What kids who have lost a parent want you to know

‘We’re OK with not being OK’

Each and every child who has lost a parent has their own unique way of grieving and coping with such a loss. Often people aren’t quite sure how to react or treat people who have lost a parent, but there are some things that every kid who has lost a parent wants you to know:

I don’t want to just ‘get over it’

Yes, year after year I expect my dad to show up on Christmas morning, I expect him to wake me up on Saturday’s  to go to the flea market , and I expect him to greet me at the door when I come home from college. All of these memories make moving on tough, which is why I’m OK with not “getting over it,” but rather accepting it.

Regret is 70 percent of our grief

Let me explain something, one day you will lose a parent and on that day you will regret every complaint, every whine, and every fight you ever had with your parent. I know the day my dad died I immediately regretted not wearing the small silver watch he got me in the 6th grade.


Cruel comments that kill

Comments such as “I experienced it when I was a baby, and I’m OK,” “My friend went through what you went through so I understand,” and the most common “Your dad died a year ago, shouldn’t you be OK now” are considered flat out rude in parent death survivor’s eyes.

Don’t pity us, we’re OK with not being OK

One thing I want to stress to people is, people like me don’t want you to understand what we’ve been through, we don’t want you to view us as victims, and we don’t want you to constantly baby us because of what happened to our parents. All we want is for you to respect our situation and to realize that we have to grieve alone, and we’re OK with that.

We are glad you have no clue

We don’t want you to understand because it hurts to know that other people have experienced the same heart wrenching pain that we  have. I promise, we are happy you have know idea what we go through, so don’t feel like you have to pretend to us because you think you are “making us feel better.”



They punish you out of love, I promise

I now see everything my dad did that I “hated” him for was to not only protect me, but to teach my that true love consists of criticism because they want us to become a better person in life than they were. That’s all parents goals, to see their children strive in every stage of life, and sometimes in order to help us strive, they have to knock us down (but don’t worry, they will help you back up).

We actually enjoy talking about our deceased parent

It is OK to bring up our parent in conversation, we love to talk about them. Forgetting can be easy, and remembering can be hard so it is super important for us to remember every little thing including the way they smelled and even the way they tied their shoes so we can share these fond memories with our siblings and even future children.

RESPECT: This is what it means to me

I have only one parent left now, so I strive to honor, respect, and love her to the fullest everyday. Although I do only have one parent, I still consider myself very lucky and fortunate to have such a strong, beautiful, and loving momma who has gone through so much and still manages to do a kick-butt job raising my sister and I (props to you mom).


Our grief is prolonged through each life event

Since we lost our parent at a young age, our grief is considerably different compared to an older adult who lost a parent. It breaks my heart knowing I’ll be sad on my wedding because I won’t have a daddy to walk me down the aisle, hold his first grand-child, or even watch me graduate. All these “happy” events will have a tinge of heart break due to the fact that he won’t be there.

Love them today, they might not be here tomorrow

Be proud of your parents, don’t get mad when they punish you for something stupid you did, and do not ever say anything that you could regret the day they take their final breath. So go buy a $1 gift card, go pick a weed out the yard that you mistook for a flower (those were always my mom’s favorite), or even send them a funny “I love you” GIF over text message, and I promise these things will mean more to your parents than silver and gold.

Clemson University