How long do most people grieve the death of a parent?

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My mom died on June 20 just last year from complications of COPD. My dad is living in a very nice AL facility. His health issues are many and I'm surprised he's hung on this long. He was recently hospitalized for pnemonia and his recovery has been very slow. He spends most days in his bed hooked up to oxygen, telling me and my husband that he will soon die. I feel like I'm on an emotional roller coaster. I no longer want to spend time with friends. The thought of going somewhere, listening to music and dancing, things I used to enjoy, now just make me feel tired and depressed. My oldest daughter will soon give birth to our second grandson and another daughter is getting married this November. I should be happy and excited but I'm not. So I want to know-when will I feel normal again?

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Hi Marcia

So sorry about your mom. Sage advice above.

One more thing that works: take the body and the mind will follow.

I never understood that but I do now. You like music and dancing. But you don't feel like it? Then take the body dancing--and before long, the mind will want to dance some more.

Take morning walks. You don't FEEL like it--but do it anyway. And your mind will soon feel like doing more.

This works for me every time.
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Dear Marcia, first off let me say how sorry I am that you lost your Mom last year. I lost my Mom in May of last year.

I am still grieving. I think I will always grieve her death till the day I die. As far as actively grieving I think it's different for everybody. It's dependent on a lot of things. How close you were to your Mom. What kind of support system you have. How busy you keep yourself. etc. etc. In your case because you are also worrying about your Dad's health that makes it even more complicated. I would suggest to you that you allow yourself to feel what you are feeling. For me, this idea that I should be over things by now sometimes makes me feel even worse.

There is no normal when it comes to these things. It also sounds to me like you are suffering from depression brought on by your situation. It wouldn't hurt to go to your doctor and discuss getting a mild antidepressant. Something to tide you over for a while. There is no weakness in that.
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Marciad, discuss this with your MD as soon as possible. I lost my mother when I was ten. Grief was a big black hole. I had to teach myself to redirect my own thoughts, consciously seek pleasant memories. If you don't the hole just sucks you in. Meds can help, but the biggest way out is to mentally relocate your thoughts to better experiences.
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Marciad5, a lot depends on what is the norm within a family dynamics. How one's parents reacted to the passing of their own parents/siblings/etc. My parents would continue on and not make mention, or remember out loud any anniversary of one's passing. So I learned that from my parents.

Thus, when my Mom passed at 98, I was sad on the day she passed, and relieved as her final months quality of life wasn't easy. My Mom had a wonderful long life, so I believe if there was any grieving it started when she started to really age, plus there was resentment that my parents had put this caregiving upon me [only child] which had overwhelmed me. I believe I had no emotion left for after the funeral.

Now my sig other, he comes from a family that grieves daily for a person even if that person passed 50 years ago. I notice that in his grown daughter, too. He marks on the calendar the anniversary of the passing for all his relatives, and his late wife. I know very little about the relatives lives because all he can talk about is the day of the death. How sad someone lives a long life, and all sig other can remember is their death. But that is how his family and relatives were.
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Dear Marciad4: Condolences to you and your family. May your Mother's memory be a blessing.
My suggestions:
1. Get a check up from your PCP.
2. Make an appointment with a Counselor or a Therapist.
There is no real time table with grief. Depression can suck the life right out of you.
Please consider my suggestions.
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You are in a terrible situation. You are grieving for the loss of your mother, for your father's grief and low quality of life, and it sounds like for your father's coming death. There is nothing wrong with feeling totally crappy about all that stuff. Therapy might help. You might feel better when the one year mark passes. (There are no magic timelines, there are reasons why so many cultures mark that year in some way.) I hope you feel better soon. Until then, take care of yourself, get regular sleep, eat well, get exercise, talk to someone, and wait. Trust it will lift.
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I had a very living Aunt. She was my chamopion and my best friend. It is two and a half years later and I am finally able to incorporate the memory of my past relationship with her into my current life. I do not believe there is a timeline on these matters. I can only say that the more deeply the significant the person was in your life, the more diverse the adjustment can be made to not having then there. Give yourself whatever time you need to adjust. It will soon fall into place.
Many hugs.
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These comments are great. I agree that there is no timetable. My dad died in 1988 and I think about him everyday. Sometimes I am in a situation and I think: What would Dad do? Or my siblings and I will remember a phrase he used or something he did and just laugh because he was a funny guy. But the difference is that these are good memories. And I think that is what happens: you grieve and hurt initially but as time goes on you have good memories to carry you thru. I still miss him but realise that, unfortunately, this is part of life. It happens to all of us. Try to remember the good times and what your parent taught you that you carry in your heart and mind. If you feel it will help, do talk with your doctor or go for counselling. We all need it and it helps to talk with others who have had a similar experience to realize that you are not alone and other people have been thru the same thing.
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When my wife died more than 8 yrs ago, i felt i lost everything. What rescued me were my children who helped me get back. What I can to you is the withdrawing from all the things you used to do is not doing you any good. it will always remind you of your pains. and that is the shortest way to depression - not good.
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I'm so sorry for your loss. I understand where you're coming from. My father expired in 2007, and since then I've been caring for Mom. I'm an only child with no other relatives in the country. I was very, very close to both parents for different reasons. My father was our family rock. He was my hero (because of his incredible family story). He was my support system as I was going through the normal stages of life...helping me deal with difficult co-workers at my first job...providing advice for how to choose the best mortgage rate...how to buy my first car, etc. I had a strong group of friends, but your parents are your safety net when disaster hits, so to speak. After he expired, I was lost...very lost for such a long time. I wasn't interested in doing fun things. I would just stay home. I wouldn't cry. I just didn't feel like doing the stuff I used to. And when I would force myself to reconnect with others or to do something I used to enjoy doing, this felt like it was more of a chore instead of a fun leisure activity. I just didn't feel I was in the "moment". I didn't enjoy the company. If this makes sense. People, clinicians automatically assume it's depression if you've lost interest in things you used to do. However, I saw a therapist and she said I suffer from dissociation - because the loss of my father and circumstances surrounding this loss was so traumatic, so deep, that my brain shut down as it was just protecting itself from emotional upheaval. My mind and body are not "one". This made sense to me actually. My brain shutting down is from unresolved grief. I have to force my body to "feel" what it's like to not have my father with me because my brain won't "feel" this, if this makes sense to you. Slowly, the brain will bring it's walls down and the body and brain will sync. I don't have depression. This is confirmed by a physician. I think you should look for a therapist that specializes in trauma. Death of a loved one is trauma. Yes, it's a normal part of life to lose a parent, but it also can be very traumatic. Google "trauma...dissociation" to learn more about about this. And also Google a trauma therapist in your area.
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