How a Parent’s Death Changes Us Forever


Nothing can prepare a person for the death of their mother or father. There is no way around the powerful pain of this loss or its all-encompassing effects. After all, no one in the world can replace a parent. This death leaves behind a gaping hole that can never be filled.

At Krause Funeral Homes & Cremation Services, we have walked alongside countless Milwaukeeans over the years as they begin the grieving process through planning a funeral for their mother or father. The emotions are often overwhelming, as the finality of death starts to sink in – a realization that can take longer than anticipated.

Many of those we talk with say they feel as if they’re stuck in a dream or living on autopilot. They describe the many ways their parents cared for them over the years, and how directionless they feel with their absence. It’s the “big things” like the empty chair at the dinner table and the void that exists at family gatherings. It’s also the “small things” like picking up the phone – only to realize Mom or Dad isn’t there to answer.

As feelings of numbness subside after weeks or months, new waves of emotion roll in. Sadness and despair upon realizing that life will never be the same. Feelings of emptiness, guilt, and regret over things said or done in the past. Anger and sadness at the missed opportunities in the future.

Some grieving sons and daughters throw themselves into work to avoid the pain; others withdraw from activities and loved ones. It’s safe to say that everyone is caught off guard by subtle reminders of their parent. It could be hearing a song on the radio, catching a scent of cologne or perfume they always wore, or running into your parent’s friend at the grocery store. These moments – as jarring as they may be – present an opportunity to let go of some sadness or anxiety you’ve been carrying around with you.

Over the years, our caring team has talked with many people who say their parent’s death forced them to face their own mortality. They were able to see how quickly time passes and began to question the value of their own relationships, goals, and path in life. This is a painful process to be sure, but can be an impetus for growth, as you heal and have a new lease on living your own life more fully.

There is often a lingering grief in the years after losing a parent, and then there are certain days where the pain is more intense. Birthdays, holidays, the anniversary of their death.  As difficult as these may be, it is crucial to take steps in coming to terms with the loss. Avoiding or ignoring that reality – sometimes called unresolved grief – is linked to hypertension, immune disorders, and even cancer. The question many ask is this: How can I deal with this immense loss in a healthy way moving forward?

At Krause Funeral Homes, we have many connections and numerous resources available. For immediate support and to learn more about the grieving process, check out our Guiding Grief Interactive Online Help. You will be taken through steps to help you find answers to many questions about grief and suggestions for your own healing or help with someone else’s healing.

Our aftercare services are second to none, providing the support needed after a loss. With years of experience caring for grieving families, we know the best specialists, resources, and support groups Milwaukee has to offer. If you’re struggling with the loss of your parent, take a step toward healing and reach out to us. It’s said that losing a parent is like losing a part of yourself. You don’t have to go through this painful time alone. We’re here to help.

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