Grieving What Could Have Been & What Never Will Be
When the loss of a parent forces you to accept who they were and who they’ll never be.
Throughout this series, we’ve been discussing parents who still have the ability to change. But some adult children are forced to accept who their parents are (or were) and who they will never become because of illness, disability, or death.
As your parent ages, it’s likely they will experiences changes to their physical, emotional, and mental health. Accidents, sudden illness, and substance usage can also impact a parent’s functioning and cause changes in the parent + adult child relationship. Some adult children may be interacting with parents who have lost their short and/or long term memory, their ability to speak, impulse control, the ability to work or care for themselves physically, and more. In these cases, adult children are often forced to grieve the loss of a parent who never changed and never will be different. They may also be forced into caring for a parent who never cared for them. This creates a difficult set of circumstances that the adult child must navigate, while managing their own relationships, family, and life.
This is the fourth and final subscriber only email in the November Series: Parents and Apologies. In this email I discuss:
How to cope with never receiving that apology from a parent.
How to decide if you can be there for a parent during this vulnerable time.
How to care for a parent that didn’t seem to care for you.
Steps for grieving what never was in the parent + child relationship.