birthday. I’m 17 now, I brought my grades up and even started attempting to plan a future and college. No self-harm anymore but the depression, the suicidal thoughts, anxiety, there still here. By law I’m basically an orphan. No contact with my moms side of the family, barely any of my dads. occansionally ever 4-5 months i get a hi text from my mom. my family fell apart. And honestly if my dad would have still been around, I’d be a COMPLETLY different person.

  • Trista July 9th, 2013 at 1:48 PM #57

    My daughter was 2 when her dad died so she knew of him but she didnt really know him like my son did. It hurts me so much that her dad isnt here to see her grow up and I am really concerned about that. I have been in a couple relationships so that she can have a positive male influence in her life but I dont know if Im doing far more harm than good. I love my daughter with all my heart and I want her to have a happy life I dont know what to expect please help thank you

  • admin2 July 9th, 2013 at 4:33 PM #58

    Hi Trista, thank you for commenting! You can look for a therapist who may be able to help you in your situation here: http://www.goodtherapy.org/advanced-search.html

    Best wishes and warm regards,
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • Ana July 13th, 2013 at 12:47 AM #59

    My dad died from cancer when i was 8. I remember the regular stays with family members which looking back i know were due to the chemo cycles. This went on for about six months with an attempt at surgery. The last memories i have of my dad was his birthday and then the last time he left for treatment the next week.

    Through all of this, there was no talk of his illness or that he could/would die-pancreatic cancer has a very low survival rate. I think this has impacted me all my life and i have a hard time trusting people and my mother in particular due to this and her behavior following his death when her main enjoyment came from drinking, partying-starting at his wake-and sneaking around with some of best his friends.

    Emotions were not something that have ever been expressed in my family, there were no attempts at therapy either. The day my mom told up he died she took us to the park and asked if we wanted to talk about it but that was the extent of it. As a result we are all really distant from each other. My brothers were 3 and 5 so hopefully they were too young to remember some of this but i also think that they have their own emotional and substance abuse issues today that came out of it. I generally avoid mentioning my dad all together because of the unresolved feelings i still have.

    Now, as a 27 year old graduate student, I’m successful but I’ve never been really happy or had many friends since childhood and often wonder if this and some of my depression and social isolation is tied to my dad’s death.

    Luckily, one of the men my mom took up with turned out to be nice and has stayed in contact after she got bored with him so i do have a father figure. My adult perspective has cast an even more negative light on the events though.

    Maybe as one post mentioned, it is time to talk to someone. I just don’t know if I’d know where to start. I can hardly remember my dad before he was sick.

  • Denise September 3rd, 2013 at 6:30 AM #60

    I was five years old when I lost my father to a very aggressive form of cancer. I am forty one now. It wasn’t until the past decade or so that I truly started to understand the full impact that his death has had on my life and on me as a person. First of all I have huge abandonment and trust issues. You see, when my father died I not only lost him, but my family basically fell apart after that. I lost my dad, my siblings, and in some ways my mother too. We went from being a large blended family of two second marriages to just me and mom seemingly overnight. ( though it was really over a couple of years) My dad was the glue that held both sides of our family together and once he died, it quickly fell to pieces. To make matters worse my mother simply wasn’t there for me emotionally. Her behavior after his death was caustic, plain and simple. I was an accidental child in their marriage… The product of a botched vasectomy. So when he died those overwhelming feelings of resentment towards me were loud and clear. She was angry. She was mad at God for taking him , mad at my dad for dying, and mad at me for being being alive. I was just another responsibility that she didn’t want or ask for. I was so little when this happened :( i grew up with such an overwhelming feeling of guilt. Of course, I didnt understand why at the time. I tried to make up for being such a burden to my mother by being the perfect child. I never got in trouble, always got good grades, did whatever I was told. Most importantly I learned at a very early age to never ask mother for anything. But maybe that’s because if she was standing in the kitchen and I asked her for a glass of water she practically threw it at me. No sir, you didnt ask mom for anything. So to say that I have self esteem and self worth issues is an understatement. I feel that no one will every really love me. But I guess that’s to be expected when your entire family leaves you and hell, even your own mother didn’t want you.

  • krista September 8th, 2013 at 6:47 PM #61

    I was 6 years old when my mommy died, it was a car accident I was sitting in the front seat, I heard screaming…but that’s it, after she died I was molested and lived with relatives for a very short time, when I was 12 my daddy got married, life became better…and I deal with abandonment issues as well as bipolar, but i’m a strong cookie and can deal with anything…peace out!

  • Reese September 16th, 2013 at 6:54 PM #62

    My mom died when I was 10 from heart a heart attack that happened overnight. She died the following morning. I feel like a handled it better then some kids would have. I’m 17 now, a guy in high school whose a junior. It was still VERY hard for me but I feel like I handled it to the best of my ability. I didn’t turn in to a drug addict or delinquent or anything. But we were so close, closer then I was and am with my dad. I loved her so much. In my bedroom on my nightstand there’s a picture of her and I and on the frame it says “No Ordinary Mom”. I look at that picture every day. I’m not sure if it desensitizes me or if it helps me remember the good times we had. And just a little side note, since then, I’ve moved away from where I used to live and live an hour west, and I left behind all my friends pretty much and started out on a clean slate as a freshman in high school, as a new student. But now, 7 years later, I’m starting to wonder a bit. How has all this affected me socially? I wonder, how would I have been different? I would call myself a definite extrovert, but I’m also shy sometimes and sometimes awkward, usually not, but still. I’m pretty self-conscious and that makes me have social anxiety sometimes…..like I wonder if I’m this way because of what happened in my childhood, on top of moving away. I sometimes have a fear of rejection. Sometimes I don’t take jokes very well when people are messing with me, although it’s much much better than what I used to be when I first moved in. I can be pretty sensitive sometimes. I have a sensitive approach to a lot of things. I’m wondering if all of this is because of what I went through as a younger child with her suddenly passing away.

    Any thoughts? Thanks

  • Julianna September 16th, 2013 at 8:02 PM #63

    My dad died when I was 9 from cancer and 2 years later my 21 year old brother committed suicide. I can recall very little from that period of my life but I can recall how ashamed and embarrassed I felt. I don’t recall grieving properly. My mother hid her grief, never encouraged open expression of feelings or the like. She was physically absent because of her work committments and emotionally absent because she didn’t want to confront the reality of the situation and was happy to just sweep it all under the carpet. She was riddled with shame. I began abusing myself by drinking at 12 and by 13 I started using drugs. This continued until I was 18 when I voluntarily admitted myself into a rehab unit for help. I was a very troubled young girl and yet no-one really cared and I was never offered any counseling or therapy to help me overcome my problems. I felt so alone, abandoned and isolated. I then married a man with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (didn’t know it them of course) and allowed myself to be subjected to verbal and psychological abuse for years. I am now 50 and struggling immensely to find my true self. I have been on this healing journey for just on 12 months now and can still cry rivers of gut wrenching tears as if my father had just died yesterday. The pain is still so raw and hurtful. I know I have to push through this to emerge out the other side healed but there are times that I just feel like pushing the painful feelings back into the deepest crevices of my mind so that I don’t have to deal with them. Who would ever think that the death of a parent and sibling would have such a long lasting detrimental effect and influence life choices and behavior. Back in the day when it happened to me there were very few support services and things like this were generally overlooked. Irregardless of the support, it is a life changing event which no one else can understand.

  • jacq October 20th, 2013 at 7:21 PM #64

    My 4yr olds barely there father died of an overdose last month. My child almost never asks about him. What and when or not do i tell him. Or do i just try and find a good man now.

  • Pal October 22nd, 2013 at 5:05 PM #65

    My father dies when I was 5 and I recall a genuine sense of loss, confusion, mourning. At seven, I awoke one morning and, as if the moment of clarity had come to me in my sleep, I realized that I was the only master of my life and that no one would pay all that much attention to the early loss of my father. Essentially, I had faced the worst childhood fear that a child can face and somehow, two years later, life marched on. That early insight sustained me over a lifetime and led on to a highly successful career, no depression or other signs of mental disturbance and a long and sustaining marriage and family life. In Malcolm Gladwell’s most recent book David and Goliath, he notes that a surprising number of successful people (English Prime Ministers struck me) have successful lives since at an early age they are forced to deal with adversity — it either overpowers them, or it forces them to compensate.

  • Lorraine R November 9th, 2013 at 5:17 AM #66

    Two of our students recently lost their mother in a tragic accident. The two students are very special to me. I would like to give them a gift that would be special to them in remembrance of their mom.
    Does anyone have suggestions?
    They are a boy (8) and a girl (10)

  • Sally November 12th, 2013 at 2:29 PM #67

    Lorraine, did you know the mother? Is there something you remember about her yourself that would link to the children? A colour she liked or a hobby, something that might hold a memory for them – or maybe a special shell or symbolic item that they can hold a memory of?


    I am 43 years old and the death of my father when I was 12 has shaped who I am and changed my life forever. Sometimes the resulting behaviours were positives in my life, sometimes they have resulted in deep fears and insecurities. A mixed bag of experiences that have not lead to a linear life with the usual markers of success and stability, but one that is rich with the experiences of being human.

    Loss is something we inherently fear, I believe this to be true, losing someone at a young age takes away the sense of innocence as well as security and for me it was in an instant – a sudden death, an open verdict on whether it was suicide and to this day I have no clear idea of whether it was or it wasn’t.

    He was a successfull man, full of life, creativity and generosity, he and my mother worked together, were the hub of the extended family and after he died my mother was incredible – I now believe her stoicism was hiding a broken heart which couldn’t even bare to open and talk about him with me or my sister who was 2 years older. So we continued, I shed no tears until I was 24, as hard as I tried to contact the feelings I new I had, the event become more and more surreal, separate from ‘real life’ although of course it was the most profound reality of all.

    Underneath my incredible work ethic at school and beyond and the determination to bring all outsiders into communal events, my ongoing desire to accept the unacceptables in life, to strive to provide for my family, to prevent any and all instability – yes I think I decided I had super powers! In the split moment I took on a role and the role was to ‘be in control’ and protect.

    The undercurrants of emotion ran deep and became visible through anxiety attacks, usually during ‘normal’ stressfull times, where anxiety or nerves would be expected or sadness, but for me these emotions took on huge proportions and I believe I began to expect too much from myself and lose a sense of what normal expression was and processing of emotions. I still to this day, process my emotions mainly in private, alone, where I can feel and think whatever I like, with no concern for rejection, shocking people or somehow being overwhelmed at ‘revealing’ my vulnerability.

    I realised I had not grieved properly around the age of 24 and went someway to doing this, by now the loss of my father was having an effect on my identity as I grew up and changed. You still seek that relationship, its natural to seek a role model or elder, I never learnt to fully replace this need with other ways or people.

    I lost my mother when I was 37, it was again a sudden death, a brain hemorraghe and this time I felt I grieved, it felt manageable, it was a chance to experience the loss as real, in real time, not displaced or hidden, I felt my emotions and worked through my feelings.

    Still, I recognise that at each transition in my life, at times of challenge or even success the emotions of loss, displacement, not belonging, fear and childlike lostness is always present and it takes a great deal of energy to find the courage to step forward whilst I am (at times) still needing an ‘adult’ who is strong and reliable to comfort me as well as encourage me to continue. The emotional development and behaviour patterns I have are of course partly personality and partly born of experience – I was always going to be sensitive and emotional, yet I pretended not to be.

    I encourage more research into the effects of childhood bereavement for children but have no doubt that emotional support is far better these days than it was in the 1970’s.

  • David November 21st, 2013 at 7:50 AM #68

    I lost my father at the age of 11 suddenly to a stroke- alive one Saturday, within 5 days dead!!

    I know people will not believe when I tell them this

    Yes I wish this never happened to no one at this age. It was one of the toughest things I have ever had to face so far in my short life

    But it has made me appreciative life so much more and given me a perspective which none of my friends have – those who have both there parents alive and are living a normal life.

    I appreciative the small things in life way more than they do. Taking time to read a good book, sunsets and never going to bed without telling your loved ones that you love them!!

    All your stories on here have moved me to tears:( :(. You are not alone at all

  • Sarah November 24th, 2013 at 2:20 PM #69

    I lost my mother when I was 4 as well, in a fire. The worst thing is that everyone is healing but I am only truly recalling the pain and acknowledging the loss 15 years later. I can’t talk to anyone in my family because it would be opening up fresh wounds and just because I was only 4 when I lost her everyone just assumes I am not hurt which is wrong, how can I get over the loss of my own mother? regardless of whether I knew her or not. I cry at night every other day, but some days aren’t so bad. You get by, learn to deal with the pain, it never really goes away..

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  • Trina December 3rd, 2013 at 9:33 PM #71

     I witness my mom’s accidental death at the age 8 years old due to a gunshot wound to the forehead on new years eve! I remember seeing her laying on the porch with her body fluids rushing out of her mouth! I am 34 now and because I did not properly grieve or get counseling it affects me deeply. I have pride myself to not be a static but get an education and be a great mother to my kids and wife to my husband. I have associate degree in allied health, wonderful husband of 13 years and 3 beautiful kids but the loss of my mother has me on a rolla-coaster ride. I feel broken and fragmented. I feel no one understand and can identify. I don’t play victim. I have accepted her death but the damage is my hindrance. I know and feel greatness in me and know God has better for me but lost as to how to receive it! I decided to seek counseling and hopefully can start to heal emotionally! Anybody help!!

  • Terry December 10th, 2013 at 1:32 PM #72

    Dear Miriam,

    This sounds like a very complex situation, but very similar to the story in Jan Oka’s “Love Comes Softly,” made into movie starring Katherine Heigl.

    Perhaps while viewing this movie, you may find the similar seemingly impossible hardships that Katherine Heigl faced with the “partner’s” daughter. Maybe you can glean some ideas on coping, enduring, understanding and eventually overcoming the entangled emotions.

  • Tom December 25th, 2013 at 7:44 PM #73

    I lost my father when I was three in a motorbike accident. I still remember the police coming to the door and fragments of the funeral. I’m now 20 and still unable to speak openly about it. My mother was the best mother anyone could ask for, however I had a slightly troubled childhood. Looking back now I believe a large amount of these problems are routed from the trauma and absence. frustrated at the unfairness of it and undisciplined I took out a lot of it on my mother, something I regret bitterly now. I have a tendency to idolise older males, possibly due to the lack of a father figure. I’m not very close to understanding myself.

  • Dan December 28th, 2013 at 11:28 AM #74

    Lots of good sharing here, I feel sorry for those that have not been able to move on. I lost my dad when I was 4, my oldest brother when I was 12, and my mother at 13. It is a real struggle to get through but if you make it you will be tough as nails. You understand that you are not like other children and find different creative ways to deal with society. I am 48 and more successful than anyone else I grew up with. You are not alone hang in there

  • Beverly Mason, LPC, PC December 28th, 2013 at 8:50 PM #75

    We go through things in life that seem totally unnecessary and painful. However, it has been my experience that the “dark night of the soul” will always teach us some valuable lesson. it might take years to see it, but my childhood abuse made me determined and empathic for others. That’s why I am a therapist now.

  • Beverly Mason, LPC, PC December 28th, 2013 at 9:03 PM #76

    When I was 29 yrs old, with 2 little boys, I married a wonderful man. My children loved him very much. I was 5 mos pregnant with his only child when he was severely hurt from a 50 ft fall on a construction site. Four days after my 30th birthday, he died. We had been married 8 mos. His son is now 31 yrs old. All through his life he has said he would like to talk to his father – just once: to see his face- just once. Even though my current husband adopted him when he was 6, he still has a blank spot on his soul from not having known his biological father. His dad now is the only dad he has ever known and they dearly love each other. Somehow, that never fixes that hole.

  • Emmanuel December 29th, 2013 at 2:33 PM #77


    I lost my dad when i was 11 years old. He was my world and any 11yr old’s father, a hero to my eyes. We did not have much time together because he worked alot but when we did, he always did something to make me happy, like play catch, or have a race from point A to point B, he knew i liked to run. Even though he was overweight, he still did everything to make me happy.
    He was shot 5 times in an armed robbery, my brother was shot the same night at the store, once in the head and the leg, my brother survived but spent the next 6 months of his life in hospital. The doctors said he would never be able to walk or talk again, my strong brother proved them wrong.
    My father was a big businessman that only worked the correct way, a loyal and good businessman. It was not actually a armed robbery, it was a contract killing because of jealousy from other business men in the area.
    From having everything in the world, the best cars, a nice big house, clothes and all the materialistic items money can buy, we lost everything. My mother was scared to have me in the country alone and sent me back to live with my then 18yr old sister back home overseas. The language was different, everything was different, i hated the bumpy runway i landed on to the new bed i had to sleep on at night. We did not have cars anymore, i learnt what a bus pass was and at the age of 11, i was in a new country in a new house at a new school with new people i have never seen before. I was taught that when a teacher walked in to the classroom, you would stand in your chair and greet them and had to wait until they told you to be seated, not this school…. they laughed when i did that. I missed home, i missed playing catch, i missed my old house and my old school grass hockey fields, my dad promised to come watch me one day but he was late from work and missed the game. I kept on looking at the sideline but he was not there, the only sound i could hear was the wind blowing in the pine tree’s and the parents shouting for there children, my team mates. I scored 3 goals that day and while walking home, there he was on his way to come watch my game, he was late but i was still happy he made the effort, i knew how busy he was.
    i VOWED to myself i will have to go back home to make things right 1 day, to become the big business man my dad was, to have a house again. Well guys, at the age of 22, i moved back home, took over a business and worked very hard, i am now 28 and i am a millionaire. I have everything i have ever wanted but no matter how much money you have, you can never bring a loved one back. It makes me sick and i cry every night just to see my dad 1 more time. I sometimes drive back home to my hometown which is 200km away, i sit in the hockey fields where i used to play just to listen to those pine tree’s, i lay on the field, look at the sky and listen to the wind go through those tree’s.
    I have realised that no matter how much i try to bring back the past, it will never come back, my dad is gone and i am not 11 anymore, the world has moved on and i can not seem to move on. I am trying to re live those old days when everything was simple. I miss my dad everyday, i have everything i have ever wanted and i still feel empty inside.
    I have a problem where nothing amazes or excites me anymore, fireworks, presents, christmas, birthdays or anything i did as a child does not fascinate me anymore, it is not the same as it was when i was younger. On special days like my birthday, i refuse to have a birthday or celebrate because it makes me feel wrong, i wish my dad was there. I feel like i cant sing and celebrate, i feel guilty. I have never had a birthday party after my father died. Sometimes i wish God could take me so i can be with my father in heaven, i will give all this up, the money, cars and everything just to be with my father. I only do not want to hurt my mom. It is sad but my wish is that i wish i could pass away the day after my mother passes away, i will not be able to handle the day my mom passes on.
    I believe i would make a good father because i know what it is like to live without a father and what is needed for a young boy to grow up with a father. The only fear i have is sometimes i need my alone time, i need the time to reflect on when i was young and i do not know if a wife would be able to understand that if she has never been in that siutation.
    I have realised that chasing the past does not fix things but i can not get over it.
    My 2 brothers and sister where much older then my when my dad passed away and it does not look like they are effected as much as i was and still am effected.
    i do not know what to do or where to go, who to turn to and that is why i wish god can take my soul. This pain is to much every day and the crying every night.

