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.”

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

© Copyright 2011 by By John Smith. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • joey

    October 24th, 2011 at 11:49 AM

    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.

  • Jayne

    July 12th, 2016 at 9:06 PM

    Yes. I do relate to your point about feeling different that your parent died. When your young and others ask – what does your dad do – I was only 16 plus so I felt awkward when I said that he was dead and I especially felt awkward because I knew they weren’t expecting that answer as they were young too. Jayne

  • Ceaux

    September 19th, 2016 at 10:50 AM

    I totally agree my father murdered my mother when I was only five years old and I grew up in a household with other cousins and my aunt who treated me different and had a big effect on my life. even in my adult life I still have attachment issues and codependency issues.

  • Matthew B.

    November 19th, 2016 at 4:20 AM

    Thats so true. My father died suddenly, when I was two. I felt nothing but shame about it. God only knows why, but I did. I had the very same conversation when I was 11 at school with my class mates, I had to get up and leave the room because of the shame and embarrassment that my dad had died whilst theirs were engineers etc.

  • Bex

    July 16th, 2023 at 5:49 PM

    I totally agree with this and can hand on heart remember this exact scenario

  • P.L. Martin

    September 30th, 2016 at 4:26 PM

    You are so right, especially if the surviving parent is cold and indifferent. Depression is a common outcome of loss of a dear parent at a young age and the emotional neglect by the surviving parent. I know from experience.

  • Sherri

    October 30th, 2016 at 9:18 PM

    I know what that feels like too. It’s especially hard when years later your dad says, “You were a baby, a mental nothing. It didn’t hurt you at all.”

  • Jo

    March 18th, 2017 at 9:13 AM

    I was 22 when my father killed himself. I never let my friends see my sadness and felt shame and sadness and abandonment at the same time. I’m 63 now. My mother is still living and she is narcissistic. We’ve never discussed my father’s death. At the time of my father’s death, he was having an affair and my mother said that she would ruin his successful professional career if he left her. I believe this is partially why he killed himself. My two sisters and I have tried very hard not to be like our mother and we all suffer from depression and anxiety. Do you?

  • Carol

    May 20th, 2017 at 10:35 AM

    I can relate. I saw my dad die when he fell from a utility pole. I was 10 years old. From that point on, my mom was unable to cope. She was cold & did not offer emotional support. We didn’t talk about my dad. I don’t blame her because I believe she didn’t know how to handle it. It has really affected me in my life.

  • Sonia

    January 26th, 2017 at 1:45 AM

    My mom passed when I was 6, I then went and stayed with my dead and stepmom who treated me badly and dad started treating me the same way as my stepmom. He would tell me he should have let my mom abort me when she could, he was emotionally abusive. I felt alone. I even tried committing suicide at some point. The other time I was in joburg the entire year not knowing where to go but no one in my family cared to look for me. At age 30 I still feel the pain and no one can ever understand. I have also always struggled to make or keep friends. I am now a mother of 2 kids and married and I can see that my pain hinders me from beING the best

  • Pamela M.

    February 7th, 2017 at 5:59 AM

    Hi Sonia. I’m so sorry to hear of your pain. I have pain too! Thank you for reaching out with this and allowing others to share and feel “understood”. I pray for peace over you!

  • Fernando

    March 5th, 2017 at 9:32 PM

    Sonia. I read so many comments and my best friend, Greg had an experience similar to yours, he loss his mother before he was 2 and now he is 30 years old and feels like killing himself sometimes for the loneliness he feels. I love him with all my heart but he can’t see it. He misses his mom even though he has no memories of her. His father also abandoned him when his mother died, because due to the grief he turned into drugs and 5 years later finally he picked him up from his grandmother house and gave him a stepmom What can I say or do to help my friend? I love him so much that it hurts me so much to see him suffering. PLEASE HELP ME

  • Lou

    June 28th, 2017 at 8:06 AM

    Very sorry to hear about your deep and long-lasting pain. I can understand from my own loss. Sorry again,

  • Ginny S

    January 6th, 2018 at 11:38 AM

    My mother also passed when I was 8. I then moved in with my dad and his very abusive wife. I’m 47 and have had trust issues with every relationship I’ve had. I have 5 kids and wish I would have been there more for them too. Please email me if you want a friend. I have very few myself!

  • Sherrie

    March 7th, 2018 at 9:12 PM

    Sonia, my story is very similar to yours and I feel your pain. My mom was killed when I was 5 and my dad remarried. Stepmom was horrible and both were abusive. I am now married with two kids of my own and sometimes the pain is too much. Hang in there ❤️ Your mother would have wanted you to live your Best life

  • angela

    February 9th, 2017 at 11:37 AM

    True that people do not realize that even as a child , there is a need to understand loosing a mother. I was 5 and saw my mother die from a car accident. I remember feeling very alone and had no one to talk to about what I was internalizing, The adults just didnt talk to me about it and kids at my level had no clue how to console me…I remember keeping an imaginary relationship with her and not really being able to relate to kids my own age anymore, Sad really

  • Philip

    March 29th, 2017 at 4:42 PM

    My 14 year old grandson lives with me and is starting to live in a virtual world. Eats to the amount of 250 lbs and going. Lost his mom to overdose at age 2 and bounced around with his dad and his three son by all different women until six years ago when he came to live with me and his grandmother. what is going on in his head?

  • Carla

    April 17th, 2017 at 12:19 PM

    Hi Angela,
    I can certainly relate, I lost my mother to a car accident when I was 4. No one ever seemed to talk about it after the fact and I was somewhat shamed by my family when I would cry or express emotion due to the sadness and longing for my mother. Although I was young I still missed her dearly. My mom was also my imaginary friend growing up. I still miss her to this day and wish I was able to get to know her.

  • jeff

    January 19th, 2018 at 4:05 AM

    i feel everyones pain here :( my mother died suddenly when i was 6 mos old but my father re married a yr and a half later to my “mom” and honestly i had a normal good childhood but as an adult who conciously knows better i still struggle to this day with relationships and that underlying feeling that i will be left.

  • brian

    May 16th, 2017 at 1:14 PM

    I understand you my name is brian i lost my mum when i was 6 she actually died in my dad’s hands in bed (heart complication) it had a massive effect on him he has lost both his dad and wife in his own house so he took alcohol as an emotional crutch he’s never married since then honestly he has done a great job me and my sis are in campus and we are “well off” but he’s cold and indifferent, my childhood growing up I’ve been very lonely but i don’t think anyone knew i neglected my emotions till i finished high school it was such a relief i never thought i would finish school because i always had separation anxiety,depression in school but my moms death has really affected me i’m really shy girls approach me all the time but i really avoid them because in my mind i fear abandonment and neglect i’m 21 now i had a girlfriend once i loved her so much the feeling was so new to me after a year she broke up with me i sunk into depression she used to say i don’t trust her and i was really cold i couldn’t hold her hand in public because in my mind i always feared the humiliation i would feel when we broke up this has really held me back I’ve always cried alone since i was 6 and i created an imaginary mom to tell my friends when they would ask i would say she is abroad i’ve reached a point in my life i just need some one to talk to i find it very hard to share my feelings i think they are so profound i’m so insecure and distant from everyone i feel like i need a forum like this at least i have the comfort that i’m not alone thank you people

  • The Team

    May 16th, 2017 at 3:14 PM


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  • Bruce S

    October 6th, 2017 at 2:15 PM

    I can relate to so much that has been said here – my father passed (such a pleasant term that was used, but so confusing to me) when I was 10 going on 11. My father had been military and both my mother and father were often away from the home (my father for military reasons), and both of them with on and off severe illnesses that hospitalized them. We were a family that was taught to “soldier on” and set emotions aside. My mother was emotionally vacant for many years after my father died (my teenage years). I suspect my three siblings (2 older and one younger) also dealt with issues – I know there is a lot of anxiety in all of us, and anger is not an uncommon emotion. In my case, when I began my teaching career at the age of 47 (I had worked in the helping and research field with adults with developmental disabilities, and then administration and Information services in the same field for decades); but when I began teaching, my first teaching opportunities, I first had a grade six student whose father passed away, then in another school, I was dealing with emotionally troubled students involved in gangs (siblings of my grade ones believe it or not), and also refugees who had lost family members in war torn areas, my next two years, I had one student who had been removed from family and lost a loving parent and a wonderful group of school parents, who looked into suicide and was very depressed and lonely and I had another child the year earlier who talked about not being able to cope with life anymore and wanted to end it due to the stress of overbearing parents, and then a classroom of 6 emotionally disturbed children – each of these contacts with children who had similiar experiences and challenges as my own at their age, slowly dragged up emotional stress in me that I did not understand and eventually I ended up off work, thinking stress, but within 3 years, I had full blown PTSD and then a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder – 8 years later, I now understand what had come to the surface and am happy that the experience did bring it to the surface, but also understand that much of this may have been dealt with at a younger age if the impact on children had been better understood. Unfortunately, my mother was unable to accept support from my church group, and took us to live with her mother, which unfortunately was a town where we had lived before and I had experienced bullying, and experienced it again, so it ended up as a very difficult 2 years at the age of 11-13. Later I joined the military for stability, but unfortunately almost drowned and took years to fully recovery from lung damage after a training exercise which led to me leaving the military, and another large loss of dreams and a wonderful experience – I became a master at burying it all and pretending that life was all good, which it really was with good jobs, a wife of 37 years, and two adult daughters, but eventually, the ghosts of the past came to the surface, and from a treatment point of view, it took about 5 years to understand just what I was dealing with. the pain still lingers at 61 now, but I understand it better and with treatment and lots of meditation, I have learned to live with the pain and at least when the anger, fear, depression creeps back in, I know where it is coming from and I can work with it.
    My siblings and I are now distant and we have not been able to reconcile the anger that arose towards the whole world and my family, as they began to express their own and redirect it back at me when we did not know what I was dealing with. This led to us being unable to have caring conversations, as I said and did some very hurtful actions as my past came explosively to the surface.

    I am glad that research is finally beginning to recognize this iss ue, and there have been new studies looking at impact of childhood cancer on mental health of family members, death as described, bullying, loss and realizing that the child’s brain is in a key developmental stage during the childhood period and any trauma or significant loss can have significant impact on their emotional and mental health.

    My good wishes to all that have experienced the same that you too can find some peace.

  • Stephanie

    May 19th, 2018 at 6:20 PM

    I lost my mother at age 11, devasting to say the least. Especially since as a child, I feared losing her or being separated at all. I had a fear of my father, a drunk. He always scared my sister and I. My moms family was around to care for my mom during her illness which was a gleoblastoma that grew very fast, brain cancer. No one would tell us during the extended illness that she would die. We knew something was wrong in May, she was diagnosed in September and died in January. So I would have been 10, finishing my 5th grade year. Of course I start 6th grade in September and she died in January, we had all of 2 weeks to prepare for our loss. Once she past, which we were at the hospital to witness, I went crazy, even passing out. My moms family was sent on their way after the funeral. I felt so alone and afraid, angry….why, why did it have to be her, why not him. For a while he tried….but he made big mistakes, terrible ones. Soon after my dads mother was also ill and going to die of cancer….so he moved us to her home. My sister could not stay and watch another death, but I had no choice, less than a year… another death. After her funeral, my sister never really returned, and my dad became even more depended on drugs, alcohol, women, sex….mother cycle clubs/gangs…treating me terrible. I have to say I lived in terrible conditions, rat infested, roaches, prositues, strange men, guns, drugs…violent behaviors. Terrible. I have had my ups and downs as an adult…married 2 x’s….but seemly turned out with out obvious addictions. I have a good career, paid well, I pay my bills and don’t depend on others for my financial needs. However, I now suffer with terrible anxiety, panic attacks and ptsd, which may have really kicked off after a close call with death. You see I have a 27 year old daughter, 25 year old son and a 9 year old daughter. I have to be here, I can not leave my baby. I don’t want her to suffer or experience what I did. How has my Mother’s death impacted me….why did it take so long for these fears to surface?

  • Rosie

    October 24th, 2011 at 1:51 PM

    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.


    August 29th, 2016 at 6:09 AM

    Please tell us, how to overcome. I went through but there is no solution. I have a cousin brother aged 13 years just lost his father. He is adopted. He cried a lot sometimes and feels very panic. I am afraid if he goes to depression a lot and go for substance use or so on. Please help me please.

  • Brian M

    November 15th, 2016 at 12:03 PM

    My mother died when I was eight years old in a big Irish family of seven kids. My father felt sorry for himself and everyone thought I was too young to be effected. Nobody paid attention to me so I learned to not pay attention to my own feelings. Get the child to talk and try to get them to work through the issues. It will take time but it will teach them how to work through issues on their own as they get older. I am 59 years old now and just starting to figure things out. I had a lot of issues with relationships, anger, rage and trust. I abused alcohol at a young age because of my anger but never became dependent. Therapy was good to have someone to work through feelings but it is not like having someone close that you can learn to work through feelings on your own. I would think that you would learn a lot about death also. It is a topic that has great burdens for an adult, imagine what it does to a young person who holds it all in! Time will not heal if your thoughts are wrong, only when you have good understanding and good thoughts. The problem will only get worse if your thoughts are blaming yourself, feeling different from everyone else and holding in the anger and fear.

  • Brian M

    November 15th, 2016 at 12:30 PM

    What I have found to be most helpful to me was getting into mindfulness training and reading books from Buddhist authors. My favorite was Pema Chodron. She would use the word “stay” as a way to deal with anxiety or any uncomfortable experiences as a human being. I imagine “staying” with myself and my bad feelings was what I needed when my mother died when I was seven years old. The best thing to happen in this situation is an adult to stay with you and work things through. So we will learn to “stay” with ourselves as we get older. Never run from uncomfortable bad feelings such as fear and anger. These feelings represent you when you were a child and you need someone to stay with you, and that person can be you. It is a good exercise.

  • Jean Vaughn

    October 24th, 2011 at 4:32 PM

    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.

  • Wendy

    June 3rd, 2016 at 6:39 PM

    I’ve come to the conclusion that our society is poorly equipped to deal with grief. It’s far too often medicalised. I lost a parent as a toddler and didn’t always have effective substitute care. I’ve survived. Of course it’s bound to have an effect! People when they lose a parent at much later years can be devastated and until then have no inkling what it might feel like it at as a child. That lack of understanding can be a major problem for young children. It’s a great pity that often experience helps understanding and empathy. Children need love and practical care when suffering a loss. After all, death and trauma is so common globally. Responses such as medicalisation in my view, are an indicator of a repressed society’s response.

  • Ruth

    July 12th, 2016 at 8:31 PM

    My mom passed away 3 days after my 15th birthday. I had an older sister who was 17 and a younger brother, 10 sister, 6. My dad worked for the post office 6 days a week and my older sister was very active in school and dated. So, my 2 younger siblings became my responsibility. Looking back, I don’t know how I did it. I had to push down my grief (I never had counseling until I was in my 40’s) and pretend I was “okay” for them. I cleaned the house, prepared the meals, did the laundry and tried to “be there” for my younger brother and sister. When my dad finally retired in his mid 50’s..he was home during the day but on the weekends he went out a lot and eventually brought a few women home to “meet” us. I hated it! I had to pretend it didn’t bother me…but I wanted to scream at my dad. I never felt love in my home growing up, my dad was very strict. I started speaking up for myself when I was about 16 and my dad said to me: “you can leave anytime you want cause I don’t need you.” I often thought what would have happened if I DID leave…but I just couldn’t leave my siblings alone with no one to raise them.

  • Jayne

    July 12th, 2016 at 9:17 PM

    I think that things are so much better than they were 25 when my father died. We are encouraged to express how we feel. The child is considered more now. Jayne

  • bronwen

    October 16th, 2016 at 4:40 PM

    Hope Jean, I’m sorry to hear of your early loss. I get upset and emotional about kids losing parents, I think the mother is especially bad. I don’t know why because I’m middle aged and still have my parents, although my mum is very frail and hanging onto life and has a life-threatening condition. It’s awful to have this hanging over us. I think if one doesn’t have good emotional support after this, or excellent roll models it can impact for life. I was discussing this with a friend at my writing group, the remaining parents may be inadequate and relatives may not be that helpful, or brilliant in making that child feel secure. They could feel forced and put-upon. My nanna’s mum died when she was 3. She was lucky inasmuch as a kindly man took her and her siblings in, bless him, or it would’ve been the workhouse then. But she missed her mum and as she put it was looked after by a housekeeper who didn’t take kindly to it, I think she was probably cold and distant. However, I know people who have lost parents and had terrific remaining parents and have had great step-parents and aunts, uncles, even guardians. Did you have good support after, if not it could be why you struggle. I find its good to focus your mind that there are a lot of positive outcomes to these circumstances. I find creative writing helps me. I find that I can invent imaginary lives and characters and this helps and comforts me. You might be able to harness these creative forces and invent a child who loses parents and finds a wonderful family. It’s not a bad idea to live in your head. Also your experiences can be invaluable to others, as you can be extra sympathetic to those who have suffered similar fates. Hope this has helped a bit.

  • Elaine

    January 6th, 2017 at 1:52 AM

    I haven’t got over my fathers death 50 years ago when i was 12. It also stared a series of event that are very unhappy for me . I t is ruining my marriage and my life as I can’t get it off my mind and I want to write about it but my memory has faded. It try to go on but often feel suicidal- as though it was my fault my father died and I have to do something to put things right. He was a very dogmatic man who was always imprinting his veews on everyone and then he was gone.

  • E.M.K

    October 25th, 2011 at 5:49 AM

    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

    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

    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

    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.

  • James

    July 30th, 2016 at 7:00 PM

    Our Mom died from “Sclerosis of the liver” she was a alcoholic. This happened in 1965, I was 4, my two older sisters were 13 and 16. Our Dad met our step mom fairly soon afterwards, in 1966 and they married in 1968. She had 3 daughters from her first marriage (Divorce). When our parents met, her daughters were 20, 14 and 12. Having two biological and 2/3 step sisters was more than challenging for me, being the only boy, no other brothers. I am glad my Dad married but not sure he made the right choice for a step mom, or step dad for her daughters. We had a very toxic/dysfunctional family.

  • Isiah Bryant

    October 30th, 2011 at 8:13 PM

    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

    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.

  • Kj

    March 3rd, 2017 at 9:48 PM

    WELL! That’s a twist! Haha What’s your secret? 😄
    Jesus, Family Therapy, Openly Expressing Eachothers’ Feelings, Luck ?

  • Lara Phelps

    October 31st, 2011 at 12:10 AM

    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

    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

    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

    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! :)

  • Helen

    November 22nd, 2018 at 5:37 AM

    Your so brave! I find courage in people like you, truly truly! I know what it is like to lose a parent, it is a bit like losing a part of yourself, it’s a tough void to fill and I was young too when my father died and I always buried the pain and felt I needed to look after everyone. I know the feeling that you’re only loved ones are going to die at any moment. I remember preparing my mind for my mother’s death to come, so that I would be prepared for it. It is a great vulnerability to live with.
    I pray yo find strength in yourself and that you are forever surrounded by love and people who make you laugh, I pray you feel the warmth of your own heart and your parents glow in your heart keeping you company when the nights are the coldest. I pray you are given the best of life filled with joy and laughter and the best of company. I do not know you, but I don’t need to, but you are the writer of your own story and you I hope you always find the best paths and may you have the time to grieve and let it settle in your heart as pure love and I wish you the best in your life, for I find it is a strange blessing going through such traumas as we can help others heal and in that process heal ourselves, maybe even stop the pain we went through and be the rock that we never had or simple be the one to hear their problems.
    To everyone out there, may your life’s wounds be healed and may the scars remind you of the love you have to offer and the love you have always deserved to receive! May you find a warm place in your heart to go to when times are tough and may you find joy in life and peace in your soul.
    all my love to you all

  • lindsay pitt

    September 6th, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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.

  • Betty

    August 28th, 2016 at 7:59 PM

    Thank you for sharing your story. My stepdaughter lost her mom at 5 yo and I became a stepmom when she was 7yo. I love and care for her the same way I love and care for my two biological children. I thaught her to pray and trust her mom’s spirit was embracing her everywhere…when the teens years came along she wanted freedom and material stuff. I’m showed love, care and tons of fun but with a structure based with values…my husband his biological father was gone always traveling and never had (still doesn’t have) bounderies, parenting skills based in basic values and ethics. Therefore, he was always the good guy and I became the evil stepmother. Your comment of being upset at your partner for having what you didn’t have losing a parent feels very similar to my situation. I been a dedicated mother to the children and I feel my husband and stepdaughter get angry at my loving care for my children. While my stepdaughter will manipulate and lie to us (sad to see my husband will do anything about it) on the other hand, I hold my kids responsible for their good and no so good actions providing words of encouragement or consequences if need it…my stepdaughter got the “free to go” and she pretty much did everything she wanted to do. Long story short my husband and stepdaughter started judging my good parenting skills and they both blame me for their own spiritual and mental lack of care and structure. Please give yourself the opportunity to accept your situation fully. Embrace love and forgive the pain. Then move forward with your relationship and be thankful your partner could be provide good insights of things you never had and viceversa, you can provide good insight of your own experiences. Make your relationship or marriage strong together… Blessings 💕

  • Anonymous

    January 4th, 2017 at 7:31 AM

    I would like to share a similar story – I recently left a situation because I found myself with basically no other solution. I helped a boyfriend with raising two children who had lost their mother suddenly. A boy and a girl. The girl was the older of the two, six when her mother died of an aneurysm right in front of her. As much as I cared equally for both, the girl, who was very close to her mother, was always very distant with me, never really accepting of me (referred to me as the babysitter). She did not seem to form genuine relationships with others. Seemed to manipulate and do seemingly kind things to get something out of a situation, exaggerated, was spoiled by the father who would blame me always no matter what the situation with her in parenting. Worse, he spoiled her. When she was nine, I noticed she was already trying to look sexy in attitude and dress, and I thought she must have learned this from her mother since I was modest around the children. She also liked seeking attention from others in interesting ways – though I sometimes felt maybe just typical being like a teenager at 12 and 13. She never really warmed up to me and was jealous of me sleeping with her father. At some point I started making the connection that she might have issues forming relationships. Her friendships seemed superficial on her part and worse, only one aunt and really seemed to really love her. The rest of her family seemed too busy to care and I had no other support system for her except a grandmother who was strict and overly religious with very odd and old fashioned even outdated understanding of life (along with her own issues). The children sometimes seemed to be a burden to her. All of this left me feeling drained emotionally. The father was an escape artist and always kept the children very busy. I also realized that I couldn’t possibly marry this man because he had no concept of what raising a family was about. I soon felt like a single mom and couldn’t possibly stay in the relationship feeling this way. I look back and worry that the girl will have issues with forming loving relationships. She was not kind if she was not the center of attention and jealous. She was even mean with her brother if she thought no one was around. Luckily, she has a friend who also lost her mother and has other family who lost their mother too. I have a selfish regret about not staying in the relationship after some years, but felt it difficult to be around the father and other family members of significance who were not well adjusted or understanding of the gravity of the loss for both children. The son, thankfully, took to me from an early toddler age, and was a very happy, loving, and well adjusted child. Very different from the daughter. I worry about her and wonder how her life will turn out.

  • Anna

    September 15th, 2016 at 3:13 PM

    I will probably never look back at this but I appreciate all of everyone’s stories here. I came here looking for more information on why I experience some of the things I do, and I know its because of what has been missed for so long. I was just 21 years old, just getting out of college. I know I wasn’t as young as some of you but 21 is still so young. I am so envious of those my age that still have parents, I am only 29 currently. I was so proud of what I was doing, I wanted to accomplish things, I had so many goals, and so much ambition. it was 2008 when my mothers doctors started looking into why she has problems choking on food. They found that she had a birth defect that couldn’t be detected before due to new imaging techniques they were able to see what the problem was. We were told it would be a two part surgery. The day was December 3rd 2008, 5 am I woke up to kiss her good bye before and tell her I love her and she knew I was worried. I was crying the entire time, I could hardly say bye, but I did. When she walked out the door with my dad she turned to my boyfriend and said to him “Hey, you take care of her for me, alright?”. My father called me about 9-10 am and told me “Hey you might wanna get here, your mom isn’t doing so well.” I freaked out and my boyfriend floored it to the hospital. She was in recovery and had a stroke. I remember sitting in the little waiting area, they were still working on my mother when I arrived. There were medical professionals rushing about, at the time I had no idea it was for my mother, there were people frantically calling out codes over the intercom. As soon as I spoke to my father all this was so I don’t know how to explain it. I lost part of myself that day, she was in a coma for a week. I sat there all day and night, eventually she was just getting worse and worse and they advised us it would be best if we let her go. So December 10, 2008 my mother died. I know death changes people but I didn’t expect it to be like this. I’m not sure what I expected, my father remarried a couple months later on my mothers birthday and told me I needed to find a new home. So I packed up my mothers home, took what I could, split what I could with relatives. He wanted nothing from his past, now he occasionally calls me but it messes with my head every time I talk to him. I don’t know how to feel, he kind of abandoned me. I didn’t speak to him for over 5 years after that. I was looking for information about something I have problems with that I saw someone else post about. Most days it doesn’t hurt so bad, but I’m not sure if that is because I keep my head down and into my work, and keep my mind occupied but if it wonders some place else… Sometimes it’s pretty terrible, I’d never hurt myself, I’d never hurt another, the feelings get overwhelming. Anyway, something someone else said above “Im angry at my partner for having the love and support I never did, I’m depressed and jealous, and untrusting” I am interested to know if anyone else has trouble with this, I am so conflicted and I’ve been with my partner for 10 years, he understands and doesn’t hold it against me and was there when all this happened, he was the one my mother told to take care of me. Part of me feels like she we deep down knew something wasn’t going to workout the way it should of. I guess this is just the cards I’ve been dealt, eh. I need to get out of this funk and go for a walk. I can’t keep being sad like this, anyway.. I think I might find a doctor to talk to about some of these problems I’ve been having regarding it. Everyone hold strong, and try to love every day that we can.

  • Elizabeth Farrell

    October 22nd, 2012 at 9:44 PM

    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.

  • Wendy

    June 3rd, 2016 at 6:44 PM

    There’s a good book Motherloss by Hope Eidelmann, published in Australa. She lost her own mother aged seventeen. She also wrote a workbook ‘Motherless mothers’. Best wishes to all from an almost sixty year old!

  • Chris

    October 25th, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    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

    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

    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

    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.

  • Elizabeth

    August 28th, 2016 at 8:35 PM

    Your words are a blessing. My stepdaughter lost her mom at age 5 and when her dad and I got married with a new family structure, she didn’t like it. Eventually, she detached from her blended family. She did left a year ago at the age of 17 and I hope her inner struggles will heal with maturity and wisdom. Hope is a powerful blessing.

  • Paula

    January 9th, 2013 at 7:11 PM

    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.

  • AC

    November 9th, 2012 at 9:15 AM

    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.

  • Marcus

    January 14th, 2014 at 2:30 AM

    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

    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 who specializes in health issues or sleep disorders by going to 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 Team

  • NW

    November 27th, 2012 at 9:07 AM

    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

    @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.

  • Mark

    January 13th, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    Its not a competition

  • Katie

    February 3rd, 2013 at 4:34 AM

    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.

