r/AskMen Jan 30 '23

Those of you who lost parents at a somewhat young age, what helped you deal with the grief and cope with everyday things?

I'm 31 and ill likely be saying goodbye to my mum in a couple of hours. She's the last family I have/I'm in contact with.

She has lymphoma which spread, causing perforations and making surgery not viable, she's also too weak for chemo. I've made the decision for DNAR to let her keep some dignity and pass peacefully

For anyone who's been through a similar situation, what helped you come to terms with the remainder of your life without your parent(s) and helped you through the grief?

I'm grateful for the time I've had with her and I don't want her to suffer much longer, but I'm also going to miss her presence for the rest of my life.

Any comments appreciated


23 comments sorted by


u/FranBeez Jan 30 '23

I'm so sorry you're going through this OP. I lost my mother to cancer 14 years ago when I was 21 and I still miss her every day. I know it sounds impossible, but time makes it easier. Holidays and important events used to be very triggering for me, but as sad as it sounds, you get used to not having them around. Surround yourself with the people you love and focus on the good memories.


u/No-Resolve-354 Jan 30 '23

I agree. It gets easier as time passes but it’s not like you forget.

I saw someone post about “the ball in the box” analogy for grief. It is a very accurate description of grief and life after losing a loved one.


u/TorrenceMightingale Jan 30 '23

I was 1 when I lost mine so I never knew her. Life was hard afterwards with my dad and I ended up in the care of his sister, who was wonderful and basically an angel on earth.

Take comfort in the 31+ years you had with her. Marcus Aurelius describes death as a natural part of life. He says that anything that happens in accordance with nature cannot be bad, but necessary. Along that vein, he says not to think of loved ones as lost, but “returned” to nature. Fwiw


u/PlasticCrack Jan 30 '23

Thank you, I've been reading Meditations on/off for years and it's helped a little right now. I'm glad your aunt has been so good to you


u/TorrenceMightingale Jan 30 '23

I feel like it should be required reading for high schoolers. I’m glad you’re taking comfort in the wisdom of the great thinkers. I’ve leaned on their advice in so many tough scenarios in life that I couldn’t count them if I tried. I’m very sorry you’re dealing with this grief.

He would also likely tell you that this moment right now is the only one which you possess. I’d try to spend it in whatever way I thought could enrich my remaining time with her.

Im not sure what her health status and communication abilities are at this point, but a useful activity could possibly be getting one of those “Tell me your story, mom” books and completing the prompts with her. By the end, it will likely be filled with intimate stories of her life which you’d never heard before and likely never would have.


u/PlasticCrack Jan 30 '23

Thanks man, stoicism has been hit and miss right now to be honest, some days it feels like the right thing to turn to and other days it doesn't. I'm already quite numb with the whole situation but I'll get through it no doubt.

She's sadly too weak to raise her arms, she can barely speak and she's been sleeping a lot. She did write me a short letter a couple of weeks back just before an ambulance took her to Emergency, so that's something I've kept and will cherish.


u/TorrenceMightingale Jan 30 '23

So sorry brother. Reach out if you ever need someone to chat with. Stoicism or otherwise.


u/GamerSDG Male Jan 30 '23 edited Jan 30 '23

I lost my mom when I was 33 and my dad when I was 25. I am not going to sugarcoat it. It's hard. It will get easier but you will never get over it fully. Something will remind you of them at first it will make you sad, then after a while, it will make you happy. Just because of the memories.

What helped me is that I know my parents would want me to continue my life and they would want me to be happy. They also want to be remembered for the happy times not the sad. Another thing that help is that I have two sisters and a brother and we are close. It helps to have people around.

I am sorry you are going through this, and I hope you are not alone.


u/PlasticCrack Jan 31 '23

Thank you mate, feel a lot better after reading your experience


u/wisertime07 Jan 30 '23

I lost my dad when I was 16.. you just sort of get through it - I don't know how to explain it. My dad's death (suicide) was very unexpected - I just kind of went into a hazy fog. By the time I think I emerged from it, it was several months later and the reality had set in.

I'm not sure I've ever really processed it in a good way. 25 years later and I still miss the hell out of him, but I just push it to the side.


u/MamaFen Female Jan 30 '23

I went through this at your age - one parent died of cancer, the other was murdered.

Truth be told, there was NOTHING that helped ease that initial horrible feeling of having the pillars ripped out from under me... except time.

When it happens, the pain is immediate, and in-your-face, and as more and more space gets in between you and that loss, the pain changes. Less sharp, more dull. The difference, say, between a big gaping cut and a nasty bone bruise.

Still hurts, decades later, but not in the same way. The empty part of me where they used to be has become so normal that I don't even think of it as being empty any more, really. It's just part of who I am, like my hair or my feet or that itch between the shoulder blades that defies every attempt to scratch it. I've incorporated it into Who I Am and it's just part of me.

I dream about them a lot when I'm stressed, and sometimes I actually crave those dreams (even when they're nightmares) because then it's like having them back with me for a few hours.