    Thank you for reading. This was the first time in 17years i have actually expressed myself.
    Thank you

  • Ross January 2nd, 2014 at 1:59 PM #78

    My dad died when I was 2 years old. He passed away on his 31st birthday due to a heroin overdose. After he passed away I went to live with my grandmother (his mother) and my mother was in and out of my life for the next 6 years, she went in and out of rehab and eventually moved to a different state with a new boyfriend. When I was 8 years old she passed away from being thrown down stairs and most likely beaten by him. Throughout my life I lived with my grandmother who became very bitter, controlling, angry and resentful. She rarely showed any care and often abused me mentally. I was never given any real care or outlet for grief or any therapy and lied to me about their deaths for a long long time. I am 26 years old now and have long since moved out and moved on. Because of everything I am an angry person with attachment disorder, mistrust, detached, jaded, and pessimistic. I feel alone, isolated, like no one can understand or truly care. Such a deep void filled only with an immeasurable sadness that eats away at me from inside. I hide it as best I can, fake smiles, attempts at being cheerful and social, but it isn’t real. I wonder what I would be like without these events…I wonder if I will ever get better.

  • Marcus January 14th, 2014 at 2:30 AM #79

    Hey, what do u mean by causing intestinal inflammation and what would the symptoms of this be?
    When I was 11 I watched my mum die at the wheel of a stopped car down a dark farm road in the middle of the night, she died suddenly of a brain hemorage after complaining of a head ache but I didn’t cry, I’m not sure what I was feeling at the time I assumed it was fear mixed with sorrow and helplessness while waiting in hospital for the bad news. Everyone said I should have gone and tsaid goodbye but when i reached her lying on the hospital bed with no signs of life except for pervasive tubes and wires pumping her lungs I couldn’t bring myself to speak for 2 reasons, I believe in science not the afterlife and spirits, and secondly I didn’t want to say goodbye.
    I’m now 20 and since then I have been suffering from pretty bad insomnia and some undiagnosed digestive issues, in high school I was in and out of hospital a lot and missing a fair chunk of school for the doctors to turn around and tell me there’s nothing wrong other than bad diet and not enough exercised, I have changed my diet countless times and exercised varying amounts in different ways and nothing has worked except a really strong almost laxitive kind of coffee, more recently I’ve also been losing a lot of weight unexpectidly (I thought I should gain weight with excersise as I’m quite slim and need to build some muscle) and more recently feeling like I’m regressing back to the insanity that filled my mind shortly after her death, there is no one for me to talk to short of finding a gf again but I really struggle to not depress other people living around me, the fake smile and laugh doesn’t work forever people always see through it in the end but I feel I can’t explain why it still affects me so strongly today.

    Sorry for the bad sentences I’ve gone 2 or 3 days atm without sleep and started rambling, but does this sound anything like what ur looking for?

  • admin2 January 16th, 2014 at 1:30 PM #80

    Hi Marcus,
    Thank you for your comment. Speaking to a therapist may help alleviate even the physical health issues you’ve described. You can look for a therapist on GoodTherapy.org who specializes in health issues or sleep disorders by going to http://www.goodtherapy.org/advanced-search.html and clicking one of those options in the drop-down menu that says “Concerns.” You may also call us during our business hours at 888-563-2112, etx. 1 for assistance in finding a therapist.
    We hope this helps, and we wish you the best!
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • Darms January 26th, 2014 at 11:48 PM #81

    I was 16 when my mom died due to lung cancer (she never smoked). She was sick for almost five months. I was just a freshman college student at that time and I heavily relied on her about my adjustment issues at school. Losing her was the most painful thing (and will always be) I’ve been through. I am the only daughter with four brothers. It was really hard to be in a household feeling all alone and with no one to talk to. I cried myself to sleep for months. I felt that I lost not just my mom but my whole family. My siblings and I fought a lot. Whats worse was that I found out from my dad’s coworker that he was cheating on my mom when she was sick (the reason he was rarely home). I hate him and there were times that I wished he got sick and died instead of my mom. A year after my moms death, my grandpa died (my mom’s dad) who was the only reason I went home and spend some time at home (I witnessed him fought for his last breath). He had a heart attack. Suicide came across my mind many times and the closet I got in doing it was holding a knife to my wrist. The only thing that stopped was the thought that my mom would be disappointed in me for doing it(suicide) and for leaving my younger brothers with no one to look after them. My dad is really not a picture of a good parent. For him, giving us money for our needs (and sometimes wants) is enough. We never received any emotional support after my mom’s death. I can still remember the first Christmas following my mom’s death. He left during Christmas day and celebrated his Christmas god knows where.
    Until today, three years after, I still shed tears remembering her death and recalling next to nothing about her before her illness.

  • shawn January 31st, 2014 at 4:08 AM #82

    when i was at a very young age, my dad was controlling my mother a lot, she disliked it a lot but we still could handle ourselves. when i was around 11 years old,my mother’s belly button had a minor issue and she decided to go for a operation to get it fixed. after the operation, we went for a trip to taiwan and she looked alright. after the trip, we came back about 2 weeks, she went to consult a doctor and the doctor told her that she had depression, so she was pretty stunned for awhile. about a week or 2 after she found out that she had depression, she took her own live by comitting suicide, jumping from the 13th floor. it was an extremely traumatic day of my life yet and it caused me to have nightmares(violent ones), stress, anxiety, and i have slight mood swings. whenever i cry and i cry so hard that my whole body numbs up and i feel so tense up that i could not move. im afraid this might cuase certain problems and im trying to seek help from other people who are suffering the same issue as me. im currently 16, im a male,student, and i think that i am suffering from anxiety disorder and other symtoms. pls HELP me…

  • admin2 January 31st, 2014 at 11:58 AM #83

    Hi Shawn,
    Thank you for commenting. If this is a crisis situation or you are feeling suicidal, it is very important that you seek professional help. You can do one of the following immediately:

      Call your local law enforcement agency (911);
      Go to the nearest hospital emergency room;
      Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TTY:1-800-799-4TTY)

    Further resources are available here: http://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html

    You can also look for therapists in your area on GoodTherapy.org who specialize helping with anxiety and depression by going to the following link: http://www.goodtherapy.org/advanced-search.html. On that page, be sure to click Anxiety or Depression in the drop-down list of concerns to narrow down your search.

    We hope those resources help, and we wish you the best!
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • Carri February 6th, 2014 at 10:39 PM #84

    I lost my Dad at 9 in a bad car crash. My sister who was 12 at the time was injured but survived. We were raised by a mentally and physically abusive Mother along with our baby brother that was 2 at the time. It was the seventies so we also had the added stigma of being different from other kids as most people at the time still had a father and a mother. I have tried very hard to move past the loss and abuse, but I still feel like I am different and unacceptable or not good enough in society. We are not close and each has his or her issues, but the biggest thing I have noticed in an on going belief that I am dieing. Since the age of 9, ever cough, cold, bruise, lump or bump, I assume it is death come for me. Even when good things happen I expect death is next.

  • Dennis February 9th, 2014 at 5:52 PM #85

    My father went to work one day when I was 12, had a massive heart attack and died right away. My brother was 4 years older and went into a tailspin of mental illness he never recovered from. My sister who was my best friend was due to marry 16 days’ later and was devastated. Writing this at 57, I face depression and anxiety that won’t go away. I’ve under-achieved in all aspects of my life.

  • Rodger February 25th, 2014 at 7:50 PM #86


    I am sorry if this is late. I just started researching for a book and came across this.

    My mother died when I was eight. I have always wished someone had done a remembrance book about her. Her personality, traits, stories, likes, dislikes. These kids won’t remember much about their mothers so thus would be cool

  • Bogdan Kotarlic March 3rd, 2014 at 4:08 AM #87

    I lost my father at the age of seven. My mother told that I didn`t say a word when father died. Since then I have never been a full person, I have always been vulnerable and sensitive. I spent my 20s and 30s trying to find a girlfriend or a friend but I have always remained alone. I am 41 now and I don`t think that life has sense anymore. I could say that my father`s death has ruined my life.

  • Jessica March 3rd, 2014 at 8:43 AM #88

    when I was seven my dad committed suicide, still til this day 18yrs later it affects me like you wouldn’t believe. I’ve been thru the crying,anger,guilt,confusion. The whole nine yards. I can’t get past that he should be here, to walk with me on my wedding day, be there when I have my kids, so many things he missed of me growing up and even after all this time. It’s kind of unreal that nothing I can do will make him be here for all the things I wanted to share with him. I feel like I was dealt a shitty hand in life and no matter how hard I try to move on and grow and be the best person I can be,there’s always something missing that will never be replaced.

  • GL March 8th, 2014 at 5:40 AM #89


    My parents divorced when I was three months old, my stepfather died when I was three months old. My mother got into a depression and I remember she threathened to kill herself when I was four. She never remarried.

    I’m forty now. The effects of the events during my early years have been devastating. It’s hard to explain to others because they think you should ‘grow out of it’. I wish I could.

    Take care.

  • GL March 8th, 2014 at 7:46 AM #90

    Correction: my stepfather died when I was three years old.

  • Beth March 21st, 2014 at 1:21 AM #91

    I’m 17 and my sister is 18, almost 19. We lost our father at the ages of 1 and 3 due being struck by lightning. My sister has minimal memories of him and I have none whatsoever. I still find myself thinking about him everyday and occasionally crying. My sister tends to hold all the emotions back and suffers from serious mental issues. Though I have been to the hospital a few times myself and was told I have abandonment and daddy issues. There’s only one good picture of me and my daddy that anyone can find and it’s been in multiple picture frames on my beside table for as long as I can remember. With our family, my sister and I visit his grave every year. And every year I start balling my eyes once I see my grandparents start crying. So yeah. Even though I don’t even remember him, it affects me deeply to not have him. My mom remarried once but it only lasted a few years. Otherwise I’ve lived on fatherless. It actually sucks really bad. I miss him so much

  • Beth March 21st, 2014 at 1:26 AM #92

    I’m not sure if it’ll ever get better, but I just wanted to let you know that I’d give you a hug if I could. It won’t make things better, but I know it feels good to have someone care.

  • Beth March 21st, 2014 at 1:29 AM #93

    I understand. I lost my father at the age of 1. I have no memories of him. Apparently he was an amazing man. But I’d give anything to at least feel his hug and a kiss on the forehead. My mom remarried once, but they devorced a few years later and ever since, she hasn’t remarried and my sister and I have lived about our whole lives fatherless.

  • Hope March 21st, 2014 at 11:35 AM #94

    I have not lost a parent, but I can testify to how the loss of a parent at a young age effects someone long term.
    My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost 2 years now. He lost his mother to cancer when he was 13. His parents were divorced and both remarried. At the time, he was living with his step-father, whom his mother married after divorcing his father. When his mother became sick, her mother (my boyfriends grandmother) moved her to Arkansas so she could take care of her and give her live-in hospice care during her final days. Several weeks after she (his mother) was settled in, in Arkansas, his mother extended an invitation for he and his younger brother to come stay with her in Arkansas. The grandmother sent his step-father a check for $10,000 to cover the expenses of bringing the kids to Arkansas, so they did not have to worry about finances for a while.
    Well, turns out, his step-father spent all that money on a new boat and told my boyfriend’s dying mother that they did not want to come to Arkansas as they were “too young to understand what was going on” and they thought she would be fine.
    As a mother, I cannot imagine what it would feel like to hear that your kids did not want to come visit you while you were dying.
    She died shortly after.
    My boyfriend was never given a fair opportunity to grieve his mother, or to be with her when she died. I cannot imagine harboring this kind of pain and guilt.
    This has had a major effect on his decision making and personality traits, although, he has never admitted this to me.
    He is 28 years old now and it is so obvious that these events have shaped his idea of what love and relationships are “supposed” to be.
    Our relationship has been suffering recently because of the many misconceptions he has been taught over the years from death, abuse, deceit, verbal abuse, substance abuse, and the lack of a loving motherly figure. His biological father, whom he still has a “good” relationship with, was abusive to his mother and is still to this day, a clinically depressed alcoholic.
    Now, after 2 years of dating, he has communicated to me that he is incapable of feeling love and is not sure he should be in a relationship at all.
    I believe with all my heart that if he could somehow come to terms with all the pain he harboring, he would realize that I am the best thing for him right now, as I have unconditional love for him. When I think about what he’s been through, I cry uncontrollably. And, now that his lack of emotional stability is effecting our relationship negatively, it makes things incredibly painful for me as well.
    I really wish he would get help, or talk to a therapist to help release all this built-up pain and guilt inside of him. But it seems as if his pride will not let him.

  • Judith March 25th, 2014 at 8:12 AM #95

    I am so sad at reading these heartbreaking stories and I wish everyone who is in pain strength and perseverance. I sympathise with so many of you who are hurting. Please be assured, you are not alone.

    I am 60 years old and still feel the consequences of my early experiences. I lost my beloved father when I was 15. He had a terrible brain tumour which destroyed him completely and he died a horrible death. My mother was in deep grief and she remarried too soon, to a man who had lots of mental health issues. It was a disastrous marriage and they divorced. I married the first man who came along, I was very young at the time, and I thought it would give me the sense of security I needed. Unfortunately my husband was not the right man for me at all, he did not support me in the way I needed. He was not a brute, just emotionally distant and selfish. I felt so let down because, of all things, he is a mental health officer! We divorced when I was in my mid-30s and I have never been able to form another relationship. I brought up 3 children alone, not wanting them to impose on them the experience of a step father as I had had. Now the children have grown up and I live alone and it’s very hard, but I would rather be by myself than in a difficult relationship. I am very close to my children and have two gorgeous grandchildren so life has its compensations. It’s interesting to read comments above about the different reactions of men and women – it’s true in my case I am fiercely independent and will probably be alone for the rest of my life. I often think that if it hadn’t been for that cluster of deviant cells in my father’s head, my whole life would have turned out differently!

  • Anon March 27th, 2014 at 1:59 PM #96

    I lost my mother shortly before my 1st birthday when she was just 24, so I don’t have any memory’s of her, just a handful of photos. It was too much I think for my Dad – I had to live with a foster family until I was 4 or 5 when my Dad felt he could take me back. I resented him a bit for that in my teen years but I’ve grown up since with kids of my own and actually, I get it. I think the hardest thing to explain is how deeply I miss my mum even now in my early thirties – which I’m sure must be weird because it’s basically as though she is a stranger to me that I’ve never met. I don’t really know how to deal with it, my Dad has never talked about it or her – I know it must have been tough for him and I think now too much time has passed and I can’t bring myself to ever ask or talk about it myself – it’s the elephant in the room though right there between us. I know she died of a brain haemorrhage, but I don’t know any of the circumstances around that. I’m no psychotherapist but I’m self-aware enough to attribute a few things to it all. I’d say I’m unusually unemotional – I recently lost a close a family member and in truth I feel nothing. I’ve always tried desperately to impress the female authority figures in my life… Teachers, lecturers and managers; I guess looking for maternal figures? I like to think I’d one day be able to bring myself to say all this out loud … But typing it was helpful for now!

  • Paige Tangney March 27th, 2014 at 6:12 PM #97

    Hi Anon. Have you ever connected with other Motherless Daughters? I don’t know where you live, but if you go to Hope Edelman’s website, you might find a group near you. (Hope Edelman is the author of Motherless Daughters and Motherless Mothers.)

  • kathleen March 29th, 2014 at 4:31 PM #98

    I myself lost my mother when i was only 18 month and i too have no memory jus photos and videos she was 29 and died of a brain haemorrhage i am now turning 21 and didn’t really think much about it in my childhood i had curiosity but never really asked my father about her because he would have always got upset if we did, now im older i feel like there’s a piece of me missing and have a need to know her and who she was what was she like, i think about her everyday and would some times burst into tears i think its because of the frustration of not knowing her but having a strong need to have her in my life i feel like im grieving for her now at the age of 21 when should i not have been able to come to terms with it by now family used to tell me it was easier for me because i didn’t remember her, i have grown up my whole life a very nervous and anxious person and suffer from anxiety now your story has jus made me realize im not alone i have 3 other siblings but i am the youngest the other say they have at least one memory of her its like and ache in my heart that will never go away

  • Anon April 3rd, 2014 at 2:59 PM #99

    The similarities in our experiences are so striking. I didn’t really identify with this article so much, I think maybe losing our Mums so early in life – well before we were equipped to process the event at all, makes it a different impact altogether. The underlying tragedy aside, it was a real comfort to read your reply, knowing there might just be someone out there that can actually understand (and I hope you found the same!).

    I wish you all the best.

  • Anon April 3rd, 2014 at 3:04 PM #100

    Thank you Paige I will check that out, although you weren’t to know I’m actually a Motherless Son.