  • BIll

    June 5th, 2016 at 6:41 PM

    Hi my name is bill and my mom was killed by a drunk driver right in front of our house I was 10 years old now 35 my dad turned into an acholic and my life was never the same since me and dad witnessed her being struck and thrown in the air I could still see it in my memory it’s been 25 years since then I still have no idea how to get over it I think it’s impossible

  • Ruth

    July 12th, 2016 at 9:19 PM

    Thank you so much for your kind words. It is easy for someone who hasn’t experienced the death of a parent as a child until you’ve been through it. My situation was similar to yours as when I lost my loving mother (who I regarded as a saint) instead of a doting, caring dad was self-centered and didn’t even bother taking his children (approx. 2 years after mom’s dead) when he and his girlfriend decided to go to Florida for a week! Why? He didn’t want to have to pay the extra $$ for us. So, basically, he made me feel abandoned (as he told me I had to watch my brother and sister while he was gone…I thought to myself: In case you haven’t NOTICED, I’ve been doing just that for 2 years now!) while I was still dealing with the loss of my Mom. I remember him taking us kids swimming one Sunday…this is the closest I ever felt to my dad …that he was taking time to BE with US by himself. Oh, he would go to his girlfriend’s house EVERY Sat and Sun…leaving us at home to fend for ourselves. I was only too happy to take care of my siblings. After awhile I had my own babysitting jobs on the weekends and I told my dad I wasn’t going to be home. I thought he would say that his girlfriend and him would stay at our house, but that was not always the case. My younger sister who was 7, later told me that she was home alone many times by herself and that is was often way after midnight before my dad or I returned home She told me she would sit on the front porch and cry cause she thought everyone left her. She had Major Depression all of her life and passed away in June of 2012 from cancer. I miss her so much..,.she was my sister and best friend.

  • Fran

    February 16th, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    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

    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

    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.

  • Scott Homer

    February 22nd, 2013 at 3:33 PM

    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.

  • Susannah

    November 13th, 2016 at 11:26 AM

    Firstly, Isaac. I’m so sorry for your loss. I will pray you get the help you need. I came looking to see if anyone else was experiencing what I am. After reading these posts, I feel like I was so blessed to have both my parents until 10 months ago when my Dad died of cancer. My parents were a very tight unit, but I thought my Mom would cope much better than she is. I miss my Dad so much. I miss our “family” . Everything feels like it has changed. My Mom is so sad and I have spent the last 10 months helping her (seeing her nearly every day and doing all the things my Dad did around the house), but I am now feeling some resentment towards her, and feelings of not wanting to see her cause it brings me down when I do -because it reminds me of Dad and she is so sad that I feel I have to put on a happy face all the time with her. My brother hardly sees her and I feel angry at him too as my parents did everything for him up until my dads death. I wish my Dad could come back so things could go back to normal. I’ve come to realise that when a person dies – it’s not just them you grieve. You grieve everything you’ve lost.. your family as you knew it. The relationship with your other parent and siblings also changes. I constantly worry about my Mom being alone now too. As I said I know I was lucky to have my Dad for as long as I did, but I miss him so much.


    February 19th, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    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.


    February 19th, 2013 at 8:59 PM

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

  • James

    February 22nd, 2013 at 3:12 AM

    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…

  • Lady Harp

    March 5th, 2013 at 8:34 AM

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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.

  • Tattoo jimmy

    April 4th, 2013 at 6:24 PM

    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.

  • P.L. Martin

    September 30th, 2016 at 4:51 PM

    Each child reacts differently to a parental death. I was affected the most. I was nine years old, the eldest of four and the only one to remember our father. It was such a trauma for me that it has affected my entire life. I have suffered with depression since then and am now 70. The statistics for the outcomes for children of losing a parent at a young age are awful. We are 3.5 times more likely to suffer from depression. More likely to have substance abuse. More likely to have multiple marriages. The only one that’s kept me going in my adult years is the love for and from my son. Otherwise life just wouldn’t be worth living. What kept me going during my childhood was the concern and care from my godparents and aunts and uncles. They were always there for me, even though my mother wasn’t. Bless all of you on this website who have suffered so much.

  • T

    January 14th, 2018 at 10:50 PM

    My grand daughter was 2 when her mommy (my daughter) passed away. She was 20 weeks pregnant too! The dad is an alcoholic and referred to her as his “financial burden”. He had one woman after another. Got one pregnant and then broke up with her. He got married a few years ago to a wicked woman! She loved his daughter until they had a baby. Now they have two and the 10 year old is nothing but a babysitter. They control her and emotionally, physically and verbally abuse her. “Don’t laugh like that you sound like your mommy!” They blame stomach issues on what she eats so she gets no sugar, low carbs all while they eat her favorite foods in front of her. She has no fat on her body. They give her little to eat. Now they claim she has a low IQ and are putting her thru testing. They alienate us from her too. Dad has a domestic abuse record. Got dishonorably discharged from Army several years ago. She has no friends and has poor hygiene habits. She stands out from others and is bullied. Would like to give her a fresh start before middle school!
    This has been a rough 8 years!
    I will pray for all who have shared on here.

  • Christopher

    April 3rd, 2013 at 4:15 PM

    @ 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.

  • Deb

    April 7th, 2013 at 11:27 PM

    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

    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

    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


    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

    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.

  • Terry

    December 10th, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    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.

  • Todd W

    May 9th, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    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.

  • Dorrie

    May 11th, 2013 at 1:02 AM

    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.

  • Amy

    May 21st, 2014 at 7:37 PM

    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.

  • aimee-sue

    May 10th, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    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.

  • jacq

    October 20th, 2013 at 7:21 PM

    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.

  • Sarah

    November 24th, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    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..

  • Shirley H.

    November 13th, 2016 at 12:48 AM

    Sarah,Im now 60 and I lost my mother when I was 4yrs old,she died at home alone ,suddenly with me and her newborn.In those days peoplel thought if you didnt talk about death to kids it would all go way.You need to talk to other family members for your own sanity,they probably arent as healed as you think they are.If they are well they should be able to talk to you.Nobody spoke of my mother much at all after she died and it left a hideous,gaping black hole in my heart and in my life.I have suffered lifelong depression,anxiety and substance abuse,do yourself a big favour and talk as much as you can to all the people who remember your mum,it will help you heal ,one day they wont be there either. All the best ,you are young ,you can heal

  • Sam

    January 11th, 2017 at 11:55 PM

    Sorry to ask, but I am a step mum to a child whos mum died at 3. She is now 10 and says she doesnt remember her but she cries and wants to build a shrine in her room. I am very close to this girl and treat her as my own. I just cant quite understand what she is going through, considering she never really knew her mother. Any advice

  • emma

    May 17th, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    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 is still painful now just thinking about it.

  • Lama1111

    May 24th, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    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

    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.


    June 6th, 2013 at 11:11 AM

    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

    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

    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

    Hi Trista, thank you for commenting! You can look for a therapist who may be able to help you in your situation here:

    Best wishes and warm regards,
    The Team

  • Melanie

    July 14th, 2014 at 11:25 AM

    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.

  • Ana

    July 13th, 2013 at 12:47 AM

    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

    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

    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

    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… 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

  • Victor

    August 19th, 2016 at 1:19 PM

    I suffer as you do but my mother died on my 7th bday and I think of her everyday, It made me cry to read your story because I can empathize with you.

  • Julianna

    September 16th, 2013 at 8:02 PM

    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.

  • Pal

    October 22nd, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    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

    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)

  • Rodger

    February 25th, 2014 at 7:50 PM


    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

  • Sally

    November 12th, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    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

    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

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  • Carri

    February 6th, 2014 at 10:39 PM

    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.

  • Tom

    December 25th, 2013 at 7:44 PM

    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

    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

    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

    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.

  • Beth

    March 21st, 2014 at 1:29 AM

    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.

  • Emmanuel

    December 29th, 2013 at 2:33 PM


    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

  • Anna

    April 5th, 2014 at 3:09 AM

    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.

  • bashir

    September 14th, 2014 at 11:39 PM

    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.

  • Ross

    January 2nd, 2014 at 1:59 PM

    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.

  • Beth

    March 21st, 2014 at 1:26 AM

    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.

  • Darms

    January 26th, 2014 at 11:48 PM

    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

    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

    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:

    You can also look for therapists in your area on who specialize helping with anxiety and depression by going to the following link: 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 Team

  • Dennis

    February 9th, 2014 at 5:52 PM

    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.

  • Bogdan Kotarlic

    March 3rd, 2014 at 4:08 AM

    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.

  • Amy

    May 21st, 2014 at 7:19 PM

    Same for me only I’m a woman.

  • Jessica

    March 3rd, 2014 at 8:43 AM

    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


    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

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

  • Beth

    March 21st, 2014 at 1:21 AM

    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

  • Hope

    March 21st, 2014 at 11:35 AM

    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.

  • Amy

    May 21st, 2014 at 7:17 PM

    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.

  • Judith

    March 25th, 2014 at 8:12 AM

    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

    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!

  • kathleen

    March 29th, 2014 at 4:31 PM

    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

    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.

  • Neilsonk

    April 20th, 2014 at 7:40 PM

    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

  • Melanie

    July 14th, 2014 at 11:20 AM

    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.

  • Hazel

    April 28th, 2014 at 3:07 AM

    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

  • Melanie

    July 14th, 2014 at 11:15 AM

    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.

  • Paige Tangney

    March 27th, 2014 at 6:12 PM

    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.)

  • Anon

    April 3rd, 2014 at 3:04 PM

    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

    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.

  • Jeff

    April 15th, 2014 at 9:39 AM

    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!

  • Amy

    May 21st, 2014 at 7:10 PM

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

  • Matt

    April 7th, 2015 at 5:16 AM

    I lost my mom to a brain tumor when I was 8. Life has been a constant struggle. The care I received after her death met my physical needs, but none of my emotional needs. I think I was socially and emotionally handicapped by the way I grew up, but because most people don’t share my experience they’re just basically like, “What’s wrong with YOU?” I’ve been to 2 therapists and neither helped. How did you find one who could help you? I did a search on the site they posted on here, but there aren’t any in my area.

  • The Team

    April 7th, 2015 at 9:44 AM

    If you would like to consult with mental health professional, please feel free to return to our homepage,, 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:

    If you find there aren’t any therapists listed near your zip code, you can also search for therapists in your state who practice therapy online or over the phone. In the Advanced Search, change your location to your state, and choose “Online Counseling/Phone Therapy” under “Type of Service.”

    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 Support Team

  • Jeff

    April 15th, 2014 at 9:43 AM

    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

    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

    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.

  • Hazel

    April 28th, 2014 at 2:59 AM

    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

  • Abby

    June 7th, 2014 at 11:24 AM

    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

  • Mandy

    April 18th, 2014 at 9:49 AM

    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.

  • Sue A

    April 29th, 2014 at 12:22 AM

    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

    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

    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.

  • Tara

    June 11th, 2014 at 7:39 PM

    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…

  • Mitchell W

    May 15th, 2014 at 8:39 PM

    This is a familiar situation..

  • Chris

    May 25th, 2014 at 6:18 PM

    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

    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

    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.

  • M. Cass

    July 31st, 2014 at 11:14 AM

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

  • Amy

    August 11th, 2014 at 8:36 AM

    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

  • jackqueline b

    June 9th, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    @ 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.

  • Michael

    June 13th, 2014 at 9:15 AM

    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

    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

    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

    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

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

  • JenV

    July 7th, 2014 at 2:39 PM

    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).

  • Rik

    June 27th, 2014 at 11:29 AM

    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

    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

    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 Team

    July 7th, 2014 at 8:53 AM

    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

    Warm regards,
    The Team

  • M

    July 9th, 2014 at 1:41 PM

    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.

  • Calvin

    July 21st, 2014 at 11:41 AM


    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.

  • Beth

    July 7th, 2014 at 10:31 AM

    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.

  • Support

    July 7th, 2014 at 12:36 PM

    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

    Warm regards,
    The Team

  • M

    July 8th, 2014 at 3:50 PM

    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

  • A

    July 13th, 2014 at 1:05 AM

    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.

  • Sudan

    July 29th, 2014 at 5:30 PM

    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.

  • Morgan

    July 24th, 2014 at 5:43 PM

    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

    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

    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.

  • Joanne

    August 1st, 2014 at 10:41 AM

    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

    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

    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

    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.

  • linda

    August 12th, 2014 at 7:55 PM

    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

    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.

  • kim

    March 11th, 2015 at 5:46 PM

    Yes I agree…I lost my mom at age 3 and had a terrible stepmother…I have always felt like I didnt belong…I dont remember my mom but I sure do miss her…I didnt get to go to funeral.nor was I told she was gone… shes been gone 40 years now…glad to see im not alone

  • Lydia

    August 17th, 2014 at 6:30 PM

    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

  • Support

    August 17th, 2014 at 8:30 PM

    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

    Warm regards,
    The Team

  • Kath

    August 26th, 2014 at 6:05 PM

    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

  • Rachel

    August 17th, 2014 at 7:41 PM

    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.

  • denise t

    August 18th, 2014 at 12:00 AM

    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

    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 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

    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 Team

    August 20th, 2014 at 10:48 AM

    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

    You may also consider taking a look at this page, which includes information about how to help a loved one:

    Warm regards,
    The Team

  • GuntherL

    August 20th, 2014 at 3:48 PM

    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

    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.

  • Support

    August 23rd, 2014 at 9:19 PM

    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

    Warm regards,
    The Team

  • Nathan

    September 4th, 2014 at 12:16 PM

    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.

  • onyango s

    August 26th, 2014 at 3:54 AM

    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.

  • Rachael

    August 30th, 2014 at 1:27 AM

    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 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

    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?

  • Michael

    September 4th, 2014 at 7:31 PM

    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


    September 7th, 2014 at 1:51 PM


    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

    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

  • Support

    September 8th, 2014 at 10:43 AM

    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

    Warm regards,
    The Team

  • Kathy

    September 13th, 2014 at 11:36 AM

    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.

  • Jane

    July 19th, 2015 at 3:42 PM

    They may just be reminiscing. They’re still young women and I wouldn’t have had a problem acting like this with close friends at their age.
    Perhaps you could try getting a couple of scrap books and a load of photos of them and their mum to stick in and write whatever they like in the books. This can help to heal them and it would maybe be a way in to see if they haven’t grieved yet.

  • bashir

    September 15th, 2014 at 12:18 AM

    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.

  • Rosemary

    November 1st, 2014 at 6:56 PM

    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.

  • Bashir

    November 12th, 2014 at 10:52 PM

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

  • Phil Lester

    September 22nd, 2014 at 10:55 PM

    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

  • Andrea

    November 20th, 2014 at 7:03 AM

    Thx Phil…

  • RJ

    September 23rd, 2014 at 7:32 AM

    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.

  • RN

    November 18th, 2014 at 7:49 AM

    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.

  • E.J.

    September 29th, 2014 at 4:08 PM

    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

    September 30th, 2014 at 9:46 AM

    Thanks for your comment, E.J.. If you would like to consult with mental health professional, please feel free to return to our homepage,, 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:

    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

    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

  • Jane

    July 19th, 2015 at 3:26 PM

    Hi Louise
    My cousins daughters mum committed suicide when she was a baby. Her older sister from a previous relationship (age 10) found her.
    The mothers family blamed my cousin and took her to live with them. I think she grew up in a very loving family.
    The mothers family decided to keep it a secret from her as long as they could. It was finally revealed to her at age 13 by a member of my family. It was a relief for her to know as she knew there was some kind of secret and was desperate to know.
    I now have a child of my own and I can only imagine it is very difficult to know when to tell your children. My daughter is 7 now and I don’t think she’d fully understand. I also would like to protect her from the concept of suicide as long as possible. If I were to tell her I would say things like “poorly in his/her head”, “they were very very sad” and something people don’t normally do and that the person didn’t understand how sad everyone would feel after they died. And then there’s the issue of her telling her friends and possible fall out from their parents wanting to protect their children – maybe even getting angry about it.
    I’m sorry you’re having a tough time x

  • EB

    October 21st, 2014 at 6:12 PM

    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

  • denise

    October 24th, 2014 at 3:16 PM

    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

    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

  • Joanne

    February 6th, 2015 at 1:11 PM

    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

  • Dillyn

    October 21st, 2014 at 11:25 PM

    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

  • Angel

    October 30th, 2014 at 3:17 AM

    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

  • Iyesha

    December 2nd, 2014 at 8:04 PM

    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.

  • Andrea

    November 20th, 2014 at 6:31 AM

    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.

  • Mary

    September 21st, 2015 at 7:57 PM

    I am a grandmother raising a 3 year old because her father was murdered 2 years ago. The man found guilty will be sentenced soon and I am writing a victim impact statement ….how do I speak on her behalf on how it has impacted her ? I am hoping to find the strength and words through your pain and I thank you all for being so open and honest allowing me to do this for her

  • Robyn

    November 7th, 2014 at 10:27 AM

    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.

  • Tara

    November 12th, 2014 at 12:24 PM

    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

  • Marybeth

    November 9th, 2014 at 9:13 AM

    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

    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.

  • Thomas

    November 16th, 2014 at 1:22 PM

    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.

  • RN

    November 19th, 2014 at 1:10 AM

    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.

  • Thomas

    December 28th, 2014 at 12:45 PM

    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.

  • Zac

    November 17th, 2014 at 9:29 AM

    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

    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

  • Lily

    November 22nd, 2014 at 3:08 PM

    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

    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 Team

    November 23rd, 2014 at 11:09 AM

    Hi Sally,

    We received the comment that you submitted on our blog earlier today. Thank you so much for visiting 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 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

    Warm regards,

    The Team

  • Carrie

    November 24th, 2014 at 11:22 PM

    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 Team

    November 25th, 2014 at 9:56 AM

    Hi Carrie,

    If you would like to consult with a mental health professional, please feel free to return to our homepage,, 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:

    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 Team

  • Mary

    November 25th, 2014 at 5:54 PM

    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 Team

    November 26th, 2014 at 10:00 AM

    Hi Mary,

    We received the comment that you submitted on our blog earlier today. Thank you so much for visiting 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 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

    Warm regards,

    The Team

  • Nikki

    November 30th, 2014 at 2:20 AM

    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.

  • Paul

    April 15th, 2015 at 10:51 PM

    Hi Mary,

    I have just read your post and can completely relate to everything you have said. My mother passed away when I was just 6 months old, and can everyday feel a huge void in my heart… I tried many suicide attempts from the age of 8 to 20 as I wanted to be with her. Like you have grown up avoiding social interaction and am plagued to this day with negative emotions and the feeling of abandonment.

    I realise this is a long time after your post, but I had to reply, as I can truly related to you. Thank you, you have made me feel less alone.


  • srisSiieIrisIr

    November 28th, 2014 at 12:40 AM

    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?

  • mike

    December 1st, 2014 at 4:43 AM

    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 Team

    December 1st, 2014 at 10:26 AM

    Hi Mike,

    We received the comment that you submitted on our blog earlier today. Thank you so much for visiting 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 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

    Warm regards,

    The Team

  • Jen

    December 4th, 2014 at 7:17 AM

    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

    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

  • Brett M.S.

    December 2nd, 2014 at 6:25 PM

    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.

  • kirstie Taylor

    December 4th, 2014 at 4:48 AM

    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.

  • Sw72

    December 13th, 2014 at 3:23 PM

    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

    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

    @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.

  • Iron.

    January 9th, 2015 at 8:38 PM

    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

    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 Team

    January 13th, 2015 at 12:31 PM

    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

    Warm regards,
    The Team

  • Lisa

    January 17th, 2015 at 3:01 PM

    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?

  • lisa

    February 23rd, 2015 at 7:51 AM

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

  • Peter

    January 19th, 2015 at 10:01 PM

    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

    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

    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.

  • Elaine

    April 2nd, 2015 at 8:55 PM

    Julia, I just read your story and I am deeply sorry for the pain and loss you have had to face.
    I’m 49 and lost my wonderful mother to cancer 3 years ago, April 30, 2012. It was very sudden. A cancer diagnosis and she died 2 weeks later. My family fell apart. It’s so hard.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  • Sandy

    April 3rd, 2015 at 6:02 PM

    Hi Julia-I too lost my mom at age 7 and I find myself, at age 51, going through some experiences that I partly attribute to her passing. I won’t go into detail here but know how you feel.

  • Lorie

    February 8th, 2015 at 1:37 AM

    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

    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.

  • Kristi

    February 23rd, 2015 at 4:13 PM

    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

    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

    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

    @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

    @ 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

    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

    25 I am 25 now (not 35!)

  • jennifer

    March 30th, 2015 at 6:16 PM

    I lost my mom at the age of 23… My daughter was 2 1/1 months old at the time. My mom battled depression and was suicidal all throughout my high school years. She also battled addiction… I watched her slowly kill herself ans there was nothing I could do! Her addiction took her to her grave. My father was an alcoholic and was never around, he is trying to have a relationship with me now but it isn’t the same.

  • Winnie

    April 10th, 2015 at 4:22 AM

    I am 41 years old and lost my father to a drunk driver when I was 2 years old. The circumstances surrounding that day are dreadful as one of my brother’s almost died as well. Although I do not remember him, I have struggled tremendously my entire adult life. I can not hold down relationships with men (been married twice) because of this intense fear… of losing them. I feel lost. And scared. And Angry. I have been in therapy for the better part of my adulthood. No one can tell me how to cope. It’s like I am my own worst enemy. My self esteem is low. However I maintain very high profiled jobs and my career is successful. The death of a parent at such a young ages… carries throughout the entire life of that person. Unless someone can tell me how to move on. And lead a healthy happy life. I desperately seek that. I am attending a 10 day retreat/workshop here soon… I am exhausted.

  • kr

    April 11th, 2015 at 10:16 AM

    Hi, I list my father when I was 16 months old and have been plagued with fears but through years of therapy and following my intuition I am pretty good. Keep at it. I did the Paradox Process which is a therapy you can look up online, the man is genius if you can afford it I recommend it. I always feel weird to say but rocks in my butt, I think from a subconscious anal fear of the world, a clenching on. You can do it, keep trying. We allnow how you feel, we areonn

  • Helen

    April 12th, 2015 at 9:11 AM

    I was 8 and my sister 6 when my father died. He was sick for about 1 year. I am 65 now and recently started thinking how his death changed my whole personality. I remember being an energetic happy child. My best friend and I made up plays and most of the kids in the neighborhood participated or were the audience. We played ball against the brick side of the house. We were no longer allowed to do that because my father was so sick. The ambulance came frequently to our house. We were not allowed in my father’s room because he was so sick, His last last trip to the hospital was his last trip anywhere. He died that day. The really bad stuff came after his death. My mother started screaming at us,mostly for no reason. My sister told me we had to hide my father’s belts from her. I don’t remember that. We locked ourselves in the bathroom when we were afraid of her. Her anger fell on me the most. I asked her ‘why’ that was, and she told me that my father favored my sister and she, my mother, felt that my sister needed her more. We were sent to an overnight camp a few months after my father died. My sister was so little and so innocent. My aunt and uncle visited us there, but not my mother. I think she may have been being treated for mental problems then. She was later diagnosed as manic-depressive. The only time I was happy was when my aunt and uncle came to our house. They loved us so much and saw what a mess things were. They took us to Shelter Island, off of long island ny and we were so happy there for the summer.It is a beautiful Island. I never liked my mother again. She did a lot more mean things. Too many to write here. I have been in therapy a lot, but gave up. I have been on antidepressants for many years. I am sad most of the time. I also married an angry man. It just dawned on me, about two years ago that my father’s death had a lot to do with how I am. I thought everything was my fault…and wish that I could change so that the rest of my life would not be so sad.

  • Jenna

    April 15th, 2015 at 8:40 PM

    I lost both my parents when I was 11 months. I have 3 siblings, the oldest at the time was 8 yrs. old. They were killed by a drunk driver on their way home from a date night while we were with a babysitter. We were given to my aunt and uncle who had 4 of their own children and really didn’t want to take on the responsibility. Other family members were asked but nobody would take all of us together. My grandfather insisted his son take us in. Overall, it was a disaster. My aunt showed no love for us and plainly favored her own children. She was emotionally negligent and abusive. I was depressed growing up and did poorly in school. I did not understand her lack of affection since she was the only mother I ever knew. When I was 19 she told me not to look at her as a mother anymore since she was really my guardian and now that job is done. My siblings and I were not close growing up but found a bond later on. We each felt we had to sink or swim in that family. We all graduated from college and grad school and have successful lives. We all have good spouses, long marriages and stable homes but as for myself I have always felt broken, insecure, sad and lonely, though I don’t usually seem that way. I am often on guard to defend myself and my kids from anyone that can hurt us and I am constantly missing parental figures in my life. The feeling has gotten more intense as I have had children and needed advice, help with newborns and grandparents for my kids. I think this burden will always be with me. I’m 44. Sometimes life feels very long.

  • Harry

    April 20th, 2015 at 9:50 PM

    I lost my mother when I was ten years old and I am now 44 and still feel the void in my life.I felt I grew up so fast and had to be strong for my little sister and me!! She was ill for a year when she died and I can still vividly remember the night she died and how my father took me for a ride in the car so he could tell me. We went to my grandparent’s house that night to sleep as my mother died in my home. If I live to 100 I will never forget it and the days to follow. There is a part of me that still feels like that little boy even though I see a man in the mirror. I was lucky to have the rest of my family around me and my father who is still living, but know I have never truly gotten past my mother’s death. My father even sent us to a therapist to make sure I was coping as a child. He was so worried about us. When I was 14 my father began dating and later remarried. He was desperate not be alone and find a mother for his children. She was a horrible woman who was emotionally abusive with low self esteem. It was a horrible situation!! She had so many issues with her own children. She died years ago but it was no loss for me. This situation was a bad experience for me and my younger sister, but some how we stayed on the right path and both are successful professionals. I felt it made us stronger. My sister has two children and when they were baptized I was so sad that day because I felt something was missing…the presence of my mother and the other family members like grandparents who have now passed away. It was such an emotional day and I feel I will never be able to forget the death of my mother. I feel incomplete. The only consolation that I have is that I feel they are watching over us and keeping us safe. I know it might be silly for some, but consoling for me!!! I would give anything to be with my mother one more time!!!!!

  • Abi

    April 22nd, 2015 at 12:51 PM

    Wow, i was browsing for some possible answers/advice or reassurance for the way i feel sometimes, and came across this site. When i first logged on here i was feeling quite low and emotionally frail, and quite alone, also living 10000 km away from my home. I lost my mum to a massive heart attack when i was 3 yrs old. Dad did not cope well, and had always been a drinker anyway. He tried his best, was never cruel or unkind, but was a bit lost with two young children and a penchant for beer, my maternal grandmother then played a huge part in my life, and i sat with her and held her hand as she died many years later. For me, i think i was as upset about losing A mother, as much as my mother, as was so young. I feel that my fortune was nowhere near as bad as some of you guys. Still, a loss, under any circumstances is unique to the person that experiences it. I find that i distance myself emotionally from people, as i know they will all die at some point, and hey, why get hurt more? But i have great friends who help me break down these barriers, and i forget them a lot of times. I just wanted to say, i know life can be a pile of shit a lot of the time, but i think those of us who experienced tough times in childhood, are resiliant, brave, and able to help other youngsters who may be feeling lost and adrift in their feelings. Keep your heads held high, bad days come as often as good sometimes, but you will always make it through

  • Tracy

    April 22nd, 2015 at 11:47 PM

    I was 6 when I lost my mother to cancer. I am 17 now. I’m here to find a way to learn more about my chronic anxiety. I never put two and two together until recently. I did not mourn for my mother, did not feel much sadness, nor cry when she died as I remember it vividly, and my grandparents quickly filled the position of parents. They mainly looked after me while my mother worked, so I never really felt a connection to her nor do I remember much of her. At the time, my family also consisted of my father grandparents, my mother’s parents. My father took care of me for a while, before he moved to the other side of town with my step-mother. We don’t talk. I see my father less and less, he tries to have me come over and visit him, but he is also a closed man – he never really talks to me. I have not had a proper conversation with him in years. This contributed to a built of a social anxiety throughout the years. My earliest memory of social anxiety was about a year or two after my mother’s death: I wanted to sell chocolates as a fundraiser for school and I was very nervous. Although I wanted to sell it, I could not bring myself to. I remember my father forcing me to stand in the middle of a crowded plaza, and then leaving me for a few minutes. I held back tears as I watched people walk past me and not take notice of this little girl holding a box of chocolates, only one lady came out of sympathy – I thought it was because i looked like I was about to burst into tears. However, I am forever thankful to my grandparents who have told me they vowed to put everything they had to raise me. I was also left as an only child after my mother died. I grew up in a controlled, traditional Chinese household contrasted by a Western environment, making me feel more isolated and develop a low-self esteem from an early age. My grandparents did not understand the concept of emotional love, which was has really impacted my childhood. While I became accustomed to how my friends would exchange “I love you” to their parents, I have heard my grandparents tell me they love me once in my life. I remember asking them why they didn’t tell me this, and they would say they loved me from inside, telling me would not change how much they loved me inside. I did not understand, this just made me more angry. They do not hug me, or kiss me either. I feel like this has created a larger void as a child who yearned to fill the loss of a parent with affection. I was conditioned to not talk about my loss at school: when someone would ask about my parents, or why I lived with my grandparents, I would say that they were in China for work reasons. As I grew older, I was able to express this feeling to them, and I very slowly began to accept them for the way their own way of loving me. That is, by making sure I have enough to eat everyday, taking care of me, sacrificing their savings for my education. My upbringing after the death has still shaped me significantly. I had separation anxiety and would cry myself to sleepovers. This got better over time, however, I still battle with anxiety every day. I hope this helps anyone in some one, maybe you will relate to my situation. For any anxiety sufferers, I cannot stress how much using positive affirmations have helped me through. I hope they can help you too.

