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Posts by Sue Rowen, M.A., MFT

My Parent Has Died! What Now?

Loss!  We have all experienced losing a loved one but losing a parent is a unique loss and one that is often discounted.  Anyone who has had a parent die knows that feeling of profound sadness, the feeling of being overwhelmed, the thoughts of,  “Oh No! What now?”

There is a prevailing attitude in our cultural messages that the death of a parent is a natural course of events and we need to “just get over it!”

Thrown To The Bottom

By Sue Rowen, M.A., MFT

In grief, individuals often have a feeling of generalized fear and being unable to control the body symptoms that go along with feelings of anxiety and panic. If we look at Abraham Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs Theory,” we see some of the basis for this anxiety.

It becomes apparent that when we experience the death of a loved one, we are thrown to the bottom two levels of the pyramid.  We are confronted with the fear that we may no longer feel safe and may not be able to take care of ourselves and our basic needs.

One’s personal world has changed forever.  When we are grieving the death of a loved one we feel stripped of the resources that, in the past, have been there to support us through stressful times.

Maslow

  • “Do I have enough money to support myself?
  • “Will I be okay alone?”
  • “How am I going to drive at night by myself?”
  • “What if I get sick?  Who will help me?”

Our loved one, a major part of our support system and someone we have depended on for such support, is no longer present for us.