  • GL April 4th, 2014 at 3:53 AM #101

    I’d like to describe my perfect day. It’s no surprise that ‘father hunger’ still plays in my mind.

    I’d drive to my uncle’s house early in the morning. We’d work on the house or in the garden, I don’t care that much. Afterwards, I’d visit my old boss who I respect a lot. We would talk about databases and the tour of France, argue about tv-series, play a game of tennis and drink a few beers. Then I’d drive to visit my father and we’d go and watch a football (soccer) game and enjoy a fatty burger during half time.

    Unfortunately, my father is dead (according to his family since I’ve never met him – long story by the way) and I guess the two other men don’t care about a 40-yr old man longing for their company.

    Although I’m straight… if I had to choose between an entire day having passionate sex with two horny supermodels or have a day like a described above, I’d go with my all male rolemodels day without hesitation. I wonder whether anyone else has similar desires, for mother or father figures.

  • Anna April 5th, 2014 at 3:09 AM #102

    If you could allow yourself to express how you feel again and again and again you will find that you can still look back, miss your dad and embrace and enjoy the present and look forward to the future. You’ve had a terrible experience and still need to grieve. The world is a beautiful place with so many wonderful experiences ahead of you to enjoy. Losing your dad has made you the person that you are, and wonderfully placed for your future as only you can experience it.

    I can relate to everything you’ve said. My mum died when I was 11. I have felt similarly numb as an adult. If you can let out how you feel, things can shift and you’ll begin to see your life a little differently….how you feel now can change. Keep the faith in your ability to transform your feelings…… You’ve done this with material things you can do it with your emotions too.

  • Joan April 9th, 2014 at 4:07 PM #103

    MY father died of war related injuries when I was 2 1/2 years old. I have 9 older siblings. My mom was sick from grief after this and was quite ill for a full year after his death. My mom & older siblings never talked about him much. I only have one fuzzy memory of him. He had part of his stomach removed so he had to sit straight up in bed.The device propping him up looked sorta like the top half of a lawn chair. I pressed a button on the side
    & the chair collapsed and everyone
    gasped.i wish I had a better memory as I have no photos of us together.I was told that we
    stopped going to his grave because I would try to dig him up. Ihave struggled with anxiety my whole lif &. As early as i can remember I suffered with stomach aches. Ive been in psychotherspy twice a week for the last 2 years & starting to make progress. The goal of psychotherapy is for the adult part of the person to FINALLY listen to the child part inside tell its story, and for the adult part to take responsibility for the healing process. It is hard work but I wish I had done it sooner. I would have avoided the heartache of trying to fill that daddy void in inappropriate ways. Our little child inside has a voice that needs to be heard, soothed and comforted.

  • Jeff April 15th, 2014 at 9:39 AM #104

    My mother died when I was 8, the night before I started third grade. She had a brain tumor. I have been looking for others like myself for a long time. Glad to find y’all! As I continue to process her death in therapy, it strikes me that her absence is worse than her death. Also, I wonder when I gave up hope as a child, hope that she would come back. It must have been very painful. I just want to find some people who understand these feelings. That fact that, as an 8 year old, I didn’t even know people died–period. It’s very incomprehensible. I was stunned. Parts of me still can’t believe it. It was comforting to know I’d see her again, but I didn’t, as an 8 year old, understand how long it would be until I would see her again. Sixty, 70, 80 years is a long time for an eight year old.

    Today is my mother’s birthday. She would have been 77. Instead, she was 34.

    I hope some of you can relate. Have a great day!

  • Jeff April 15th, 2014 at 9:43 AM #105

    Joan, my sister threw up every night for 6 months after our mom died. She has had stomach problems all of her life.

  • Catherine April 16th, 2014 at 12:26 PM #106

    My mother died of cancer 3 days before my 5th birthday. My younger sisters (twins) and I went to live with my grandparents. Sadly, I have no memory of her and since this was before the days of video and digital photos, I have no video of her and very few photos to remember her. We did however have one very large photo of her that hung prominently over our bed. Her eyes would follow us as we moved from place to place in the room. I thought that was a miracle and truly believed that she was watching over us. I now know that it’s simply a photography trick, when you look into the camera that will give that effect. Still I was just a young child, and for me, she was there watching over us.

    I remember being very melancholy as a child. I missed my mother very much. I wanted so much to be like all of my other friends who had their moms. She died in the 1950s, so I never received any kind of therapy or help to deal with all of this. We were Catholics, and aside from attending mass and visiting moms grave every Sunday, that was pretty much all of the emotional support we received.

    Our grandparents were good to us, but dad was almost never around. Still I think of those years are some of the happiest for me. Then when I was 12, my grandmother died suddenly. She died in the summer, and we moved from the only home we ever really knew, to another house across town. It all happened very quickly to coincide with the start of the new school year. It was so hard to leave my grandfather there all alone. I can still see him crying like a baby on the back step as we drove away. We lost grandma, grandpa and all our friends that summer, it was brutal.

    We moved into a house my father had purchased and renovated for us. His mother, who’s business went bankrupt had moved in some years before we arrived. So we were now living with Dad and a Grandmother we hardly knew. It was not a happy home and we did not adjust well. Then within 4 months of moving in, in December of that same year, Dad died in his bed, in that house, of a massive heart attack. I was 12, my sisters were 10.

    We were now living alone with a Grandmother who didn’t want us, didn’t like us much, and blamed us for our fathered death. It was brutal. My life was never the same. I was never the same. I pretty much completely withdrew from the world. I would spend, days, weeks, months, locked up in Dads room, which was now my room. Yes, I moved into the bedroom where my father died. Where I found him dead on his bed. The only thing I changed in that room was the bed and I moved my clothing in. For a long time I never moved his clothing out. I couldn’t…. I remember sitting on the floor in his closet, just touching and smelling all of his clothing. It seemed like did this for hours. That year was so devastating, I know that it changed who I was meant to be.

    Still, with that loss, and even though I was clearly suffering an emotional breakdown, I never received help. Short of committing you to a mental institute, It just wasn’t available back then. This set me up for a lifetime of depression. I am hopeful that our medical professionals are now serious about mental health issues. I think if I had received proper care when I was young my life would have been much easier.

  • Laurin April 16th, 2014 at 12:44 PM #107

    When I was 6. I lost both my paternal grandparents in a car wreck. They lived next door to us, and was more like my parents than grand parents. I am now 26 and still have problems mentioning this or dealing with this. I am doing a research paper for a counseling class (college) and was looking for information regarding attachment issues in young children that lost loved ones, particularly how it affected them once they got older. Please let me know if you find anything. Thanks.

  • Mandy April 18th, 2014 at 9:49 AM #108

    My mom died 2days before my tenth birthday. Which is in July. So, my dad sent me to my maternal grandmother and I started a new school for fifth grade. I was heartbroken. My dad came to get me every weekend. He would drive home, and we’d hang! He worked hard and at nights, I was accustomed to his naps. We got McDonald’s, and he would take me to my favourite place; the library. I knew we didn’t have much, so I never asked for much.

    My siblings are 20-12.5 years older than me. My father lives at 77, me 32, siblings 45+. I’ve always done my best, but it has been so difficult. There came a time of sexual abuse by a family member. I went to my blood family and told what was happening, they didn’t do enough. It took 2.5 years and a 17 year old neighbor to save me.

    I was then mandated to therapy. I’d repressed the memory of telling my family 2.5 years before my neighbor, so none of my therapists knew that. Recap: mom dead, funeral on 10th birthday, moved to different home and school within two months of death. 11.5sexual abuse begins, prison and therapists the summer I was turning 14.

    Then everyone disappeared, and I was glad. Dad kept working nights, I got a job at 15, stayed in school and boys. I worked really hard, and very much realized that I didn’t have it to risk, if I got in trouble there wasn’t anyone on my team.

    I continue therapy, been voluntarily institutionalized twice. And have found the .therapy/medicine combination that works for me. I’ve had great love and lost it due to poor decisions or addiction issues on their part sadly

    I’ve lives, lost, loved. I am beautiful, smart, and strong. I deserve love, respect, and compassion. I’m aware to get those things I have to give them. I’m happy, I’m almost 33, this summer! And I’m happy! I work! And I’ve forgiven, I don’t have them in my life much. But, I love them.

  • Neilsonk April 20th, 2014 at 7:40 PM #109

    A dear friend of mine and his 6 year old son have lost a wife, a mother 7 mo ago. Both are functioning at best and working through this tragic loss. I’m reaching out for possible ideas of how we can as family and friends be of support for our little boy as he gets older and deals with the loss of a truly wonderful mother. I noticed many unanswered questions come about regarding their mothers personality traits, special moments and memories created with others.

    Soon, family and friends will be coming together to celebrate her bday and appreciate the love she had for all of us and we are interested in creating a video (in a private comfortable setting) that would allow each person to express moments of laughter they once shared, how she impacted our life and others around her and maybe have a list of many avail thoughts of questions on paper each person could answer or select only a few they recall. Our goal is to allow her son to see this video at a later date and allow him to have many missing questions answered or to allow him to understand how beautiful his mother is, the funny ideas she had, express her creativity or even state her seriousness on particular issues. Our goal is to allow him to understand more about who is mother is as a person.

    If you could assist us with this project we would be greatful. Are there questions you often wonder or wish you knew about your mother?

    Thank you

  • Hazel April 28th, 2014 at 2:59 AM #110

    Hi Laurin, you are welcome to email me if you need any information for your research paper. I lost my Mum when I was 5 to cancer and my Dad committed suicide when I was 18. I am now 42.

    Kind Regards

  • Hazel April 28th, 2014 at 3:07 AM #111

    Hi Kathleen, I too lost my mother very young (aged 5) and this has left a bit hole in my life. I am now 42 and the pain us still there. My Dad too never spoke about her and all I have are a few photos and no memories. At times it feels so unfair and feels line I never had a mother at all. Please feel free to email me:) I live in the UK

  • Sue A April 29th, 2014 at 12:22 AM #112

    Hi I just came across this site while searching for something else and wanted to add my experience. My Dad died suddenly at 41 when I was 14 and my siblings were 11 and 7. I was interested to read about the mental health issues that occur in some people as they get older after losing a parent as a child. My brother who was the seven year and is now 52 has ‘cut’ himself off from my sister and I. My mum remarried about two years after Dad died and our step father was/is an entirely different person to our father. I, personally, was pleased for my mum as could see that she had many years of life ahead of her and that we children were not going to be at home for ever. Unfortunately my sister and one of my step father’s daughters were ‘arch enemies’ which made life difficult not only for the girls but also my brother. My older step sister was already at Uni and I followed twelve months later. My brother therefore was witness to any issues that may have arisen which basically I am unaware or can’t remember. Our Mum passed away nearly two years ago after suffering a stroke four years previous and then succumbing to lymphoma. Our step father looked after her 24/7 for most of that period. He was brilliant and they were devoted to each other having been married for 40 years. After Mum’s death and subsequent funeral, which effected us all but more so my brother, contact has been rare. Thankfully he keeps in touch with our step father but prefers his life without family. He is not a hermit as is very creative and produces excellent hand crafted furniture made from wooden palettes – takes excellent photographs(has been asked to exhibit in New York) is also into recycling and still does business mentoring. He was a ‘high flying’ managerial type who realised that this was not what life should be all about at the same time as realising he needed help. He seems to have a group of new friends/acquaintances – his old friends don’t hear or see much of him either although there maybe a little bit more contact than with us. I get very angry at times with his attitude but then as he once said to me ‘all you have control over is how YOU react to a situation’. Although I get angry both my sister and I send him texts on occasion and we usually receive something back but of a very very short nature. He told me once that he was very angry that dad had died, angry with our mother because she never told him she loved him or congratulated him on his many achievements. He also told me he thought he knew what ‘an ideal family’ looked like and aspired to get to that then realised he was wrong. He has had a number of partners but whenever things looked like getting too serious he would start to sabotage the relationship with the result that it would be terminated. Just before Mum died, his relationship
    of fourteen years finished. I could see this coming as he had become very into himself and life was all about how he was feeling. His partner was accepting all this but then she had a tragedy in her own life and decided that she needed a change. He was and had been attending a psychiatrist for sometime as knew he had issues. There is my story in a ‘nut shell’. My sister has also had problems in her life but basically I’ve been ok. Thanks for reading my monologue.

  • Jonathan L. Brooks May 3rd, 2014 at 11:12 AM #113

    My mom died on Christmas Eve 1967 from a massive heart attack she was 39 years young. I was 7 years old at the time. The truth is you never get over the pain of your loss and I often wonder what my life would have been like had she lived. The holidays are not as bad as they once were;Twenty-four years ago I met and married a beautiful woman. My wife has been a blessing in helping me get pass the hurt and pain. As I reflect back on the years I think of how my dad had a nervous breakdown from my mother’s death and he was never able to pick up the pieces of his life. Unfortunately, I did not have anyone to really help me through my difficult time. It is my prayer for those of you who have lost a parent at an early age that you have strong family support.

  • Christopher May 11th, 2014 at 7:43 AM #114

    I’ve written about my story before but sometimes it helps to write about it again. I was 11 when my father committed suicide by shooting himself through the head. I found his body. My mother died 4 years later from a drug overdose. I didn’t really come to terms with it all until many years later. I don’t think I’ve ever fully come to terms with it. There’s still so many emotions I feel that oftentimes I’m not even aware of.

    I agree that the developmental age of the child does have a great effect on how the child handles the loss. I also think the environment they are in following the loss effects how it is handled. When I was a teenager I did all I could to avoid getting the help I now know I truly needed. It’s amazing that several decades later and I can still feel the effect of my parents’ losses.

    Nobody who knows me now knows even half of he things I went through as a child and a young adult. Part of me is still a child inside. Part of me is still in the room where I found my father’s body in shock. Part of me is still sitting on that couch getting the news from my social worker that my mother’s body was found after she overdosed. There is a pit deep inside me that will never be filled. I can keep it covered most of the time but I can never fill it.

    I don’t know if I could give up one year of my life just for one more day with my parents. If my life is going to be as empty, lonely and meaningless as it is now I probably could just to have some answers and closure. If my life was filled with love and happiness probably not. But it’s a rhetorical question.

    I really feel for all of us who were children when we lost a parent and are still suffering. My heart goes out to any child who has lost a parent or loved one. You are not alone. I hope my writing may help someone even if just to realize you are not alone.

  • Mitchell W May 15th, 2014 at 8:39 PM #115

    This is a familiar situation..

  • Amy May 21st, 2014 at 7:10 PM #116

    I was 8 when I lost my father to a brain tumor.

  • Amy May 21st, 2014 at 7:17 PM #117

    I too have had an incredible time in relationships. My story is crappy also. Maybe try to get him to connect to others who feel the same anguish. I’m 35 years old now and lost my father to brain tumor at 8. I have struggled and have felt alone in this way for the entirety of my years since. I’m capable of loving someone but it seems they never love me back.

  • Amy May 21st, 2014 at 7:19 PM #118

    Same for me only I’m a woman.

  • Amy May 21st, 2014 at 7:37 PM #119

    I’m so sorry you have had to endure all of that, please do not give up! You can get college paid for! Google fafsa and fill it out online or go to a community college and ask for help to get into college. I wish I could give you a hug and help you.

  • Chris May 25th, 2014 at 6:18 PM #120

    I lost my mum when i was 8years old. Im 27now.She crashed her car on a route she had driven hundreds of times. my older ‘full’ brother and my younger half brother were living with her at the time, and my older brother and i would visit our dad every other weekend.My younger brother was in the car with her but was strapped in and escaped injury, he was 18months so he cant remember. it tore us apart. I came home from school one day and mum wasnt there, my brother is three years older than me so he wohldve been 11. I cant quite remember if we were able to use the phone but he mightve called dad.. i went to sleep in mums bed and was woken up about an hour later by the police and my dad, breaking the news and taking us to our dads.he then brought us up the best he could, and i will always love him for that. That was the last night i spent in that house.. i mention the ages because i feel its important, as i know i was affected more in the long run. My older brother and i went through the same devastating loss but his greiving process was a quicker, more concentrated time, he has since made a success of himself. hes quite arrogant and cocky and and still now plays the older brother card, but i feel this is because he bottled a lot of his emotions up and plays into a character that is so far away from the brother i knew when i was 8. of course i love him, i can see past the ego, but i do feel i am very intouch with my emotions where he is not. losing my mum ripped my heart out and i still dont think im fully over it, i was majorly depressed, attempted suicide, self harming, attention seeking, substance abuse…there are massive chunks of my life i wont go into due to mental instability and it still seems, even though i have a relatively decent twenties, its a day to day minefield in my mind and a constant struggle to feel happy. sometimes feels like an 18year post traumatic stress disorder.

  • Gerald May 25th, 2014 at 7:52 PM #121

    I find many of the experiences expressed here similar to mine. My dad died of cancer when I was 4 years old. He was 43 and my siblings were 21, 16 and 8 years old. I felt “robbed” in my childhood and different than my friends, none of whom had experienced such a loss. I don’t think I really grieved properly, or at least did not anticipate how his death would affect me years later.

    When my oldest son reached 4 years old, I became acutely aware it was the age I was when my father died and I became convinced that I would succom to some disease. An innocent trip to a Ready Med facility morphed into a six-month depressive episode that I escaped only with medication. To this day (I’m 48 now) I have issues with anxiety but have managed it with medication and regular exercise. But I’m now convinced early parental loss can have lifelong ramifications.