  • kim

    April 27th, 2015 at 9:11 PM

    My mom died when I was 3 years now 43 and no where near over it. I cry easily. I was sleeping with my mom and dad the night she died. She was 20. said she screamed his name and flew to floor and was dead immediately. A blood clot hit her heart. I remember my dad sitting me on couch telling me to stay there and the next thing I knew my grandparents came and took me out of there. I have recalled exactly what our house looked like but no memory of my mom. Does anyone think it would be possible for me to remember my mom. At least one memory..I think it would help me heal because im the only one who doesnt remember her. I didnt get to go to funeral I was actually told she was coming back..later my cousin who was 5 told me she was dead.

  • Paul

    April 28th, 2015 at 5:47 AM

    Hi Kim,
    I can completely relate to how you feel, as I was only 6 months old when my mum passed, but the painful void I feel in my heart will never go away. It has always affected my relationships as I have always been very avoidant and insecure. It’s so confusing that I feel so much love for my mum, without really knowing who she was.

    Sorry, I just wanted to to reply as your post touched me.

  • Bella

    April 30th, 2015 at 4:16 PM

    Joan I know how you feel I was three and I can’t remember my mom at all I’m the only one who can’t remember but my psych teacher told me it’s because that part of are brain block the memory for reason she said that if I tried Hypnosis to remember it might make it worse and it wouldn’t be real

  • Natasha

    April 28th, 2015 at 3:58 PM

    I was 2 years old when my father died. He passed away at just the age of 21 to drugs, so I was brought up by my mother who was only 21 herself at the time in which she has done a wonderful job. I am now 19 and I feel as I have never grieved for my father as I never knew him and can not remember anything, I think about and miss my father eveyday but find it sad that its not my father that I miss but a father figure as I never knew him.
    It is hard for me to keep relationships with men as I become to ‘clingy’ because im so afraid of losing them and fall for them very quick. Ive never fully understood my whole life who my father was as I was lied to and kept from the truth from my mother about what my father did and why he died and this left me hardly ever speaking about my father and sometimes left embarrassed when asked about it when I was younger. Unfortunately I feel know matter how well a mother can do for there child a male figure (father) is needed.

  • Ian

    May 11th, 2015 at 10:27 AM

    Hey, we lost our dads and the same age. 1/2 almost 2. However, bad news is that I’ve developed into a psychopath with a psychotic disorder known as psychosis. Psychopathy is something that cannot be cured. Fortunately it sounds like you haven’t developed that way due to the anxiety you described, something that the psychopath lacks. But there are environmental factors that ultimately make these conditions: physical abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect/loss. I’m 20 now and I am just now getting help for it. You truly never realized how good/bad things are until you get professional help.

  • Alissa

    May 3rd, 2015 at 10:07 PM

    When I Was 6 I Saw My Mom Right In Front Of Me Died (HeartAttack) Now I’m 24 I a Still Have Emotional Issues Since The Day She Died… I Am Not Sure If I’ll Get Over It… I Have A Loss In Appetite And Still Feel Guilty Cause I Think I Stressed Her Out So Much… What Kind Of Help Do I Need?

  • Joanne

    May 9th, 2015 at 3:28 PM

    I lost my dad at 13 on Christmas eve and ever since his loss I have not had or experienced a loving supportive family. I am now 55 and I recently lost my mom and my best friend to suicide. I’m depressed, I sabotage any small possibility of having any sort of relationship with my sisters. I will drink heavily and cause chaos. They repeatedly tell me I need serious help. I think if just maybe I didn’t feel abandoned by everyone I’ve loved I wouldn’t latch out. I’m successful professionally, but in relatiinships, both family wise and romantically, I don’t stand a shot. I don’t understand why I’ve never been able to get past this after all these years. I’ve been on my own since I was 13 and living on my own at 17. I wonder if I will ever feel love or even posses the ability to be aware of its presence in my world.

  • Steffen

    May 11th, 2015 at 2:09 PM

    Dear Joanne .

    Its a sad story you have, but tuching for me. Im a norwegian and i will try my best at writing as correctly as i can. I was 12 when i lost my mom, she had a heart attack , becuse of long time of drugabuse. My dad, witch had and has the same problem to this day, im 20 years old now. The second i was 18 i moves out. I was raised in fostercare Where the “mom” i had there, never showed me any love , 3 years After my mothers death, they sent me to a childrenshome, Where people came.. Then people left. I was angry alot, 5 men Needed to hold me down, every night , for a year or two. I blamed many people, isolated myself. Now im not angry anymore. Never, but never glad either, Emotionless. Socially its a struggle. The summary of what you wrote, i saw myself alot. My sister i have Very little contact with, i Wish i had.. But we where seperated when i was two . So its hard to bond with her .. I think about her alot. Every day. We are so alike, that is why i think we dont match, she is the only One who i know loves me. Sad really, she is the only One i Feel never lies. My life was build on lies, lies people told me, to protect me . But it didnt, i know Im only 20 and my life “just” started, depressed and all that nonsense. But my life had Been long and a bumpy ride , and i am allready Tired, i dont want to die , dont get me Wrong . I want to live, but i am a loner , living my whole life in my head . I Feel like im the only One who dont Lie , i hate to Lie , but my friends and family Witch i trusted Always proved me that EVERYBODY lies, Even my closest. Arent you a loner ? Struggling to adapt with people? You have a long life.. Let me learn from you

  • R T

    May 16th, 2015 at 4:27 PM

    My mum collapsed and died in my arms when I was 7 . I then lost my dad to a horrible illness when I was 16. I am frequently depressed and can never seem to reconcile myself to not doing more to prevent my mums death and cannot get over the images of my dad suffering immensely and dying a horrible slow painful death in hospital over 10 months . I desperately want to be happy but I can’t even after all these years get over my parents deaths. I am overwhelmed by emotion when I think about it and feel it’s very hard to function and live a normal life….

  • Sydra

    May 21st, 2015 at 11:15 PM

    My mother died on Christmas day, 2007. I was 16, my sister just 13. She had been sick with bowel cancer for 4 years (diagnosed when i was 12). During that time I looked after her and my sister. My father was always very oblivious, even before my mother got sick. Now it occurs to me that he may have a degree of undiagnosed Asperger’s syndrome.

    He remarried within 9 months of her death to a woman with borderline personality disorder who moved into our family home (where my mother died) and changed the house and took photos of my mother and my sister and i down, and acted with resentment and competitiveness toward us. He has been estranged from me since my mother’s death and his re-marriage. This is extremely painful for me, although when we do talk i act angrily and say things to hurt him.

    Almost a year and a half ago, my sister was diagnosed with an extremely rare blood disease. The disease has damaged her organs and so her health is very fragile. This was and is still extremely stressful for me, as well as for her.

    Any issues relating to her health or mine (i have poor health too, although without diagnosis) are triggering for me. Due to long periods spent with my mother in hospitals i find any imagery of hospitals, medical equipment or the sight of terminally ill people or signs of illness extremely triggering.

    I also am greatly upset by other people’s relationships with their mothers, whether good or bad. I suffer extreme jealousy of other people’s mothers or simply of people with mothers. My mother was such a wonderful parent and person and I miss her so much it manifests as physical pain. I still grieve and sometimes whole days are spent in bed crying. I feel frozen as a 12 year old, and feel that I never developed emotionally from that time. I was preoccupied with school and caring for my mother who was, over those 4 years, depressed and angry and uncomfortable. When i sense that kind of anger, sickness, discomfort or decay in myself or others I am paralysed with fear and disgust.

    I am terrified of dying the same way. I am terrified of raising a child without my mother’s help. I cannot finish anything, I am currently starting my 3rd degree and am struggling. I fight with my partner and want to harm her in some way for having a mother. I am devastated by the fact that her mother isn’t more interested in me or caring toward me. I am angry that she doesn’t understand even though I love her so much.

    I feel keenly the things i can never share with my mother, who was my best friend. I long to die to see her, but this is a fantasy for me because i can never leave my sister.

    I know that if my mother had never been sick i would have been a successful, happy, well-adjusted person. I mourn for that version of myself.

  • Agnes

    May 25th, 2015 at 5:07 AM

    Dear Sydra,
    I was crying when I read your story. I am a mother of a 6 years old, love
    her more than anything! I am silngle and at times I feel extremely worried about my health, although I am healthy. When I was still with my husband I was extremely sick. Emotional pain can manifest itself. After I got separated all my physical pain and symptoms were gone! It sounds to me that your father wasn’t showing much feelings towards your mum. Your mum must have been wonderful. But you cannot change what happened. You did everything you could. You need to see a professional counsellor who is experienced in grief&loss, to work through your pain. You deserve to be happy! And you can be :-)

  • katy O

    May 25th, 2015 at 5:30 AM

    I am a 68 year old Irish woman. My mam died when I was only just over 2 years old. I only have two photographs of an image of my mother. I am sometimes very bitter and angry as no one told me about my mother when I was growing up in Dublin. There are occasions when I get depressed as I still miss my mother and I would have loved to have known her and spend my early years with my mother that is what I really miss most of all about my life. I have a wonderful family and they are very loving and trusting so I am blessed that I have my family for support and I have told them about my life and about my loss of a mother I know nothing at all s so I had to research her family tree to find out.

  • katy O

    May 25th, 2015 at 5:33 AM

    there is so much sadness about losing a parent especially when you are a daughter and you lose your mother. I am in my sixties and I still miss my mother all the time and I dont remember anything about her at all on through photos and research I have undertaken all by myself as I was an only child to my parents marriage union. I was only a toddler and sadly I cannot remember anything at all so the loss of her is still very raw in my mind.

  • Rayanne

    May 27th, 2015 at 9:11 AM

    I lost my father when I was just 3 years old and I am now 38. I don’t remember how but was told he had gone on a fishing trip and their canoe capsized. They found the man that was with him because he had tied himself to the canoe and never recovered my fathers body.
    He was such a great family man and everyone loved him. I was his baby girl that he cherished.
    After he died I remember always being with babysitters I never knew and this went on for years till I was about 10 years old.
    My mother I feel has always been so emotional and physically abusive to me which I have just recently blocked out of my life.
    I feel that if my father was still alive that life would have been so much easier and better.
    I have problems with relationships as I feel insecure and push them out of my life before they leave me. It’s unfortunate because this guy has been the best thing that’s ever happened. We share the same interests and I just keep pushing and pushing and think I’ve finally done it this time for good.
    Where does one turn to when they feel so defeated and nowhere else to look and turn to without having to pop pills daily just to be happy?
    I would go days and then I would hit this hard wall and just crumble.

  • Michelle

    May 30th, 2015 at 11:21 PM

    My mother passed away from complications of chemotherapy treatment for leukemia. I had just turned 9 and my brother was 4. I used to go with her for her labs amd watched her blood being drawn prior to her hospitalization. I hated seeing it. She was sent to Minnesota for treatment(we’re from Alabama) over the summer. My father and maternal grandmother went to Minnesota to be with her while my brother and I stayed with relatives in Missouri. We were eventually taken to the hospital a week or so before she died. She was in a wheelchair, her head had been shaved and the whites of her eyes were yellow. My brother wouldn’t hug her and hid behind our dad. She cried and said she wanted to go home. The days leading up to our departure are a blur in my mind of my brother and I racing up to the snack room to get popsicles to share with her, always making sure she didn’t put her mouth anywhere that our mouths had been. Hotal room, her room. Her face. The day after we made the long trek back home, we got the call. My father called us into their bedroom. Or just me. I can’t exactly remember if my brother was there or not but I do remember my father telling me she was gone. He then grabbed me to him and started crying. I was understandably in shock and couldn’t move but my father, in his grief, suddenly held me out at arm’s length and demanded to know why I wasn’t crying then pushed me away and told me to leave. I don’t remember that first year after she passed. Just flashes. Went through two “stepmoms”. One extremely strict and the other, not. The latter had 3 kids who were more important than us and yea.. you can fill in whatever blanks you want there. I’ve since been diagnosed with PTSD, bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder. I’m 35 now and next May 10th I will be exactly how old my mother was when she died. I no longer speak to anyone in my family. To them, I’m just using my mom’s death as an excuse to be lazy and worthless. Lovely of them, yes? They refuse to believe I have anything wrong with me. Ya know, because I want to be this way. If there is anything I would stress to anyone who has lost a parent, seek grief counsoling. If you’ve lost your partner and you have young kids.. definitely seek therapy. Don’t be therapy and mental illness deniers.

    I don’t even know anymore where I was going with all this.

    *BIGHUGS* to everyone. I’m so sorry for all your losses.

  • Shaun

    May 31st, 2015 at 7:30 PM

    I am 22 now and I was 9 years old when I found my mother dead. She died of a heart attack at the age of 37. This was on my final day of primary school. I am an only child, and soon moved with my grandparents after my mothers death, as my father was going through a breakdown. I have lived with them ever since. Myself and my father rarely speak and we aren’t very close. We have had our issues with each other for years since my mothers passing. In my teens I became involved in the party scene and would drink and take drugs on a regular basis. It was a downward spiral from there. I feel I have wasted years doing this with no real goal, and only recently have I come to my senses and realised I need to find myself as a person. Deep down I know the death of my mother psychologically affected me and altered my path. Now I am at a bit of a crossroads in life where I know I need to do something special, find a purpose I guess? But I don’t know what.

  • bronwen

    October 16th, 2016 at 6:41 PM

    I know it may sound strange but ask Jesus into your life, and make God part of your life. I don’t know why I chose your particular letter I think I was being promted. You’ve obviously had a hard life, but as a Christian I know that to leave your troubles at the foot of the cross. God will address your every need and be everything you want Him to be to you. You’ve got to believe. God is the creator of the universe, He created all things physical and spiritual, we are spiritual beings having a physical experience. There is nothing more awesome than connecting to this power that is all poweful and all knowing. God holds every purpose for each individuals life, He knows the past, present and future. You feel that something is missing, I know what it is. Before I knew the Lord I felt lonely and insecure. Also don’t get swept away with religion because that ain’t God, and Jesus wasn’t that keen on religion. You don’t need drugs you just need a relationship with His living prescence. Watch the God channel, or seek help from an evangelical church, but most importantly ask HIM into your life now and really feel Him. As a Christian I’m not required to evangelize to everyone but I am to you, and I don’t know why. I know that you are searching. Please don’t pass up on this God-given chance.

  • Dan

    June 2nd, 2015 at 1:03 PM

    It is really helpful to hear from others with similar experiences in the comment section. For me, I was crushed twice; I witnessed my mother lose her battle with breast cancer at age 9. Then, 2 years later before the pain could even subside, my father passed suddenly in a boating accident. I remember looking at him in the open casket at his wake, the images are still vivid, I was only 11 but after burying my father I no longer felt like a kid. Truth be told I didn’t know what I was feeling other than completely alone, utterly different and to this day I have never met anyone with a similar experience. I was orphaned until the state granted my aunt custody and so we were raised by a single woman. My dogged persistence is the only way I managed to graduate college and get where I am today. I refused to fall behind my peers; perhaps this was a feeble attempt to prove that these two events do not define me. But it’s a cold, undeniable truth.

  • Robin

    June 7th, 2015 at 2:31 AM

    My father in law is dying from lung cancer and its spead throughout his bones and organs and we have just been told they have found out its now in his brain. My husband and i have been together for 24 years and our youngest of 2 daughters 14yrs old and quite close to her grandfather. She often remarks how he is one of her 2 dads. We decided to wait to tell her about it being in his brain until after one more test to see how quickly its progressing. I am a wreck myself and i know she is really struggling and i want to just sheild it all from her but i cant do that either. How do i help her menouver through this difficult time when i don’t. Even know how from one moment to the next?

  • linda marie

    June 10th, 2015 at 10:29 AM

    Mama – when I was 3.

    Daddy – when I was 13.

    Right after Mama died, my 2 half brothers and my half sister were taken from Daddy’s and my home to go to live with their father and stepmother.

    My first husband died when I was 34. Our children were college-aged. I am now 62.

    I’ve done a lot of pretending that everything has been OK, but it hasn’t been. My therapist and I are exploring early childhood drama. My daughter is angry that I’m not “over it”.

    The comments here are heartbreaking. So many of us sound like children crying for our mamas and daddies. I wish we could hold one another and comfort one another… I wonder if it’s too late for me to learn how to effectively parent myself…

  • Dave

    January 27th, 2016 at 11:56 AM

    Dear Linda

    I replied to your post but put Dino’s name at the top. It’s dated Dec. 27 2015. Im very sorry for your loss. Our stories are a lot alike. I left out so many sad and unhealthy events in my life. Sexual abuse by boys & men. In turn I did things with other boys until I was 12 Finding Jesus changed my life for 40 years I had a loving mother and many father figures in my church and 10 uncles all on my mothers side. But a part of me was always empty the part all other boys had ( a real Dad ) of my own. Highschool, army, work and then meeting my wife and only love my life at 22 was great. We have 4 kids and 11 grandkids, I worked for myself doing drywall for most of the next 20 years. My wife started getting sick with heart problems when she was just 35 She was an was and still is an Awesome mom and gramma. She also was a great wife. As she got sicker we started drifting apart. This was my fault because I didn’t handle her health situation very well.We we always very open about everything but I began to shut her out. I started having bad thoughts of my childhood sexual problems and I didn’t know why. I was drawn to men in movies. After my wifes heart valve replacement and our closeness fading I started regressing even more. Our kids now graduated I was 42 and started a very successfull company, I was good everyway in life except with my wife :( and Inside I never told anyone until I was 55 when I told my wife. She knew something was very wrong but when I told her that I had been with othet men, well that ended our marrige of 37 years. I not only hurt my wife and kids I became sexually addicted and didnt want to be but the evil of my childhood come alive. :( I have since redidicated my life. to Christ and get proffessional councling. The scars are still there in all our lives we all srill love each other and have forgivness thru the grace of God. Amen I’m not healed and may never be completely. Love is the answer. There is so much of my years between 7 and 12 that I cant remember and almost nothing of my dad and that unknown still worries me and of course I wish I had my dad for 60 years or more. He was 76 when he died I probably wouldn’t have him long but maybe I wouuld have been a better man, husband father and mentor to others. I am Loved by God and family and I push on. Take care, I just one of so many and the accounts of each touch my heart deeply.

  • bronwen

    October 16th, 2016 at 6:12 PM

    Hi Dave, I’m glad you’ve met Jesus, cos He is really the only hope for everything. He’s a comforter to the abused, and a parent to the orphaned. The way, truth and life. If only everyone knew this, He would fill the empty space and people wouldn’t feel so alone anymore. Life is a mission and God is the prize. Congrats.

  • linda marie

    June 10th, 2015 at 10:30 AM

    the word “drama” should be trauma….

  • Michelle

    June 15th, 2015 at 7:25 AM

    My mum died when I was 8, I’m now 39. My dad has just passed away after a fall and his heart/Pneumonia. I was a carea for my dad, but we have always been very close. I was always protective of him from a young age, he used to be a heavy drinker but not in past 15 yrs. I have 3 children two aged 21 and 19 and youngest is 11. My dad was like their father and I spent most of them growing up at my dads. He did remarry 14 years ago, but she passed away 8 yrs ago, but that was a beautiful time whilst they was together kind of like a family home again. But now I feel so lost, which anyone would, but he was big part my life everyday always. I guess losing my mum so young, and now my dad, has brought up underlying issues I had buried for years regarding my mum. I didnt cry for 3 months but now I’m crying, but it still hasn’t sunk in. But the feeling of lost and aloneness is so strong, I just dont know when I’ll find my feet again. My whole world has changed I can’t even bear to think of the days he took to pass away in hospital. It’s just numbness, I just don’t know what I’m feeling.

  • Dino Dino

    June 16th, 2015 at 3:37 AM

    Im Dino and Im 18 years old. My story is, my mom left me to other people, when I was 2weeks old after I born. My mom and dad was separated. I dont know why. Then after 9 years I found out that my mom passed away with a colon cancer. Its hard to believe that my real mother is dead. I never see her. I never touch her. I never met her. I never hug her. Now Im 18 and I feel all the hurt. How can I overcome the pain. :( what should I do.

  • linda-marie

    June 16th, 2015 at 10:01 AM


    I am afraid that all the hurt does not go away. However, I believe with all my heart that we can learn better ways to handle it. I’m 62 years old and am just beginning to learn that I still suffer with abandonment issues. I let those issues control my life, even though I didn’t know I was doing it. Even if I DID know — somewhere deep inside — I thought I just needed to pretend I was OK and get on with my life.

    Find a therapist now. Ask your doctors for names, or find out about free mental health care. It may be very difficult to find someone that you connect with, but stay with it. If after seeing someone for a while, you need to change therapists, mention it to the person you’re seeing and try again.

    You are still a child, reaching out because you need love and nurturing. I’m afraid I’ve been stuck in childhood for a lot of years, but I finally have hope.

    Please take care of yourself — sooner rather than later.



    And I’m hoping for you, too…

  • Dave M

    December 27th, 2015 at 9:39 PM

    Dino I feel that I know the pain that you felt. My heart goes out to you. My father died when I was 9. my brother (14) and I were the last of 10 kids ( 7 ) boys. Back then we didn’t talk about death much and big boys : ( didn’t cry. Im 67. I made it through 60 years before I was able to understand some things. It was by the Grace of God and understanding Grace that I have started to heal. Their will always be that emptiness in my heart until that one day God will reunite me with my mom and dad. Everyone of you that have told your stories touches my heart. I can help but hurt for all ones that hold the hurt of being young and lose a parent in any way . May God bless you Dino and keep you strong.

  • Dave M

    December 27th, 2015 at 9:50 PM

    I just sent a reply to Dino that was meant for you. It is okay for everyone but your story resonated with me. God bless

  • Rayanne

    June 16th, 2015 at 10:54 AM

    Hi Dino, It is definately hard no knowing or able to meet your biological parent.
    When I go back home, I visit my dad’s memorial site to speak to him even though you know that there isn’t anyone there. But sometimes just speaking out loud and expressing your feelings helps ease some pain.
    It could be that she was in a bad time in her life that she did what was best for you to have a better life. That is always a mother’s thinking when it comes to her child. So, she gave you a chance to live life to it’s fullest and have the opportunities that she knew that she couldn’t provide or give you. If you know where she’s buried, maybe visit her site and just speak to her. Talk with her family and find out what and who she was. Sometimes that isn’t always the best as the truth usually hurts but it does bring closure, I find anyways.
    Find that special someone you can always confind in and that you trust and will listen and maybe give you some advice.
    As for everyone else, it has been a relief to hear your stories and thanks for sharing.
    Best regards,

  • Rayanne

    June 16th, 2015 at 11:40 AM

    Everyone has their own way of finding out what helps them. Don’t give up and keep searching for your path to help you through.
    I have started running again lately and find that it really helps. You need to get your endorphins flowing and please don’t rely on self medicating (everyone has their own beliefs with medication and I will not discourage anyone’s opinions or choices if they choose to self-medicate).
    I will be here to help anyway I can.
    I might not have the answers but I am will to listen and try give the best advice I have.

  • Patricia T.

    June 18th, 2015 at 4:59 AM

    I’m Patricia. I’m 15 years old. I lost my dad 2 months ago. Losing my dad was the hardest thing. He was the family’s breadwinner. Being the eldest, I have to be mature all of a sudden. I want to cry. But I don’t like it when my siblings see me cry. Whats sad is my younger sister, she’s six, was the closest to my dad. Now we have school, and every morning when I leave to go to the other building, she cries. She’s dying inside and I can tell because she’s not the bubbly baby that I used to play with. I want to help her. But I don’t know how. Every night I try to find reasons. But every time I close my eyes, I see the image of my dad when he was in the hospital. Lifeless. Cold. My mom was crying so hard. She kept on saying “he’s still breathing”. It was the first time I saw my mom and my brother broke down. It was April 26,2015 11:43 pm when he left.

  • Carol

    June 19th, 2015 at 4:23 AM

    I’m 46 now. When I was nine my mum died of cancer. She was my best friend, she was my world. I think about her every day, wishing she was here. I don’t think I’ve ever come to terms with her death. I think you need to get counselling. Something I never had. I was sent back to school straight away, no one spoke about her death, no one asked how I felt about it. I feel like I’ve just fumbled my way through life. One thing I have done well is I have two disabled children, who are amazing. I’ve thrown myself into loving and caring for them, people say I’m a good mum, that’s all I want to be, to give my children what I had taken away from me. My mum was such a gentle caring protective person. A brilliant mum.

    Don’t bottle your feelings up, you need to get the grief out of your system. Don’t be brave and cover things up let it all out. I discribe that time in my life as horrific, I honestly don’t know how I’ve managed to carry on without her. Get professional help now don’t try to manage like I did. Something I will say about this experience, not much phases me now, nothing can hurt like the death of your mother. I cope with things better than friends I have.

  • Carol

    June 19th, 2015 at 4:34 AM

    My siblings didn’t cry in front of me. They were trying to protect me. Didn’t want to upset me. They were all older than me. I’m youngest of 5. It’s normal to cry when you’ve just lost your dad. It’s not weak to cry. It’s an emotion like smiling and laughing when you’re happy. That grief has to come out. You will delay in until your older like me, which is not good. Talk to your little sister about you dad, tell her that you miss him too. Share your grief. I didn’t have that. This is probably the most difficult thing in your life that you’ll ever face. You’re only 16. Still developing. Be careful and look after you. X

  • Jane C

    July 19th, 2015 at 2:19 PM

    Hi Patricia
    I’m so sorry to read what you’re going through. I lost my dad when I was just turned 16. He was the only one, who showed me love. A long time ago now. I’m 44.
    It took me years to grieve my dad and come to terms with his loss. I had no support, my mother never shed a tear infront of me. She never comforted me. His name was never mentioned again unless it was to remind me of what a disappointment I would be to him (I have a university degree, no criminal record, a beautiful daughter etc). So I’ve decided to be very proud of me. My brother (at 18) was supposed to become the man of the house now and jus he got very angry – we were 3 people who didn’t know eachother. The family functioned badly before and even worse after that.
    I’ve had a lot of counselling and read a lot of self help books. Unfortunately some parents can’t be what we need them to be. And we as children muddle through as best we can.
    I know what a confusing time this is for you to deal with it.
    Please know you are not alone.
    Hugs, Jane x

  • Liz

    January 9th, 2016 at 11:20 AM

    Let your siblings see you cry – cry with them to bond you together. Talk about happy times with your dad with them too -this will help grieving process. Xx

  • Celena

    June 26th, 2015 at 4:22 PM

    I was 8yo when my father passed away from a tractor trailer accident. I was daddy’s girl it still breaks my heart I don’t have him. I have always thought of him daily. When I graduated elementary school, Middle school,and high school. When I got married, when I had my children. When I got divorced. I have trust issues, I never had counceling for this as a child. I have trust issues because every man that I have loved has left me.

