It just doesn’t seem like something that should happen. They raised you, took care of you, taught you everything you know, bought you everything you needed, took you to cool places, made you laugh endlessly. They’re real-life superheroes, and superheroes are supposed to be immortal, right? So when they’re gone, it just doesn’t seem real, even though you know it is. Here is what you learn then…
People really do use those cliché phrases

In these types of situations everyone always says things like “they’re in a better place”, “they’re watching over you”, etc., and it sucks. It’s the last thing you want to hear. Don’t tell me they’re in a better place, because if they were in a better place they’d be here with me and my family. I don’t want you to tell me they’re watching over me, because it’s not the same as having them in front of me and hearing their voice or laugh. I know these people mean well when they say these things, but it just hurts more.

You learn who’s real

Despite the people that say or do the wrong things, you learn who really cares about you and who is really there. They say a tragedy always shows you who your real friends are, and it couldn’t be more true in this situation. Many people can’t handle this difficult tragedy, and end up walking away from you. Let them be. They aren’t good enough to be there if they can’t find the strength to stay for you and support you.

Your world became so negative, and you have to learn to change it

After losing someone so important to you, you become bitter and resentful towards the world for taking them from you. You have to learn to let go of the bitterness and have to reteach yourself to think positively, to not always worry and think the worst case scenarios. Also having to learn that this experience does not mean you will never be happy again, and that life will never be good again. You realise that your parent would never want you to go through life with this chip on your shoulder, that they would want you to be happy again.

It’s okay to not be okay

You’ve been through your fair share of life obstacles, but you’ve always maintained the mantra that things were fine. However, when this earth-shattering experience happened, you couldn’t uphold that feeling anymore. You couldn’t be okay, no matter how hard you tried. You learned to accept that, you learned that it was okay to admit that you were in pain, that you weren’t okay. Learning how to express this to people without feeling judged was no easy lesson.

It’s okay to put your needs first

After experiencing this loss, this pain, you become empty and unable to offer much. You begin to realize that you can’t be as supportive and selfless towards others because you’re consuming all your energy on getting through the day. You have to learn to understand and accept that you have to take care of yourself before you can offer anything to another person.

The bonds between loved ones grow stronger

No one else understands what you’re going through, which means the people that do understand become so much more important. They are the only people in the world that understand what you have lost, and the weight you now have to carry around with you. The loss demonstrates how important the people in your life are to you.

It makes you choose your words more carefully…

You now know how important last words are. Whether your last words to your parents were good or bad, you understand the weight it holds and the importance it has. It makes you more aware of how you speak to your loved ones. It makes you say “I love you” before you say goodbye, no matter how angry you are at them. Because if this is the last time you talk to them, you want to make sure they know. That small painful reminder about how important words are is always at the back of your mind.

You appreciate your parent now more than ever…

They say that death distorts the memory, because people start to over glorify the ones that have passed. But I disagree, I think the loss erases the bad aspects of a person because you realize that those no longer matter. You realize that what was at their core is what really mattered, and begin to identify the parts about yourself that came from them. You realize what values and ideals they taught you, how they’ve shaped who you’ve become and the life you are leading. You let go of the bad memories, because in the end they hold no value and you just remember the real person they were, the love and support they gave you, and the memories you shared. And at the end of the day they were your parent, and no one in the entire world could ever replace them.

Losing a parent at a young age is an unbelievably devastating experience, one that I hope no one else ever has to go through, yet one that way too many people have to live with.