  • Mary June 1st, 2014 at 8:59 PM #122

    My father died when I was not quite three years old… my mother actually took me to a psychiatrist when I was three because I would go to pieces anytime she left me… which I didn’t do before my Dad died. I have had trouble with depression my whole life, I always feel my lovers will leave me… and they do… or I leave them because they “don’t love me as much as I love them”. I get so needy and insecure that I ruin every relationship. I’ve never been happy with someone more than two years… no relationship has lasted more than four. I’ve been to multiple counselors but I always felt (and they agreed) that my problems were due to my mother… and not the early loss of my father. Thinking back, though, had my father lived, she would have divided her affection and needs between my father and us children… instead she had no mate to love, no one to stand beside her and share their joys and sorrows, and protect her and cherish her… When my father died, I think my mother’s mental health was deeply affected… she was pregnant with their fourth child, my younger brother… she had so much to deal with, and my separation anxiety issues only pushed her further to the edge. My father’s death left a devastated and damaged family behind that has never recovered… I often daydream about how different our lives would be had he lived a normal lifetime (he was 39). He would have provided stability and security and love and guidance… he and my mother would have created a safe and loving environment… instead we had grief, insecurity, financial struggle, etc. Mom was often depressed and constantly searching for a father for us and a husband for her. We always, even as children always had a great feeling of loss of “what might have been”. Sometimes I think it would have been better for all of us to have died with him. I’ve never had children… nor have any of my brothers… I often wonder about this. Sigh. I think that deep down inside, none of us thought we’d live past 39, either?
    I’m not asking for any responses or empathy or critiques, I just wanted to add my experiences on the subject. Thanks for letting me express myself on your site.

  • Abby June 7th, 2014 at 11:24 AM #123

    Hi Laurin

    I lost both my parents and my younger sister in a tragic car accident at the age of 13 I moved from one relative to the next I rebelled against everything and everyone I’m now 32 and my life is one big mess to a point where I wish to rather die I just can’t anymore

  • jackqueline b June 9th, 2014 at 10:16 AM #124

    @ mrs. grace. my close friend had lost her mother when he was just around 5-8 years old. the lost he’d experienced few years back then affected him in a negative way. his father lost his job and got into drugs after his mother had passed away. his father got lost and so was he. all of her sisters and brothers as well as him were passed relative by relative. the recovery that could have work with his extended family didnt came up as it was supposed to be. last year he was sent out from their relative’s house and is now staying at some other relative’s house. having been in a house together with his relatives doesnt still make him feel not alone. he always feel alone. he always feels like he lives on his own. he’s my higschool batch mate and is probably one of my closest friend. were 17 now and is struggling about it. reading at mrs grace’s comment is a relief. i do want to help my friend. i’ve always wanted to help him . its just so nice that someone out there had already been through some of those what he have had. and that they’re happy now. it’s just so inspiring to think that someday, my friend could be as much happy as he could be like mrs. grace.

  • Tara June 11th, 2014 at 7:39 PM #125

    Hi, thank you for sharing your story.. I 34 and finding myself looking for stories like your’s to help me see that I am not alone. My father committed suicide when I was 5yrs old, he was 31. I never thought it had effected until my sister overdosed 23 years later at the same age of 31. I feel unable to move on.. Suddenly feeling such sadness about my father’s death.

    Thank you for sharing…

  • Michael June 13th, 2014 at 9:15 AM #126

    I’m 56 now. I was 9 when my mom died suddenly of a massive stroke. I slept in her bed that night. The sheets smelled like her. My dad’s bed was on the other side of the night stand. As I lay there in the dark, I said to my dad, his back to me, “Dad, I’m sorry”. He grumbled, “What are you sorry about?”. “I’m sorry I killed mom”. “You didn’t kill mom. Go back to sleep.”

  • brandi June 17th, 2014 at 12:54 AM #127

    My mother was my world. I was the oldest out of three. My mom and dad stopped sleeping in the same bed when I was 9. They argued a lot. My dad would often punch holes in the walls outof anger. They both worked late into the night until morning for the newspaper. I would help on the weekends. The night of my mothers death I was supposed to go with her to work to help but at last minute changed my mind so I could go play video games with my dad at my uncles house. She was so mad at me but my last words to her were “I love you”. I was 12 when we got the news that she had been hit and killed by 2 drunk drivers. 9 days after my birthday where my mother had finally bought me my first razor i had been begging for. She died November 28th. I couldn’t believe it and blamed myself for years because I had not been there. My father re married 6months later to a horrible woman with bipolor disorder. I drank a lot, slept around a lot, and my once straight A’s plummeted. My father did not understand my anxiety and depression I had developed. I was sent to countless therapists and that was it. My father cared more about pleasing his new wife and her kids than us. We were placed on the back burner. He finally divorced 4yrs later and blamed it on me. Everything was always my fault. I finally realized some years later it was I who had to pull myself out of this dark hole. Nobody would be there to reach out a hand. I went through many more sadness trying to learn how to forgive myself for sleeping around. But I am now 21 and in a healthy loving relationship. I have my own place and pay all my bills. My dad on the other hand is suffocating in debt and is on and off again with a meth addict whore. I’ve always had to be the adult. With my mother gone, I only had my father to look up to who had the mentality of a child. But I know I am only stronger from all of these battles. And I will live a proper life unlike my father. I am angry with my father and many days wish I could disown him but I can’t allow it. I still have a heart. After all he is the man who raised me. The plot twist is that at the age of 18, I found out he isn’t my biological father. Hm. Life isn’t fair so suck it up Buttercup.

  • Shirley d. June 17th, 2014 at 4:52 PM #128

    My mom died of leukemia when I was 13. She was sick for 9 months. I barely knew my father since he preferred work over his children. Being left with only him was like being with a stranger. I am 47 and have failed at life. I suffer from depression, anxiety and loneliness.

  • Chuck June 19th, 2014 at 5:53 PM #129

    Lost mom xmas day, 1972…Dad 4 months later a week after I turned 11. Older brother left me and grandmother alone, only came to steal money or abuse me, he was my bully, and worse since he took drugs. He wrecked the house when he’d come down off them and demand money to get more. I moved in with an Aunt, and we had to get cops to rid my brother. He went nuts and never recovered totally and now lives in a mental ward.

  • Dylan June 19th, 2014 at 9:33 PM #130

    It was but a month ago that I, at 14, lost my father. I can’t even describe it so I won’t try.

  • Rik June 27th, 2014 at 11:29 AM #131

    My dad died when I was 11 of a massive heart attack. You know what was weird? I never dreamed of him after he died. We dream all the time about people in our lives. My mom, dad, brothers, etc. After he died I never dreamed of him again. Except once around my 21st birthday. I dreamed he showed up to explain why he left. (nothing he said made sense) Nothing since and I am 47. I know that is kind of a crazy thing to share on here but it has always stuck with me.

  • Cindy June 29th, 2014 at 8:46 AM #132

    I am coming from the opposite side of this. I had only one child, a daughter. I wanted more but wasn’t able to have them. My daughter had borderline personality disorder. She had two children very young. She married the father of both children after the first was born, then had the second child. She divorced very shortly after the second child was born. She lived with me all but about 6 to 7 months of her life. The marriage was troubled and she lived with me more during that time than she did her husband. The children were always with us during the first 3 to 4 years of their life, then their father grew up and starting taking them half of the time. He has become a very good father since then. My daughter often talked to me about suicide, and I would do my best to talk her out of it and try to get her help. She often stole from me and anyone else when she could get the chance. She abused drugs. I continued to try and get her help. On Christmas night of 2013 she wasn’t feeling well and asked me to stay with her until she fell asleep. I did and then went to bed myself. I woke up about 8am the next morning and went to check on her first thing. She was dead and in rigamortis and I could see the blood pooling on the side she was laying on. The EMT workers said she had been dead about 4 to 5 hours. My grandchildren were with their father. When I asked to see them again he said he wasn’t comfortable letting them come to my house where she died. I said I would keep them at my parents house and he agreed. He has agreed to let me have them every other weekend, which I really appreciate. I cleared out the room my daughter died in and fixed it up as a disney princess room for my granddaughter. I fixed up the room the kids had shared as a super hero room for my grandson. When given the choice my granddaughter wanted the room that was her moms. It has been six months now and even though the kids beg me to let them come home (my home), he won’t even let them come in the house. He tells me that it would emotionally traumatize them. I think it is traumatizing not to let them come home. Any advice?

  • Kris July 7th, 2014 at 3:32 AM #133

    I’m sorry for all the people who have experienced such loss. I have a genuine question, however. Which would cause less psychological damage to my 3 year old daughter, living with a mother who is depressed and trying to get better but struggling, or living with losing her mother at such a young age? I am so struggling with this. I want to be a good Mum but I don’t know that I’m doing anything but creating problems for her in the future. I engage with her and love her and do everything I can to make her happy, but I still cry and feel hopeless and she sees this. Would it be less hard on her if I were to die?

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team July 7th, 2014 at 8:53 AM #134

    Thank you for your comment, Kris. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about what to do in a crisis at http://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html

    Warm regards,
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • Beth July 7th, 2014 at 10:31 AM #135

    At five years old, two months after my birthday, I lost my mother to cancer. The year before she’d found out she was pregnant and the a month later that she had cancer, they did a D&C and began chemo hoping to save my mother but knowing they could not save both she and the baby. My father did the best he could. He worked full time and my grandparents helped out a lot, taking me to school, picking me up, dinner for all of us at night. My grandmother then passed away when I was ten and it’s been like my emotions have been stunted ever since, before then really. I’ve lost a great grandmother who I was very close to and the grandfather who raised me since then and I’ve cried maybe once for both of them. I’m severely depressed and when I asked for help from my father and stepmother they sent me to speak with a preacher. More times than I’d like to try and count I have cut myself and had thoughts of suicide. My dad doesn’t talk about the family we’ve lost, my mother and my grandparents, and since he remarried eight years ago it’s like I’ve lost him completely. I’m twenty two now and in school at a tech school but it’s gonna take at least three years for a two year degree because I lose focus so easily. I don’t know what to do anymore, I’m losing hope.

  • GoodTherapy.org Support July 7th, 2014 at 12:36 PM #136

    Thank you for your comment, Beth. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about what to do in a crisis at http://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html

    Warm regards,
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • JenV July 7th, 2014 at 2:39 PM #137

    Dylan, I’m so sorry for your loss. I was 14 when my dad died and you sum it up well: I didn’t even know what to say about it. I was numb for many years. You will work through your grief in your own way and in your own time – we all do. Any age is a terrible one to sustain such a loss, but 14 is particularly hard. It IS as hard as it feels. The best thing you can do is allow for (and protect your right to) the fullest range of your feelings. If you’re like I was at 14, you might not feel comfortable openly grieving or demonstrating your feelings, and you don’t have to. Artistic expression and/or journaling are good ways to permit the vastness of the feelings while maintaining your privacy. That was important to me when my dad died and it might be to you too. Wishing you well. You will get through it (even if you’re sick of hearing that).

  • M July 8th, 2014 at 3:50 PM #138

    My father passed away when I was a freshman in college, I was 18 at the time. He had been suffering from pancreatic cancer for almost a year when he passed. Every thing in my life went to hell emotionally and financially. I was extremely close to him before he passed away. Since then I have been failing in school and relationships. I feel like I won’t or can’t ever love someone. Does anyone else ever feel like this. Before he had cancer I was a completely a different person I cared about school and my boyfriend(I broke up with him months before my father’s death). Now I can’t even recognize the person I’ve become. I just wanna know if other people have been effected like this from losing their parent

  • M July 9th, 2014 at 1:41 PM #139

    Kris, my father killed himself when I was 7, probably believing that I would be better off without. I’m now 45 a and not a day goes by when I don’t replay what happened, wished he hadn’t done it and worried that suicide is my destiny too. The pain felt by survivors of suicide is awful and I would have given anything to have had any kind of dad, rather than no dad. If only my dad had let someone help him (like I have) then he would have found out that it is possible to feel happy again. Give yourself and your daughter a chance, speak to your gp about seeing a counsellor.

  • A July 13th, 2014 at 1:05 AM #140

    Hi there,
    I wanted to say that I feel the same. My mom died two years ago when I was 25. Since her death I’ve been dealing with the most awful anxiety, stress, and general feelings of being disconnected from people I was once close with. I’m a different person than I was before she died. The issues I had before seem to have intensified and I find myself often feeling extremely overwhelmed.

  • Melanie July 14th, 2014 at 11:15 AM #141

    My dad died in a car accident when I was 2. I have no memories of him. I never was too upset about it growing up, it was just a fact I knew…”dad is dead”. Since I met my husband he has helped me to get in touch with my emotions (in the past I would bury my feelings and not deal with them). Lately I’ve been really struggling to deal with the grief. It’s been 25 1/2 years since he passed. My mom and I are very close but never get too into feelings with each other…and she doesn’t talk about my dad too much. I recently came across some cards my dad had given to my mom…and old photos of his and a high school yearbook. It makes me so sad to go through all of it but I find myself wanting to look at it all. I just want to know everything I can about him since I don’t remember him. I try not to think about it because I get so sad and have a hard time to stop crying. I’m so glad I found other people here just now that know what I’m feeling. It’s very hard to explain to people who haven’t experienced it.

  • Melanie July 14th, 2014 at 11:20 AM #142

    This comment wasn’t to me but I have a situation similar to hers (I don’t remember my dad and my mom doesn’t talk much about him). I would love to have a video or something of people sharing stories of him, specific or just general comments about what he was like. I would say to not shy away from talking about her as the years go by. Life goes on but I think it’s hard for people to realize that for the child, they will think about their missing parent often while the memories for other people sometimes get lost in her shuffle/they don’t think to remember and talk about the person.

  • Melanie July 14th, 2014 at 11:25 AM #143

    I was 2 when my dad died. I have the best Mom in the world and we have always been close. My stepdad has been in my life since I was 11 and I’m so thankful that we have him, but there is still a void. I don’t really ask my mom about my dad. I think subconsciously when I was little I was afraid that if I did, she would feel like she wasn’t enough…and now it’s been so many years I feel too awkward to bring it up. Please just tell your kids stories about their dad so they don’t have to wonder what he was like, I think that will help them.

  • Calvin July 21st, 2014 at 11:41 AM #144


    I hope you find the happiness that you’re looking for. I know it’s obvious but just look at the stories on this board and you’ll see that children have unconditional love for their parents. Try and hold on until the clouds pass. Take whatever help you are comfortable with and keep remembering that you are the world to your child. My mum died when I was 8 and I still miss her terribly at 40. All the best.

  • Morgan July 24th, 2014 at 5:43 PM #145

    My mom died when I was eight from cancer and it still hurts everyday. Even now, I always felt empty and like I’m not a complete person. It just feels like there is something missing all the time and I don’t really know who I am. I’ve also always wanted and tried to be more like her and have felt inadequate when I’m not. I started self-harming and having suicidal thoughts when I was about 11 and have suffered from depression and anxiety all my life. My family has never really been very emotionally open, especially my dad so I never really expressed how I was feeling when she died. I saw that my dad didn’t ever cry about it so I thought that was how I was supposed react as well. I feel like I also may have attachment issues as I go to my dad for everything now and am terrified of losing him. I’ve had nightmares of him dying and haven’t done many things on my own yet. I’m 19 and have never had a job and I still live at home. I also hate driving and going places alone. I also tend to feel uncomfortable around woman that are about the age my mom was. Its almost as if I don’t really know what to say how to act around them. I’ve noticed this with teachers and friend’s parents, and I also seem to crave there acceptance more than other people. I also feel like it’s going to be really difficult not having her here if I get married and have kids some day. It’s really nice to hear that I’m not alone though and that some people feel the same way.

  • Shelby July 27th, 2014 at 8:34 PM #146

    I too, know what it feels like to lose a parent. My mom passed away when I was 10 years old. I’m 16 now, and a few days ago on July 18, marked 6 years since my mom passed away. It was extremely difficult for me to cope with her death, and still is. That night I found out my mom had passed away, I realized what death meant. I had to face the inevitable fact that I would never get to hug my mom again, or see her, or even hear her voice. The pain from the seperation hit me in a massive wave. I still have not gotten over her death even though the rest of my family has. Losing your own mother is horrible, because the pain is crippling, and hits you at random moments. One minute you might be fine, and the next minute you’re curled up on your bedroom floor sobbing uncontrollably in inconcievable pain. I was always a mommy’s girl, and always will be. She’s the best mother that a daughter could ever ask for.

  • Cynthia July 28th, 2014 at 8:17 PM #147

    Shelby,I found this site while looking up effects on children of early loss of a parent. My mom died suddenly when I was 13. I wanted to recommend a book to you called “Motherless Daughters”by Hope Edelman, who lost her own mom when she was a teenager. Maybe you’ve already read it but if not, maybe you will find it helpful in some way. I will pray for you.

  • Sudan July 29th, 2014 at 5:30 PM #148

    I’m writing to those who have lost a parent. I am now 51 and lost both my parents while I was in college…my mother died when I was 19 after years of fighting bone cancer…then a year later when I was 20 my father died from accidental electrocution at our swimming pool…I found him. I want you all to know that I DO feel your pain…I wish there were ways to talk to others like this back then! No computers or even “counseling” so I more or less worked through it on my own. One thing I want you to know is that it WILL get better!! I think what got me through were my friends. If you can surround yourself with positive people that will help. I also turned to God…although I will admit initially I was angry and didn’t. My mothers favorite bible verse was john 3:16…I now am confident and secure in the strong belief that they are together…all pain is gone for them…and I will see them again. In the meantime, I live each day to the fullest; have a wonderful job teaching special needs toddlers, have raised two children and hsve purpose in my life: trying to make a positive difference. My parents live on in me and I try to live out the good lessons they taught me.
    I’m so sorry for all your losses but want you to be strong, keep the faith and know that with time the pain will lessen.

  • M. Cass July 31st, 2014 at 11:14 AM #149

    Thank you for sharing your story. It has helped me understand my significant other bettet

  • Joanne August 1st, 2014 at 10:41 AM #150

    I’m so glad to have found this forum. My dad died suddenly when I was 10, leaving behind myself, sister and mum. We had just moved to a new area so had hardly any support network or family as both my parents were only children and their parents were also dead. I have just turned 43, a year older than my dad was when he died. My mum recently died of cancer and I’m having a really hard time dealing with it. So now I’m an orphan and as my sister says she doesn’t remember our dad at all, and lives abroad, I feel so lonely and sad. I have been really hard on myself saying to myself that it was all a long time ago and now I’m an adult I should be able to deal with it. But I can’t. I am blessed with a loving husband, but he has no experience of grief and doesn’t know what to say to me. I just hope it’ll get better as time passes.