  • Stefan

    July 3rd, 2015 at 3:55 AM

    I have lost my mother when I was 14, cancer. Then I had to leave the country for US due to civil unrest in my country. I blocked it then, thinking I was OK. I managed somehow to accomplish a lot, had very good/active teens/20s/ all were going well…….but then it caught on me. I fell to pieces around 2006. It was right beneath the surface, you could sense something is off (relationships, coldness, guard) but it was not clear. If you freeze feelings, they will eventually come back. Since 2006, it was a pure pain opening pandora box, pure emotional hell. It felt like simply cutting infected wound open so pus can go out. I have read numerious books and went through 3-6 heavy grief episodes at mums grave. I can tell you this: It hurts physically, its huge emotional drain, you sometimes feel completely wasted when grief/insecurity/envy/rage come over, they put ‘hold’ on you. BUT its the ONLY way out…… slowly start to see results, you seem a bit better, calmer, more aware. There is not ‘cure’, scar is forever, but you feel like you are making progress and your is prescription-free inner piece and acceptance of life. I encourage you to read THAW series of books from Don Carter that will help many of you. Also Motherless Daughters is a founding book on parent death topic. Reading, educating, counceling/therapy is the only way through the pain. We did not chose this, life happened, we are not less valuable, less human, less capable. Hope books will help at least one person…… patient it takes time, months to see results.

  • Chris

    July 22nd, 2015 at 9:39 PM

    My mother was murdered when I was 14 by my stepfather. My parents divorced when I was one so I was prone to being closer to my mother than my father. I am 22 now and still going to school and doing good things for myself. I also currently live with my father and stepmother but just the lack of having spent time with them is a burden for me because I can’t love them the same way I did my mother. I too have episode where I feel great and can surpass anything in life but then I have my down times and this time it had hit harder than ever. I don’t know why, I feel so emotionless, blank, absent, and hollow. I portray myself to society as someone I am not, as someone that appeals to them as someone normal, but underneath all the normality, I am deeply flawed with alcoholism and betraying my relationships, I used to do drugs but I am long gone from that. Being in the military helped me somewhat structure my life in a way. Another things that has been biting my head was my stepfathers motive as to why he murdered her, it’s almost like I have to know, like I have to have that closure to her death. Throughout my whole adolescence inhale lived motherless, raising myself and adapting to society but ultimately I am just and empty egg shell, well a very strong one, with no yolk, just a conscious that I can talk to, I’ve been trying to seek help but in my current financial position I can’t afford a psychiatrist, I just want to pinpoint my problems and or find a solution to patching it up and feel human again.

  • The Team

    July 23rd, 2015 at 10:37 AM

    Hi Chris,
    Thank you for your comment. We want to point you in the direction of some resources that can help. On this page, you can find free, 24/7 services through which you can talk to someone on the phone:
    Please note, also, that many therapists do work on a sliding scale and/or take insurance, which might fit your financial position. You can look for a therapist near you on here:

    We are wishing you the very best!
    The Team

  • Chris

    July 24th, 2015 at 1:23 PM

    Thank you so much, it’s good to know there are people out there trying to help, I really appreciate the info.


    July 23rd, 2015 at 5:00 AM

    My mother was killed by a drunk in a 3/4 ton fod truck.I was just 6 my brother was 2. My father and I use this term loosely with him.was a supposed outlaw biker. I have come to find out that the ” club’ that was so important to him,is conciderd a joke to the rest of the outlaws in the area. He sacrificed everything so he could pretend that he was a big bad biker. I try not to be bitter but he was hard on us. he showed up at our baby sitter. We were there becouse my mom wanted to go out. She was 26. I remember begging her not to go. It was like i knew. I remember feeling like i was waching myself from across the room. I remember that she kept saying that i didn’t usually act like this. I knew that I was never going to see her agian.immediately after he informed me that my mother was dead. He was driving his van and I was sitting on the floor in the back,there were no seats, I remember because I was desperately trying not to slide around. He says Joe your mom is dead. That was all that he said to me until later, I remember that he seemed very weird i didn’t know that he was “Hi”, so he tells me that it’s my job to take care of my brother I know that he said other things but I only remember wanting to do a good job, and that I was really scared.there were loud scary people acting very strange. My mother had left my father and was about to get full custody of me and my brother. That was the first day in hell. I just did not know. My brother is doing well for himself. He is super smart. He has also remained fairly sane. We don’t see each other very often. Brings on to many memories for him and I found out that he has some pretty bad stuff come up for him after I leave. So I don’t go around him any more. Me well after being married twice having my children taken from me by my x girlfriend. I finally have a good relationship with them. After she took off with the kids,( I had come back to Oregon to deal with leagal problems. Nothing major just stupid kid stuff.) She was going to follow after I got things squared away. Boy was I stupid! That is another book. Any way I got my legal stuff taken care of and lost my kids and dove into an on again off again relationship with alcohol and drugs! Fast forward. I have been with my wife for 15 years and we are so crazy about each other that we make our friends sick! I have a super awesome wife! I could go on forever on how much I love and appreciate her!!! Anyway I am in the best spot that I ever have been in. Why can’t I leave all of the pain and abuse behind me? I get what I call flashes were it feels like I am a kid agian. I did not like being a kid! I am 46 years old. My life, well I really can’t complain. I still miss my mom. I wonder what it was that I did that made my father hate me. I mean why did he break my arm when I was 5? Why did he lye and say awful things about my mother? Why did he lye and tell me that he killed my mother?? I just wanted him to love me,but you can’t get blood from a stone! So I quit trying. I still have nightmares about when I was a kid. I wish I knew why God or the powers that be felt it necessary for me to live through such a nightmare. I wish I knew how to make it stop so that I can enjoy what I have now!! Why is this shit coming up and stinking up my life. I am safe I am loved unconditionally, I have everything that I need. Well I could use more money. But who dose not need a little more cash? Thanks I really appreciate having somewhere to vent.anyone with a trick to shut down childhood memories please let me know! I heard a wise man say, there is no such thing as closure! You will not forget and it will always hurt. The choice is to go through life happy or to be miserable,that is your choice to make. I think that he may be on to something! Thanks for letting me bitch.

  • TraditionalGirl

    November 17th, 2015 at 2:28 PM

    Joe, this book may help you heal. It is entitled Creating Rituals. The author is James Clark and it is on I have only read the very beginning but it talks about how our soul needs to process the whole experience. Our feelings, both good and unpleasant, need to be honored before we can move on. A ritual, wherein we use symbols to represent people and events etc…, provides a way for us to act out the healing and eventual letting go. To our soul this is all real. God loves you so tenderly. You can heal, Joe. I’m praying for you.

  • Nigi

    July 25th, 2015 at 10:24 AM

    Hi. I lost my father when I was just 1. My childhood was OK as I didn’t know how to express emotions and how to deal with them but since my adolescent I’m living in an emotional I’m 31 years old and a successful professional with 2 Kids but facing mood fits where I don’t even love my kids. I hide these emotions from every1 and tries to pretend to be very happy but I’m sick of it.

  • KC

    August 2nd, 2015 at 3:39 PM

    To everyone who might wanna read this, I hope you can help me.

    I don’t know what really got me to research about parental loss. I have a boyfriend. His parents died when he was just 8 years old. His Dad died first due to illness and then his Mom followed after a few months due to illness as well. At first, I thought there were no effects because he seemed well but as our relationship grew stronger, I realized something is wrong with him. I couldn’t understand his behavior all the time. I’m afraid I’ll do something that might hurt him. I really want to understand him because I love him so much. His relatives doesn’t help at all. It seems like they don’t even care about his real feelings. And I’m scared. Can anyone please help me? thank you so much for reading this. I hope you can help me.

  • Michelle L.

    December 12th, 2015 at 9:20 PM

    Is he in any type od therapy and on any medications to help with depression and other things that might be happening. I’ve been in his shoes and I still am. My husband killed him self 2 1/2 years ago and we had 2 children. So I know how the anger is. Have him open up to a therapist it will help. I hope this helps. Prayers headed towards u and ur boyfriend.

  • linda m

    August 2nd, 2015 at 6:04 PM

    My heart goes out to you. I feel like it’s not easy loving someone who has lived through the sort of trauma that your boyfriend has experienced. My mom died when I was 3 and my daddy when I was 13. I tried not to let anyone know, but I was so needy! I am 62 years old now. My first husband was a remarkable man. He encourage me, bragged about me and helped me have a social life that I’d have never have accomplished on my own — even though I am very much an extrovert. He died 2 days after our 25th wedding anniversary. But he had helped me to believe in love. He never criticized when I felt sensitive or when I felt insecure about how to “fit in”. He protected the broken parts of me and built up the natural talents and abilities I had. He believed in me. He thought I was wonderful. Yet he died too soon. I only remember one time that he responded in a rather negative way because he was frustrated with a depression I was going through. He asked me if I wanted a divorce. That one question terrified me and I immediately went into his arms and begged him not to leave me. He held me and never brought it up again. Like I say, he was a remarkable man… I remarried about 7 years after he died. My current husband is a good man, but he does not have the personality of my first husband. He is very stoic and doesn’t understand when I get emotional. Instead of helping me remember I am not alone, he withdraws.
    The only reason I’ve told you this is to let you know that you could be in for some challenges. I can hear that you are a loving and caring person, but you are the only one who can figure out if the two of you will be good for one another.
    Any which way, I suggest you talk with your boyfriend. Ask him about how his loss has affected his life. If your relationship is getting serious, talk about therapy — for both of you. You both deserve to be happy.

  • Shauna

    August 5th, 2015 at 9:36 PM

    I have a unique situation and I’ve searched all over the internet for some sort of guidance and I believe after reading over a lot of the stories posted here, I think you guys can offer a lot of help.

    My boyfriend and I have been together for over a year. He has a 9 year old son with Asperger’s, anxiety and ADHD and I have a 10 yr old. We’ve been living together since Jan. 2015. I do want to add that for our kids’ sake, we do not sleep in the same bed together when we have our kids. We sleep separately.

    On 7/25/15, his son’s mother was killed in a head-on collision. We had to tell him the news and it was by far one of the hardest things I’ve had to experience.

    Up until this point, I’ve always had a great relationship with his son. His son actually asked me out for his dad and tells me all the time that I’m the best stepmom ever even though his dad and I aren’t engaged. I’m divorced and he has never been married. We’ve discussed it several times before, marriage. He wants to marry me one day. While he and I have had issues this year, he’s done such a great job on working on some things and I’ve stuck by him during those times because he is truly the greatest man I’ve ever dated or known.

    My boyfriend got his son, Zane, every other weekend and every Wednesday through the school week. He got him every other week during the summer. His son’s mother, who was 31 when she died, lived with her brother (who’s in his 20s) and their parents. She also has a daughter who is 12 by another man. Zane was extremely close to his mom as most boys are but my boyfriend had to travel a lot with his job and wasn’t present as much as he is now when Zane was younger. But both parents were great with Zane and she and my boyfriend and I all got along so great. Even her family loves me.

    Here is what I’m struggling with: I felt I should decide how committed I truly intended to be to my boyfriend and Zane because now, Zane was probably going to look to me as a mother figure and the last thing I would want to do is for him to get even more attached to me only for me to leave down the road. I pretty much made the decision immediately. It shocked me honestly. I found myself feeling and wanting something more than any relationship I’ve been in since the last 5 years I’ve been divorced. I’ve never experienced this kind of emotion of wanting to be there for Zane and love him and care for him and my boyfriend and help him out than I have anyone ever (aside from my own child).

    I guess though my struggle is what is my role exactly?? I need some advice guys. Because I’m prepared to give all my heart to this’s man and his son like I never have before. My love for Zane and him has grown exponentially since 7/25/15. Do I assume a motherly role or not since we aren’t married? If not, then what IS my role? Do I commit my heart as if we are married or take measures to safe guard it?

    School starts next week and while we live in the next town over from where he goes to school, we are keeping him in that school instead of changing him. He will be staying with us through the school week due to his grandparents and family never really helped him with his school work in the past and is on the verge of failing every year. This way, I can work with him on his school work as we got his spelling up last year significantly just from us having him on Wednesdays. But he will visit his sister and grandparents after school some and anytime he or they want over night otherwise.

    I mention school because do I have a right to opinions, to make suggestions, help enforce rules his dad sets (because he doesn’t always follow through and is passive aggressive and people take advantage of that), etc. in regards to Zane?

    If I do assume a motherly role, will others respect that? Or is it not acknowledged since we aren’t married? The last thing I want to do is overstep my bounds with my boyfriend and Zane’s mother’s family.

    I’m lost right now guys and completely and utterly scared of putting my heart out there. I feel somewhat selfish for even thinking about all of this because right now, Zane should be my focus. He is trust me, but all of this is sitting there in the back of my mind. In order for me to be the best that I can be for Zane right now, I need to clearly know what my role is and what that consists of. My boyfriend and I talked and he wants me to be that woman in Zane’s life right now. I guess I don’t feel right because we aren’t married but nor do I want to rush into getting married either.

    Do I help him with decisions regarding Zane? Or do I keep my mouth shut. I’m so afraid right now of failing him and/or Zane. So much is at stake right now. Any advice, input, adverse opinions, anything really would be helpful as I’ve found no other resources online other than understanding child grieving which I’ve been studying up on :) also, is this normal for me to experience all this emotion, feeling lost, having all these questions, etc.? I can’t really ask any friends or family because they can’t even remotely relate.

    Thank you,


  • Rosalie H

    August 11th, 2015 at 3:26 AM

    My name’s Rosie, I’m going to turn 16 in a few months and I’m a junior in high school.

    Its been almost 2 years since my father’s passing and before you assume he passed from an un-planned or sudden death, let me tell you how wrong you are… My father died after fighting for his life with every ounce he had in his being. Four long years had I watched him wither away. Diabetes, severe asthma, kidney failure, and an irregular heart beat ailed him for four of the most beautifully tragic years of my life. He was the funniest guy you’d know, the fairest person when it came to morals, and the greatest gift my family ever had. Losing him threw me into an oblivion. In the last two years I’ve been on a suicidal spiral and I’ve had hit rock bottom, landing myself in mental hospital for a couple of weeks.

    Today I’ve been making strides to put myself back together. Unfortunately I’m currently going through even more stuff than before. But I wanted to make a point to inform you; I had an amazing childhood, I grew up early and lost too much too fast. My family was picture perfect. When my father passed… a piece of my family did too. We aren’t the same, we’ll never be the same. And I’ll be honest when I say we aren’t going to move on. We’re just learning how to deal with the empty hole in our hearts.

  • Susan

    August 20th, 2015 at 7:46 PM

    Hi Rosalie,

    I saw your post and felt like I should respond. My dad passed away after a long battle with cancer when I was 13; I had a great family life and was very close to him-was very much a “daddy’s girl.” I am 39 now and I think of him daily- grief changes with time, but it’s never easy!

    Losing your father as a teen is so hard- your friends can’t relate and you don’t want to be a “burden” to the rest of your family, so you just don’t talk about it and hope it gets better.

    I truly hope things get better for you- I can remember feeling so depressed and uncertain of the future. I remember wondering what the point to life was since somebody so important was taken from me so soon!! As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized my dad would absolutely want me to be happy and that just because I am, it doesn’t mean he is any less important in my life.

  • Maria

    August 30th, 2015 at 12:49 PM

    Hey Rosie,
    I wanted to respond because, of course each story is unique, but mine has some similarities to yours. You’re not alone. I lost my dad to cancer a couple days after my 15th birthday. He was definitley the glue that held my familly together, and I too had a picture perfect childhood up to that point. My dad was extremely funny, and the most moral man I knew. He was merciful, intelligent, kind, caring. I grew up fast after he passed.

    His passing was really hard on my family–its 10 years later and we still have not ALL gotten to a healthy point. My mom fell apart pretty immediately and made very poor decisions (began an affair with my brothers college roommate, squandered all the money my dad had left for us on trips to atlantic city). My siblings and I have all stopped communication with her at different points, sometimes for years. Only recently have I realized that along with the grief of his passing, I also had to deal with the grief of a family totally changing/falling apart, and grief from feeling abondoned. I kept thinking -Im 15, or 16, 18 (as years went on) I can handle this. Not like I lost him at 9 or 10..Im grown, Im smart, Im tough.. but thats just not true. Losing someone so important can easily create a void at ANY age, let alone in your adolescent years.

    Most of the focus is placed on death–but not much about the other consequences that add new profound sadness to life. Like sometimes becoming more mature makes you realize your friends suck.. or equally hard is watching your family suffer, or feeling a major change in finances. There are many hardships that come along with THE hardship, which is, losing Dad.

    So I just want to encourage you to keep staying honest about your feelings. I was dishonest and unaware of mine and it only caught up to me later. I needed a lot of spirtual healing, because my spirit felt shattered when he died. Remember and honor your dad by preserving his moral legacy. And try to remember that there is immense growth through pain and suffering. While I wish my dad was still here every day, losing him eventually made me a stronger, more empathic woman. I think you will be too.

  • guest77

    August 11th, 2015 at 5:17 PM

    My family drama started when i was only 3 yrs old. I was told that i had a baby sister and she passed away only when she was 3 months old. then my mom dies when i turned 7 after that life was never the same my dad started seeing a lot of women including my teachers and the maid. But somehow i learned to live with that my dad loved me all things aside. We had a bond no father and son could ever have we even use to openly talk about some of the affairs he has with my teachers. But things started to change when a girl that was raised in our house died when i was 16 rumors said he use to sexually abuse her i chose not to believe it. All my life he used to suffer from athma and some heart problems even at one point he lost his mind and i also had to deal with that. But finally he got his rest when i turned 18. Im 19 now and i dont think im doing so bad. Is it because i am strong or am i just cold hearted??? I think i need counseling sometimes cuz thinks are getting very weird in my mind

  • D

    August 24th, 2015 at 3:47 PM

    My father commited suicide when i was 10 years old and he was 33, I am an only child and i loved him so much and was utterly broken and did not want to talk to anyone about it. I blamed myself and my mother for it and I have lived with a sense of self hatred and lack of trust for everyone ever since that I have only very recently began to analyse. I recently reached the age he was when he died and went through a severe depression. I have sabotaged so many aspects of my life because of unresolved damaged caused during my childhood. I wish I had confronted these things at an earlier age as it would have led me to have a far happier life. Keeping these things to yourself as a child destroys you from the inside out. Early action is vital.

  • bronwen

    October 16th, 2016 at 5:58 PM

    I’m sorry you’re dad committed suicide. If people knew the heartbreak they cause by this sort of action theyed never do it. The brother of a friend of mine has a womanfriend whose husband did that and left her with 3 kids. It’s hard to think how someone can if they have children. I think I’d feel bitter and angry towards a parent who did that to me, even though I loved them I couldn’t perceive how they could. But I’m sure your dad was a kind, sensitive man, as many people who do this are of that disposition. I hope you are eventually able to talk your feelings through and resolve this.

  • Eve

    September 15th, 2015 at 5:13 AM

    My mother died when I was 4 weeks old, siblings: 17 months, 4 years, 6 years, 11 years. Our family experience is told: (the free read) It can also be found on amazon kindle “At the Feet of Serenity.” The psychological consequences of our loss are all over the place.

  • Abby

    September 15th, 2015 at 9:58 PM

    hello- i lost my dad when i was 31- he was 50 and had fought colon cancer for 6 years.

    Ever since his passing i have not been myself emotionally. I put up a wall with my husband and we are no longer affectionate or intimate. We were like this before and i cant figure out why i am doing this. Is there a name for this behavior?

  • bejtullah

    September 17th, 2015 at 11:39 AM

    My mother died 1 week before my 5th birthday.
    Im 18 years old now and i study in medicine school. I wish she where here.
    I dont know how is this possible, but i Don’t Remember anything about my mother. Can you believe this i was 5 years old and i cant remember any activity or anything about my mother.
    But the thing that is even more impossible is that i remember a lot of things right after she died.
    I remember i was with my father to ses her, dead ,she had a red flower in her hand and was dressed with a white dress.
    I remember when my uncle’s son asked me why you are not crying, i said i dont know.
    I said in my mind how can i cry for someone i don’t even remember.
    I have a lot of pics and videos of my mother and me she looked like the best mom ever and i couldn’t even feel her love her smile…
    I have a lot of pics of my mother and me in hospital so that means that i saw her at least one week before she died, and how is that possible to not remember someone i saw just 1 week before? I remember a lot of things after.
    I cry a lot even now im 18 years old. This is so strange.
    I never asked my dad or someone something about my mother, so i dont know why she died, i saw pics of my mother and me, and she was bald, maybe she had cancer.
    I didnt even know when she died i learn’t that before 2 years i saw it in a paper.
    Everyone i know talks good about my mother, everyone says she was a very good mother, she loved you so much etc.
    Everything i have from her is a lot of pics, just pics and some videos. I love her voice from videos. I just want to remember a hug, just a hug from her.
    But no. I dont remember anything from her.
    I have 2 brothers and 1 sister.
    She died 1 year after my last brother born.
    I try to not remember her because always when i remember her i cry.
    (i remember her from pics and videos)
    Im very different from my friends.
    Im very emotionally. I cry even for little things.
    I really want to ask someone something about my mother, but i know that i would cry then, and i don’t want to cry in front of someone.
    Im so unlucky.
    My father and my mother couldn’t have a baby for 35 years. My father loved her so much and didn’t leave her.
    My dad was rich and he wanted to buy a place in switzerland near the sea,for just 1 milion but he didn’t buy it because he didn’t have children.
    Can you believe this ? If i would born 10 years before. Now that place costs 50 milion or more.
    But i borned in the last years of my mother.
    Now my father is 63 years old and i am 18.
    He is very sick from heart.
    He had two heart attacks and he is still alive.
    My life is in a position that could change for good.
    Im waiting i hope god will help me and my life will be good.

    I have a lot more to say but i will stop here.
    Maybe i can write a book about my life.

  • george

    October 14th, 2015 at 12:02 PM

    I just read your post and it hit close to home. Dont feel bad its not u. I was 9 when my mom died of cancer and 18 when my dad died of a heart attack. Its not your fault. I have very few memories of my mom although i was a mamas boy and was with her all the time. I am 36 now and the pain never goes away. I cry at the littlest thing. A song, a commercial , a movie. I wish i could say it goes away but it doesnt. I have 3 kids now and went thru a nasty divorce and custoday battle. It has broken me inside bc i cant be with my kids everyday. The best advice i can give you is ask questions. Find out what happened to your mom and how she was and what she liked and didnt like. Ask everything about her bc she is a big part of u. Even tho shes not here. Embrace it its part of u. And no one will understand until they go thru a death of a parent. Its hard even when ur an adult. But people dont understand the effect jt has when ur a kid. If u ever need to talk email me

  • Cindy

    November 1st, 2015 at 7:47 PM

    My kids were 7, 9, & 11 when they lost their father to suicide last Feb. Came to this sight hoping to find some hope for their future psychologically. I worry about them every day. What will their future be like? He was the favorite parent. We’re doing ok, but it’s hard to tell what’s really going on inside. They’re all smart, he made sure never to hide the realities of life from them. When he died, I couldn’t tell them the truth, I just said his heart gave out. I think they’re too young for the truth. My oldest son has Asperger’s and idolized his Dad. My daughter has always loved being a daddy’s girl, and my youngest is overly sensitive and immature for his age. I worry about them. They’ve been through so much, even before Daddy died.

  • Millie

    November 3rd, 2015 at 1:20 PM

    I was 10 when my mom died of breast cancer. She had cancer for 7 years so even my earliest memories of her were of her being sick. I take solace in the fact that I have memories of my mom, including her walking me to school everyday and our summer road trips. My sister was 13 at the time of her death and I always felt that we dealt with her passing independently, which I think is why we now no longer have a relationship- she moved to another country and got married to as soon as she could, stopping contact with my dad and I. In my family we never talked about my mom because it was too painful for any of us. My dad never remarried, and is a quiet, religious man. I find it very hard to have a deeper connection with him as he is very reserved. Going through adolescence, my teens and through university, I was very numb about her death. Growing up, many people assumed I was doing fine because I was doing well academically. Truthfully, I was ignoring everything that had happened to me and focused on something to keep my mind distracted. My extended family thought I had an easy life since I was doing so well in school, and I always felt that was unfair. Out of my mother’s side of the family, no one gives me any recognition that what I went through was extremely difficult, and it angers me that they completely ignore my sister and I, even though, we, of all people need their support. My life has been lonely; I find it hard to make friendships or even meet new people. I’ve notice that as I am getting older (I am now 25), my anxiety, depression and overall emotions are growing stronger. No matter how much older I get, I think that the pain I feel from the loss of my mother will never go away.

  • Jane

    November 3rd, 2015 at 8:11 PM

    Hi Millie

    I was so moved by your gentleness and insight. I really want to tell you that there can be light at the end of the tunnel. I just want to tell you about my experience i am now aged 44.

    You sound like a very Strong person and the way you feel resonates with me because I dealt with my fathers’ death in a similar way…. And was depressed and more angry as I got older.

    My mother never comforted me once and still thinks it is strong to never show emotions. I have a brother, who is 2 years older and we all grieved separately. We have very little contact and I tolerate my mother as she struggles to find a kind word to say to me. I love my mother but she is horrible most of the time and I feel like I have lost my entire family.

    It is all very sad and could have been so different if my mother had been mature enough to hold the family together. It is very sad. And in many ways parallels your experience.

    Millie, I do not know why your sister left you. I suspect it could be that she could only save herself. And the only way to do that was to cut ties. That is very hard and confusing for the people left behind. And I believe you have the strength to come through your pain. Congratulations on getting a good education despite your trauma.

    I strongly suggest that you find a therapist and work on you. I saw lots and am finally seeing someone, who is very spiritual. Not in the strictly religious sense. She believes in the work by Brandon Bays, who wrote the book, The Journey. It is powerful stuff and I suggest you get a copy. Out of all the money I spent on therapy, this is the one, which actually fixes at a core level, at the essence of your being. It’s very deep and personal and extremely powerful stuff.

    Good luck
    Jane x

  • Maddie

    November 5th, 2015 at 10:48 AM

    Hi Millie! Thank you for posting about your experience. I cried reading this because it’s all what I feel too and experienced. I was like wow is this me writing this?! I also ignored my feelings and was numb to my mom passing at age 14, I am now 24. My brother was 13. 4 years after her passing my dad got diagnosed with early dimentia and can no longer remember us. I find it hard in my 20’s not to feel jealous or anger watching everyone with their parents, learning about the world. I taught myself everything I know now. It’s hard to keep friends or make new friends due to my social anxiety. I live with my wonderful boyfriend but we don’t talk about my parents much but i do try and bring up good memories of them so he can feel like he knows them in a way. My younger brother is very shy so we don’t talk about them much. I think I’m going to get us in therapy soon before it’s too late and my anxiety gets worse. Thank you again for sharing. This is my first time doing that on the Internet.

  • Lisa

    January 8th, 2016 at 6:27 PM

    Hi Millie,

    I lost my mom at 7 years old, my brother was 13, and my sister was 17. I am now 40. We all dealt with my mother’s passing differently, and just like you noone spoke of my mother’s name because of all the pain that it came with. Immediately her pictures and possessions were removed. I was shuffled off to friends houses to try to get life back to normal, but what is normal when you just lost your mother? Exactly. I totally hadthe same thing happen to me in terms to my mother’s extended family ignoring us. I know it hurts and it sucks. You feel like you are the black sheep, and you didn’t ask to be. It’s like being part of a club you don’t want no part of. I just wanted to say your story made me comment, considering I went through the same thing. My advice is just worry about yourself, and things will fall into place. You might take longer than normal, bit one you get there, its magical. Good luck Sweetie! Don’t let it stump your growth!

