DD, Aged 17

    When people would talk they didn't know what to say which was understandable.  more...


    Mimi - 15 years old

    I lost myself doing stupid things, angry and sad and depressed at everything. I ended up failing my classes, not caring about school, and getting into fights.  more...


    Chelsea - 14 years old

    I stuck my head round the door in the room mum was in, and she looked really ill. I couldn't understand what was happening - one minute my mum was fine and the next she was ill.  more...


    Clair - aged 14

    Something I wish is I could just have one more day with my dad! - to tell him how much I love him and how sorry I am for all the bad things I have said and done to him!  more...


    Nicole - 17 years old

    This time the doctors are unable to operate. He has already had 6 sessions of chemo and is having another 6 sessions. I cannot help feeling I may lose him.  more...


    Rirrif - 15 years old

    I have been staying with my dad because my mom doesn't want me around when she is sick, which is all the time. My dad works at night so I spend a lot of time alone since I'm not with my mom. I'm afraid she is going to die and I'll blame myself for not being there more. more...


    HT - 13 years old

    She has been so strong about this and is keen to put it all behind her.  more...

Life without your parent

When a family member dies, life will feel and be very different. Everyone in your family will have to get used to the change of not having a parent (you), partner (mum or dad, step mum or dad)) or child (Grandparent) etc.

Life without your parent

You will notice the change in lots of big and small ways. For example, a chair might be empty, no-one can drive the car, a familiar voice is no longer heard, you might miss singing that favourite song together, or someone else will have to cook, clean, or go out to work. Alongside things like these, you will also have the strains of difficult emotions and reactions to deal with, like the ones we have discussed other places on the site..

Each family member will have a different way of dealing with their grief. When one parent has died, the parent that is left will also have a very difficult time. Not only have they lost a partner, but they also may have to take on a lot more of the household tasks and finances. They might ask you to help more, as they cannot do it all on their own. If you lived with both your parents, you would usually continue to live in the same house with your other parent and maybe siblings. This is usually a good thing as it is harder if too many changes take place at the same time. It can also be a good way of keeping alive the memories of the parent you have lost. Sometimes though, there may be reasons for moving somewhere else, maybe to a smaller house or closer to other relatives. This can be necessary for financial reasons or for the need to be closer to other members in the family. Occasionally, it may also be that you will move to live with someone else, but this will always be depending on what is best for you all.If you are from a single parent family and you have lost the parent you were living with, the situation is likely to change very much. It may feel like your roots have gone and you may feel very isolated and lonely. You may be wondering who will look after you and how you will cope. Often, your parent will have said who it is that they wanted you to live with, and will have made some arrangements. Sometimes, a social worker will be involved to help with this. It is important that you get your say in where you live, and who you live with. You can talk to the social worker as it is their job to listen to what you say, and to try and work out what is best for you. If there is not a social worker involved, you can talk to a teacher, nurse or trusted adult.

It can also be that you did not live with the parent that has died and there may not be many practical changes to your every day life. This will depend on how often you saw your parent and what other type of contact you had. You will still have all your emotions and grief to deal with and your reactions will depend on the type of relationship you had with your parent and how close you were. If your parents did not have a good relationship between them, it can be extra hard for you to deal with your grief and you may feel very lonely. You must still allow yourself to grieve and if you feel you can’t share your feelings with your other parent, it can be very useful to talk to someone else about how you feel.

Going back to school

You might be unsure about going back to school after someone close to you has died. You may have lots of questions like, do my friends and teachers know, will they say anything, will they treat me differently, do they want me to talk about it, what if I cry? If you are unsure about any of these things, it may be a good idea to talk to your teacher or friends about your feelings and how much you want them to know. If you would prefer, you could ask someone else to do this for you. Many schools have schemes where if you wish, you can choose a teacher to if you are struggling at any time with your bereavement. These are usually low key and optional. It might be surprising, but often young people when they have suffered bereavement, find that school helps them cope. School can be a relief because whilst everything at home is changing, school is still the same.

Moving on with life

At some point in the grieving process, you will feel that the intensity of your grief is lessening and you feel ready to move on with life, in spite of the loss of your parent. You may notice that you can have longer periods when you find you have not thought about your parent or been feeling sad. Hopefully, you sleep OK, eat normally and are taking part in activities with your friends like you used to do. This is normal and positive, as when time passes, you are learning to adjust to your bereavement and life without your parent. As much as you feel better about things, you may also feel guilty about this as it can feel like you no longer care and are letting your parent down. However, adjusting to a new life does not mean forgetting, and you can still treasure memories about your parent and life before. Moving on is about adapting to the new situation and not let the grief be the focus of your life.

If you are from a single parent family and are living with someone else, or if your well parent gets another partner, it may be particularly hard to become friends with them. If this is the case, it is important to remember that these new relationships will not replace the one you have lost, but they can and will help you receive new sources of love and support. No-one thinks you are letting your parent down and you must not think so either.