  • jonah b. August 4th, 2014 at 12:09 PM #151

    Hi Joanne. I lost both my parents when I was just over seven I remember the night my mum died vividly. my dad died the same year. I have had a life time of mental health problems, suicide attempts, mental health therapy. I’m now 64yrs old, have a loving daughter, and 2 granddaughters they’re ace. you have got to believe in your self. it’s hard because you feel empty inside – ask your self would your parents want u to be sad? live, gal. they’re in your heart. my hearts with you I know how you’re feeling.

  • Fannie August 7th, 2014 at 1:47 PM #152

    My dad died when I was eleven. I’m 40 now. (Big sigh)
    I remember the first night he felt ill, and he was in so much pain, he yelled and moaned so loud that I freaked and went out back on the deck and started crying. It was November so it was starting to get cold. It felt good on my red hot tear-filled face. Mom called the ambulance and they took him to hospital. That was the last time I saw him, talked to him, he talked to me. When I went out on the deck crying, he yelled at me to stop crying. I have NEVER been able to get over this. Afterwards my mom married dad’s best friend, and he ended up being a drunk SOB. My step dad took all our social security money and is now nowhere to be found years later, even though mom had a daughter with him, my half sister. She is a sweetheart and is about to marry her friend, an awesome young man. Me? Well, like I implied, I’m a basket case. I’m lucky to have a partner who is wonderful. She didn’t have a dad growing up either. Anyway, I wanted to chime in here and say thanks for your stories.

  • Alison August 10th, 2014 at 8:35 AM #153

    My son’s father died march of this year from a drug overdose. He had bouts of sobriety but could never keep it. My son was with him half of the time and they were very close. I am remarried and my husband has been in my sons life since he was 2, he is 6 now. We basically just told him he was sick and went to heaven. He is just now starting to ask more questions as to how he was sick. Why didn’t he go to the doctor? Did he have cancer? Did he know he was going to die? Etc. not sure how much information we should give him at this point. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

  • Amy August 11th, 2014 at 8:36 AM #154

    Wow very similar story to mine. My dad died when I was just 3 of a massive seizure. He was also 39. I too experience intense feelings of abandonment in relationships, exactly as you mentioned, always feeling like I love my partners more than they love me. You’re not alone. I’m trying to focus on self love and filling my inner well. Take care

  • linda August 12th, 2014 at 7:55 PM #155

    I was sole survivor from a car train accident that took the lives of my mother, my father, my 2 sisters and a brother. I was adopted byuncle and aunt. He had a drinking problem. My aunt and uncle died with in 6 months of each other by the time I turned 16. I was adopted again by another aunt and uncle. And the birthdays that coincided with each of those deaths, meant I was older than them. When I lost my family, it was easier to pretend they were still in the other state and for some reason I couldn’t be with them. Children do think about things and may not be able to express them, but does effect them more than you know. There is not a lot of research on this topic. When I hear about a parent losing a child and how its the worst thing, I grant it is so hard, but that parent has had a previous life. Whenyounlose a parent young, your life changes from that point and you don’t have a “normal” life. You are different from that time in life

  • Helen August 13th, 2014 at 5:01 PM #156

    That’s very true. Your life changes forever. Both my parents died before I turned 2. One accidentally and the other suicide. I haven’t been able to form “normal” relationships since. I’m grown now but can’t seem to open up enough to let others in for fear of rejection/abandonment. My heart broke reading through all of these. But there is hope and we are not alone.

  • Lydia August 17th, 2014 at 6:30 PM #157

    So my mom died about five years December 29 2009 ago I was 17 and it was a huge loss for my little family. My parents had there problem with addiction over the years but had been clean for about 5 years. My mom had the gastric bypass surgery done and suffered from complications from it shortly after. She left behind a husband a 15 year old son and me. I am still dealing with the loss. My dad stepped up in such a huge way he became my mom and dad. Two weeks ago my dad had a heart attack and died. I am truly heart broken. I was still dealing with the loss of my mother, infact my last conversation with my dad was about how I missed my mom and couldn’t imagine loseing my dad. He promised me he wasn’t going anywhere. And we decided we were gonna go to counseling together. That was Saturday morning and he died that Monday. I am at a loss the only person I can talk to who truly understands me in this whole world is my now 19 year old brother. But he is dealing with his pain with anger and has told me he does not care about me and has completely shut me out. Your parents are the only people in this world who love you condontionally. I feel like I have no body and no body really loves me. Sure everyone says their gonna be here for me but then they go back to their happy families and lives. They tell me to be strong and with time things will get better but I just don’t see it. I don’t know what to do or how I am ever going to recover from this. Part of me wonders if I even want to live anymore

  • Rachel August 17th, 2014 at 7:41 PM #158

    I lost my dad to cancer whenever I was 6 and my mum died two weeks after I was born so I never got to meet her. My dad was convinced while he was I’ll to let me stay with his cousin who was of similar age to him to look after me. Living with them was so horrible I didn’t fit in at all and my cousin ( his niece) who was a woman did not treat me at all like my dad would have wanted we to. Her and her husband never once took me to my parents grave or even talked to me about them. Growing up constantly miserable with them I ended up having to find somewhere else to live and now have my own place. I give her no reason to treat me like she did and I will never understand why she treated me like she did. I’m doing really well for myself and I’m like a completely different person from what I was while I lived with her and her son and husband. I’m happy. Everyone says that I’m so normal and grounded regardless of everything that I went through and i hope that’s a good thing. Every so often I get upset about everything as I have no other immediate family and sometimes feel very alone. I’ve got a wonderful boyfriend of 3 years and his family are so good to me, it’s just hard sometimes not being able to have my own parents and knowing I can never see or know them.

  • GoodTherapy.org Support GoodTherapy.org Support August 17th, 2014 at 8:30 PM #159

    Thank you for your comment, Lydia. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about what to do in a crisis at http://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html

    Warm regards,
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • denise t August 18th, 2014 at 12:00 AM #160

    My husband lost his mother at around 8 years of age. He never talks about his past or childhood. Recently he’s been having bouts of anger.i am trying to understand him….can anyone shed some light

  • Christopher August 19th, 2014 at 6:36 PM #161

    Lydia, I am truly sorry for all the loss you have suffered in your life. I know what it is like to lose parents early and know how hard it is without any type of support. You really aren’t alone. Please find a support group. Please click on the crisis link GoodTherapy.org Support posted. Things are dark now but you will get through this. Your brother is in pain too and can’t deal with it. It doesn’t mean he really doesn’t care about you because people say things they don’t mean when they are in pain. Your father’s death is a terrible shock and no one should deal with that without support. Please find some support.

  • Jessie August 20th, 2014 at 9:06 AM #162

    Thank you to everyone for sharing your precious stories here. You never know how much of an impact they could have.

    I am a nanny for two sweet children that just lost their mother to breast cancer not even a year ago. A 7yo boy and 9yo girl. It was a horrible long drawn out process and she died in hospice care in the home. The 9yo has been recently experiencing some major issues as school is starting back. She has major anxiety about leaving the house and her father and is hysterically crying every day. I read the symptoms and I’m afraid she may be depressed. She has also mentioned two times now that she wishes she were dead. I am becoming very concerned and I don’t know how to be there for her. Her father is a corporate type and is not around much unfortunately.
    I would appreciate any and all advice, suggestions, thoughts, constructive criticism, anything. I love this little girl so much. I want to be able to be what she needs right now.
    Thank you and I am praying for you all.

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team August 20th, 2014 at 10:48 AM #163

    Thank you for your comment, Jessie. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about what to do in a crisis at http://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html

    You may also consider taking a look at this page, which includes information about how to help a loved one: http://www.goodtherapy.org/how-to-help.html

    Warm regards,
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • GuntherL August 20th, 2014 at 3:48 PM #164

    I’ve had a lot of adversity early on in life and I’ve suffered for it until recently. After I started adding saturated fats to my diets, nearly all of my mental problems disappeared. I feel energetic, happy, fit and I lost my binge eating tendencies.

    My need for saturated fat has probably to do with my problems in early childhood and not being breastfed.
    I don’t think it’s a coincidence that many ‘new’ diseases have originated since the low-fat craze started.

    Please check your diet before you start taking pills. Take in the right fuel and you might solve a lot of issues.

  • Sue August 23rd, 2014 at 11:17 AM #165

    My mother died suddenly when I was 14 years old. (I was the only girl with three brothers.) Until then, our family was traditional and happy (I thought). My father reacted to my mom’s death by letting everyone no that he wasn’t going to wallow in grief, and he began about a month after her death and remarried three months after. I met my new stepmother on Mother’s Day. (She was only 8 years older than me.) To make a long, long story short, I (a previously protected,’good girl’ and straight A student)dropped out of school in my freshman year of high school; moved in with a drug addict who abused me in every way; dabbled in prostitution; etc. I’ve never been able to have meaningful relationships with either men or women, and now at 58 all I can think about is suicide. When not at work, I spend my time in bed. In any event, I think that losing my mother at 14 and being left with a emotionally absent father has basically ruined my life.

  • GoodTherapy.org Support August 23rd, 2014 at 9:19 PM #166

    Thank you for your comment, Sue. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about what to do in a crisis at http://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html

    Warm regards,
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • onyango s August 26th, 2014 at 3:54 AM #167

    My father died in 1988, when i was only four years of age and in 1990,mum followed him leaving three helpless children in untold misery. Two years later after mums death, my only brother passed on of malaria since the poor grandma who was taking care of us could not afford to treat him. Due to the early death of my parents, i led an absolute life of privation associated with untold sufferings for every property my parents possessed were inherited and mismanaged by greedy, wicked and unsympathetic relatives. I dropped out of school,became disorderly to some extent and unwillingly joined the armed force at a very tender age to make ends meet. But with all i went through as a total orphan, i want to stand firm and say, being an orphan or emerging from a disadvantaged background doesn’t mean being mentally inferior or a minority achiever.
    Thank you.

  • Kath August 26th, 2014 at 6:05 PM #168

    Hi there I’m sorry for all your loss. I was reading this site because I just lost my dad. Please know that you have been devistated by what has happened. You are completely right with all the feelings that you have. You have experienced massive loss. Loss that no one should have to feel. It is not fair and you are justified in having massive emotions. I’m so sorry for you the pain must be immense. I don’t have any advise for you because I can not even understand how sad you must be. A lot of people think they are being helpful by telling you how you should be and I’m just not going to do that. Just know that there are others out there in the world that feel for you. My kindest

  • Rachael August 30th, 2014 at 1:27 AM #169

    Onyango thank you for your comment. My mom died in a wreck when I was 6 mnths old. Myself and father were in the car. My father could never accept me afterwards. I spent years trying to be accepted. Sadly we no longer talk. I am the face of trauma to him.
    It was not my mental illness that changed what happen in my life, it was his alcoholism that soon followed him because he choose not to do the footwork towards his own healing. The messages I was told of my worthlessness as a child not only by him but my step mother who had huge resentments,(incest survivor) formed some of the challenges in my life because I incorporated their trauma, their lack of healing in my life..it is kind of like believing a lie . My relatives kept me somewhat at bay and didn’t admit to their knowledge of the insanity in our household until many years later. None of them had the balls to step up to the plate. All of them were scared of my dad because he turned out to be so mean. I think I may speak for a few of us that grew up with traumatized abusive parents when they pass it will be a relief. Doesn’t mean we don’t love them,just means we can move on with our healing. We all deserve to heal.

  • brittany September 4th, 2014 at 7:36 AM #170

    My dad died when I was 12 from overdose. I just turned 19 and it has effected my life significantly. My parents already didn’t have a good relationship though, they got into physical fights almost everyday. And my mom always cheated on him. One with his bestfriend. And going through all that has really effected me. I’m not on any medications but feel like I should be. I often find myself being depressed and thinking about everything way to much. I started smoking marijuana when I was 13 and almost got hooked on xanax. But I knew I didn’t wanna live the life they lived. On pills. I need advice should I see a doctor or therapist?

  • Nathan September 4th, 2014 at 12:16 PM #171

    I lost my mother to triple negative breast cancer when I was 14. I am now 17. I have an older brother who is now in college, and a younger sister. About 2 months after my mom passed my uncle was riding his motorcycle and was hit by a truck.( he did live, but now has brain damage) My dad remarried 4 months after her passing, (I was told that people who had a good relationship with there spouse usually try to remarry faster after losing them, not sure if that’s true but whatever) at first I thought this new lady that was to be my stepmother was ok, now I realize she is a selfish person who I very much dislike, and she obviously dislikes me. I also have a step sister now, who has the same traits as her mother. She also is very bossy to my sister who is actually one year younger then the step sister, and if I didn’t mention before my sister has a slight learning disability and has hearing aids. When i sometimes defend My sister from things my step sister does I get criticized by the step mother. My step mother also has to be right about everything and doesn’t care one bit what my dad has to say, and treats him like dirt. The only reason they haven’t divorced is because my dad wants my sister to grow up knowing what it’s like having a mother.

    I’ve been to a few counciling sessions, but I’m still always sad, I used to be a very talkative and social person, but I have noticed that I’ve changed a lot, I’m very antisocial now, and have lost my motivation to do things.

  • Michael September 4th, 2014 at 7:31 PM #172

    Brittany, therapy isn’t a bad idea for the average person to experience. It has the potential to help people live their life on a higher level. Think of it as seeing a dietitian. People don’t necessarily need this at the time they are going, but they’ll end up healthier, more energetic and ultimately happier because they’re “ahead of the game”. Now, people who get told by a Dr. that “they better” see a dietitian, NEED to go, right? They have an immediate threat on their hands and it needs to be taken care of. This is you. Emotions, feelings, being pissed off all the time, etc., may not sound like real or immediate threats now…. But give it time. You’re seventeen so you have plenty of it. The “real you” is going to take the biggest hit. The person you “could’ve” been will leave you and you’ll be stuck with what’s left over; if you don’t get make sense of your past now. I’m 28 now and my Father died when I was 12. I dragged out my emotional pain until the person I used to be was long gone. My life would be drastically different today had I took care of business when I was your age; in a good way. If there is anything you love about yourself today, take action. Because I can all but guarantee you, this part of you will not be behind the steering wheel when you’re my age.

    Good Luck

  • SOUNDAR September 7th, 2014 at 1:51 PM #173


    My husband is fighting with me atleast once in a month. And also behaving very badly during that time. And I cannot able to argue or fightback, so sit and cry. Sometimes I used to make sounds and cry loudly.

    I have 2 yr kid. Whenever this happens baby is going to daddy’s side, and he is not coming to me (mother). And he says do not want mum.

    So I am frustrated, sometime thinking to leave the home. And sometime thinging to leave the life.

    Is that child behaviour will change? because of my baby, i am tollerating all with my husband.

    I am really worried, and do not know where to go?

    Please some one can advise me..

  • Tumediso M. September 8th, 2014 at 4:17 AM #174

    I lost my younger brother,mother and a father I never knew before I turned 7.
    Im now 20 and was raised up by my grandmother. i’ve always felt empty inside and I became soo angry. I also began hating my dead mom because I believed it was her fault.
    Sometimes I felt like I was left alone and maybe I didnt deserve to live. my self esteem went low. i was never able to escape the feeling of being all alone, i would become fearful and scared at night. I needed a mother’s love and I wanted it to come from my real mom. i hate what happened to me and I don’t know how to accept it and move one. please help

  • GoodTherapy.org Support September 8th, 2014 at 10:43 AM #175

    Thank you for your comment, Tumediso. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about what to do in a crisis at http://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html

    Warm regards,
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • Kathy September 13th, 2014 at 11:36 AM #176

    I’m am a stepmother to 2 young women who lost their mom at the young ages of 10 and 12. My husband and I have been married for 8 years, together for 10. We began dating 2 years or so, after she passed away from cancer. The girls are now 22 and 24. When the girls were still living in our home ( which is not the home they lived in with their mom) they close to sleep in the same bed. we have a large home, and each child, including mine, had their own bedroom. I believe this may have started after the loss of their mom, but now, when they come home on weekends or holidays, they still share a bed even though there are 4 guest rooms, each with a comfy bed. My husband and I have also noticed that when they watch movies when they are in our home, they choose animated Disney films to watch, such as frozen, tangled, Pocahontas, etc. they are both very intelligent, made great grades while in school, and college and never broke house rules, or pushed boundaries. They are both always smiling, laughing, and seem happy. The older one does suffer from low self esteem, but I’d say for the most part, happy young ladies. My husband and I both have started wondering if their unusual sleeping arangement and entertainment choices are related to their emotional age. Is it possible they are still emotionally 10 and 12 due to their loss at that age? We don’t think these behaviors are normal and want to know if there is anything we can do, as parents, to help.

  • bashir September 14th, 2014 at 11:39 PM #177

    I am sorry for your loss of a great father, and I want you to know your father is smiling in heaven, to know his son became a the man he dreamed of you to become. To think of him day and night is normal, as we are all humans who where thought to love and affection by our parents. And you should never think of that as a sad way. You will always be your fathers son, it’s you who will carry that gene to the next generations to come, so please look as all of your emotions your having about your father as as good thing, and go become the father your father would dreamed of. And make him even proud more.
    Pray for him, and for you, and live, Lough, love.

  • bashir September 15th, 2014 at 12:18 AM #178

    I have stumbled to this wonderfully site in search of how to help my wife who lost her father at a young age. As I read each one of your griefs, I see what my wife goes thru. The constant need to keep me close to her, the fear of losing me even though I love her with my heart, and never dreamed of ever leaving.
    I am helping her overcome not loosing her father, because no one can make you overcome the loss of a parent, but help her understand how we are all here in this wonderful world temporarily, and that life itself is fragile at all times. I want all of you to know that you were a gift to your parents, they loved you from the moment you gasped for your first air and cried, and never let anyone tell you to forget the past because the past is what shapes our future, but how you see your past is what all of you can learn from, and understand our life’s get tested day and night, but to all of you that test came at a early age, and again my heart goes out to all of you. To move on in life, is to never forget the past, but to see it as a momentum weight on your chest, that can only be moved by understanding the positive meaning of life it self. To grief one beautiful life lost, is to never loose the one it created, as it created even more beautiful life’s that cannot afford to ride the cycle of the momentum weight it self.