  • Kay

    November 8th, 2015 at 11:25 PM

    I lost my dad and little brother when I was 8years old, lost my aunt who was dear to me at 12, mom at 13. Lost my grandmother from my mom’s side when I was 15, then my grandma from dad’s side at 16. I’m 21 years old now, doing my final year in varsity. With everyone having being gone, I was adopted by my mom’s aunt who has been very wonderful to me. Besides all the support I get, I still feel empty and alone. I spend most of my days thinking about everyone i’ve lost. I wish that at least maybe one of them shouldn’t have died. Maybe it would have been different. I’ve developed this fear of letting people close to my heart because it feels like everyone dear to me eventually passes on.

  • Bec

    November 16th, 2015 at 8:47 AM

    My mom killed herself when I was five. I remember when I was 6 I held a butter knife to my heart but couldn’t hurt my dad and sister the way she hurt us. When I was 6 my aunt killed herself and then when I was 10 my uncle on the other side of my family killed himself. I too struggle with letting people get close to me and have been diagnosed with severe depression and maladaptive daydreaming disorder. I just feel so numb and sad and I still cry all the time because I feel like i don’t deserve love. My dad remarried and my stepmom is emotionally abusive. I love my dad but he is really timid in standing up for me. I am 20 and don’t really know what to do with my life. I get suicidal thoughts but can’t hurt others and I just feel stuck

  • The Team

    November 16th, 2015 at 10:34 AM

    Hi Bec,

    We are very sorry to hear that. If you would like to consult with a mental health professional about these feelings, please feel free to return to our homepage,, 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 specifically with some of the feelings you’re expressing, you can complete an advanced search by clicking here:

    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.

    Kind regards,
    The Team

  • Maritza

    November 28th, 2015 at 4:38 PM

    So hurtful to hear your story. So many people have stories like yours. Never feel alone. Instead try to think that there is someone that has recently experienced what you have that need to hear your story in great detail and actually see how you still have the desire to live. Life is so unfair. But this is the life you were given… So how will you continue to live is the question. Someone needs to know. This is how I continue on…..I encourage you to continue to be strong because you are. Now encourage someone else with your story. Bless you.

  • Esther

    December 14th, 2015 at 9:19 AM

    Dear Bec,

    It is very heartbreaking to read what you have to go through. I can not imagine this difficult test in life. I want you to know that your soul came down into this world for a very special purpose. There is something that only you and no one else in the entire universe can achieve. While your path was very hard you should know that it is 100% your choice where you want to go. You should know that no one in this world is ever allowed to give up. There is always something we can fix and something we can become stronger in. Please start to move ahead and don’t allow the past to destroy you. You have all the tools inside of you that you need to fix yourself. Once you fix yourself you can fix other people who are in the same pit and who don’t know how to exit. Use art to express your pain. Especially writing is very healing. But most important allow to love yourself and be loved. See the good and the beauty in yourself and in others. Do things that make you happy! The world needs you so much….you will become the most beautiful butterfly! Just believe that you can!

  • Paul K.

    November 22nd, 2015 at 5:26 AM

    I was 6yo when my mother died from a brain tumour in hospital. I remember the knock on the door, by the police, to tell my Dad she had died. I remember my Dad telling my brother and me she had died. I can remember the grief and emptiness I felt for the next two years. I lay in bed at night and shed buckets of tears every time I thought of my mother. I remember saying to myself I wish I could forget her so I wouldn’t feel so upset. My wish came true, I cannot remember anything about my mother. I’m 64yo now and I have suffered from Social Anxiety and (I think) P.T.S.D. since the death of my mother. I now want to remember her, but cannot.
    Advice please.

  • Ira

    December 8th, 2015 at 3:16 PM

    My mom died when I was 3 of a blood clot. I have no memory of her. My father developed type 1 diabetes shortly thereafter. He got re-married 4 years later. We had a blended family. By 7,I became afraid of him. Though not physically abusive, I was afraid of what mood he was in, as that directly affected his behavior. At 10 years old I developed anxiety attacks. My anxiety attacks flustered my parents, and I could get yelled at, or “lectured” about overcoming them. This made my anxiety worse. I learned to hide my symptoms, and try and avoid whatever triggered anxiety. Much of the time, I just tried to get thru it, because many things I wasn’t able to avoid. Dealing with the anxiety and fighting for it not to show was very stressful.
    I’ve walked around with an emptiness inside that’s hard to put into words. As an adult, I’ve gotten lots of treatment for myself-therapy, support groups, and have tried many medications. I’ve never been able to get past a certain point and my depression has become worse over the years. I think I felt so empty growing up that it turned into a depression that has been with me since. In adulthood, I started learning more things about my biological mom. I found out she was a caring mother and probably was with me everyday until the day she died. I would imagine my life would have been much different had she not died, as it not only affected me but I’m pretty sure it ended up affecting my relationship with my father also.

  • Jenna

    December 9th, 2015 at 3:55 AM

    My mom died from ovarian cancer when I was eight… She was diagnosed when I was five and I remember everything about her illness vividly. She was a single mother and we lived with my grandpa, grandma and her at the time. Grandma was abusive to me growing up and ironically she died a month or two after my mom. My dad abandoned my mom before I was born but he died a couple years ago from cancer as well. After mom died I moved in with my aunt and uncle and I had two older cousins that became my brother and sister, everything was okay and I was pretty messed up for awhile with abandonment issues and just the trauma of it all but I managed. My mom knew she was going to die so she made me a birthday card for every year until I turned 18 and made giant books for me and videos and stuff… I love her for it but it is really tragic to go through it all and it has shaped me a lot over the years with struggling to move on. When I was 16 my uncle got cancer and I was terrified, he fought it well though and got it basically into remission after awhile but while he was doing that my aunt got lung cancer. She… Did not do too well. It was like seeing my mom dying all over again and I suffered from major PTSD taking care of her and watching her wither away I kept thinking “it can’t happen again it can’t happen again”. It happened again. She died in January a couple days before my birthday and my life has been a mess. My uncle, I love him so much, but something snapped in him. I never ever saw him drink at all my whole life and them after she passed he drank like crazy, he moved out and basically abandoned us, not to mention his cancer is back and we don’t know how long he even has to live. I have major major abandonment issues along with severe anxiety, as diagnosed by a doctor, and depression. I’m struggling to move on and keep my head up… I’m eighteen and everything is terrifying.

  • Michelle L.

    December 12th, 2015 at 9:11 PM

    My husband committed suicide 2 and a half years ago and we had 2 small children together. Our oldest daughter was 5 1/2 years old when we lost her dad and her sister was 14 months old. My child now has ptsd,depression,and alot of anger towards me. It has had a very bad impact to our lives. Since he died me and my daughter have drifted apart. How can I reastablish my relationship with my daughter. We’re both in therapy for the loss of her father. If anyone has any suggestions, I will do anything to get my relationship back with my daughter. She tells me she hates me alot and that really hurts like hell. But the next day she’s loving and telling me that she loves me and doesn’t wanna loose me because she already lost her daddy. She said she can’t loose mommy too. Thank you in advance.

  • Tia

    January 15th, 2016 at 6:52 PM

    Coming from someone who lost their parent to suicide, I would say it sounds awfully familiar and like reactive attachment. All you can do is console her, especially in the times of anger because that’s when she needs it the most. Be there as much as you can emotionally and allow and validate her feelings. It’ll be a long road, but if you constantly reassure she’ll come around eventually and it’ll be worth it.

  • Ruby red35

    December 18th, 2015 at 4:39 AM

    My girls lost there father 6 months ago they were 14 and 17.they seem to be handling it oddly…ok but the day they found out my 14 cried my 17 yr old didnt. At this time we had been divorce for 9 yrs and married for 10.I dont know how to approach they or if i should.Do i just leave it alone?SOMEONE HELP!

  • Jane

    January 17th, 2016 at 2:13 AM

    Hi ruby
    In my opinion I think your children will need help. Perhaps they don’t know how to act around you because you were divorced from their dad? My parents were married when my father died when I was 16. My mother never cried once in front of me at least. And never ever comforted me. Not once. All of this is not normal. I finally got counselling myself age 21. I was very damaged. You are their mum and their soft place to fall. Even if it is hard, can you talk about the good times with their dad.? Help them to open up? Tell them how sorry you are? You don’t talk about their relationship with him. Even if it wasn’t great, he was still their dad.
    Hugs Jane X

  • Kiki

    April 7th, 2017 at 12:14 PM

    Hi Ruby,
    This may be a late reply but I hope it finds you.
    My father died in a car accident when I was 14. I’m now 25, and if there is one thing I could change about that time of my life, it would be to get myself help. I remember my mother brought me out for dinner a few months after it happened, she caught me off guard when she asked if I wanted to talk to somebody about it. I wasn’t expecting such a conversation to take place at a table in a restaurant. I immediately was overwhelmed with embarrassment and wanted this conversation to end as soon as possible. So I said no, and assured her I was fine.

    We don’t really talk about the passing of my father much, we didn’t then and over the last decade since it happened conversations have arose; but they’re kept short. My parents relationship was troubled, mostly on my fathers doing. He wasn’t much of a father the last few years he was alive. It was like loosing him twice, the second time for good.
    I needed help, I needed to just be helped. I didnt need someone asking me if I needed help, I DIDNT KNOW I NEEDED HELP. Looking back now at my life over the past ten years, It’s very clear now that I did, and still do. I had no direction, I was depressed, I started doing drugs, dropped out of school for a while, had major anxiety. (I did go back and finish High School, a year late, but I did it nonetheless.)

    Now at 25, it took me this long to realize that now I’M responsible as an adult for taking care of myself. I can’t be that stubborn teenager who rejected all help, who thought she was super woman and could just get through everything by pretending it didn’t matter. It mattered then, and it does now.

    But if I could go back in time and change one thing, that I strongly believe would have changed the course of my life, I would have sat at that table with my mom and told her “Yes, Mom I think I might need help.”
    But even more than that, I wish someone would have just told my mom not to even ask me, just help me. Get me help, I didn’t know what I needed then, I wish she had just done it.

    Get your kids help, they might not like it now, but in the future it will make a huge difference, and they will appreciate you for it. I promise.

  • Matthew

    December 21st, 2015 at 9:08 PM

    I don’t know much about how this works, or whether or not someone will actually read this. I’m not quite sure what losing my father did to me when I was 7. After his murder my mom, sister, and I move to another state. We have family here to support us, but the support wasn’t enough for my sister, who, years later, abused drugs, dropped out of highschool, and was forced into rehab at 17. My mom would have arguments constantly with her, and meanwhile I would be in my room with the door closed. After spending 1 1/2 in some sort of rehabilitation academy, things are beginning to look up for her. I was 16. That is, until she gets pregnant after a couple of months. The father was someone who I only knew for around 3 weeks, and I didn’t know how to feel. Throughout all this, I stayed in highschool, played plenty of sports, had a close group of innocent friends and had a 4.18 average in my freshman year! I’m a junior currently, and my grades have gone from honors classes A’s and B’s to accelerated classes B’s and C’s. Ever since starting highschool, I’ve felt that I wasn’t social, and that close group of friends weren’t really including me as much as I previously thought. Am I not social enough? I have played a lot of video games (especially when my sister would argue with my mom), and im not as connected to social media as everyone else. What I do see on Instagram is highly social people from my school going to parties and having fun. Depressed, I saw this as a sign that I must find new friends, ones who were a bit more “social”. I found them, hung out with them, and felt extremely confident! But grades would drop as a result. Despite knowing that people maintain a balance between grades and friends, I chose to just stick with my academics. But wait! What about sports?! I gave up on baseball (my main sport) when I didn’t make the team freshman year. I was good, but like every other sport I tried, I got extremely anxious about my performance. I proceeded to play basketball, golf, lacrosse, and soccer. I love all of these sports, but I felt like I would never be good enough, or dedicated enough to play on a team.

    Another thing: I’ve had two girlfriends, both in highschool. One broke up with me, saying I was antisocial, and the other taught me that sluts in highschool aren’t a myth. The sad part is, I don’t get over relationships. I feel honestly feel like apologizing for my existence to them.

    Current status: I don’t play sports, I feel like I’ll never have a girlfriend (even though people tell me I’m attractive, just shy- them telling me only makes me more self conscious.) grades are ok, I play videogames, and I feel like I’m disconnected. As if there’s something I’m not getting that everyone else understands. I always feel below average even though it’s obviously not true.

    -I am 17, under a prescription for aderall due to minor ADD.

  • Phil

    December 22nd, 2015 at 1:50 AM

    This is a fantastic page and reading through the comments has helped me a lot. I know I’m not alone. My maternal grandfather died from cancer when I was in the womb, then my father’s mother died from cancer when I was 7, followed by his grandmother. Age 12 my maternal grandma died, then at age 13 my mother died suddenly from a very rare infection caught at a 5* hotel (a special treat for us). My final grandparent died shortly after that from Alzheimer’s, along with our two cats who were close companions of mine, one dying from cancer and the other from a broken heart, wailing every night for a month before she died.

    I’ve never had any therapy about this and my family – dad & brother – were left alone / ostracized by everyone else, despite a lot of them saying I was the male-image of my mother. After her death we lost the emotional heart of our family. I’ve struggled with addiction, destructive behaviour, and depression, I’ve subconsciously shut off all memories of my childhood, and I’m now in my mid-twenties. I have a loving fiancee who I’ve recently struggled with and I think it’s down to me being subconsciously really scared to completely open up to her / not handling a lot of recent stress in my life very well. I’ve ended up hurting her quite a lot and I might now lose my soul mate.

    After seeing that I’m not alone in this, having good people as my friends and remaining family, and seeing how others have built lives for themselves, I’m determined not to let this end my life now. I’m going to see a therapist, try to rescue my upcoming marriage, and build on my current professional success to help inspire the next generation of children who will go through what I have. This happens to 1 child in every classroom in the developed world and we can do more to support them. Love to you all.

  • Stefan

    December 23rd, 2015 at 2:33 AM

    Hi Jenna (post from December 9th, 2015 at 3:55 AM)
    I have read your post and at 43 I have been through a lot with my mother loss since I was 14. Your situation is more complicated as you have multiple losses each adding weight to original core loss-mother. Instead of writing some silly supports I’m gonna write business-like tips that could help you or anyone. These are facts and they work. I ve been through them. Here it is:
    – Pain will never go away.
    – You can freeze the pain, but it will come back. The longer its frozen, the bigger pain will be when it knocks on your door. Message is, let the grief fully impact you, cry, fall apart, experience the dark depths of sadness.
    – Read, read, educate yourself (Start with Motherless Daughters and Susan Anderson books on Abondanment).
    – Talk to trusted people about your pain. Don not keep it inside you.
    – Be realistic with your goals. Set them low, step by step.

    With hard work, sooner you start you would be able to find some peace and move on with life (best one can considering circumstances).
    Stay strong and best of luck.

  • Jill

    January 8th, 2016 at 9:48 AM

    Stefan I could not agree more with your advice. My mother passed when I was 11 my 2 older sister were pretty much fine but myself and my 2 your her sister really struggled (in fact they still do to this, substance abuse)
    Realizing you never went through the grieving process is what takes the toll…in pushed my feelings away for over 30 years and just now am at peace…great insight!!

  • deepika

    January 8th, 2016 at 11:06 AM

    nothing happen like that but i want to share my story with you, i got married when i was 17 i got a baby boy when i was 19 my husband was not able to see ,my i was not feeling happy in my married life so i deceided to go away from there and i moved when my child was 5 years old, its arround one and half years old, i talked to my husband two days back , he got married again and his secound wife two children one girl 7 years old and one boy 4 years old, he told me that now my baby is happy in his life and forgot about me and accepted his new mother , his new mother is caring he told me that my baby is happy with two brother and sister, but i could not able to make my self happy and satisfy wihtout him and not able to forget what i done , it was my wrong deceision which i take in depression. my husband told me that he is very good in study and got first position in class. i want to know your opinion will my baby recover that completly, or it will effect him on future . i am a lot of worried about my son and missing him a lot with my deep heart. plz tell me what you think about him .

  • The Team

    January 8th, 2016 at 11:27 AM

    Dear Deepika,

    The Team is not qualified to offer professional advice, but if you would like to talk about this or any other concern with a qualified mental health professional, feel free to return to our homepage,, and enter your zip code into the search field to find therapists in your area.

    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.

    Kind regards,

    The Team

  • Katie

    January 16th, 2016 at 4:56 PM

    I lost my mother in a car accident that her and my brother and myself were involved in when I was only 3 years old and my brother 5. It has devastated us both doing such damage that could never be repaired… We’re now in our thirties with children of our own and a not healthy relationship with our Father and stepmother whom was for all intents and purposes one of the best you could ask for, nobody ever has nor will anybody ever truly understand what it has done to us unless it has been done to them as well… The damage has trickled down to our children and the way we relate to them and everybody else in life when all we ever wanted was a family and love you only get one mother and you might not realize it but she is the most important thing in the whole universe💔💯💔

  • Jane

    January 17th, 2016 at 12:33 AM

    Hi Katie
    I really feel for you. It is very sad that you have trouble relating and the burden you bring to your children. You are really fortunate to be able to recognise you have issues and this is the first step to healing. I would like to share some of my family experience with you. My grandmother lost two of her children – a baby and a 5 yr old. From what I understand, her pain was passed to my mother. My mother has turned out into a self righteous narcissist. She still reigns terror on me as she has for most of my life. She blames me for all of the family disfunction – my father was largely absent and unaware (or looked the other way), being a workaholic, who died when I was 16. I have an elder brother, who can do no wrong and he a carbon on copy of my mother. Classic golden child with me as the scapegoat. My mother and my brother have started gossiping about my 7 yr old daughter and treating her as a scapegoat by association. What my mother said about her to me was unbelievable and she treats me even worse.
    What I am trying to say is that if we do not heal our pain, it will likely become our children’s burden. And become their responsibility to heal. If they cannot, this will likely be passed onto the next generation and so on until one person stands up and tries to heal the whole family. This is the position I find myself in. If I cannot, my only other option will be to walk away. I am an abused adult child.
    I am getting a lot of the right sort of counselling finally having have had it on and off for the past 20 years. I believe outside help may be an option for you to explore as well.
    Hugs, Jane X

  • Katie

    January 16th, 2016 at 4:59 PM

    I lost my mother at the age of 3 although I had a wonderful stepmother it could never repair the damage done… I never quite understood how to be a proper mother myself due to not having that bond with my own. I would give anything in this universe to have even 5 minutes with my mother, always appreciate the fact that you have one or that you did for however short a time.

  • Ira

    January 16th, 2016 at 9:03 PM

    Wow Katie, many similarities between your story and mine. If you filter down, I wrote in here a couple of months ago. Lost my mom at 3 years old. Also had a stepmom after my father remarried. I remember what affected me from ages 4 and up, as I don’t have any memories of my mother. It wasn’t till a couple nephews got to be 3 years old did I even think about how my mom dying could have affected me.

  • Leonora

    January 20th, 2016 at 4:34 PM

    I lost my Mom at the age of three. After reading the comments below I see that I am not alone in saying that though I had a extended family support system and a step mom 3 years later who tried her best to make me feel wanted, it just didn’t work. Even today I struggle with close relationships. My husband and I are still together after 33 years but we did divorce and then remarry in our 17th year. To sum it up I feel as if I was orphaned. No one, not even my father understands this. I’ve resorted to accepting my life the way it has played out and look for her in my children and grandchildren. I also live for the hope of seeing her when Jesus comes to take us all home, I look forward to meeting her in heaven that day. My life isn’t over its just being stalled a bit. So I do the best I can to be as happy as I am capable of being and that has to be enough.

  • Shannon

    January 21st, 2016 at 9:24 PM

    I lost my mum at 3 years old from a sudden blood clot. I don’t remember much but I know I always craved attention from adult females, from a teacher to a friends mum. My dad remarried when I was 9 and I think that’s what broke me. My now ex stepmum was a women who had a rough upbringing and passed that onto me, mentally and physically. I won’t go into all the gory details but I feel as if I can never trust myself to have children as I would give them the same abuse I was given, even though I would never want to!!
    I’m now 19 and still feel emotionally detached from everyone, I’ve tried everything: alcohol, drugs, stealing things, self harm but I’ve still never logged in to the same mindset as everyone else. I’m now going travelling in a month so I suppose I’ll write another comment and see if that works, ha! Best of luck to anyone in similar positions as me and to anyone who can relate, I’d love to know if anyone does!

  • Jane

    January 22nd, 2016 at 10:07 AM

    Hi Shannon, I’m really sorry to hear how you have been so badly affected by the loss of your mother, your upbringing and ordeal from being exposed to a cruel stepmother. I have a cruel and abusive mother – birth mother. I felt very different from everyone else and for many years believed I was a fake and if my friends actually knew me, they wouldn’t like. I lived in fear of being exposed for the horrible person I believed I was. I have made great progress and am happy to say that I gave birth to a cherished child in my late 30’s. She is my heart and we are close, and a blessing and a joy. It is possible to break the cycle. She is 7 years old and we talk a lot, she is feisty, sensitive and caring just like me and needs a special kind of mummy, who doesn’t squash her and understands her. My daughter wants to grow up so that she can become a mummy because she thinks this would be a lovely thing to be. You are very young and have so much growing to do. I feel sad for you that you have written yourself off at such a tender age. I realise you fear repeating the cycle of abuse and I don’t think it likely because you are so aware of yourself. I have on a few occasions shouted at my daughter as my mother did but when I saw the pain in her eyes, I felt such pain myself, instantly stopped and apologised. My daughter now witnesses how poorly my mother and brother treat me and we are a team. My mother taught me so little being a nasty child herself and with the help of a counsellor I am parenting myself. It’s normal that you tried all sorts of ways to numb the pain. I did too.
    Hugs, Jane

  • lindy

    February 17th, 2017 at 5:15 PM

    Hi Shannon, I grew up in a very emotionally abusive household. I’ve made a lot of poor choices for myself, especially in terms of which partners I’ve chosen. But I was older when I had a child (aged 36) and I’ve managed to be a better parent to my child than I had. You are young yet. Give yourself time to heal and don’t lose hope.

  • Joanna

    January 26th, 2016 at 7:57 PM

    My dad passed away from cancer when I was 7 years old. He had pancreatic cancer. I love and miss him till this day and just can’t let him go. Losing him changed my life and me and the way i see things forever. I always cry for him and try to distract myself by doing things that are beneficial instead of destructive like I used to.

    I used to do tons of drugs and drink and be with a lot of guys (more than one so that if they left me I would have one to fall back on) but now I’m only with one really good guy who is 46. I’m 19. I try to see my dad in him sometimes. I think my daddy sent him to me. I changed my name from Rachel to Joanna because my dad wanted to name me that first but then they decided Rachel.

    I never had love and support after my dad passed away. My mom became an alcoholic and started doing drugs. When he was alive she was out partying and drinking and doing drugs I believe. I remember once seeing her nodding out at my kitchen table. I was like 8? She was with tons of different men once he passed.

    He was the sweetest kindest most intelligent man I’ve ever known and I’ll never know another. I’m just like him people say. I will never stop feeling emptiness in my body. I’ll never forget because the cuts turned into literal wounds and scars. My sister and brother turned into my mother and did drugs and drank and I almost fell into that hole but my daddy stopped me and turned everything around for me and believe it or not he is still with me protecting me.

    I come from a family of crazies and was abused all my childhood in school and home. I was bullied from 4th grade and on and off till I moved to Florida and began to learn to take care of myself because Donna (my mother) didn’t take care of me and would call me fat and just didn’t love me and neither did any of my family once my dad passed. She wouldn’t feed me much or let me pick my own style so I feel I don’t know my identity.

    I’m a raw vegan and workout a lot. I went through school all on my own. It was so hard that the people though I was retarded but just had no help. Anyway, I’m trying to learn Spanish and watch lots of documentaries and meditate do yoga don’t do drugs don’t drink. I almost went down the road of prostitution because I was a sugar baby having sex with many other older men for money. Thank god that wasn’t the road I went down. I hope I will never be like Donna Ashley or Phillip (bro and sis) but instead like my daddy who I love so much. He will always be with me and in my heart. I miss my beautiful childhood memories but will create beautiful memories and carry on.

  • Joanna

    January 26th, 2016 at 8:02 PM

    Also my mom went to jail and rehab for a few years so she was absent some of my child hood and my brother and sister too went to jail and rehab. My sister went to a group home too.

  • Katie

    January 27th, 2016 at 9:53 AM

    Omg💔💔💔 to see the response to my story and read all of yours is literally turning my gut right now😣😣😣 I try, soo hard to hold it together and I have been totally abandoned, my brother, my last, is gone now too…prison, and I am left here, choking on the tears I never wanted, didn’t ask for…why luv when you know that the only possible outcome is heartbreak💯💯💯 Me, I would not…but hindsight is 20/20 right??? I don’t have a place in the world like everyone else does, I don’t belong here but I have no choice🚫🚫🚫 I just want to be able to smile for my kids one day and it’s a real smile, they will know, and I am scared to be alone….All I ask for my pound of flesh is that my children can be different, better, functioning, belong….I think the karma bus can spare them the pain💔💔💔I’m dying, and I have yet to address the obviously serious medical conditions I have, turn the other cheek and don’t look, keep moving, the kids need you when I think about the truth of it…I imagine it will become so much more quiet and stable for them with me gone, and I don’t think I know what to do, but Imma keep it moving cause that’s what we do😩💔😩

  • Patricia

    March 1st, 2016 at 12:31 PM

    I never knew parents who weren’t deeply grieving. When I was two my 18 yo sister died of a congenital heart defect that had been undetected. My remaining siblings were also teenagers: one had emotional problems and medical problems, one wound up in “juvie” for acting out (probably grief).
    As a small child, I learned that the role of “good girl”, “caretaker” and “rescuer” were the most acceptable and seemed to put the least amount of extra pressure on the family.
    When I was 9, I went into shock and was with my father’s body for hours when he died at home. In those days, therapy was not even a consideration, so I just “carried on” as caretaker. My mother’s way of coping was to rarely mention my sister or father so I never even got to know them through third-party witness.
    After my father’s death, the family slipped into alcoholism and addiction. I spent most of my adult life trying to fix the unfixable until my own health deteriorated and I had to face what I was doing. Now, I have very limited contact with my siblings.
    I feel like I came in at the tail end of a family that was well on its way out. My role was to sweep up, shut off the lights and close the door on my way out.
    I see from reading many accounts above, the experience and legacy of early loss are so varied dependant on a plethora of circumstances.
    I guess in the end, we call this “life” and these challenges can be turned into gifts of the rarest value once we learn to reach out and share our hearts.

  • Joe

    March 4th, 2016 at 7:23 AM

    Lost mom xmas day, 72, dad april 1973 I was 11 at time. It was not easy and still hurts inside. I miss them.

  • Stefan

    March 21st, 2016 at 4:32 AM

    I think this link would be extremely beneficial to all of you (us) who experienced parent loss before age 18. I have read
    numerous books/articles, and this study is certanly at the top of the group. I have read it few times and extracted key points and its relevance to my experience. I hope it will help you to at least understand the mechanism of grief process. Here it is:

  • Ken

    March 22nd, 2016 at 4:37 PM

    My mother died when I was 4. I went to a psychiatrist for a while and they determined that I was a normal healthy child. I remember keeping that memory in there strong, that I was normal and nothing in my life made me different from anyone else. They said I was too young to really know what was going on, so I held onto that into my late teens as well. Until I collapsed inwards anyway. My father was at fault for the death of my mother, so he was in prison for 4 years. I lived with a loving family, but they didn’t try at all to hide their discontent for my father, who then gained custody of us after getting out of prison. My father was young and short tempered, but he was a good man, until I was about 12 and he became a complete alcoholic and emotionally abusive. I haven’t had a single good relationship, and I am constantly questioning myself. I have been told by a psychiatrist that I have an alter ego, possible bipolar disorder and other issues. I know I have anxiety and depression and I try my hardest to avoid much human contact. I try figuring myself out so I can explain my mentality and who and how I am to my partner, but I can’t even give answers to myself about myself and it mentally tears me apart. I’ve been fighting with these issues for years and they constantly fluctuate. I hate that I never got good solid memories with my mother, that I can’t go to her for help that I can’t share memories with her, bring her to events or anything else. I barely knew her, and I hate to say something selfish, but it’s not fair. I’ll admit that I turned out better than my family expected me to (they’ve told me that), I don’t drink, smoke, do drugs or anything, but as good, healthy and positive I look on the outside, I always feel like I’m slowly dying on the inside. Many times reminding myself that my mother gave me the gift of life and the fact that I can’t waste that gift has kept me from just ending it. That and my brother..I hate being confused about my own existence.

