For a child, coping with the death of a parent is an utterly indescribable, almost next to impossible task. It is hard to tell them what to do and how to behave. You can only be there for that person. This is not a very unfamiliar situation. All the same, all of us who are sensitive enough, still cannot digest such a situation. Moreover, if you are coping with the death of a parent, it is difficult to fathom or gather any sense from what is happening around you. Your world gets topsy-turvy. But, however distressing, incredulous, and shocking it is to deal with it, you have to pull yourself up from the excruciatingly deep pit of sorrow and agony.
Time and Again: Immeasurable as it is, give yourself and others who were very close to them, adequate time to come out of it. We know, it is too much to ask, since we are talking about the one person who brought you up and made you what you are. Yet, it is inevitable. Time will eventually fade out your grief, though the pain and the memories would be there forever. Hence, give it time and do not push yourself to get that unfortunate incidence out of your mind.
Truth - The Bitter Pill: Acceptance, and only that, will help you come out of grief and come to terms with the loss. Submitting yourself to the fact that the person is no more, will help you move on with your life. That does not mean that you do not express what you feel. Vent out as much as you can. It works. The further that feeling sinks in, you will be able to face the truth in a better state of mind. Also, understand that your parent led a full life and it was perhaps the right time for him or her to go. Coping with death of a father or coping with death of a mother is a rough journey and there is no escape.
Diversion: If you are a working professional and have not been going to office on account of this grievous incident, start going to work again. It is the most productive way to divert your mind from these painful thoughts. If not work, do anything which will distract you from thinking about your father or mother.
Finally, think of the post death rituals not as a sorrowful incident but an inevitable formality. Now, this was fine (actually it is not, still). Adults who are coping with the loss of a parent can perhaps consider these things and will behave as sanely as possible. But it won't be the same for the children. It is almost unimaginable, what they go through, on losing a parent.
Children Coping with the Death of a Parent
Children are far more sensitive than adults, and as a consequence, such an incidence has a deep and prolonged impact on their fragile minds. But the good news is that they can also recover from the unnerving incident faster. Here is what you can do.
Maintain the Routine: Whatever happens, the single parent or a close relative or a neighbor should keep in mind that disruption in the child's routine is a recipe for disaster. Children need to be kept occupied all the time and if their routine is disturbed and there is nothing to do, things might go awry.
Be Clear and Honest: Your parent's death will also upset your child. Still, be clear and tell your child that his or her grandfather or grandmother is dead or no more. This applies to children who lose either of their parents. Speak to him or her freely about death, dying, and the likes. Let that child remember his or her mom and dad through drawing or music or anything of that sort.
Emotional Support and Reassurance: A death can be scary for a kid and if he or she is sleeping alone, they would be afraid of doing so now. So let them cuddle up next to you and be a pillar of support for them. Shower the kid with hugs and cuddle him or her. Some children might not respond immediately to the incident and may not cry. That is not to say that they are not aggrieved. If it is a teenager, he or she may even feel shy crying in front of everyone. Make them understand that it is okay to do so and not be shy.
Understanding the child in the best possible manner, is the key. In addition to this, how the people around react also has a huge effect. Ultimately, no one can ever forget the sorrow and pain associated with the thought of losing someone. About coping with the loss of a parent, I can only mention one thing, as said by Bertolt Brecht, a legendary German writer, playwright, and poet, "Do not fear death so much, but rather the inadequate life."