    As my journey continues to help my wife understand how important the life her father created, I leave you all with nothing but a sea of happiness in your life’s.

    God bless live, Lough,and love.

  • Phil Lester September 22nd, 2014 at 10:55 PM #179

    My father’s mother died when he was 3. He went on to father 7 children and died a skid row alcoholic just as his father did. My ex-wife was abandoned by her mother when she was 3. She became a prescription pill addict. We had a daughter. We divorced when she was 3. She died from an overdose at 33. Her son was 10 and came to live with me and my wife. He is now 21 and has serious drug and alcohol problems. My brother-in-law died when his girls were 7 and 9. The older one, now 32, had serious drug problems and has now pulled through. The younger one, now 30, is obsessive about her mother. Still hangs on her constantly. She has no substance abuse issues but has an insatiable need for praise from anyone but especially her mother. My sister-in-law died and left 3 children, the youngest was 11. One daughter, the oldest, predeceased her. No substance abuse issues.
    With the exception of my grandson, there was virtually no grief counseling. Each was left to essentially fend for themselves. These losses were life defining moments. The rest of their lives were dictated by the loss. The results were not all bad but they were random. When my daughter died, a friend told me that if I didn’t learn something from the experience I would waste it. I learned so much. I learned that death is a part of life. Death takes your emotion and your spirit to a level, otherwise unreachable.
    One who experiences the death of a loved one now possess’ a knowledge and feeling that can only be felt by another person with that experience. You will never be the same but that is a good thing. You don’t want to be the same. You now possess an understanding that can only be learned one way. The wound that you have can be healed by helping someone who is new to the experience. Eventually you realize that you can make a difference. Isn’t that what we all hope for in this life?
    Treat your wound as if you are on a beach during a storm. In the beginning the waves are so high and frequent, all you can do is try to survive. Eventually the waves subside and you will find yourself on the sand. Breath, laugh, make decisions and prepare for a new life. Soon the waves will be back again and you have to go back to the survival mode. Your okay. As the waves subside again, rest and prepare for your new life. Like all storms the waves eventually go back to normal. You will be ready to start healing. Find someone to help that is experiencing the beginning of a storm. Each person you help will bring you closer to your new healthy, normal life. You now know that death is a part of life. Use your knowledge.
    With love, Phil

  • RJ September 23rd, 2014 at 7:32 AM #180

    My situation is a little different in that myself and my wife have decided to be guardian parents to an 8 year old who recently lost his mother to suicide. He had no father. He is a bright precocious energetic little guy who we are so fond of. This has all happened in recent weeks and he will come to live with us in two. We are organising his new life, while getting to know him. Its a complicated matter in many ways, but so simple when we are with him. we will give him love, security and a solid foundation. But we are still worried about his future and what surprises they may bring. I notice from the thread that many have felt isolated and alone. We want to give him the love he craves. He has become very quickly attached which i know is common. We have no kids ourselves, we are both 34, so it will bring challenges but we are looking forward to this and a little nervous. The boy is a blood relation so we have extended family who will help in many ways. He will be hugely loved and cared for by his community, family and new friends. But still, hopefully counselling, good support and love will help him through, while we still treat him as a normal kid, and we will try foster his mums memory positively in him as he grows older. I’ve learnt a bit from this thread, so many of you who have had bad experiences and have given your view, feel that you have helped me learn from these to ensure our boy will benefit from your experience. Thanks.

  • E.J. September 29th, 2014 at 4:08 PM #181

    I have 3 kids 15/girl , 10/girl,4/boy, me and their mother divorced after our first was born and were in a on again off again relationship ( never split up long) ,since 1999, she passed away from triple negative breast cancer two days ago and I have been grieving for my kids , she was without a doubt the love of my life , I met her in 8 th grade and wanted her every since I first saw her , I don’t know how to cope for myself , much less help my three beautiful children , I have a lot of regrets an fear my oldest may have a few later on after it settles down , I need some help dealing with everything and was hopeful I could gain some good contacts or council

  • GoodTherapyAdmin GoodTherapyAdmin September 30th, 2014 at 9:46 AM #182

    Thanks for your comment, E.J.. If you would like to consult with mental health professional, please feel free to return to our homepage, http://www.goodtherapy.org/, and enter your zip code into the search field to find therapists in your area. If you’re looking for a counselor that practices a specific type of therapy, or who deals with specific concerns, you can make an advanced search by clicking here: http://www.goodtherapy.org/advanced-search.html

    Once you enter your information, you’ll be directed to a list of therapists and counselors who meet your criteria. From this list you can click to view our members’ full profiles and contact the therapists themselves for more information. You are also welcome to call us for assistance finding a therapist. We are in the office Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time; our phone number is 888-563-2112 ext. 1.

  • louise October 7th, 2014 at 8:45 AM #183

    Hi my partner died nearly two years ago leaving me to deal with our young children 1 boy now of 5 and 1 girl now of 3 is there anything I can do to make it easy for them when I explain that their dad committed suicide many rhanks

  • EB October 21st, 2014 at 6:12 PM #184

    Wow im glad i found this. Im 33 yrs old now lost my father in a tradgeic car accident when i was about to turn 10. I was devastated, i was real close to him. It was very hard for a young man to grow up without his dad. I always felt alone like no one could understand me. Definitely suffered from anxiety and deppression but i have never been treated for it. The main reason i found this is because im at a point in my life where i believe i do need to see a doctor. Im suffering from depression. I have been pretty successful in life but never truly happy because of my early childhood tragedy. I hope that one day i can live a life without deppression and anxiety. Thank you

  • Dillyn October 21st, 2014 at 11:25 PM #185

    My dad was murdered 8 months ago. I feel like there isn’t anyone I know that lost a parent this way. Basically I feel so alone

  • denise October 24th, 2014 at 3:16 PM #186

    just wanted to say I experienced the samething and I am now 31 years old feeling the way you are battling severe depression and anxiety I am too quite successfulbut I still have a feeling of unhappiness just wanted to let you know you’re not alone

  • Sean October 27th, 2014 at 6:24 PM #187

    Hi, I’m 16 and 2 1/2 weeks ago my mum died in a car crash she was 39. She was always my best friend and we pretty much spent every moment that we had together so pretty much every memory I have is with her. I’m still not sure what to think of the whole thing to be honest as she was such a huge part of my life and now I just feel as though I’m out here by myself, if you know what I mean. Anyway I hope you get over what you’re going through.
    Also thank you for writing this as it made me feel as though I wasn’t alone in this big world.
    Thanks Sean

  • Angel October 30th, 2014 at 3:17 AM #188

    I feel your pain ..

    I lost my dad wen I was 7 he died of aids in 1995 I meet him first time 1994 2004 I was in a group home and one morning I received a call from my sister telling me that our mother died of cancer..


    1987 Santo Domingo

  • Rosemary November 1st, 2014 at 6:56 PM #189

    Thank you so much Bashir, for your beautiful, heartfelt, and wise loving comment. Your wife is very very blessed to have such a loving and understanding partner. Thank you for they beautiful and positive perspective that you have on life,& for reminding myself and everyone here that ultimately we have to love and appreciate the gift of life we’ve been given regardless of our circumstances.

  • Robyn November 7th, 2014 at 10:27 AM #190

    I lost my mum 17 years ago this christmas, I was only 5 months old and have no memory of her. Recently I’ve been a mess about this constantly upset as she’s always on mind. Ever since I was little I get in terrible moods lash out and get angry at everyone. I don’t know what to do I hate talking about this but it’s great to know that others are going through what I experience and I’m not alone with the feelings I’m experiencing. Wish we all could have them back.

  • Marybeth November 9th, 2014 at 9:13 AM #191

    Hello everyone, I was thirteen when my dad was killed by getting run over by a front end loader. It was devastating. He had spoiled me terribly and I was majorly deprssed and started drinking. By the time I was 25 I was a full blown alcoholic and stayed that way throgh all of the different phases in my life. I am now 49 and have two grown daughters and 7 grandchildren. All of them under the age of 8. Up until last yea I drank and they all suffered with throught my addiction. I now am sober and spend a lot of sober times with my family( my mother and step-father are still alive). I read something earlier that a step-father could never fill that emotines well, I am very lucky my step-father has been with us since I was 12 and he has been wonderful, my children call him Poppa and so do My grandchildren. I have been very lucky to have him in my life. It’s still hard about Daddybut I’ve been blessed with my family. Good Luck to everyone that reads this.Marybeth

  • Larry November 12th, 2014 at 5:54 AM #192

    I lost my father when I was nine. He died in a car accident only three miles from home. I am now 58 and can’t bear the grief. Why after 49 years do I still grieve? I’m seeing a counselor to help me process this grief of mine.
    My counselor is telling me that I never had the chance to grieve. I never got a hug from anyone, never had a chance to say goodbye, and never had a place to display my grief, I bottled this grief up all these years, and now it’s coming out. My counselor also tells me that when I start to cry and talk about my Dad, my voice changes to that of a nine year old boy.
    Every time I hear a particular song that reminds me of 1965, I begin to cry. Every time I got to a school Xmas program, I start to cry because it reminds me of the school Xmas concert my Dad went to. When I look at a picture, I start to cry. The grief is just unbearable.

  • Tara November 12th, 2014 at 12:24 PM #193

    My father died when I was 5 months old. 25 years ago today, actually.

    It’s hard to understand what it is to grieve someone you didn’t really know but are still connected to. At 25 i still think about him all the time. I wonder what my life would have been like had he been around. Not having any memories to look back on is the hardest part. I will never know the sound of his voice or his facial expressions, the way he moves and talks. Grief is such a complicated thing

  • Bashir November 12th, 2014 at 10:52 PM #194

    You are welcome, and thank you for your beautiful reply.I hope everyone will find the healing they joy for.

  • Thomas November 16th, 2014 at 1:22 PM #195

    My mother with whom I had a good bond with, killed herself when I was 12 years old. There was no time to grief. My father, family and older brothers just moved on and never spoke about her ever since. The only thing I felt was shame. I’m 26 now. Had my share of addictions. Depression, anxiety, dissociation, numbness started 5 years ago and are slowly taking their toll. Till now I managed to keep functioning and maintain a job. It has been 14 years and still I’m fleeing from this traumatic experience. Been seeing a therapist for a couple of months now in order to get all the feeling above ground. Hope one day I’ll be able to face it. Thanks.

  • Zac November 17th, 2014 at 9:29 AM #196

    I lost my mother unexpectedly a week after my 16th birthday, January 3rd of this year. Just a month before I lost my grandma November 26th. It was an awful feeling and it has been very hard yo live with. After this I had to learn to get along with my dad who I never had a really good bond with, he’s been a lot nicer lately but is always drinking.

  • amy November 17th, 2014 at 11:15 AM #197

    My dad died when I was 6, him and my mum had split up when I was young due to domestic violence and him doing drugs. I didn’t know him that well but the death has caused me to develop depression and to self harm. Im only 15 now but it hasnt got any better. I had therapy for the death, and iv just finished therapy for self harm, talking isn’t my thing.
    Thought id share so no one turns out like me

  • RN November 18th, 2014 at 7:49 AM #198

    This little boy is going to be lucky to have you. My advice as an orphan from 12 is to make sure you tell him often that what happened was in no way his fault; children have lots if irrational guilt about their parents’ deaths. And connecting with other kids and families in a similar situation so he knows he is normal. Finally, that there is no time limit on his grief. Good luck.

  • RN November 19th, 2014 at 1:10 AM #199

    Stick with your therapy, I promise it can help. It saved my life after losing my folks at the same age you did. Ten years of therapy but it was the best investment.

  • Andrea November 20th, 2014 at 6:31 AM #200

    My mother was murdered when I was 4. My sister was 1. She was 7 months pregnant. My father was accused and tried 2 times and later acquitted. My sister and I lived with our father. I do know what you are going through. I am now 48 and I think about her more today than yesterday.

  • Andrea November 20th, 2014 at 7:03 AM #201

    Thx Phil…

  • Lily November 22nd, 2014 at 3:08 PM #202

    I lost my dad from cancer at age 10. 14 years later I still remember it so vividly. It came as a surprise to all my family, he knew he was going to die, he didn’t want us to be worried so he kept it for himself. He must have been so lonely and I wish I knew so I could prepare myself and be there for him. I still remember lecturing him to stop smoking once he “recovers from this bad cough” and he didn’t answer me back.

    I never talk about it, not to my family nor my friends. I never cried in front of people because I didn’t want them to worry about me nor to pity me. I keep it for myself all these years. I have an older brother but we aren’t close and my mom used to go on business trips for months so I felt really left out as a pre teen. I have a great mom though!

    I think I have self esteem and trust issues. I’m a graduate student from a top college, speak 3 languages, I have a good job, a social life with good friends yet I always feel other people are better and smarter than me, I’m very harsh on myself. I never had a long lasting relationships with boys because commitment afraids me. I’ve been thinking about my dad a lot lately, almost everday and sometimes I feel blue. I’m afraid to “slip” into depression, it happens for many people – I don’t want that in my life. I met a person my age that has also lost a parent for the first time and we connected immediately. It helped a lot!

  • Sally November 22nd, 2014 at 8:33 PM #203

    Hello. I lost my dad at age 4 just a few months shy of turning 5. I remember him quite well, but at the time, I was very confused as to what was going on. I was told that he had died but I didn’t know what it had meant. I knew he was missing but I didn’t understand why. Honestly I don’t think that I really “grieved” for him till a few years ago up till now. I’m not really sure why that is. I always knew that there was this sadness and missing piece but I could never sort through my feelings. My mother loved me very much and did her best, but I didn’t grow up with a positive type family. I’m now diagnosed severely depressed and I have thought to kill myself in the past. I’m still struggling but I’m doing my best to get better. I’ve been thinking that I am the way I am because of his death. Everything went wrong when he died. And I don’t mean that in a because he’s missing and I miss him (of course I DO miss him) but more in the sense of timeline. Ever since he died I’ve had a plethora of emotions from everyone else. I was denied by his side of the family because they couldn’t stand to look at me and not cry. They ignored me for years. Honestly they actually still ignore me. My family constantly remembers him and cries. They always want to talk about him with me 18 years later and its very emotionally heavy on me. So I wondered if it wasn’t so much that he died and I love him and miss him or if all of my mental problems stemmed from everyone’s reactions to it. I feel pretty guilty saying that though. I don’t know why it took me so long to realize I missed him. Everyone always says “well at least you were young imagine what it would be like to lose him now” and I always though that that was true but now I’m unsure if that really matters at all.

    I don’t know I’m hoping someone can explain ANYTHING to me. It’s been very confusing my whole life dealing with his death at my age.

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team The GoodTherapy.org Team November 23rd, 2014 at 11:09 AM #204

    Hi Sally,

    We received the comment that you submitted on our blog earlier today. Thank you so much for visiting GoodTherapy.org. If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, in danger of hurting yourself or others, feeling suicidal, overwhelmed, or in crisis, it’s very important that you get immediate help! You can do one of the following immediately:

    • Call your local law enforcement agency (911);
    • Go to the nearest hospital emergency room;
    • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TTY:1-800-799-4TTY)

    The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is equipped to take a wide range of calls, from immediate suicidal crisis to providing information about mental health. Some of the reasons to call are listed below: • Call to speak with someone who cares;
    • Call if you feel you might be in danger of hurting yourself;
    • Call to find referrals to mental health services in your area;
    • Call to speak to a crisis worker about someone you’re concerned about.

    If you are a victim of domestic violence, you can call your local hotline and/or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE (7233) (TTY 1−800−787−3224)

    RAINN provides support for sexual assault victims and their loved ones through two hotlines at 800.656.HOPE and Online.RAINN.org. Whether you are more comfortable on the telephone or online, RAINN has services that can guide you in your recovery.
    • The National Sexual Assault Hotline: If you need support, call 800.656.HOPE, and you will be directed to a rape crisis center near your area.
    • The National Sexual Assault Online Hotline: is the first secure web-based crisis hotline providing live and anonymous support through an interface as intuitive as instant messaging.
    • For more information visit http://rainn.org/get-help/national-sexual-assault-online-hotline.

    Warm regards,

    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • Carrie November 24th, 2014 at 11:22 PM #205

    My name is Carrie. My husband died in April, we have a now 5 year old daughter. My biggest fear since I was pregnant has always been that I would some how screw my child up. Now I struggle with my grief and depression and I am left alone to raise our child. I fear now more than ever that I am going to damage my child. I have no idea of what I am doing I never have felt assured in my role as a parent. I have always questioned heavily if I was “doing it right”. Now I feel doomed as her mother like there is no way I can pull myself together enough to perform as a mother. My child will see me crying and she brings me a picture of my husband then a tissue.

    I am not sure why I am posting this. I found this site while I was doing some reading on raising a child who has lost a parent. I guess I thought maybe there is some advice you could give me, things that were helpful to you or things that didn’t help or we’re even hurtful.

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team The GoodTherapy.org Team November 25th, 2014 at 9:56 AM #206

    Hi Carrie,

    If you would like to consult with a mental health professional, please feel free to return to our homepage, http://www.goodtherapy.org/, and enter your zip code into the search field to find therapists in your area. If you’re looking for a counselor that practices a specific type of therapy, or who deals with specific concerns, you can make an advanced search by clicking here: http://www.goodtherapy.org/advanced-search.html

    Once you enter your information, you’ll be directed to a list of therapists and counselors who meet your criteria. From this list you can click to view our members’ full profiles and contact the therapists themselves for more information. You are also welcome to call us for assistance finding a therapist. We are in the office Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time; our phone number is 888-563-2112 ext. 1.