  • Lew

    March 26th, 2016 at 3:52 AM

    I’m 70 years old and have sadly thought about my dead Dad every day for the last 63 years. When I was told he died I truly believe I suffered brain damage, the piercing heat flowed up from my chest to my head incapacitating my breathing, shock that still can stop my thoughts and movement. My entire life has been defined and altered by that day. I became a quiet, shy and scared entity, once an inquisitive happy active boy, I was reading newspapers at age 5, suddenly I refused to read anymore. I had been skipped to a higher grade because of an advanced IQ only to find myself staring out the window at school not hearing a word of Miss Kilgore’s lessons. I failed in every school endeavor. My art often mimicked death and dying. My older brother who also grieved, but in fierce manners, became ferocious, always screaming, hitting, demeaning and scaring me. We were both suffering yet I could not defend myself against someone 12 years older. My addiction became food. I could not stop eating, it was the only substance that quieted my anxiety, pain in the stomach, loneliness and emptiness. At age 25 I unfortunately fell in love with a woman who actually listened and understood my pain, she also had grieved her mother and childhood. When she told me the final words of goodbye and did not turn to look at me as she walked away, another grief began, I can’t get her out of mind, it has been a long 45 years. I suppose understanding is the first step toward relief, art therapy has provided me an entry into my sorrow, yet, it is still difficult to accept loss.

  • Andrew R. K.

    May 6th, 2016 at 10:17 PM

    These comments make me sad, I remember my mother had smoked then got a lung decease because of it she eventually quit but needed a lung transplant and well after the transplant she came back home but went back to the hospital where she died on mother’s day before I graduated from middle school to high school and I been to counselling for therapy one teacher asked about my mother and all I could say was she was in a better place instead of saying she died because it was too much pain for me to say that she died I had flash backs and stuff and wanted to forgot the past but memories just keep popping up and now I think I’m getting messed up.

  • Izzi

    May 7th, 2016 at 11:54 PM

    One of my very close friends Dylan, lost his Mother to Breast Cancer two years ago, when he was only 11 years old. Although I feel like me and Dylan are close, I have never mentioned his mum and rarely ever mention mine. Another of my close friends, Conor is also very close with Dylan, so when me and Dylan became better friends, it was up to Conor to break the terrible news to me. When Dylan and I talk, he mentiones his Dad and Nephews to me. I think this is because he feels he needs to tell himself he still has a lot of family who care very much about him. He has no sisters and no Aunties that I am aware of. I think this is what makes us close, I feel like I am the female influence in his life. He doesn’t know that Me or Conor know about his Mother’s death, as Dylan’s dad told Conor. Dylan is still just as normal as anyone else I know, because he has had his Mum around the Majority of his life. I don’t know how he will cope when it comes to that time where a Mother’s influence is very important in a teenage boys life. He has lots of supporting friends and we are all here for him.

  • Shane

    May 11th, 2016 at 10:21 AM

    My mother drowned when I was 14, 30 yrs has passed and I miss her everyday, she was my everything. Depression sets in this time of yr every yr and varies in length and depth. Idk what to do to avoid it and it has made me very callouse and numb

  • Kaisa

    May 13th, 2016 at 8:16 AM

    My father died of a sudden heart attack when I was 10. I was present at the time. I feel that I was kind of a daddy’s girl. So the loss has affected me a lot. I felt that I had to grief alone, there was no support. My childhood kind of ended and I’ve been very independent since. Also I didn’t want to worry my mum with my feelings and worries. A few years before she had had some mental health issues and was in hospital few times. So I didn’t want my mum to get mentally ill anymore, that was a big fear. Less than a year after my dad died, mum’s new boyfriend moved with us. That kind of ripped our family apart and I hadn’t had enough time to grief. I also started feel more apart from my two year older brother. We both were trying to cope with the situation on our own ways. As a teenager I enjoyed the attention of boys. I also dated some older men. Sometimes drinked a lot. I guess I felt more mature. I just wanted some boy or man to love me and kind of heal my wounds. That is a lot to ask. No I’ve been in a relationship 7 years, have 2 kids. I’m happy but sometimes the old feelings get me and I feel like that 10 year old girl again and want my dad to hold me. I’m 28 now and would like to be more free of this issue. I would like to talk more about this thing with my husband but it’s difficult although he cares for me. Sometimes I feel he should love me more but what more could he? Or is it that he should express it more.

  • Rich

    May 21st, 2016 at 3:27 AM

    I am in this very sad boat with everyone else. Very happy to find this site .

  • Stefan

    May 25th, 2016 at 3:06 AM

    During the last 10 years that I have been working on myself after being frozen for 20 years I learned this:
    – Only way to some form of normal life is to go through pain. Deeper you go, better you will be after.
    – Pain is so intense sometimes that you will like going back to frozne/numb state.
    – Self doubt, shame, sadness are your best friends when you are frozen.
    – At first you see no tangible benefits by going back in time and facing fears/trauma.
    – Most important thing is to really fall apart at least 1-3 times during few years, those are the moments when you feel exactly as when your parent died. Thats when the body shakes violently and you actually feel physical pain.
    – Go after, open up to, seek, face pain, trauma, panic…………..that is the only way out.

  • Patricia

    July 14th, 2016 at 6:09 AM

    I agree wholeheartedly, although I would like to add that: 1) You have to be ready to do this kind of work or it will have little effect, and 2) it’s probably best to work with a trained person that you have established a rapport with and who has experience and compassion for those coping with traumatic grief (probably best if they’re an experiencer.)

  • Shelby

    May 26th, 2016 at 9:22 AM

    I lost my dad when I was 9 years old to cancer. I had a difficult time as a child, but I think I am having a harder time with it now that I am an adult, married and ready to start a family. I just keep thinking about how young my dad was when he died and how he never got to see his kids grow up, and it bothers me a lot. It’s been nearly 14 years, and I still at times have feelings that overwhelm me of grief, loss and mourning what could have been. My mother completely fell apart after he died and spiraled into alcoholism and mental illness. It’s difficult to share how upset you’re feeling with others who haven’t gone through something like this, because they think it’s weird that you’re not “over it” after so much time has passed. I’m so sorry to everyone here that’s gone through something similar, it’s not easy and I don’t wish this type of event on anybody.

  • Marzi Pan

    June 2nd, 2016 at 7:12 AM

    My father died young from a heart attack when I was five. I am now in my forties and my life has been characterized by short relationships, almost all the time it was me deciding when to end: something to do with linking emotional commitment to loss at such a young age. Now married, I find myself in a situation where I, again, feel the need to end the relationship. It’s dysfunctional, which takes two, but I wonder just how dysfunction stems from sadness that never left me since that day and how much of my love (or ability to give it) left with him. I recognize other attributes (mentioned by others above in similar circumstances) that also relate to me and my behavior growing up, but it’s this one which weighs heavy:I still cry over the loss of my father. I know, I need a shrink. But at least I know we are all here to love. And I know I am able, I am not a stone. But when things get tricky and I see hurt coming my way, you’ll find me on the first bus to elsewhere. Would love to hear of others with similar experiences and what they have learned.

    Love to you all

  • Duncan

    June 22nd, 2016 at 5:55 PM

    Thank you for this post, finally something makes sense!
    My mother died 3 days after giving birth to me, although my dad remarried and I had a “normal” and loving childhood with half-siblings and step mum, I have always felt lost and always questioned “what if” my mother had survived I would have loved to have met her, how would my life have turned out, to make matters worse my father confessed when I was in my mid twenties that he had for a long time blamed me for my mums death. I have always suffered from some sort of anxiety growing up, but fast forward to me today, 45 years old and in the past year (After visiting my home town) have started suffering from extreme anxiety, fear of abandonment and fear for the future which is starting to affect my marriage. (My wife of 22 years has been very supportive and I love her a more grateful for her everyday)
    During this period I resigned my stressful job and am currently trying to change careers, now everyday is different, some days are excellent and some days are just bad, where I question/analyse everything that happens or was said to me.
    I am extremely grateful for my loving family today and I sometimes remind my kids that you only ever get one mum in your life when they play up. I just wish I could fix myself and be normal, but the loss is so great even after all this time.

  • Sabrina

    July 9th, 2016 at 3:49 AM

    Hi Duncan,
    How did you get past your fear of abandonment & extreme anxiety & did you see a therapist/counselor when you were growing up?! Looking forward to your response!!

    In health,

  • Sabrina

    July 9th, 2016 at 3:46 AM

    I need yall’s HELP please!! My sister was 2 when our mother passed suddenly & now my sister is about to turn 18. She has absolutely no motivation to find her path in life(i.e. career opportunities after high school), she’s slightly overweight & is currently failing every class & we’re not even sure she’s going to graduate now so I need yall’s help. Her dad feels like a failure & I don’t know what to do to motivate her. She doesn’t remember our mama & was lucky enough to be raised by a very loving step mother so I need anyone’s help on what to do to figure out what motivates her beyond Facebook & her cell phone?! I want to help her find her passion & move into the next phase in her life but I don’t know how?! HELP please!!

  • edward p

    July 13th, 2016 at 10:27 AM

    my father was electricuted in front of me when I was 4 years old. I remember seeing him dead in our swimming pool where he was pumping out the water when the pump fell in and killed him. I remember trying to get mom to help but life was in slow motion and I couldn’t talk just stutter. I’m 63 years old now and despite a decent upbringing I always have been emotionally different. Despite years of counseling(which probably started too late I still struggle to be happy and feel like I have not been able to reach my full potential in life. I have always depended on God to pull me thru however despite my faith and dependence on God I still can’t overcome my loss. I just want to say that I understand how difficult it is to overcome the loss of a parent at an early age and pray for all of you all who share my difficulty. God bless

  • Nia

    July 26th, 2016 at 10:57 PM

    My mom passed away when I was 6. I still can remember how she struggle she was to defeat the disease. I remember I was crying at corner when she passed away. Then dad married again. I have two brothers from my step-mom. since then, I feel like my dad has his own family without me in it. Sad. Til now, I always feel lonely, I changed partner in my life alot, but no one ever fix ‘black hole’ in my heart. I will always feel lonely.

  • edward p

    July 27th, 2016 at 7:55 AM

    Thanks for sharing. I can definitely relate to how you are feeling. I searched out this topic because I really thought that I was weak and incompetent and it brought me relief to see how many others who experienced similar experiences have also struggled. I have learned to cope by understanding why I was feeling so unhappy and have found the most relief through prayer. I have continually tried to increase my awareness of the constant presence of God in my live and have endlessly asked His help in dealing with my struggles. It helps more that anything else I have tries, but still the black hole or void in my soul keeps creeping back into my life. I think it is the evil one who tries to keep us from God and keeps distracting us from our struggle for peace of mind. Thanks for sharing your feelings, good luck. I will think of you in my prayers and hope we can reach our potential in life despite our setbacks.

  • Elizabeth

    August 8th, 2018 at 6:38 PM

    Nia, I have experienced that black hole of deepest grief, only I didn’t recognize it was there until inner healing through a Christian church disappeared it… So there is hope. You have a choice, pray that you are Led to the right church to help you deal with it. All the best, Elizabeth.

  • edward p

    July 27th, 2016 at 8:02 AM

    Oh, by the way, something I have found help

  • Masen

    July 31st, 2016 at 8:05 PM

    My mother, Vicky Owen Armel was shot when I was 6, my brother was 8, it was the first and only time I saw my father cry, I am now 15 years old and her death is hitting me like a pile of bricks, I’ve always held my emotions in check and don’t let people see me cry because I feel if I do everything will just come rushing out, Ive become numb to death since her passing, and I didn’t even cry when my dogs died, I don’t know if that’s a healthy thing, I’m a good kid, do well in school and sports and I’m socially active, but since starting highschool the only thing I want to think of is my mom, everything is scary to me and I want to open up to someone but I don’t feel like they can understand my grief or they will think I am just asking for attention, I constantly have a longing for someone to help understand me, and I know going through adolescence can make you feel like that I guess? Cuz you’re figuring out who you are, but I don’t know if I should feel this alone or different, I really hope someone can help me understand myself, or just my grief, I don’t really like opening up to many people cuz I feel like they could take that information and hurt me so I usually keep my moms death to myself, my family is very open to talking about it and will show me pictures of her but I don’t even remember her voice, and sometimes I just want to be alone to mourn, even though it happened 6 years ago, should I still be upset about it?

  • edward p

    August 1st, 2016 at 9:16 AM

    masen, absolutely you are perfectly normal to be feeling strong emotions about your loss. I would advise you to try and find a mental help clinic or therapist to help you. I had lost my father to electricution at age of 4 and I am 63 years old now and still feel a loss in my soul which effects me emotionally. I didn’t receive any help until I started to realize that I needed help at age of 28. I found relief in self help books that helped me realize why I was so emotional dysfunctional. Gotta go now but I will keep you in my prayers and I will check this forum to see how you are doing. The fact that you reached this forum is a great thing as you will find people who understand what you have experienced offer commentary about their experiences. Good luck and God bless you

  • Masen

    August 1st, 2016 at 9:57 AM

    Thankyou for that, and I’m glad that I found this forum, I know it can be hard for my friends to understand why I’m so upset so it’s good to be able to talk to people about everything, I know that some people will start having a habit that they do religiously because of the death, and I think mine is exercise, if I’m down I can exercise and it works out the bad emotions, I would love to keep talking to people to better understand why I’m doing this and if there is anything I should be worried about, since her death I will create these emotional attachments to random mother-like figures, but they tend to be only about 4-8 years older than me, why am I making these attachments? And is it necessarily a bad thing?

  • Stefan

    August 2nd, 2016 at 3:33 AM

    Mother loss at 14, cancer. Single child. But was able to stay at the same city/school/friends/relatives for the next 5 years following her death. This continuity proved crucial before my departure to US. Also the fact she died when I was 14, it seems based on numerous books I read, I was given solid foundation by age 14, enabling me to bypass drugs/problems at school/career issues/problems with law/etc. However, I payed the price with intimacy and relationships. That is where it hit me. I am 44 now. This is what I have realized. Common thread for many of us is death of a parent <19 yrs, but then there are zillion different circumstances that influence how you will turn out for the rest of your life. But also common solution for all of us is: you must grieve, talk, embrace, fully face trauma/pain/death. Being frozen will lead you to a path of complete collapse once you thaw. I was frozen for 20 years and it exploded one day. You simply can not pour cement over it, it will come back. The longer the freeze the bigger problems you have later in life. I have spend 10 years working on myself since 2006. I accomplished a lot, I am now fully aware of many triggers in my life, I have nearly eliminated anger, I have diminished envy, i lowered lonliness, I can sense triggers (not fully control them), I have no guilt. I am calmer, easier to talk to, I am open, I dont explode easily. I was able also to tackle and explain shame, work in progress now. I am now working on intimacy. Intimacy is my biggest hurdle now. I am struggling immensly with that now. Like I am 14 years old. Even with all the readings/work for last 10 years, I am hit now left and right. My chest hurts, my heart beats fast, brain tingles…………why? Intimacy reminds me how painful is to love someone and then we lose them. So pain from 30 years ago comes back like it was yesterday. I have to share this today with you to tell you how tough and how deep trauma is in us and how easily fear looks you in the face in an instant. But you can do something about it. Face it, talk about it, write it, confront it full frontal, experience all the pain/shame/trauma from the past. Just do NOT be frozen, bottled up, quiet. That toxicity will overwhelm you and cause you tremendous pain.
    Be and stay brave by confronting your demons one day at the time!!

  • edward p

    August 2nd, 2016 at 7:02 AM

    masen I am amazed at the self awareness that you have at your age. Exercise is a great way to relieve stress and anxiety. don’t be afraid to cry it is the greatest release of emotions which are better off expressed than repressed. I am not a professional psychologist so I feel somewhat reluctant to give too much advice that would be better given by a professional. I would advise you to seek out professional help via a mental health clinic or maybe you could talk to a guidance counselor. It may take awhile to find the right person as I have found some counselors unable to help whether they just are unqualified of are just in it for the cash. I would say that your emotional attachments are not necessarily a bad thing but you are wise to be aware of peoples motives as there are people who will use your vulnerability to take advantage of you. You seem wise beyond your years and that is awesome. My only true solace has been thru prayer as it has been the only way I have found true peace and happiness in life, which is my ultimate goal. good luck watch out for addictions as persons who have abandonment issues are very likely to have addiction problems. I did and still struggle to avoid the temptation to sedate myself as it feels good but the destruction that alcohol and drugs can be life damaging.

  • Masen

    August 2nd, 2016 at 9:16 PM

    Thankyou so much for the information and advice, over the past year I’ve been looking into forums and other places trying to better understand why I feel like I do, I’m hoping that with help from others I’ll be able to know what can make it worse and what helps, I’ve read that the pain can sometimes bubble up at like graduations, weddings, and other big moments in our life and I definitely think going into highschool hit that, I’m looking into a mental health clinic but I’ve always felt very uncomfortable talking with counsellors or anything because I feel like they are in it for the money or just can’t understand even if they tried, it’s very comforting to know that there are people that have gone through what I have gone through and know how it can be, I hope I can learn more about what I feel and how to control it and help myself to better manage the pain

  • Yasaac

    August 3rd, 2016 at 2:34 AM

    I was 19 yrs old wen I lost my mother to suicide…. i didnt know how to deal with it cuz the extended family blamed my dad, brother and I. I couldnt live at home cuz i never had a close relationship with my dad or my brother growing up. I moved out the house and lived with friends as i needed comfort and support that i didnt find at home. i was numb and didnt care about life anymore, partying and drinking my life away. I was going to college but lost concentration and dropped out…. I ended up working and surviving and at age 21 i met the wrong person in life and made another bad choice which was devastating loss for me. I committed a crime and going to federal prison for 4+ years. Another coping mechanism i had to deal with as i never been a bad kid. I was depressed but i had to defend and fight the battle or i think i would had killed myself. No friends visited me, my dad came 3x in all those years. While in prison my grandmother died as well. My mom and grandmother (mom’s mother) i was very close to them so my life was literally i fading away. Then after i finished my prison sentence, i was deported back to my country with no second chance as i lived in America all my life since age 5. Now am in a country where i cant get a stable job becuz of my past and i cant relate to anyone. I am alone and lonely.

  • edward p

    August 4th, 2016 at 7:12 AM

    Yasaac, I am sorry that you have been feeling so lonely. I have been thinking of you and your situation and struggled with what to say to you. Unfortunately when we experience traumatic events in life we often respond by making bad choices that result in consequences that affect the rest of our lives. When I was 18 I mad a bad choice to use heroin with some of my closest friends which resulted in me becoming infected with hepatitis c virus which progressed to liver cancer. The virus didn’t show up until 20 years after I became infected. I had married and fathered 4 children and was a successful carpentry contractor. As a result of my disease I was unable to work as well as I used to and ended up divorced and alone. I still struggle with depression and feelings of guilt and unhappiness. I have been able to continue my recovery thru self awareness of why I am who I am and slowly am progressing toward peace of mind. My primary source of inspiration has been through prayer which is the only thing that has helped me feel better. I must continually remind myself to be grateful for all the blessings I have in life and don’t allow myself to get caught up in feeling sorry for myself and keep thing about my troubles. It hasn’t been easy to do this but I still wake up each day and Thank God for being here for me for while I live alone and have few friends God is always here to love me and help me fight my demons. Good luck to you and may God bless you

  • Stefan

    August 11th, 2016 at 6:42 AM

    For all of you (us) who are struggling and fighting here is a link that can be of help. I have read a lot, I have applied a lot of these things and this one is at the top of my list. I hope it helps.

  • Cay

    August 25th, 2016 at 6:35 AM

    I am dating a new guy who lost both parents at 6yrs. He was raised by his grandmother. Was married and has been divorced now for 6 years. He came on pretty strong about what he wants, including a mom for his young daughter. I can feel the fear in him. He said almost immediately that he wants a wife. And I feel responsible like I need to make sure that I don’t hurt him. What kind of things and thoughts may afflict our relationship. I care for him but feel like he is fragile so I am afraid to get closer. I have never dealt with this before. Thank you.

  • Sue

    August 28th, 2016 at 9:36 PM

    Hi, The most uplifting comments were from those who have made a success of their lives! What ever loss we experienced in childhood, we are still just as successful and loving as everyone else. Don’t be fooled!

  • Patricia

    August 30th, 2016 at 5:18 AM

    I am a contributor to this board having lost a sibling when I was two and my father when I was nine. What was left of my family devolved into alcoholism and dysfunction. For me, the ability to see myself as a strong survivor and not a victim has been the key to my self esteem.
    One program that helped me a lot was the twelve steps – Adult Children of Alcoholics. This is a program for people who grew up in dysfunctional circumstances (there needn’t be addiction involved.)
    Through that program I was able to take responsibility for my life and my own emotions. Through it I learned about co-dependency and I learned to keep the focus on myself. This self-help program has helped me more than anything else.
    I no longer go to meetings but I now have a way to address my issues and an understanding of myself coupled with compassion for myself and others…

  • Megan

    September 25th, 2016 at 2:14 PM

    Lost my dad to cancer when I was nine years old. My mom remarried when I was fourteen after raising me and my three younger siblings alone for five years. I haven’t the slightest idea how she did it. Now, after recently memorializing his eighth year off this Earth, grief has bubbled up within me once more. I believe that for those of us so unfortunate to lose a parent as a child, grieving never truly stops – in fact, it’s a constant presence in my life, at least, growing stronger as I grow older and get further away from when I had my father. Right after it happened, in fourth and fifth grade, I was sad but fine – I don’t think I truly understood the extent of what had happened. In middle school, I thought I was okay. I was open about the fact I had no father, and it felt like just another thing about me. But since turning seventeen, my shoulders have become heavy with everything my father will never see, everything he will never experience. This weekend in particular has been difficult for me, and I am glad I found this article and these comments.
    I now have a baby sister who I love, I am a senior in high school and was recently voted onto my homecoming court, where I am going to have my stepdad escort me. Yet I know my father will be present through it all, within my heart.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you for giving me a place to get this off my chest. In the words of Anna, a previous commenter: “Everyone hold strong, and try to love every day that we can.”

  • bronwen

    October 16th, 2016 at 5:23 PM

    I’m glad you’re one that things have turned full circle for and everything’s ok now. Although you’ll never forget your dad. You obviously have a nice family and new sister and your mum has found someone to share her life with. I’m pleased for you. These things are blessings. Good luck with the future.

  • P.L. Martin

    November 10th, 2016 at 11:03 AM

    Anna, You’re story is so similar to mine, except my mother just wasn’t there for us. She was not a nurturing woman. I also lost my father at age 9; I was the eldest of four and had to help take care of them. My mother remarried when I was 14 and my new dad and my mother had a child when I was 15. I’m now 70 and the pain never went away. Losing my father triggered depression in me and it’s a chronic condition. I don’t believe in God; I wish I did because I sure want to see my father again. He was highly thought of by everyone. I still cry over it.

  • Trudy

    October 23rd, 2016 at 6:43 PM

    I was with my mom when she had a brain aneurysm and died a week later. I was 8 years old. I’m 56 now and I think of my mother often. I was very close to my mother as a child and not my father. I grew up with a bipolar father who didn’t want to talk about my mother. My father married again when I was 10. My stepmother was a alcoholic and emotionally abusive . I remember my stepmother asking me to call her mom and I said no my Mothers dead. When I think of this now it makes me feel proud of that little girl who said no to a bully and honored her mother. I remember talking with my maternal grandmother a lot about my Mother . I loved the stories my grandmother told me. It kept her memory alive for both of us. I knew as a child my grandmother was heartbroken . My grandmother was very loving and I know now as a adult she made a huge difference . I have a older brother and sister but they didn’t have the same relationship with her. My father and grandmother disliked each another a lot. I never listen to what my dad said about my grandmother . I did listen to my grandmother about what she had to say about my dad ( who was bipolar ). My father was emotionally and verbally abusive. I did my best to distance my self and do so this day. My grandmother went into a nursing home with demintia and died a few years later. My stepmother divorced my dad when I was 12. We lived on our own than. I started doing drugs / drinking around 13. Acting out skipping school. I knew I was very different than other girls my age. I remember not wanting to talk about my mom to my friends, it was to personal .I had a lot of freedom but had to run a house , do laundry, cook and clean.I remember hearing girls complain about their mothers and thinking how lucky they were. My dad got married again when I was 14. Myself and my sibling didn’t really bond with my new stepmother. We were indifferent. My dad is still married to her now. We get along well now. I was very rebellious and in to parting and not being home. It continued when I went to college. When I was around 23 ,24 I realized I needed to get my act together . I dropped out of school and went to nursing school. I’ve always been what you’d call a caretaker. I think this trait has helped me a lot . It’s always makes me feel better about myself to help others. I’ve had a hard time with my confidence. It was hard not knowing about so many things that a mother tells her daughter. I made myself do a lot of things I was scared to try but did and it usually worked out ok. I meant a great guy in my later 20s and we have been married 26 years. I always wanted to marry and have kids. We had twins girls . I remember wishing they were boys because I felt so lost on how to be a mother to a girl/ girls . I was afraid when they were little I’d die and live them . it pains me know to think of it . But it was ok in fact it was the best thing . I worked out a lot of pain and let a lot of anger go. My mom has always been with me if just in my heart. Maybe I’ve never really let her go. I don’t know if that’s right or wrong . It doesn’t mater it works for me. Turning 39 ( the age my mom died ) was very hard . Going to her grave . I’d not gone for over 20 some years . To painful bad memoirs of the funeral . But I did go to her grave and it was ok , really hard but ok .It helped me to move on. My husband framed pictures of my mom and I’ve had them up now for years . They comfort me in a way , I see my daughters in her.I did go for counseling for a short time .It reassured me I was on the right path. Looking back now on my life I realize how resistant I was ( and children are ) . I also know my grandmother / mother gave me a great gift . They loved me and help me love myself. Now that I’m older and my wonderful girls are grown I’ve come to realize what a loss it was for my mom. So much she has missed. How unfair it was to her , her early death. Maybe that’s coming full circle.

  • Isaac B.

    November 5th, 2016 at 6:01 PM

    I don’t know my mom because she passed away when I was 6 months old and life for me has been more than difficult, I crew with my grandma who did all she could for me and also died in front me when I was 9 and all the close relative treated me like a total stranger, I have been homeless, and there are some days I pass the night on a tree all because of maltreatment, there are days I feel like commenting suicide and end it all. most of my life has been just tears and am 34 now and I still do cry inwardly and I have been struggling in my relationships because am so much consume with fear since I never had any good encouragement and support from anyone. Now am still very scared of my life and as well as decision making and am always not very sure of people around me.