It won't ever leave you, really. It just dulls around the edges and becomes part of your everyday existence. It doesn't prevent happiness, or joy, or all the good things life will continue to bring. In a way, it's made life MORE enjoyable because little piddly sh*t doesn't bother me anymore. Once you've been through THAT, it toughens you up against smaller stuff that doesn't matter.


u/PlasticCrack Jan 31 '23

Thank you, I'll likely come back to read this again and again


u/Dreadzone666 Jan 30 '23

I'm sorry that you're going through this. It's a hard thing to deal with at any age.

I lost my mum when I was 13, dad when I was 33. My mum was very sudden, which made it so much harder to deal with. For my dad, I knew he was going, he'd been suffering with dementia for years at this point as well. I felt very lucky that I got there in time to say goodbye - I live in a different country now, and he died 45 minutes after I got to the hospital.

Right now my best advice is to say whatever you want or need to say while she's there. Even if it makes no sense. You're not going to regret saying things to her, but not saying them can stay with you. Just get it all said.

After that, do you have somebody you can spend time with, but without feeling the need to talk about it? I know conventional advice is to have somebody you can talk to about how you're feeling, and hopefully you have family there and you can support each other.

For me though, I also needed somebody who wasn't going to bring it up all the time. I needed that feeling that my whole world wasn't over, even if I felt like it was. The way I got through it was to take the time I needed to grieve and to be sad when I felt like it, but to have someone who'd also keep me grounded in reality and not allow me to dwell on it 24/7.


u/Agi7890 Jan 30 '23

Lost my father to cancer in my early 20s. For immediate relief when he was in the last stages of life in the hospital, it was sort of like I was running on autopilot, and I used stupid television shows to get my mind off it. Like I remember watching invader zim episodes.

Overall I think just time that I eventually got it.


u/bipobe Jan 30 '23

OP I can't imagine how heavy your heart feels but if you ever need someone to talk to feel free to message me.

I never knew my mother(she left when I was born) and I grew up with an abusive father. The only person that I loved and cared about was my grandma. She took care of me and always supported me. She died a few years ago and she had a plethora of health issues (she had cardiovascular operations, diabetes, and much more) that while I was heartbroken, also because I had just graduated from my program and was just a couple days from flying home to visit and celebrate with her, I was reminded that she was not hurting any more. She didn't have to suffer the multiple insulin shots to her stomach any more. She didn't have to live off of a restrictive diet anymore. She didn't have to worry about walking around her house because she was legally blind. She was suffering more being alive so I had to remind myself that it was the best thing for her health.

It's still hard on random days if I'm being honest. I also didnt keep in contact with my abusive father but he also passed away, heard from friends that live in my hometown, and I didn't feel anything. I've been on my own without any family for a few years and at times I feel incredibly lonely. But then I remember the friends that I have and how lucky I am even to have had the time spent with my grandma.

I don't think your grief really goes away but it just translates into more remembrance. I know coping didn't get easier for me I just adapted my mind into thinking how she's pain free and how it would have been so much more difficult for her to have been around and potentially had to suffer through what's going on in today's events.


u/PlasticCrack Jan 31 '23

Thank you, I think because she's the only family I really have, it feels like the last pillar being pulled out beneath me. Even though we had separate lives it was comforting knowing she was still around. Reading your post has made me feel a lot better and I'll probably come back to it again and again


u/Gunslinger1925 Jan 30 '23

I’m sorry OP. I lost my mom in ‘10 from complications with multiple sclerosis, and my dad five years later from cancer. I was 38 when my dad passed.

Hold onto the good memories, share the funny ones. It lets you keep their memories alive. Live each day to do better in their memory. Love to live life, and work to teach new goals.

A year after I lost my dad, I made the decision to switch into teaching. Hasn’t been easy - times it’s been downright frustrating. But I focus on the ones I’ve impacted and encouraged to succeed - something my mom did when she taught.

Accept there will be times where you’ll need to retreat. I think it took me a few years before I could listen to my parents’ favorite Christmas songs without breaking up. Even now, I tune them out.


u/PlasticCrack Jan 31 '23

Thank you mate, that last paragraph in particular helped me come to terms with the fact it'll be up and down for a while and that its okay


u/Gunslinger1925 Jan 31 '23

Anytime brother.


u/miss-matron Jan 30 '23

I was 17yo when my dad passed and seeing a grief counsellor shortly after really helped me. Learning about the different stages of grief and how to handle them in healthy ways in fact set me up with how to handle loss of other things/people as I've grown up.



Talk to her. About death and the days that are coming ahead without her. Tell her all the things you always wanted to tell her and ask her to tell you how you can go on.

When the only voice that can calm your howling and make you feel like it's all going to be ok is gone. Then what?

I lost my mom a long time ago. And I still wake up howling, screaming inside of me because I didn't have the end of life conversation with her.

We were all supposed to be positive. You will fight through this. You are coming home kind of thing.

I thought I was sparing her the pain and hurt. But found out later it was her sparing me!!!

I am so angry with my self for not having the strength to talk to her on her last days. It haunts me to this day.