    Warm Regards,

    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • Mary November 25th, 2014 at 5:54 PM #207

    My name is Mary . My mom died when I was 11months old from a heart attack . My dad says I was in my play pen when it happened , my dad was at work , my mom was home talking to her sister on the phone . My aunt said while she was talking to her my mom said hold on , and she never came back on the phone so she hung up and didn’t think of anything like she was dying . My 9 year old sister at the time came in the house to see my mother dead on the floor and me crying in the play pen. Then when the priest called my father he came and …. Well that’s what happened that day . I shortly lived with one of my other aunts when I was 2 up to now . I’m 16 years old . I’m confused with things , I obviously don’t remember my mom expect pictures I see . I’m confused about because when I was 1 , the doctors said I was traumatized because , I witnessed my mothers death (even though I don’t Remember) I don’t know when I greived . I was always a good baby / child I was told . In kindergarden my teacher told me , I never spoke a word . Never . Until may when I started talking to this one girl. I don’t get it though , when is my grieving stage? Do I have one? Will I have one ? I always get upset all the time and sometimes wish I were dead just so I could meet my mom . I get mad because my life would of been so different . I also don’t get it because I know my family knew my mom way longer but they always say , they had dreams of her , that she was in their dreams , but not once have I had a dream where I saw her or anything. My aunt did say one day when I was about 10 washing dishes , she saw my mother , like her spirit just come out of me , and then disappeared . I mean like I just want to know like why haven’t I had any dreams of her where she comes to me and everything , it’s just so frustrating . I don’t know if this has anything to do with it but I have social anxiety now , I get very nervous when the “spotlight” is on me , I hate it . I get nervous when I have to talk to certain people I don’t feel comfortable around face to face , I don’t open up to people . Not even my family . Only one of my best friends . That’s it. My aunt , my dad , my sister , I want to open up to them but I cant, one side of me wants to buy the other side is more stronger and just holds it back and I don’t open up at all , I’m more open with friends but not family . At all , I hate that I’m like that. The thing with me getting nervous (red face , heart beating fast , cold hands , butterflies in stomach) really started last year (my 10th grade year) idky but it happened out of no where .
    Sorry this is so long but Im to shy to ask my aunt to bring me to therapy to at least kind of help me , does anyone have any like advice or anything to answer my questions that I asked ^^
    Please comment below Anything you have to say .

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team The GoodTherapy.org Team November 26th, 2014 at 10:00 AM #208

    Hi Mary,

    We received the comment that you submitted on our blog earlier today. Thank you so much for visiting GoodTherapy.org. If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, in danger of hurting yourself or others, feeling suicidal, overwhelmed, or in crisis, it’s very important that you get immediate help! You can do one of the following immediately:

    • Call your local law enforcement agency (911);
    • Go to the nearest hospital emergency room;
    • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TTY:1-800-799-4TTY)

    The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is equipped to take a wide range of calls, from immediate suicidal crisis to providing information about mental health. Some of the reasons to call are listed below: • Call to speak with someone who cares;
    • Call if you feel you might be in danger of hurting yourself;
    • Call to find referrals to mental health services in your area;
    • Call to speak to a crisis worker about someone you’re concerned about.

    If you are a victim of domestic violence, you can call your local hotline and/or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE (7233) (TTY 1−800−787−3224)

    RAINN provides support for sexual assault victims and their loved ones through two hotlines at 800.656.HOPE and Online.RAINN.org. Whether you are more comfortable on the telephone or online, RAINN has services that can guide you in your recovery.
    • The National Sexual Assault Hotline: If you need support, call 800.656.HOPE, and you will be directed to a rape crisis center near your area.
    • The National Sexual Assault Online Hotline: is the first secure web-based crisis hotline providing live and anonymous support through an interface as intuitive as instant messaging.
    • For more information visit http://rainn.org/get-help/national-sexual-assault-online-hotline.

    Warm regards,

    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • srisSiieIrisIr November 28th, 2014 at 12:40 AM #209

    My name is Iris and I lost my mother at age 5 to an overdose. I got taken away when I was 3 so I never really knew my mother. From what I’ve heard she really loved me. I’m 15 now living with my dad and stepmother due to a bad situation. They treat me nicely and I know I should be happy but I’m not at all. There’s this giant void in my heart. I cannot trust anybody due to her death and there’s fear of abandonment. I don’t even trust my dad. I’m afraid they’re going to give up on me and figure out that there’s no help for me. I know that my mother would still be addicted to drugs if she were still alive but I still wonder if I’d be ”alright” if she were still alive. I’m so unsatisfied with myself and at the fact I’m not happy. Is this normal?

  • Nikki November 30th, 2014 at 2:20 AM #210

    Hi Joan,
    I hear what you are saying and have experienced similar feelings to you. I lost my mum when I was very young and when I was your age found it difficult to open up to both family and friends. I’m really glad you have a best friend to talk to. Is there a school counsellor you can talk to? Or perhaps you can talk to you doctor about how you’re feeling and they can let your Aunty know that you need to speak with a therapist.

    One of my downfalls was to think I was to strong or it would appear to emotionally weak for me to speak about my emotions to others. Nothing could be further from the truth. Being able to express oneself is a great gift.

    Best of luck to you.

  • mike December 1st, 2014 at 4:43 AM #211

    Id like to thank everyone for this website and their posts
    my names micheal i lost my mom at 13 to disease she was sick for a few years but noone told me until a few months before she passed when we moved from Illinois to Arkansas for warmer weather i remember not understanding. or not really knowingg what it meant i thought even to kill myself just to see what it was like not in a depressed no reason to live type of thought even when hospis came i had no sense of anything they brought oranges and syringes so i could practice giveing my mom her shots. my step dad was never home he had. a new gf a few months after my mom passed so any way around October my step dad says we are gonna have thanksgiving early because shes not gonna make it everyone comes in October for dinner she ends up making it just after November 24 i was watching tv in my room about 1 in the moarning my step dad come to me and gives me a hug and says she gone. i remember very clearly i feel nothing no tears no sadness. i get up and my room was a loft over looking. the livingroom i see her sitting in her recliner still has could i still feel nothing my aunt shows up nobody says anything besides when i ask why my step dads looking. at me my auny says he’s worried about me so we move step dad gets a new gf i never see him there was never food around i had to enroll my self into jr high i remember i got caught shop lifting shoes from wm i spemnt 3 weeks in jail during thanksgiving that following year after moms death he let me sit in jail on a signiture bond the kids threw rotten milk at me. i was barley 14 anyway when i got. out we had.moved agian to the same apt building of his second new gf i went two weeks without. food stealing. egg noodles. and that’s what i ate mainly so we move back to Illinois. i finish summrt school had my real dad comes and takes me to my brothers i am living with him now i never see my step dad agian moving in with my brother was no better in a year he was in jail and his gf kicked me out she took my social security. check of 400$ a month. and rents a tralier and says thrre u go that was along time ago I’m 29 now and its never gotten easier so much more had an has happen and I’m very tired of struggel if anyone. has any advice feel free to speak it I’m open to conversations

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team The GoodTherapy.org Team December 1st, 2014 at 10:26 AM #212

    Hi Mike,

    We received the comment that you submitted on our blog earlier today. Thank you so much for visiting GoodTherapy.org. If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, in danger of hurting yourself or others, feeling suicidal, overwhelmed, or in crisis, it’s very important that you get immediate help! You can do one of the following immediately:

    • Call your local law enforcement agency (911);
    • Go to the nearest hospital emergency room;
    • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TTY:1-800-799-4TTY)

    The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is equipped to take a wide range of calls, from immediate suicidal crisis to providing information about mental health. Some of the reasons to call are listed below:
    • Call to speak with someone who cares;
    • Call if you feel you might be in danger of hurting yourself;
    • Call to find referrals to mental health services in your area;
    • Call to speak to a crisis worker about someone you’re concerned about.

    If you are a victim of domestic violence, you can call your local hotline and/or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE (7233) (TTY 1−800−787−3224)

    RAINN provides support for sexual assault victims and their loved ones through two hotlines at 800.656.HOPE and Online.RAINN.org. Whether you are more comfortable on the telephone or online, RAINN has services that can guide you in your recovery.
    • The National Sexual Assault Hotline: If you need support, call 800.656.HOPE, and you will be directed to a rape crisis center near your area.
    • The National Sexual Assault Online Hotline: is the first secure web-based crisis hotline providing live and anonymous support through an interface as intuitive as instant messaging.
    • For more information visit http://rainn.org/get-help/national-sexual-assault-online-hotline.

    Warm regards,

    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • Brett M.S. December 2nd, 2014 at 6:25 PM #213

    My Dad died when I was age 3! I don’t know all of the ill effects because I was also severely abused after that by an older sibling so trying to figure it all out for me is very difficult, to say the least.

  • Iyesha December 2nd, 2014 at 8:04 PM #214

    I share the same experience. My mom died of aids in 1995 as well. It has been almost 20 years and I still can barely talk to anyone about it.

    My best wishes for everyone here. It is amazing to see how many people have been through the same thing.

  • kirstie Taylor December 4th, 2014 at 4:48 AM #215

    My mother was told she had ovarian cancer hours after i had been born, 6 months later she died. As a child it never effected me, other children would ask me where my mother was. It never bothered me because i never new her. It wasnt untill my early 20’s when i realized it was possible to miss someone you never new. My mums family say im the spitting image of her. I look like her, i talk like her, I laugh like her apparently my hobbies are even the same. This makes me sad to think iv not only lost a mother but maybe a best freind too. The most intresting part of this article that stuck out to me is the relation ship with the suriving parent and how they deal with the lost and how it can effect the child. My father has never delt with the death of my mother it has been 24 years and he has never re marrid, it has always been me and him. I no i am a constant reminder of her and this kills him. From an ealry age i took on the role of mother/wife cooking,cleaning,ironing even his company. It wasnt untill i became a teenage my relation ship with my father changed, I met my now husband, i spent a lot of time with him and friends, going on hoildays, living my life like any normaly teenage, which meant i wasnt always at home to have his dinner on the table when he got home from work or the ironing/washing would start to pile up. He would moan at me for never being at home and that he was lonley. He started to drink more at weekends but i didnt take much notice. It wasnt untill i got in to university and told my dad i was moving out that i notcied his drinking had rapledly got out of controll. he stoped going to work, stoped paying the bills, and drank round the clock. The week i was packing to go off to university he tried to kill him self 17 times. so i did what i always do look after him, i quit uni got a job to pay the bills and got him off the drink. 1 years later when i thought he was better, i told my father i was moving in with my husband. he threated to go back on the drink again. It wasnt until now being away from the situation that my dad was never really ill, he manipulated me from a child, used my mothers death against me and heald me hoistege in my own home.

  • Jen December 4th, 2014 at 7:17 AM #216

    Hi Mike, I was a few years younger then you, but was aware of my mom’s sicknes for the 2 years prior to her death. I was 8, almost 9 when she passed. Now I am 34. I have felt a deep wound from that loss my while life. She was a beautiful and loving mother. While no adults were emotionally available to me after she passed, my father managed to provide food and a roof over my head while I grew up. I lost him too though in a sense, after she died, and am just realizing this and it’s effects on me. I studied early child development later on, and learned much about our needs as children growing up. When our basic needs (food, clothing & shelter) are not being met, it causes us to be in a perpetual state of crisis, never mind having to deal with the grieving of losing a primary caregiver. So you have had some really big challenges for the majority of your life. Every child needs loving support, encouragement and stability to thrive. It doesnt sound like that was available for you.
    I decided to write you because of your comment of being tired of struggling. I can relate. I feel exhausted from life and living.but a part of me wishes to live and enjoy life, and so I keep trying to figure things out.
    I struggled with feeling self-worth and confidence my whole life. Who I am. And like you, I had to step up and learn to take care of myself from that young age. I was in an abusive relationship for a few years when I was 25. Then later had another, and so for the past 6 or so years I have been seeking counseling to assist me in healing… I have experienced depression, and struggled with the feeling of not wanting to exist. And so I am trying to learn to reconnect with myself to be able to love and take care of myself in order to experienice and have a real connection with life and living. The path has not been easy. But it’s up to us to not give up.
    I have rambled a lot, but I wanted to say that I believe that 1st bad relationship I had kind of set me off into a depression.but really, there’s pieces of the traumatic childhood occurrences which I believe cracked the foundation of my emotional wholeness, and so I have been looking at repairing or at least coming to terms with these things, so that my heart can feel whole again, and I can find a way to live with a sense of hope again.from reading what you wrote, I feel as though you might just understand this. I feel like it’s ‘do or die’, you know?
    (Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong about this)
    One thing I have been learning, and trying to instate in my life, is that despite not having someone to take care of us and value us and reflect that love and that we are important/worth while beings, despite not having that while growing up, somehow we need to find a way to give that to ourselves now. Part of our child development is that we learn about the world from the key people in our lives growing up. We learn if we are loveable, if the world is safe, if we can rely on others. As human beings, we are social creatures, with social & emotional needs. No man is an island. This is true. We need others. When our needs are not met while we are children, we find a way to meet them. That is resiliency. Being able to face and step up to the challenge. You did that when you took those runners or that food. You were meeting your needs in a way. Maybe not the best, and i dont know you, but maybe in your mind you were doing what you needed to do in order to survive. It sounds like those years were confusing for you…
    Apart from theach basic needs, I believe each person has a need to love and to be loved. Maybe some can live without this, I dunno. From observing life around me nd studying and all my convos with counselors, I’m convinced that love is quintessential.
    First we need to know how to love ourselves, and then we can feel like we are valuable and worth taking care of, and I suspect this is where the key to feeling that ‘connectedness’ with life and living comes from.
    I still struggle with this but slowly have been making progress.
    In our lives we don’t just grieve when someone dies, but we can also have the need to come to terms with, and to grieve the ‘loss’ of other things in life. Of things that we should have received as (vulnerable) children, but maybe didn’t. And looking at these things can be painful. But if we can process our emotions about our experiences then eventually, maybe we can let them go and find a place of renewal. A place of desire for life and living. ..
    This was a very long response, but I would like to hear your thoughts
    From a girl who is tired of being tired…

  • s December 5th, 2014 at 11:39 PM #217

    Sorry I don’t know what it’s like losing a parent but 4 over 10 years I have dealt with s very distance man and I believe it because he had lost his mother at a young age of 15 but so sorry yr family never took u n from that man

  • Sw72 December 13th, 2014 at 3:23 PM #218

    My father died at the age of 36 when I was 9. I also lost a huge part of my mother that day. She has never been the same. I find it really hard to open up to people. I also have a history of emotionally abusive relationships. I am actually a very strong person and am now a single parent to an amazingly confident and loving 6 year old who I love with all my heart. I can’t believe I have her – she is truly inspirational. Her father is off the scene. A physically and emotionally violent person who I haven’t now seen since before my daughter was born. I am in a relationship with a good man who adores my daughter and has two of his own. Problem is I can’t open up to him. I can’t demonstrate how I feel. I am now scared that because of this i am messing up any chance of a great relationship with him for both me and my daughter.

  • Winter Inside December 16th, 2014 at 9:30 AM #219

    I lost my father when I was 2 years old due to a drug overdose, after that my mother sent me off to live with my grandmother on my father’s side and she took off, continuing to do drugs and drink she was in and out of rehab centers a few times and eventually moved across the country with a new guy, 6 years passed between my father’s death and her move. At 8 years old I remember late night/early morning getting the call that she too had passed away, she was abused and beaten by this guy and eventually thrown down a flight of stairs. I remember feeling nothing at the time, neither for my father’s passing or my mothers. I continued to be a quiet emotionless but well behaved child for all my time growing up, never given any outlet for any grieving or any way to cope I just buried it as time went on, I moved out on my own when I turned 18 and still continued in this cloud of an emotionless detached haze, only as I approached my mid 20’s have I started to really delve into the feelings I buried for so long, at first they started to flood back, it has been so hard to deal with, now at the age of 27 I feel the effects of everything, I have a loving fiance now for the last 5 years but I fear that because of everything I am a detached individual that has problems opening up, trusting, or showing any true emotion, I can see these problems and yet cannot change them. I wonder all the time what life would be like had they still been alive, and I fear I will be like this forever.

  • Christopher December 17th, 2014 at 4:43 PM #220

    @Winter Inside. I relate to so much of what you said. You will only be detached and somewhat emotionless if you don’t face whatever emotions you’ve buried deep inside. You don’t have to be that way and I hope you find an outlet for the pain inside. Wondering how things could of and would have been is pointless. We have to live in the here and now and deal with what life has thrown at us.

  • Thomas December 28th, 2014 at 12:45 PM #221

    Thanks for your advise. Think I finally found a good T that I can visit on regular basis.
    Anyone around with some tips on how to getting burried feelings to the surface? My mind always seem to avoid, blank out when thinking about certain subjects.

  • Iron. January 9th, 2015 at 8:38 PM #222

    I understand what previous poster mean when they wonder how things would have turned out if death of a parent had been delayed for a while . My father died when I was six years old from a car accident. I remember waking up that morning July 24 1974 and being told by our housekeeper that my mum and my uncle( who lived with us) had gone to look for my dad as he had not made it home the previous night. I later learned that they found his car ( a good Samaritan had called the police and they had taken him to the hospital) a few miles from where we stayed. I don’t remember anyone telling me that my dad had died. I just knew that something was wrong and that my dad was not there. I think about him every single day and I know my emotional detachment has something to do with his death. My mum did not cope very well with his death and fell into a deep depression for a number of years; suddenly losing a husband and left to raise four kids the oldest- 8 yrs and the youngest- 2 yrs must have been too much for her. Now that I have 2 kids of my own I cannot imagine how them growing up without one of their parents. I NEVER cried\mourned my fathers passing.On the day of his funeral I was standing outside the church next to the coffin when a lady that did not asked me if I wanted to see. I was not sure what was going to see but I said yes.She lifted me up and I looked in and I saw my farther lying there. I was in shock and did not understand what was going on I distinctly remember wanting to jump in the grave with him as they were lowering the coffin. It has been really difficult for me major anxiety-panic attacks and depression I tried seeing a therapist once but my personality is not suited for therapy. I cannot share or reveal my emotions to people- Introverted to the max with trust issues.