  • Shirley h

    December 20th, 2016 at 6:37 PM

    I think you need to try and get to know your Mum if you can.Letters,pictures,relatives .
    My mum died when I was 4 and after that there were no photos and no talk of her because my stepmother was so jealous and threatened. Recently I was able to get to know her a little more via her letters and photos that I was able to obtain.I know a little more about who she was and what she was like. it has helped me immensely. I used to write poetry as kid and she did too.Its little connections that will help you.Also please get professional help,much of my life has been wasted in depression and anxiety,get help,dont just survive,THRIVE. It will take effort but you can do it! Get support. All the best Shirley

  • tsegaye t

    December 20th, 2016 at 2:29 AM


  • Niki

    December 22nd, 2016 at 10:28 PM

    My son just turned one and three months ago on September 4th… his father was celebrating his best friends birthday and he was shot and killed in the middle of a bar. Two others were wounded and one was in ICU for an entire month.. my son was 9 months old… I’m trying to find someone or something to help me through this and want to give our son the best start and help him cope down the road and I just don’t know what to do…

  • Becky J

    February 28th, 2017 at 9:31 AM

    Your situation and mine are very different but I came across your comments – I’ve been reading a book called “Motherless Daughters” and in there is some very good pointers to resources and information that might help you. I would recommend taking a look at the the book for this reason. I’m no sure where you live but in the first instance try looking up the Dougy Center for Grieving Children. They have lots of resources on their website to help adults/parents deal with grieving as well as children and they will be able to help you find support groups near you. I hope that helps.

  • vicky

    December 31st, 2016 at 2:21 PM

    I have never recovered from the death of my 28 year old mother,who died of encephalitis when I was 7. My father married his mistress months later He started drinking and beating my stepmother. Consequently her family ostracised us, My maternal grandmother became reclusive, There was no one

  • Glenys

    January 16th, 2017 at 7:36 PM

    Thank you for this thread. I am 64 years old and was adopted by people who loved me and cared for me. But they were 41 and 53 when they adopted me. My father who I loved dearly died of Alzheimer’s when I was 18.
    All my life I have had problems with attachment disorder. Each time my husband is late or ill I worry myself into a deep state of anxiety. I also suffer from depression on and off and have since I was 19. I have had counselling and practice mindfulness and relaxation which does help, but there is still a large hole in my emotional life. Just thought that I would share. It seems that it doesn’t matter hold old you are or how much understanding of the problem you have. The loss is always there.

  • sara l

    January 18th, 2017 at 7:52 AM

    my son is two but i amso broken ten yrs of diff meds i have a lovin husband and i kno he can do better than me im tired of the pain i feel i want to go home with god and he will say with his arms around me its ok now my anxiety control me im a loser older i get im 33 my beauty fades my confidence goes i cant do this life i have no friends but my eatin disorder i cant work i want to die i
    what state of mind will my lil g be in he is only two even if im alive im scared he will hav the same mental as me

  • The Team

    January 18th, 2017 at 9:02 AM

    Hi Sara,
    Thank you so much for your comment. We wanted to reach out and make sure you are aware of resources that can help. First, if you are in crisis or are in danger of hurting yourself or others, it is very important that you seek help immediately. You can call 911 or your local law enforcement, or visit your local emergency room. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY).

    Please find further resources that may help if you are experiencing suicidal ideation here:

    We are thinking of you, and there is help available. Thank you for reaching out to us. ♥

    Best wishes,
    The Team

  • Lillian C.

    February 3rd, 2017 at 10:49 AM

    My dad died when I was seven. I hated it. my dad was a good person. he died on February 10, and his funeral was valentines day. it’s so upsetting.

  • Ken W

    February 14th, 2017 at 9:14 PM

    I was 3 when my dad was killed in Vietnam, he was 34. My dad was a very popular guy In the small town we moved back to after his death. He was great hunter, mechanic, soldier, race car driver…… The stories went on and on and everyone always compared him to me. How I looked like him, but was still to young or small to fill his pants. By the time I was 16, I just couldn’t compete with his ghost anymore and started drinking. Luckily by the time I was 24 I quit. Now I’m 20 years older than my dad was when he died, I still don’t drink, I have a great family a good job, but I still don’t think I’m good enough. I never got over the feeling, it effects everything I do and I just don’t know what to do about it anymore. I just feel like something is missing and I’m afraid it’s hurting my relationships with my wife and kids. Are there forums or groups available to talk to?

  • Niki

    February 19th, 2017 at 1:38 AM

    Hey. First I would like to offer my condolences and also congratulation for beating your addiction to alcohol. My son was 9 months when his father was murdered as an innocent man at a night club. It’s been a few months since and I’ve been trying to find out what I can to help myself and my son to grow into terms with this tragedy. Not many people are aware that a loss will affect you dramatically at ANY age. You hear how great your father was but you have no memories to hold onto… I’ve seen people say this before ” at least you were young. Mine passed when I was (an age to remember their loved one) but it’s not true… if I were to put myself in that position or have an option I would have AT LEAST one memory to cling to… I just can’t imagine the real void and pain you are going through. I am so sorry. I would strongly encourage to ask your HR department or manager if they have an EIP available. The employer pays for a few sessions of therapy or counceling (which is very helpful) and it’s anonymous so your coworkers wont hear about it. I also want to tell you that you are enough. You are more than enough and your father would be proud.

  • Ken

    February 19th, 2017 at 12:57 PM

    I’m so sorry to hear about your loss, I can’t imagine what you’re going through and yet you take time to write me? You’re a very nice person. I have tried counseling and unfortunately for me as soon as a counselor hears you have or had a drinking problem its case closed you’re an alcoholic and they want you to go to AA. I’ve spent many hours in those rooms but it doesn’t cover loss. Listen I know I have my problems but my wife and I did raise 2 really wonderful children that became very good adults. I’m hoping I had something to do with that. I you ever need someone to write to I’m here.

  • dion j

    March 1st, 2017 at 6:40 AM

    my dad died almost a year ago and i really miss him, i am a boy. and event though it has been so long i still think about himm every single day and it hurts to know that you will never see him again. if u have a son or daughter i sugest u talk to them about it if they have lost a parent because i know what it feels like to loose a parent. even if they dont want to talk about it, still atleast try and make them talk about it.

  • Lawrence

    July 9th, 2017 at 6:51 PM

    I am sorry for your loss, what is your best memory?

  • genevieve b

    March 14th, 2017 at 8:56 PM

    I cannot more agree with your analysis.
    I’m now fine at 52 1/2 years of age but the impact of my loss has been tremendous.
    I lost my first mum from suicide (she jumped from the 4th storey, locking me in my bedroom, her love gesture to me) when I was nearly 3 years of age. My siblings were 6 and 8 years of age. Dad has never spoken about her. My sister (8 years of age at the time) told me once that my Dad had sealed an album for ever. Topic was taboo at home. He remarried a lady who was the surivor of the nazis (she went back home at 8 years of age without anyone home, they were taken away, they died in Auschwitz and she was fostered by a family.
    Dad didn’t treat his second spouse properly, using her compensation of war to pay his debts and has never treated her at the same level. She owed him something ,… the fact that she wasn’t yet married at 33 years and that he finally maried the carer of his children. I don’t know but respect was not the master word at home.
    My brother (4 years older than me) abused me when I was 15 years of age. Nothing has ever been told to my parents till last year. They were so many taboo topics at home. Dad was the boss, the king of the house.
    The 3 children left home weirdly, it was like we were not allowed to get away of this house. No discussion has never taken place about leaving house, reproach were there while we would have dared to speak about leaving the nest. I acknowledge now that the reason is that Dad as the king of the house would never admit any reference from the outside, he knew everything, he’s been God on earth, the only thing he doesn’t know is humanity and diversity of opinions.
    At 28 I met my ex-husband, maried him at 30. He was 37 at the mariage. We got 2 children. He convinced me to move from Belgium to Australia and I did. We bought our house, I followed him as my new king. They were up and downs in my couple and I thought it was normal.
    Reality blew up in 2015 while I got an anxiety crisis followed by a double pulmonary embolism (doctors think its a psychosomatic illness due to stress since there is nothing in my DNA that could lead to blood circulation problems). It was not enough he left me in ressuscitation room pretending that he had to feed the kids (18 and 15) and there was a nice tv program. All of this was followed by him leaving the family to take a contract at 2500 kms of distance (while he stopped working for 5 years pretending he was finishing a huge renovation that he overbudgeted (spreading all his inheritance) and pushing me to sign loan because – he pretended this to me – he had invested a part of his inheritance (bullshit … he has never done any investment). I started a severe depression with suicidal ideation, I had become his token in Australia, he wasn’t stopping putting me down in front of the kids for everything (you can do that like that, you’re uncapable of that, your French is bad, your English is bad, it’s not the way you do that, you are too sensitive, everything was wrong for him as long as it was about me : you’re too fat, this dress is nice but awful on you etc…
    He refuses to come back to help me and the children, he put me against my consent to respite house (I told him that it was echoing the tragedy of my mum) then 1 month in psychiatric ward. Every single day he used to tell me over the phone that he loved me. He left the kids alone for 6 weeks without any family in Australia, my son in the middle of his last high school year. Me trying to come some weekends to help the kids with groceries while I was able to sleep only 90 min a night and having lost 13 (thirteen) kilos in less than a month.
    But for him, the pulmonary embolism and the blood thinner treatment was nothing, I had to cope. Finally I requested he will come back. It was worse. He started to abuse me more and more emotionally and finally physically. Police was involved several times and finally in Nov 2015 I found my strength and I split in front of the police. Do you know what he answered me back ? HOW DO YOU DARE ? I had become his little token, he had really suck my personality, my energy.
    I’m proud of me, as quick as I left him I started to sleep like a baby again. At the beginning of the depression I couldn’t sleep more than 90 min a night, after 4 months I started to sleep all the time, spending my time in my bed the whole day, proscrinating me at home, becoming scared to go outside even at the closest shop, being scared that everyone will attack me.
    I found my strength in myself, in the eyes of my kids and in the fact that I couldn’t commit the worst for my children otherwise for them it would be a message ‘grandma did that, mum did that then the 3d one will be me’.
    I left the monster, the civil matter is finished. I found out that he asked me money even before our engagement (pretending that he had invested my inheritance from my first maternal grandparents), that we moved to Australia because he was in debt and/or fiscal problems, that he asked the Australian citizenship very quickly (before Belgium accepted the dual citizenship status). Our arrival in Australia was a pure fiscal escape, our mariage was a pure monster movie where he was managing me and the kids as pure puppets to show good face for the outside. He’s a pure pervert narcissicist being so selfish, so egocentric, so dubble mask, sucking the personality from the others in order to fill the hole of his ownself.
    I am not a victim of domestic violence, I am a survivor it’s the only way to see the issue to be able to go FORWARDS.

  • Mary Ann

    March 31st, 2017 at 10:15 AM

    My mother died when I was 13…but, I really “lost” her when I was only 3…my parents were 42 when I came along 20 years behind my 3 brothers. My mother went into a mental hospital when I was three. Who knows why…postpartum depression, hormonal imbalance…not much was known 50 something years ago about these conditions. My 45-year-old father then sent me to live with my oldest brother who already had two sons…I lived with them until I was about 8 or 9 years old. Then my mother came home from the hospital, and they returned me home to my parents after years of my thinking that they were my “family.” When I was 13, my father had a heart attack…I awoke the next morning with my mother next to me…she was dead. Then four years later, when I was 17, my father died…double, triple, quadruple trauma for me…I’m now 68, and I can say that my entire life has been dramatically affected…

  • Patti

    April 8th, 2017 at 8:09 PM

    Hi, I’m wondering if anyone can relate. My father died when I was six, I am now 53 and my life is far from okay. I make friends very easily but tend to isolate this has been going on since I was very young. I now pretty much communicate very little with anyone outside of work. To meet me you would never know. My relationships have been a joke to say the least, emotionally abusive. I have never been married nor had children. Since I turned 50 I have been trying to come to terms with that one. I feel I have been alone my whole life. My mother lost her mind basically and became an alcoholic faced with raising 6 kids on her own, she was emotionally abusive. My siblings were quite selfish so I never had that one person to let me know that all would be okay. I have read that kids have a much better chance if they have someone stable and loving in their life growing up. I am a medical professional, reasonably attractive woman and have been and am completely alone and facing the rest of my life alone. Depression and anxiety have plagued me ever since my dad died. I have always gotten the reaction that I should “just get over it”. Oh..wth didn’t I think of that…sorry for sarcasm. I read a study where the investigator interviewed many women of all ages and socioeconomic background who lost their father very young. One woman’s response really hit me. She was 90 something years old, had all of her faculties, had been married and was well off with a good family life and children and grandchildren of her own. The study investigator had a lovely chat with her and surmised she was very well adjusted and had a pretty well balanced life. But, just as the interviewer was about to leave the room the woman stopped him and said “you know… not a day goes by where I don’t think about him”. This is her reaction 80 something years later and I would like to note that since she brought it up just as he was leaving the room its obvious that she has probably always felt the need to seem as she is over it, when even after 80 years she wasn’t. It was the first time I felt like I really wasn’t crazy or weak. I’m worried that I’m permanently messed up because of my childhood as at 53 I”m not making much progress in my emotional life. I would really like to have at least a few years of contentment…whatever that means. The life I have now is really not worth living. Not by any standard. I have yet to find a therapist that has been able to break thru all of this crap. I’m still trying. Thanks for listening. Any feedback would be welcome.

  • Ken

    April 9th, 2017 at 9:22 PM

    Hi Patti,
    I’m 53 also and my Dad was killed in Vietnam when I was 3. My mother, my 2 older sisters and I have never gotten over his death. Unlike you I was lucky and I’m still very close to my mother, what I thought was interesting was how alone you feel. I wonder if that’s a common trait among people like us. I’m the youngest of 3 children, my oldest sister is 62 and my other one is 60 now and it seems the older we get the more isolated we are. That’s what made me write to this forum in the first place. Like you said to meet one of us you would never think there was a problem. My one sister and I even play in bands, but we’re scared to death of social gatherings. My oldest sister won’t go to family gatherings anymore and barely leaves the house. I’m married and have 2 children but I still feel along and every year the anxiety gets a little worse. I’m lucky my wife drags me out of the house on occasion. I recently went to the night shift at work 10pm-7am just so I don’t have to deal with as many people. Like you I tried talking to counselors about it but they just didn’t understand. I could go on and on but I just wanted to let you know that your not alone and your post helped me feel like I wasn’t alone also. Thank you

  • Matthew B.

    July 10th, 2017 at 5:18 AM

    Hi Patti.

    Ive made a couple of other responses to posts on here, but I was really drawn by what you’ve said. I lost my Dad when I was 2, my mother was distant, detached emotionally from me and my sisters. For me the attitude I adopted was ‘what you’ve never had you’ve never missed’. Pretty much what you seemed to be saying and the lady who was 90, it sums it up, she seems to me to be saying it as an aside, as an irrelevance, which is how it was for many years. Now I know and believe the death of my dad was the single biggest event in my life, bar none.

    Thanks for sharing your ‘stuff’.

  • Winter

    April 20th, 2017 at 8:51 AM

    My dad passed away when I was 2 years old on May 1st 1989 his 31st birthday, after he had been on the run from some very bad drug people that he was in trouble with. There was no investigation as there was no proof, no justice was served. My mother then passed away 6 years later when I was 8 after being beaten into a coma as a result of a brain bleed by her new boyfriend. He was never brought to justice as there was never any proof, though everyone knew what had happened. I am now 30 years old and I have tried to bury these memories and pain most of my life but no matter how much time goes on and how long I struggle it never seems to get any easier. Because of everything I am an angry person with attachment issues, a mistrusting, detached, jaded, and pessimistic way of thinking. I feel alone, isolated, like no one can understand or truly care. I have bouts of deep depression and anger that eat away at me. I hide it as best I can, fake smiles, attempts at being cheerful and social, but it isn’t real. Day to day is a struggle, I go to work, do the things that I am supposed to but feel as though I am just drifting through life with no real purpose, and no meaning, I struggle with friendships like most others here, make friends easily but it never lasts. I have tried a battery of anti-depressants and “mood stabilizers” to no avail, they have just seemed to cause more problems than they fix. I have been steady and strong in my unwillingness to give in to try drugs, but unfortunately alcohol has become choice, I over drink and have since I was 18.

  • Lawrence

    July 9th, 2017 at 6:39 PM

    I am so sorry! I can lend an ear if you wish to talk.
    Most people call me “Mac”

  • Matthew B.

    July 10th, 2017 at 5:12 AM

    Hi Winter, Thanks for expressing your experience. I to lost my Dad when I young, 2 years. My mother was best described as absent after his death. I was the youngest and only male in a female dominated environment. My mother never re-married and I had two older sisters, who were quite dominating, bullying I guess. The death of my father was the single biggest event in my life and probably will remain so. Im 54 now, have never married myself, nor had kids. I guess intimacy or fear of loss has become something that afflicts me today still. I too, took to the drink to enable me to self-medicate the consequences of the loss of my father and my absent mother. Now though Im 20 years sober and in the last three years have begun looking deeper in to myself with the help of a counsellor who has given me many ‘light-bulb moments’. The upshot of it is that Ive had to start to learn to re-parent myself, which sounds really gobbledegook, but thats how it is. I need to affirm and re-affirm to myself my ‘okayishness’ and impose myself on my life instead of hiding in the shadows and being to scared to come out and express my opinions, beliefs and what I think; I was always inhibited in that before due to the bullying and lack of emotional support. There are many times when I still want to hide away from the world, retreat in to my ‘cave’, tell the world to fuck-off and sometimes to sit in my own ‘shit’ and feel sorry for myself. But I also need to remember Im not the only one who feels that way, often. Im not so different from everybody else, that there are support networks out there for me if I choose to go and find them.

  • Peggy

    June 2nd, 2017 at 4:44 PM

    Wow!!! There are so many sad sad stories! My dad was killed in a work accident when i was almost 3 yrs old, my mom had THREE other kids and was 9 mos. pregnant. My mother was AMAZING and, additionally, my mom’s sister moved in to help raise us; we were so very fortunate despite the circumstances! We’re all pretty good, one of us is even very successful, the rest, we get by okay. Just sorry, though, for all of us!

  • Lawrence

    July 9th, 2017 at 6:35 PM

    I am 52 and I have not experienced the tragedy personally, I could use some advice I work with three young men at church 19, 20 and 22 who each lost their father’s about 11 years ago. is there anything I can do to help I am concerned about one in particular He show no emotion and has relationship problems (will not let people in very easy) I have kept up the one sided dialogue. How can I help and not hurt him! is there anything i can read to help me understand and to be patient with them, I sometimes feel progress only to slip back, Often telling me what they want me to hear instead of telling me the truth. all three are gifted, talented and likable men.

  • m.m.

    August 4th, 2017 at 10:18 PM

    be patient, kind, and receptive with them. it will take time. in time
    they will realize that you truly care for them, and they will respond. the key word is patience – more than anything else. dont give up on them, even if their ways puzzle you. human nature is puzzling. give them time.

  • Zed

    July 27th, 2017 at 3:37 AM

    I am really sorry for all your losses. I never went through this but I can only imagine the pain and complexity growing up. I am writing a feature film about 4 sisters loosing their mother when the youngest, the main character, was only 5. I’ve been trying to find information on how the loss of the mother of a 5-year-old girl could affect her romantic relationship as an adult. Is there a direct relation between the two? Like certain traits or fears or clear insecurities? Your feedback means a lot. Its a very important topic as you all must agree.
    Thank you

  • m.m.

    August 4th, 2017 at 10:24 PM

    let me give it to you hard and straight – her life changed forever the day her mother died. no person is ever viewed as reliable. no person is ever perceived as 100% worthy of her trust. that is just the start. maybe i’m overstating since my father also died, on top of her (our mothers) disappearing. but my sense is that she would give me the thumb up because survivors of abandonment are spiritual siblings.

  • Matthew B.

    July 27th, 2017 at 2:00 PM

    Difficulty in committing. Not being able to trust. Thinking the world is dangerous place. All possibilities, all things Ive felt as the result of my father dying when I was two. My two sisters cannot commit to men in relationships and always pick those who are unavailable.

  • m.m.

    August 4th, 2017 at 10:20 PM

    please gently urge each sister to go to talk therapy.
    with the right therapist and the right attitude (humble, desperate ), lives change.
    desperation can be a very good thing —

  • m.m.

    August 4th, 2017 at 10:04 PM

    i just want to say that this is the first website where loving, caring, gentle people have made me feel better about the internet. and chat rooms. my father died when i was 5, my mother turned to alcohol and abandoned my brothers and me to an orphanage, and now i have a 2 year old son and i can’t stop thinking about my parents. and i have terrible anxiety about hurting him. thank you for being so gentle and loving. i don’t understand this world , society and people in general. i try to love my son and reassure him that the world is a safe place with love. now hes almost 3 and he won’t stop nursing and my wife is saying we have to cut him off and wean him if we’re going to have another child and i’m freaking out. if he loves mommy’s breasts and wants them, who am i to take that away from him? i never once had them – my mother was the coldest fish in the coldest sea you can imagine – i was never nursed. so you can imagine my stress as my wife tells me that i have to wean him away from her. any advice?

  • m.m.

    August 4th, 2017 at 10:11 PM

    i’m going to make one more comment that i probably shouldn’t make. God is real, and God knows who we are. we who have suffered far more than others, those of us who have lost one or both parents. God will be there to fill in the gaps of our lives, the gaps of parenting that we didn’t receive. I tremble as I type this because i’m the worst Christian on the planet. I write this only because I want you to know that God knows everything. God sees everything. i have a term- spiritual justice – that i just invented – just now – to describe the solution to the worldwide problem of child suffering. God will address the issue of spiritual justice in the next life. I don’t know how – I don’t know in what way – but it will happen. Please everyone – don’t lose faith in God. I’m a terrible Christian with enormous faith – go figure.

  • Thomas

    January 3rd, 2018 at 4:47 PM

    My father died suddenly of a heart attack when I was 11. I came home and was picked up from the bus stop by a neighbor. I wasn’t allowed to return home. The neighbor put up a facade and took us to eat. She then took us to her home and I started to worry then. My ma arrived a few hours later and sat us down in the living room. I already knew in my gut what happened, and I started the conversation by yelling, “He’s dead?!” Monotone ensued out of my mother’s mouth. I remember that moment too well. Obscenities followed on my way out the door. I was in the front yard of the neighbor’s home and screamed…screamed my soul out of my body. I told him I hated him on my way out the door to school that morning. Felt terrible all day about saying it, I aimed to apologize right after school. Never did get to say sorry. Teenage depravity ensued and 17 years later I have recovered from a 13 year heroin/opiate addiction, but my soul is still floating out there somewhere. I want it back so desperately. Life is suffering

  • Will

    March 8th, 2018 at 12:23 PM

    My mum died when I was 4. My older sister was 7 and my younger sister 2. My dad put off grieving I believe until we were a bit older. He’s a good man, but troubled. He got very depressed as we got older, I believe this was a combination of grief and money troubles. This led him to drink, a lot. The drinking and depression had a profound effect on family. He would lose his temper very easily, and would go a long time without uttering a word to any of us, this could be a day or 2 weeks. For a young child this took its toll. It became an endless battle of trying to get him to quit drinking, but for that he needed to want to be helped. My older sister ended up moving away to university, as did my younger sister. Both of which never returned to the family home to live. This left me and my dad, I guess maybe I stayed because I didn’t feel I could leave him on his own. This turned out to be a bad decision. I turned to cocaine and other class A drugs as a young teenager. This was a dark time for myself, battling to overcome addiction myself whilst living with an alcoholic. I felt like a hypocrite. It took a long time to change, for both of us. I met someone I love in my early 20’s, and its save to say she saved me. She still to this day doesn’t really know that she saved me. I’m quite a private person and I don’t like talking about my childhood. I haven’t touched drugs in over 10 years and I’m in full-time employed and part time at university doing a degree in mechanical engineering. I have a beautiful daughter, who I’m determined not to give the same childhood as I had. I have a good relationship with my dad, but I still like to sometimes keep a safe distance as unfortunately he never managed to overcome his demons and still drinks, albeit not to the extent he did when I was a child. My sisters and I are not the closest of siblings but we still talk. We never spoke of my mum dying, even now I can’t imagine asking my dad about her. Was the path I took when I was younger due to my mum dying? I’m not sure, maybe it contributed. I still feel guilty now because I don’t think about her very often. This is probably my main problem as a now adult who’s mum died as a younger child. I never really knew her, so I find it hard to miss her. Saying those words makes me feel terrible, but thats the truth.

  • Matty I

    March 8th, 2018 at 12:42 PM

    I can relate to a lot of what you wrote, Will. I lost my mum when I was your older sister’s age – 7. My Dad had pretty much the same reaction. He turned to drinking and mostly left me to fend for myself. Unfortunately, he couldn’t keep a job and was terrible with money, so I was left looking after household finances.
    I followed a similar route – dealing with and overcoming addiction as a teen. The hardest part is that we can never truly appreciate all that we lost. How different would our lives had been, if they hadn’t been stolen from us? How different would we be? In many ways, I think I am a better, more mature person as a result of that loss. In other ways, it has crippled me to this day.

    Just focus on taking care of yourself and those you love. That’s all she would have wanted.

  • Cammy

    March 24th, 2018 at 9:41 PM

    I was in my mid 20s when my mum told me that my great grandad “molested me,” when I was a toddler, I was so confused when this was told to me, suddenly and in a most inappropriate moment, during a family dinner. I suppose this is “gaslighting” right? I was confused because for the past 20 years my mum had encouraged me and my sibilings to visit my great grandfather. And had invited him to every holiday to celebrate with him. And even had this alleged molestor come to our “grandparents” day at our Catholic school day. Mind you, I had never had a memory of this great granddad ever molesting me, but one evening in my 20’s I was pulled aside by my mum, the same mum who invited this great grandad to every family party for the past 20 years, that I was molested by him. Turns out, that at that time she told me this she had filed a LAWSUIT against my great grandfather alleging he poisoned my great grandmother and molested me, and this law suit would result in her getting MONEY from him. When I opposed the allegations and told my therapoist I thought this was RUbbiSh, I was threated by my mom and dad I would be “cut out of the will.” How odd, given I was speaking the truth about no recollection nor feelings he had ever molested me, yet, the more I delved into this reality, the more my mum attacked me. And my dad, God love him, stood by and did nothing to defend the truth that we all knew, that was this grandfather had never molested me or my sister. That said, my parents lost the lawsuit against my great granddad and forever hated me afterwards, because I told the truth. What a mess. And the sister who went along with this lie, this charade, she’s still living with my parents, along with her on parole drug deaing husband, so it makes it even more confusing and toxic. Good riddens. The cowardice we saw in this sitution, the lies for gain the outright subertuge is something i and my one sister agrees we were never abused by this great grandfather, How do you deal with such insanity? How do you explain other family members who were there, who knew that this great grandad never did anything they say. how do you deal with this insanity?

  • Christine

    April 10th, 2018 at 3:41 PM

    Im 60 this year and Lost my mum to suicide at age13 and I’ve forgotten everything except the feelings of utter shame pain and
    confusion and not wanting to tell anyone. My dad died two years later and my eldest sister took over, she was only 29 and had myself, my dad and her son to look after. She became controlling critical and judgmental. But warm in her hospitality and kindness.
    After this loss I did appallingly at school (little wonder) and went on to work in a factory and was pregnant and married at 19, which I don’t regret, but I do regret missing out educationally and have done further study. However its been hard as despite tons of counselling ive suffered depression on and off all my life. And divorced 18 years ago after 22 years. When my own daughter was 13 I became very angry sad and very confused, I do not know why this happened but I took it out on my Ex and our marriage became unrepairable according to my ex at least. I still struggle with certain relationships fear and bad reactions to any kind of feeling of abandonment even if it’s a case of my son not texting back right away or not calling etc. I’ve learned to grow up a bit and hold my tongue but I’ve not married or had a long term relationship since 2001. I have just one friend who does not live locally and don’t enjoy large social events noise or crowds, and despite being friendly I find going to group activities very hard.
    I support mental health as that’s what eventually caused my mothers decision to leave this world. Writing, drawing/painting photography, crafts, seeing family and grandkids are my saviours.

    Very sad.

  • Anthony

    May 11th, 2018 at 5:03 AM

    This article really emphasizes the importance of good parental care after a parent dies and from personal experience I have to agree. I was 12 when my dad died a slow, painful death from cancer. It was terrible for sure but I was never that close to him and after months of strangers in my house and watching my Dad whither away I think in some ways I was ready to move on. Even at my young age I knew his death was inevitable and I was prepared for it as much as a 12 year old can. I knew what was happening. I thought my life might get somewhat normal again after Dads death. Boy was I wrong.

    In hindsight I see that Dad was Moms rock. He held her together. She was a broken person full of anxieties, worry, depression and other flaws. Somehow Dad kept Mom functional and I rarely saw those sides of her. Dad’s death really just broke Mom into a thousand pieces. All of her mental health problems were amplified x 1000 now. She cried constantly. She always tried to get me to be her support system and pull her together. I spent the next few years trying to get her to be a mother. She had crying spells and breakdowns in public places. I never really knew what she was going to do next or what each day would bring. She was an incredibly weak and emotionally fragile person who was unequipped in any way to handle what had happened to Dad. If mom would have just pulled herself together, acted strong for my sake, hid her grief from me or found someone else to cry to and tried to make our house happy and normal then everything would have been great. But it wasn’t great at all.

    Some anxiety and obsessive compulsive behaviors became noticeable in my teen years and by my mid twenties I had serious problems. My anxiety was so bad that I could hardly function. I couldnt wait to get home to drink on many days. I would ruminate about all the things that could go wrong, to the point that I would nearly throw up. My life was a train wreck.

    I ended up getting married to a great woman, the strongest, toughest woman I have ever known. I eventually landed my dream job and, once I understood my problems better, I developed strategies to better control them. I’m almost 50 but I still battle the anxiety and OCD that developed when I was 12. I really just can’t emphasize enough that my mental health problems are a product of the chaotic and unstable home my mother gave me after my Dad’s death. I know that if she had tried to give me a normal home then everything would have been fine. If a parent who recently lost a spouse reads this I hope they take what I’ve said seriously.

  • Lisa G

    October 30th, 2018 at 10:48 AM

    I guess I’m confused if those 2 paragraphs were the entire article or if that is somewhere else? I’m trying to find information to help my son and/or maybe understand him. His father passed away when he was 4, he is now turning 9 and he’s overall been a good kid but he never talks about his feelings and he’s recently been ‘acting not like himself’ during school.

  • Diane C.

    December 16th, 2018 at 10:41 PM

    Iwas 14 when my dad was killed by a drunk driver!! I said goodnight to him when he left the house!! He was the best dad ever!! I woke up to my mom crying i found out next day!!! Wrong!! So 2 days later he died but donated!! He was the besr!! Then home…i had to take care of my mom…noone there for me!! Ever!!! I did that for at least a year! Didnt take her long!! But me???? Not sooo much!!! Whatever!-

  • Alek

    December 23rd, 2018 at 9:22 PM

    As a child, I experienced a series of traumatic events that have profoundly shaped my perceptions of the world & life in general. As a child of 10, my father was murdered & dumped into a lake. The killer got away with homicide & proceeded to drink himself to death. My mother, though she would visit frequently, did not live with me at the time. 3 years later, my grandfather who I had lived with & raised me passed away unexpectedly. 3 or so years after that, my grandmother became sick with several kinds of cancer & I watched her diminish from a plump old lady (sorry grandma), to nothing but skin & brittle bones over the course of several years. My mother had moved back around the time my grandfather was ill, but despite being there, she was & is to this day still emotionally unsupportive & humorless. I’m an only child (to my knowledge) & was rarely allowed to have any friends over. This contributed to my feelings of being alone without a support system. Until recent years, I gave little thought as to how much these traumatic events & lack of a support system have effected me. I was barely taught basic human interaction skills & this lack of a support system, especially when I needed it most, has left a deep feeling of emptiness that has impeded my ability to function effectively in this society. Things that many people think are so important, seem trivial by comparison. I suppose it could be worse of course. My other grandfather’s family was killed when he was about 10 & had to kill or be killed. I suspect such traumas can be passed down to future generations if not addressed. Anyways, I wish nothing but the best of luck to anyone grieving the loss of a loved one. Peace!

  • Cindy

    December 27th, 2018 at 8:44 AM

    I found this thread looking for some answers to my continual relationship issues. I thought I would share my story.
    I am 48 and believe I have abandonment and trust issues that sabotage every intimate relationship I have attempted.
    I was born as a result of an affair between my dad and a married woman, which led to the end of her marriage. She was mentally unstable, in and out of institutions, unable to take care of me. Shortly before I turned one, I was sent to live with my dad. His wife agreed to take me in hopes of saving their marriage. A few months later, my mother ended her life. When I was 9, my other “mother” died from angina. She was sick for a long time. Most of my childhood memories are of driving to the hospital with my dad. My dad is a good man, worked hard and did his best to provide for us. I was only able to sleep at home on weekends after that because he had work and the neighbor could get me to school. We never talked about my her or grieved in any way.
    A year or two later, I got to experience being sexually molested by one of the neighbors. I tried to commit suicide myself later that year. I grew up with no coping mechanisms, thinking everything was my fault and no one would ever be there for me. I was married for a while and have 2 wonderful daughters. When my husband left, I was destroyed, feeling like he had filled the void from growing up without a mother. Feeling like I was never good enough to have a mother, has kept me from suicide many times, as I don’t want my daughters to feel that loss or abandonment. The older I get, the more I realize I go into relationships expecting them to fall apart and for the person to leave me. I think these expectations actually cause them to leave. I don’t know how to stop it because it feels like it’s part of my core and I believe the parts of a person that allow them to be loved them are broken in me. I have become a people pleaser, trying to fix everyone’s pain so they don’t have to experience what I had to.

  • Roberta

    June 12th, 2019 at 1:16 PM

    My mother died when I was 7 years old. She was the real rock of the family. Before she died, I was a very independent, boisterous and outgoing girl. I come from a traditional, Muslim Indian background and my parents had an arranged marriage but they ended up very happy together. She died quite suddenly from a brain aneurysm at the age of 29. My dad had no clue as to how to deal with it, we never grieved it, we never went into therapy, in fact I never once saw my dad cry over her death. He instead got talked into marrying my aunt, my mom’s younger sister by my mother’s family because in Indian culture step-mothers are considered very bad for children and they thought that by aunt marrying my dad, it would be a real family member looking after us and she wouldn’t treat us badly.
    Nothing could be further from the truth. She turned out to be a real narcissist and during my teen years, antagonized me the whole time. I was scapegoated and my brother became the Golden Child. My dad was emotionally absent, he became infatuated with her and put her demands, her needs and wants ahead of his kids. He never defended me when there was a conflict with my stepmother/aunt.
    I know I have attachment trauma and understand the effects of narcissistic abuse much more. I have a hard time maintaining relationships and friendships. In hindsight I realize many of my intimate relationships were with narcissists and have often mistaken intensity for intimacy when that isn’t the case. I’ve also struggled with depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation. I went into therapy about 2 years ago and much of what I wrote here is what came out and what I started to understand these different dynamics and read every book that I can get my hands on.
    I’m still seeing my therapist (who is fantastic incidentally) but I’m also gradually trying to heal my attachment trauma and identify those processes and destructive dynamics in relationships when they pop up, and understand where they really come from.

  • bill

    July 4th, 2019 at 12:36 AM

    Similarly many of these posts, I lost my mother to melanoma when I was 3 and she was 26. Fortunately for me my father was really there for me and put his heart and soul into my wellbeing. To some extent I think he saved my life, and I saved his. He remarried when I was 5, and I had the further good fortune to have found a new Mum (a widow herself) who was completely and utterly devoted to the wellbeing of me and my step brother (who incidentally was my best friend from school which was how my Dad and new Mum met). However, even with such a lucky upbringing, I am surprised to find myself at 57 now in counselling (like many of you) and suffering from the dreaded holy trinity of anxiety, depression and insomnia. It was like this all just came gushing out last year, and I have cried oceans of tears for both my mothers who are now dead, but particularly my first mum who I barely got to know. It looks like a lifetime of inwardly repressed emotion and anger (anger with God perhaps for taking them?) has finally bubbled to the surface, and it feels like I have been ripped in half. As for many others, I am using the lightest medication I can, using therapy, meditation, books, and lots of long conversations which my darlingly patient and understanding wife who seems to understand. And a lot of Kleenex tissue boxes! I have gone back to playing music again (trombone, not picked up since high school) and have just started going to church again. I definitely can sense hope through this painful long-delayed grieving process, but boy is it painful. Love and best wishes to everyone out there struggling with this. For me love, self-love (not in a narcissistic way), patience with oneself, and learning to re-love God again are the things that are helping me.

  • edward

    July 7th, 2019 at 5:57 PM

    Hey no kidding . Finally quit drinking 2 years ago at 48 with not much to show for it . Mom died at 9 , Dad was an alky narcissist that taught me to hate myself . Flunked out of college , Navy , flunked out of college again and spent 2 decades in an alcoholic fog . 6 months ago I was fairly happy being sober when I came across a girl that we once had been in Love but she told me she couldn’t have a relationship with someone like me . She was now a pharmacist with 2 kids and a marriage going on 20 yrs and I thought what have I done to my life . After 2 weeks not sleeping or eating I found a shrink . 3 months ago I realized that my father , at least for a child weakened by loss of his mother , was a monster . Did some research and realized the nice bit of money he received for 10 years from my dead mom went to his golf and alcohol – no college fund , nothing . 3 pairs of jeans a year and food for $800 a month for 10 years . I finally realized there wasn’t anything really wrong with me other than what he put in my head but at 50 yrs old I fear it’s a bit late . I feel I could have been a loving husband and father , I guess sometimes one’s life is mostly wasted . Anyway I’m just trying to find some purpose and happiness and dig myself out of this dark place . I figure I’ve got 1 good thing working for me is my mind is as clear as it’s ever been . I can now see where the pain comes from , identify it and at least deal with it . The love and opportunities I’ve lost I can pretty much chalk that up to my alcoholism which , besides running in my family but always hidden , comes right from my early loss and my dickhead father . sigh … what a pia this is . Well to all those struggling with the same a shrink has been great for me . Last Saturday I buried my grandmother who I had cared for a couple years , which the last year was dementia – boy is that a horrible ride , and I have found some pride in treating another with love and being there for someone in a ” I’m not budging from your side ” kind of way . I have learned a lot about myself in the last couple years and it breaks my heart that I was not able to be the person I could have been but like my shrink and anybody sick of listening to me talk says ” that’s in the past “. Well onward we go , clock doesn’t stop , there’s no time out’s and no one gets out alive so might as well do something . Good Luck and God Bless All .

  • bill

    July 8th, 2019 at 1:28 PM

    Hi Edward, I wouldn’t presume to say any more than your therapist has, but with such an upbringing I think you should feel proud that you have managed to stay alive, and even more proud that you have abandoned the alcoholism. With such a difficult childhood full of so much pain, the alcoholism would have been the natural way for you to avoid it. But at 50, there is still time left to make a great life that you seem to have missed out on a bit to date. Try and be hopeful that you can put the damage behind you. That it wasn’t your fault what happened to you. That you can make a new beginning and bring joy back into your life. You might take something from the meaningful experience you had helping your grandmother perhaps and apply that more widely. I don’t know. But there is always hope.
    Kind Regards, Bill.

  • edward

    July 9th, 2019 at 7:40 PM

    Thanks Bill . Other people have had far worse childhoods then me . I guess mine was just enough to to except being unhappy and hopeless as the norm . Well I’m very happy I am sober and capable of thought on a deeper level once again , kinda like meeting someone you lost long ago .

  • Danny C.

    September 24th, 2019 at 1:21 PM

    Lost my dad at the age of 6, moved back to TN from FL. My Mom is the best. Still I have had major issues with sleep, anxiety and the rest in my life. I wonder what it is and why do I have such trouble sleeping. I once had a good Step Dad for about 3 years I think but that was it. My dad (back in the 60s) had a car wreck which ended his life and was an alcoholic….I suppose…. so yet, I became one as well. Have done fairly well, now 58 retired military helicopter pilot. Still, I have major issues with sleep and anxiety over something. Overwhelming and feel at the end of the rope frequently. One day good and next day bad. What to do? I think I once slept good, can’t remember though… Not sure about talking to the psych’s as they think we are all crazy anyway…who knows, maybe I am.

  • bill

    September 24th, 2019 at 4:36 PM

    Hi Danny. Wow, you deserve the most sincere respect (like many of the survivors on this forum) for surviving this childhood trauma, and living your life the way you have. When you say “Still have issues with sleep and anxiety over something”. And “Overwhelmed and feel at the end of the rope frequently”. You describe my feelings my childhood trauma as well. However, when you say the anxiety is “over something”, I feel that I know what that “over something” is. I feel it all goes back to the 3 year old me that lost his mum. The anxiety I feel when I can’t sleep when my head hits the pillow is the same fear of sleep (night terrors) after she dies. The anxiety I have about inability to cope in the world is the same feeling I had back then. The anxiety I have now about death/illness/breakdown leading to abandonment is the same fear and anxiety I had about being abandoned by her when she died 54 years ago. However, I feel that I am only now beginning to accept and understand all of this. And even after all this time there are some things you can do in therapy known as “inner child healing”, which requires the painful process of going back to that traumatic time, and learning to grieve for and love that poor wounded little boy who had to endure so much pain all those years ago. In my case I shut that little boy (which of course is still very much within me) into a box in the furthest recesses for 54 years and just tried to forget it all. That kind of got me through life. But I am slowly lifting the lid off that box and (painful as it is) getting to re-know and love that wounded 3 year old me. And it is a heart-rending but beautiful process all at the same time. All the best mate, Bill.

  • Ron

    November 1st, 2020 at 12:49 AM

    I lost my father at the age of 8 and now as an adult I’m starting to see patterns in my life due to that loss. Can anyone recommend a good book to help me with the unresolved issues I’ve carried all these years?

  • Sandy

    November 1st, 2020 at 11:52 AM

    I lost my mom at age 7, so I may understand, to a point the patterns related to that loss. I too am looking for another book regarding the subject. I read Motherless Daughters by Hope Edelman years ago. It may be time for a re-read.

  • Maria

    November 1st, 2020 at 11:58 AM

    Hi there. I was in a similar situation, seeing the effects of losing my dad at a young age catch up with me and I was shocked at the book that ended up changing my life: The Holy Bible. Never thought I’d receive Gods Holy Spirit or that come to know that He was real for that matter! I will be praying for you! I recommend starting in the book of John and asking Him to help you understand and open your eyes to Truth. I will pray for you —God bless you

  • bill

    November 1st, 2020 at 12:39 PM

    Hi Ron. I suggest you try “Heartwounds” by Tian Dayton. I also lost a parent (my mother) when I was young (3), and (now 58) I have had some recent issues related to unresolved grief. This book had some good insights.

  • Brian

    November 3rd, 2020 at 7:06 AM

    I lost my mother at 7 years old. I have chosen the path of Buddhism, Eckhart Tolle and a lot of therapy over the years to work through my anger. I have raised my family of two great kids and my marriage has survived a lot of pain. My wife has issues also she has had to overcome but we have stuck it out.
    I was let go from my job recently because of my anger and anxiety issues. I was never really happy but that is changing now that I am 63 years old. (Don’t know why this takes so long!!) You always hear that death is a part of life but it appears to me that as humans we really know how to screw it up and cause a lot of pain from such a simple act of nature.
    I feel we have to find our own path and keep making steps. All of the suggestions on this post are great paths. As an individual you have find your path and take the journey on your own. But on the flip side you can see from all of the postings you are never really alone. There is help out there and keep it close as you grow.
    “A Monster Calls” is a great book and movie that touches on this subject of a child dealing with a death of a parent. I have watched the movie about 10 times because it touches on so many points of what you go through at a young age with a death of a parent.

  • Stephanie

    July 17th, 2021 at 6:12 AM

    How do I join the thread?

  • Marcella

    September 6th, 2021 at 8:40 AM

    My father was killed when I was 2. I don’t have any memories of him other than pictures. I feel like my mom just shut down her emotion and didn’t talk about him. Even now in my 40’s I feel awkward asking my mom about him. Think most important thing is to talk about him, talk about the loss, normalize grieving, record memories of the parent. Young children can’t understand why ‘why dad is with Jesus’ and like that is supposed to be a good thing. It isn’t for the ego-centric child – all they know is that they want their parent and can’t have them, so acknowledging that anger, sadness and frustration as normal way to feel. Few books have helped: “The Wounded Woman” by Linda Schierse Leonard and now reading “Father Loss” by Elyce Wakerman.

  • Kevin H

    September 28th, 2021 at 10:02 AM

    Well what the heck. Where has this been for so long. A 47 year old married man with 3 teens, and I am beginning to have trouble with unresolved grief. My father passed away just over 35 yrs ago of a heart attack, when I was 12. I am the youngest of my 4 siblings. Mom changed quite a bit after that, which I thought was odd since they had been married (maybe not as happily as we all thought?) for 30 years. Yeah, a quick math check will tell you I was an “oopsy” there at the end. And when this all went down, I don’t think anyone around me, or even myself for that matter, realized just how devastated I was. Dad died in early September of 1986. Mom hit the singles scene right after the holidays. She ended up with a drunk loser on disability due to a supposed injury to his back. I got depressed and suicidal, felt unwanted, felt that I didn’t matter, and almost ended it. Right before I was going to squeeze the trigger, I realized that I was wrong. Ending it all is not what I wanted. Something stopped me. I was 14 at that time. I gave up on suicide and resolved to live my life, not knowing what the heck that meant.
    As the years went on, I did a 4yr enlistment in the Navy, went to college and became an engineer, got married, we have 3 kids who are now teens and still at home. I have a great career, a few hobbies, I feel that my marriage is strong and I have a good wife. But WHY THE HELL CAN I NOT GET OVER MY FATHERS DEATH? I think of him daily. Sometimes it overwhelms me and I go to the basement and cry for a bit. I hide my sobs with the sounds of a shop vac and saws in my woodshop. I blast “ALWAYS” by Killswitch Engage in my headphones and quietly scream, but to no avail. Can I even say it is cathartic, at this point? Or is it just “coping”? I find myself seeking approval for things that I build in my woodshop. I realized that I verify the doors are locked at night AT LEAST 4 TIMES, and think I may have drifted into some kind of hypervigilance. I have trouble falling asleep and have to take a OTC sleep aid, been doing that for 10 years. I get overly generous to people, even strangers, when I know better than to do that because you just never know what kind of person you may be being generous to? I constantly watch surroundings when away from home, especially when out with my family. I feel tremendous guilt, sometimes, for being me. Because I am happy being me, I am proud of myself and what I have accomplished. But the guilt comes when I think the ridiculous thought of “Oh, so you must be fine with your Dad dying? Because, who knows what you would have been if he were still alive?” It’s stupid, I know. But evidently, stupid thoughts don’t need pre-approval to just pop into my damn head. And there are plenty more ridiculous thoughts that swirl in and out. And sometimes I can be very loving and caring, other times I have such emotionally detached thoughts in my head that it scares me and I feel ashamed. Thankfully I can keep the bad in my head, compartmentalized, and bring back my feelings and emotions. But I worry….. will I always win that battle? Do I talk to someone? Or do I leave it be, because I feel I have control, and bringing it all up to a therapist may cause it to get away from me? Why do I wish to forget bad memories, but yet, know that I shouldn’t because remembering the bad helps me to appreciate the good? And to see more good in the world? I feel like I am in some sort of accidental/on-purpose balance of broken/yet still functional, that somehow manages to navigate through life behind this damn facade that everything is fine and under control. Sometimes I feel like the “good man” that Dr Jordan Peterson describes, as a man who is capable of horrible violence – but has it all under voluntary control. A harmless man cannot, therefore, be a “good man”. I can shut off emotion when necessary and be highly functional and useful in the midst of chaos. But then I break down in tears in my basement, when the realization hits me of how much my father has not been here to witness. It brings tears to my eyes to think he never met my wife or kids, nor has he seen how I have lived my life and achieved these accomplishments. He died at 52. How will I feel in 5 years when I pass that milestone? If you are still here, thank you for reading. It felt good to get this out. I’m not going to find a therapist. Really don’t think I need one. I’ll manage. I’ll keep my chin up. Try to make more smart decisions, than dumb ones. And keep on going. You do the same. Ok?

  • Maria

    September 30th, 2021 at 9:30 AM

    Hi Kevin,
    I’m not sure that you’ll see this because I do think comments get preapproved or denied but your story really touched me and I like Jordan Peterson too. I’ve prayed for him for years, to come to know Jesus and it seems maybe he is beginning to… not sure if you saw that video of his post-rehab. I was going to say, you don’t need a therapist, just The Wonderful Counselor, who knows your every thought, every pain, every tear shed, and who deeply cares for you. Please look up, “The Fathers Love Letter” and take comfort that God says He is a Father to the Fatherless… I discovered Christ after many years of grieving over my dad, and the moment I discovered He was real and that He had been right there with me the whole time, I felt like an invisible million pound load was taken off of my back that I never knew was there, and all the grief was gone. I experienced the greatest peace I’ve ever felt and knew that I was saved forever. I once heard we all have a God-shaped hole in our hearts and we keep trying to fill it with other things – success, money, relationships, jobs, children, pleasure, etc… until we discover one day that the hole is still there and that none of those properly fill it; because only God can fill it. He is real, and is so eager to come live inside our hearts and help us every day through the Holy Spirit. Please ask Him yourself; if you are sincere He will show you, you don’t need to take my word for it, He will show you Himself. He is my therapist, my best friend, my Savior and my Lord- He changed my life when He forgave my sins and gave me joy and is waiting to do that for you too. God bless you Kevin

  • william

    September 30th, 2021 at 3:26 PM

    Hi Kevin. Well its a good start for you opening up on this forum. Starting to talk about your grief to an anonymous audience is a good first step. However, can I kindly suggest that your comment “I’m not going to find a therapist…” might be reconsidered. I went through a lot of what you went through 2-3 years ago. I had about 20-30 visits to a trusted therapist and it was truly life changing for me. Particularly dealing with many of these long-suppressed grief issues. Therapy is not the be all and end all of dealing with emotional issues, but it in my experience it was one tool which was extremely useful. Thanks for sharing your story with us, and best wishes for your future journey.

  • Marty

    March 29th, 2022 at 11:14 PM

    My mom jumped off a bridge and killed herself when I was ten. I’m almost 62 now and I can clearly see how her death has impacted and even destroyed my life. That also goes for my two siblings who were 16 and 20 when she died. None of us ever married or had kids. My brothers (Both dead now) had major issues with my mom before and after her death. I believe they both hated her before her suicide, and even more so afterward. For the middle sibling, he shouldered the guilt of believing he caused her suicide, which tortured him into alcoholism, isolation, and eventually mental illness before dying alone in a hotel room at the age of 58. I hadn’t seen or spoken to him in 24 years. My father was a wonderful man who did his best as a husband and father. But he was overwhelmed by the realization that his wife’s issues from childhood had found their way under our roof. She was not emotionally available to any of us. Never told any of us that she loved us, though I believe she did. My father passed away in ’09. I still feel the most hurt for him because he deserved so much better from his married life. He never remarried and remained loyal to his wife until his death. I’ve struggled with my mom and still do to this day. I do believe that she was mentally ill when she took her life and therefore can’t be held responsible for the act. She was in unbearable emotional pain and saw no other way out. She was also consumed with guilt over what she had put my then 16-year-old brother through and wrote about not being able to live with that on her conscience. I can’t condemn her. We all suffered tremendously, however, and I still often wonder how differently all of our lives would have turned out if she had received the help that she needed, not just to prevent her suicide, but to help her heal from what I believe was a traumatic childhood that had affected her adult life. It’s a cruel cycle.

  • Tim

    June 26th, 2022 at 8:30 PM

    My dad died of an aneurysm when i was just shy of my 6th birthday. Unfortunately, my younger brother and I got to witness it and it was very traumatic to see. I can still see it in my mind today. I remember most of that day very well. I do have memories of my dad back to the time I was 3 or 4 YO. I’m 59 YO now and this is something that has affected me my whole life in negative ways. 3 boyhood friends were also electrocuted and killed down the street one late summer night when I was 11 in their backyard we walked up just as police were arriving, I still remember one of the moms hysterical in the front yard screaming and crying. No stranger to trauma and sure I suffer from PTSD. Back to dad now dead, I felt so scared, my mom told the angels came down and took my dad because they needed him in heaven, don’t tell your kids this if this happens to you because it makes it worse. I was afraid to go to school because I thought the angels would come and maybe take my mom with them too! I always feel uncomfortable, not good enough because I didn’t have a dad, I felt like I and our broken family was not as good as the rest. My Mom emotionally checked out and was not there for us kids, we were latch key kids. This was so hard, and I never felt normal, I still don’t. I acted up got in some trouble, started using alcohol and pot at 12 YO. I married and divorced no Kids. I’m anxious and depressed often. I abuse alcohol and have gained a bunch of weight in the last 10 years. Seems like things are getting even worse and a stressful job is not helping either. People tell me to get over it, it was 53 years ago that your dad died. I wish it would go away, I know I need help and just have to do it. I hope to retire in a few years and want to enjoy life for me and my SO, it’s not fair to her to deal with my depression and issues.

  • bill

    June 27th, 2022 at 6:01 PM

    Hi Tim,
    Well done for sharing what happened to you. These are painful memories. I am not a therapist at all or anything like it, but I do strongly believe in talk therapy with a trusted counselor or psychologist. It was incredibly helpful for me. I feel that back in the 1960s, when a young child lost a parent there were no counseling services back then. You were just expected to somehow get on with your life. As a result there was no pathway for a small child to grieve the loss of a parent. So we carry that unresolved grief with us for the rest of our lives, with all the damage that does. I think that (over time) a trusted counselor or therapist can help to unlock that grief, and help with that long overdue goodbye to our missing loved ones. From my experience, this is a long and painful process, but ultimately liberating. I hope you don’t give up on your challenges and mask them as many people do. Good luck moving forward.
    Kind Regards,

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  • Julian

    August 15th, 2023 at 6:30 AM

    I stumbled over this thread trying to find some answers. I was 12 when my mother was killed falling from a horse in front of my father. It was two weeks before Christmas and three weeks before her birthday. I was away at boarding school. I was summoned to the headmaster’s office and as I walked in he did not look up but just said I have some bad news your mother had an accident and died this morning. It was like being hit in the stomach by a boxer, my legs gave way and all I could say was it can’t be true. After about ten minutes another boy came in and said the headmaster was wanted downstairs. So I was left on my own. That pain was like nothing I have ever experienced before. That abandonment, that rejection, that loneliness. It was towards then end of term and my father came to see me that afternoon with my older half sister. We all tried to be very brave and not cry. I remember putting my head on his chest trying to feel some closeness. I was in the school play the following weekend and I had been looking forward to my parents being there. My father said he would be late and he” had one or two things to do”. Only many years later I discovered he was burying my mother. I never knew where the accident happened, was never allowed to any service to commemorate her memory and subsequently have never had closure. In the following year my paternal grandfather died and my maternal grand mother plus several friends of the family. Now fifty years later I am sitting here alone still reliving that intense pain. I went on to get married and be father to two sons. I have had a successful career and on the face of it seemed to be fine. Sadly after 24 years my marriage failed and things fell apart. But the acute depression, anxiety, feeling of rejection and loneliness has never left me and as I now slow down in life the memories return. My two biggest issues are the depression, (about events in the past) and anxiety (fear of events in the future) are the hardest to deal with. Loneliness I always thought was someone feeling sorry for themselves but believe me it is a condition that is incredibly painful. The desire to love and be loved is all consuming. I have a relationship but am absolutely terrified that I will be rejected and abandoned. I now work in the community as a volunteer doing my best for others determined to not let people go anywhere near the pain I have and continue to endure. Even though no one would notice on the outside. If you are still reading this thank you for taking the time to. It is still cathartic to write things down and reading these posts is of comfort that I am not alone.

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