  • Richard January 13th, 2015 at 12:02 PM #223

    I’ve read most of these stories and feel the need to share mine. My mom died @ 17 suddenly from leukemia when I was 11 months old, my dad is egotistical and selfish (a grease ball 18 yr old punk that got a 15 yr old into the back seat of his jalopy, a real piece of work), although my aunts tried to help he wouldn’t let them, and he kept me from knowing my maternal grandparents because my grandmother thought her bruises were from him, not knowing she had leukemia, and he wouldn’t forgive her for accusing him of beating her, he re-married when I was 3 to a bipolar manic depressive (that was helpful). Nothing I did was ever good enough for him. They kept it all secret until Christmas eve when I was 9, wouldn’t let me grieve because it made him feel bad and they were having a party with friends. Christmas and any holiday/birthday ect brings on deep depression ever since. Tried suicide @ 17 but failed and was punished for it. I married @ 18, had a daughter @ 21, divorced 2 years later. My ex tried to use my daughter as a tool to make me miserable (had her own issues), she re-married a guy with money and he became daddy, they did their best to keep me out of her life, finally talked me into giving her up for adoption. I did it thinking it was best for her (they almost had to reprint the papers because of the tears I was shedding), and haven’t seen her since (she would be 41 now). My ex left him and ran off with an aspiring musician to California never to be seen again. I’ve tried but failed to locate her, If my daughter is like me she probably hates me, if she’s like her she probably doesn’t give a damn. I remarried @ 27 to a woman with a 1 yr old girl born in 1980 (loved her like my own best I could), we had twin boys in 1985, 1 made it 1 1/2 days, the other made it a month. Never grieved properly on that one either (had to be tough right?). We now have a 4 yr old granddaughter but the son-in-law hates us and has brainwashed our daughter as to what p.o.s.’s we are. I’m 60 now and just now beginning to understand why life has been so difficult. 7 different antidepressants, a bout with alcohol and pot, my wife had a severe bout with pills, (thank God we never found heroin) and I go to sleep every night praying to God to not wake up, we are both in so much pain. I have spent my entire life thinking I’m a p.o.s., it helps to hear I am not alone in my suffering, reading these helps me to understand why I have alienated everyone and have had so many social difficulties. I had a 1 best friend ever that kinda understood me but he hanged himself 2 yrs ago (alcohol depression, and I feel like I let him down) In therapy yet again and resisting trying yet another antidepressant (ssri’s just don’t seem to work on me, just makes things worse), taking valium now to control anger (helps a little), learning slowly now to not hate myself so much, these posts have been helpful, thanks for sharing everyone and hope everyone finds peace somehow. Trying to reconnect to my aunts while I still can and let them know why I alienated them, better late than never I hope. Wish I could forgive my father but just can’t seem to find a way, therapist trying to get me to let it all go (don’t see how yet), but she does seem to understand the immense emotional baggage I carry, sometimes I am able to cry for a short time every once in awhile but something makes me bury it again and I just go numb, feels like if I could just cry/scream it out good once and for all I could be @ peace finally but just can’t seem to achieve that. Like Thomas if anyone knows how to get it out once and for all I’m all ears, other than that my passing seems to the only way I’m ever gonna find peace. Good luck everyone

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team The GoodTherapy.org Team January 13th, 2015 at 12:31 PM #224

    Thank you for your comment, Richard. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about what to do in a crisis at http://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html

    Warm regards,
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • Lisa January 17th, 2015 at 3:01 PM #225

    My father was killed at 39 and I was 7. I began to use drugs early, I fought all the time, I was very angry. My mom was distant and had an alcohol problem. I’m now 50 with 2 children of my own. I don’t make good choices in men and I’m a loner. Does this have a name? I’ve done quite a bit of research, I’ve been to numerous psychiatrist with not many answers as to why I’m like I am. Why would a person grow up to become everything they didn’t like as a child?

  • Peter January 19th, 2015 at 10:01 PM #226

    My Mom passed away from breast cancer when I was 10. I’m 36 now. My Dad was and is a great father but the emotional hole left after my Mom passed away wasn’t something that any of us really knew how to deal with. My Dad remarried a couple years after and I didn’t get along with her at all. I seemed like any normal child growing up until I went to college. That’s when I dove head first into the party scene. Using alcohol and drugs was like taking a vacation from all my worries and insecurities I had built up in my head since I was 10. By the time I was in my 30’s I was getting drunk every weekend. I was a functional alcoholic. But my wife helped me realize I had to quit drinking. It wasn’t something I could just do socially. I haven’t drank any alcohol in the past 3 years. When I stopped drinking my trusty old crutch that I depended on for my entire adult life was gone. All that was left was me and the guy that looked just like me staring back at me in the mirror. I all of a sudden turned into a hypochondriac. I never had this issue before when I was drinking but now I did. I think it has a lot to do with me having issues with death and not wanting to die young like my Mom did. If I had one bit of advice for parents that are raising a child where the other parent just passed away I would recommend getting them to talk to a therapist. I never had that and I think the repercussions of never getting stuff off my chest about my Mom dying when I was a kid sort of hibernated inside of me this whole time. Also, I always used to tell everyone I was fine even though I wasn’t. Looking back on it I probably would’ve fought my Dad if he would have tried to get me to see a therapist. It probably would’ve helped me a lot though. I wish everyone good luck in the future.

  • Kathy January 22nd, 2015 at 10:26 AM #227

    I was adopted at 9 months of age. At age 15 my father died from a massive heart attack. My mother, who always seemed to have emotional issues, fell apart. My older adopted brother went off to college and I was left to deal with my own issues and my Mom’s issues as well. She became even more verbally abusive and finally physically abusive to me. At age 17 I considered leaving home, but about that time my mother became severely ill herself. She died just before I turned 18 of a stroke brought on by sclerma derma. I have struggled with alcohol abuse over the years, shopping addictions, depression, etc. I lost my adopted older brother to cancer in 2003. Back on anti-depressants. I am now on my 4th marriage. My 3rd marriage ended when I learned my then husband of 26 years had cheated on me and fathered a child. I finally sought psychiatric help at that point. I am finally in a good marriage but some issues remain such as bouts of excessive alcohol consumption and over-spending. I am finally off the anti-depressants. My current husband has expressed concerns about my drinking. I pray for complete deliverance.

  • Julia February 2nd, 2015 at 10:33 AM #228

    My mom passed away when I was seven. My dad worked so hard to keep things going for us three kids but he really didn’t have the “knack” for keeping a home. My brothers resented him for it and it caused a lot of fights and rebellion. I was always very close to my dad but it was hard growing up without a mom helping me out. Had to figure out a lot of things on my own. I’ve had all sort of physical and emotional issues since her passing. Several bouts of depression as well as chronic stomach issues which worsen with stress. The last few months I’ve been very ill and have started to experience severe anxiety which I never had before. I have fears of dying when I’m a parent and my kids are young, or of my husband dying. I finally got in to a wonderful therapist and it’s been really helpful (I’m trying to avoid medications if I can). She explained to me that even though I had counseling after my mom’s death, I’ve never dealt with her death as an adult. I’m sort of re-experiencing my grief in a whole different way. In a way it’s disappointing because I’ve always felt like I’d finally “dealt with it” and I was “okay.” My faith in Christ is a source of comfort to me and I know I’ll see my mom in Heaven again. However, I’m realizing that although I do have that wonderful comfort, I will always have emotions and difficulties in each stage of life as a result of what I went through. A lifetime is a long time to be away from your parent. The grief might never go away completely. And I’m so thankful that I finally sought help and counseling, because God wants us to use the gifts of healthcare and mental care we have today to keep us healthy. I thought of myself as well adjusted and certainly not traumatized. But it is a traumatic event and it’s okay to see it that way. I may need counseling throughout my life at times and in a weird way it’s a comfort to realize that I know the source of a lot of my stress and illnesses. Mental illness should never be stigmatized or looked at as someone being “weak.” I don’t know if an entire library could quanitify the impacts of losing a parent at any time, but especially at a young age, and it affects you the rest of your life in ways we may not realize. If you can attribute depression, anxiety, physical ailment, and other things to what you went through in the past, then you can grieve again and seek help for your present feelings. Each stage of life is different so this could manifest in different ways throughout. I’m sort of rambling now but I wanted to share my story and say to people who might read this: seek help and support, even medication, as needed. You are not alone and it is okay to admit that you’re hurting. There are people who love you and want to help. Although the pain may come and go it WILL go and there will be wonderful, blissful times in your life for you to cherish. Live for those.

  • Joanne February 6th, 2015 at 1:11 PM #229

    Sean, I am so sorry to read your message that you lost your mom. It sounds like the two of you had a lovely relationship and I’m sure she loved you very much. You need to get yourself some support, this is so recent, I am sure talking to other young people who have been in a similar situation to you will help you feel less alone and that you have a future that will be filled with joy and happiness again, even if it doesn’t seem that way now. Good luck and keep going. X

  • Lorie February 8th, 2015 at 1:37 AM #230

    My father died of skin cancer when I was 19 years old. I am now 28 and I still struggle with the loss at times. It was a shock to the family, and it tore my mother apart and forever changed all of us. My mother struggled with extreme grief and depression, and eventually lost her job as a Special Education teacher (stressful career as it was with huge caseloads of kids, some with mental and emotional problems). She couldn’t find work after that and eventually retired early. She met my step dad a few years later and I am thankful for him being in her life to help take care of her. As for me, I was in community college at the time of my dad’s death and did complete my first two years. At 21 I met my ex boyfriend that turned out to be a very abusive relationship verbally at first. He was an narcissistic alcoholic with a record of being in jail for dui s and domestic violence. Halfway through the relationship I began to seek therapy for my abandonment issues, depression, and low self esteem. Eventually therapy helped me enough to finally end the relationship, especially since the very night I left my ex he had finally became physically abusive. After that I went back to school and received a degree in the medical field. I have a great job now and I’m dating a healthier and wonderful person. However, I still have issues I’m dealing with in therapy with the loss of my dad and the scars my last relationship left on me. I battle depression a lot and do have some mild anxiety. Overall, my dad’s death did make me stronger in some ways but weaker in others that many people don’t truly understand. It’s not easy watching other people with both of their parents still alive have that unique family connection that I guess I feel was just ripped away from me.

  • Orphan February 9th, 2015 at 6:24 AM #231

    I am 29 now and a single mom my husband left me for another woman. I always wanted to get married and have two children close together, I sometimes wonder if its only so my life would be normal. I don’t drink or do drugs or even smoke cigarettes. I do though have anxiety and constantly wonder what would happen to my son if i died. Because of this I don’t do anything risky and Miss out on a lot of things. My Mom was an alcoholic and had a stroke when i was 14, she was forty one. No one saw it coming. My dad was eleven years older than her and was the glue that held us together until she died of a brain aneurysm three days after her stoke. My hero of a dad fell apart and it was up to me and my sister to be strong. My dad died a year and a half after my mom they said it was emphysema and pneumonia but i honestly think it was a broken heart. I was 15. I ended up going to three different high schools and living with different family members. I’m grateful for their hell and sacrifices but they will never be my parents. When i was pregnant with my son i realized how much i missed my mom and how little i knew about her or myself i had so many unanswerable questions. My father didn’t give me away at our dance with me at my wedding. Its not something i will ever get over or deal with but carry with me every day. I would eventually like to write a book even if no one reads it i think it would help to get it all out.

  • lisa February 23rd, 2015 at 7:51 AM #232

    I found my father dead at age 11.turned to drugs at age 14.now I’m 50 dealing with depression/ptss.Will I ever live a normal life???

  • Kristi February 23rd, 2015 at 4:13 PM #233

    I was only 15 when I lost my dad to suicide. Its been 2 years and I’m 17 now. My parents had been divorced since I was born, so I only saw him on weekends. As I got older, I spent less and less time with him. I came home one day in October and my mom and older brother told me he’d shot himself. My grandpa died 3 days before my birthday in September that year and I lost my grandmother only a couple days before my dads death. I hadn’t spoken to him for several days and the last words I heard from him were the ones he left in his suicide note. I’ll be going to college next year and I’m doing much better in school, but I still deal with the depression and anxiety I’d been dealing with even before his death. Do you ever get over it? Will I ever stop grieving? It’s so hard to believe that you’ll never see your parent again.

  • katie February 24th, 2015 at 5:19 AM #234

    Hey sweetie. I lost my dad in very much the same way when I was 11. I’m 28 now with a child of my own. Its only been two years for you. I’d be lieing if I said “you’ll get over it”. You won’t. But it does get easier to handle. I promise. You aren’t alone. It very much still affects me, but I have learned to cope. Take care, and don’t ever deny yourself help from a professional!

  • Stefan February 24th, 2015 at 10:44 AM #235

    I was 14 years old when my mom died of cancer. I was mature enough that I knew something was wrong as she was in/out of hospital frequently. When she died me and my dad have put a carpet over it and that was it. No grieving. I had pretty good high school ( I am from Europe, so family bonds, friends. social network was exceptional and those were the good days without cell phones, FB etc, you actually have to meet friends and have fun). Then civil war came to our country, ripped it apart and I had to leave for US. I finished college, university, build my career, had good friends, had fun, dated. I had never issues with attracting girls but I knew I had attachement issues, and it was sweeped too under the carpet. I had my bad days but nothing bad or big like depression. Then some 20+ years later I lost my great aunt, 2 uncles back to back……….and those were the triggers. Floodgates opened and I do not have the words do explain the ‘frozen-pitch black’ pain i felt one calm, normal October morning. Like a tzunami it hit me, all of it my mom, civil war, uncles….all flooding hiting like a Semi truck. I crumbled by muself, but found solace in good friends in my town. Soon I realized it is time to educate, read, understand. Since 2006 I have been reading non stop about loss, grief, life. In 2008 I decided to move back home after 15 years in US and in 2008 I visited for the first time my moms grave. I though my first crisis was bad, but this was like an End of the World breakdown, I cried so much at the grave (cemetery is overlooking Adriatic Sea with crisp green pine trees, no words can explain calm and beauty of the lancscape) that I could not breath. I lost sense of time during that 1 hour realizing I was reliving 1986 but this time for real. Since 2008 I visit the grave and have imense emotional release. BUT, each time it is easier, lighter somehow a bit less intense. During the year I have few sad episodes but moving back home was a huge boost.

    My first release in 2006 was a crucial starting point to start and tackle this formidable dark force. I can offer only this tangible advice: You can not hide from it, it cought up with me some 20 years later and it ripped me apart. You have to read, educate FIRST. That will allow you to start TRUE griefing process like I did at the cemetary. Then you continue reading, educating. You do not stop. Main themes from top books I read, I copied and I send them to myself in the future as a constant reminder via delayed delivery email.Reinforcement of the main themes you learn are very important. Emotional release, grief are ESSENTIAL even 20 years later!

    Why all this? Casual reading only is not enough, it takes time for you to ABSORB the material in order to start TRUE Grieving……….only then you start seeing light. Many, many stay frozen. In addition to self education, seek groups, online chats like this. It will start to seep in slowly but you will start seeing results in all aspects of your life.

    Will you be fully healed? NO. You can not close that gaping hole. But you will be better, stronger, you will start to seek some form of inner peace on a road to final place. That is tangible, realistic. Ultimate goal is some form of inner peace.

    I still struggle, but all those horrendous breakdowns, emotional release episodes (5-7) were essential to move forward.

    Crisis will hit again, I have no doubts but now I think i have at least education, knowledge, experience, maturity, emotional war wounds to face it better when it hits.

    I hope this helps as I share and feel all your pain.

  • Christopher February 24th, 2015 at 3:25 PM #236

    @Lisa I was 11 when I found my father after he shot himself through the head. “Normal” is relative. It’s up to you to choose how much you let your past affect you.

    @Kristi you never truly “get over” losing someone, but you can get passed it. There will always be a spark of pain deep inside but it does get easier with time. It’s so much harder when you’re young. I really hope you find a support group to help deal with your losses.

  • Stefan February 25th, 2015 at 4:19 AM #237

    @ Richard #223

    I read your story and you seem to have multi level of issues one layered on top of the other. As I have noted in my note #235, what somewhat saved me was constant reading and absorbing material from both normal and psyhology text books. That gave me first step to understand some of my actions/reactions/attitudes etc. Books teach you about how age of a child during death, surviving parent, family/friends/ abuse etc impact child and his life later on.

    You seem to have non stop trauma and stress which adds additional layers of trauma to original core death of a parent.

    Key point here is to think of a ‘trigger’ that will launch the avalanche of emotions. It could be place, cemetery, smell, music. Everyone is different. In my case it was first death of great aunt and then visiting my moms grave after 18 years.

    You will NEVER be able to have ONE emotional release and be OK. It does not work that way. So far I had 5-7 major, heavy, physically sickening emotional release episodes. That is what you want and need triggers to ‘unlock’ the toxic/dark things in you. You are basically looking for a complete breakdown of child in side of you finally say what he wanted all these years.

    Heavy medication, toxic people around you, alcohol only ‘block’ the release.

    Figure out ‘triggers’ test them and see if they can open you. If not, start reading as a first step, then brain will slowly start softening and trigger will come.

    Hope it helps.

  • Ce February 26th, 2015 at 11:47 AM #238

    I lost my mom at age 11 due to her drinking and driving. I then unexpectedly lost my dad at 16(4 day before my 17th bday) due to an illness he found out he had a year before passing. I am now overwhelmed by my dads death and it’s like my moms almost took a back seat. I am 35 now but it still feels like yesterday my dad passed away and a year ago my mom passed. I had a tough life with my mom so there’s mostly unpleasant thoughts that go with her. My dad and I had a good relationship besides your typical preteen moodyness I was going through so naturally I miss him every day. I don’t tak a lot about my mom but eveything makes me think of my dad and I’m constantly taking about him. I lived with my mom until I was 9 and then moved out of state to where my dad was living. I am an only child as well so dealing with losing both of my parents has really affected me and who I am today as a 25 year old woman. Most of the time I still feel like I could be a teenager.

  • Ce February 26th, 2015 at 11:49 AM #239

    25 I am 25 now (not 35!)

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