S5E01: How to Cope When a Complicated Parent Dies

Parental death in midlife may result in lingering feelings of loneliness, feeling alone on the earth for the first time in their lives. Their death can bring back memories of former losses, unresolved conflicts, and doubts about life’s purpose. Knowing that we are not alone as we struggle with this change in our life can help adjust to a world without our parents.

In this Episode:

  • 00:00 – Our Sponsor: Tree of Life Memorials and Digital & Stone
  • 00:20 – Intro
  • 06:10 – Recipe of the Week, Ding Dong Cake
  • 08:11 – Palm Beach’s Pet Cemetery
  • 10:22 – Interview: Coping with the Death of a Complicated Parent
  • 43:54 – Outro

Unpacking the Aftermath of a Parent’s Death

Noelle cared for her mom while on hospice. We visited her a few months after her mother’s death as she discussed the challenges, emotions and positive coping techniques she uses.

Does everyone feel grief when their parent dies?

No, there are a wide range of emotions and feeling following the death of a parent. Part of the reaction has to do with the lifelong relationship with the parent, the ages of the people involved, and what is going on in our lives at the time of the death. But at some point, you will grieve. Even the most difficult parental relationship involves grief about the death or grief about what was missing from your relationship.

What are some of the feelings that adult children experience following the death of their parents?

The feelings can be any or all of the following: anger or frustration, guilt, perhaps for not contacting them frequently or not being present for their death, shock and emotional numbness, confusion, disbelief, or a sense of unreality, hopelessness or despair, physical pain, mental health symptoms, including depression or thoughts of suicide, relief that they’re no longer in pain. Remember that whatever you are feeling, the feelings are valid.

What can I do to honor my parent’s memory?

Some ideas are to create a small home memorial with photos and mementos, planting their favorite tree or flower in your backyard, adopting their pet or plants, continuing work they found meaningful, like volunteering or other community service, donating to their preferred charity or organization.

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Welcome to Season 5! Everyone Dies podcast is entering our 5th year.

Did you know we have been doing this podcast since spring of 2020? We started right as COVID was gaining a foothold and New York was ground zero, with Charlie reporting first-hand. We have sought to provide relevant information for those grieving the lost, preparing for their own death as their disease advances, or learning their options to be educated on all aspects of death and dying. Thank you for being our loyal listeners.

Pet Cemetery

A headstone that reads Johnnie Brown, The Human Monkey, Died April 30, 1927

Looking for something offbeat to do while vacationing in Palm Beach? We tell the story of Johhnie Brown – a celebrity spider monkey that got his own burial plot beside a little dog Laddie. Addison Mizner, eccentric architect of Palm Beach’s signature Mediterranean Revival style, carried his pet spider monkey everywhere and even hand-stitched him a silk-lined sombrero with a chin strap, so it’s only appropriate that Johnnie Brown received a prominent burial site. His gravestone reads, “Johnnie Brown. The Human Monkey. Died April 30, 1927.”

Recipe of the Week – Ding Dong Cake

Some of us had a rich childhood with Hostess Ding Dongs in our lunchbox, but others had parents focused on healthier living…but why not indulge now? You’ve got to try this cake and celebrate our 5th year. Thank you for being our listeners!

Ding Dong Cake, from TheKitchn
Get this indulgent Ding Dong cake recipe at The Kitchn.

Our Sponsors:

A tree with the words Digital and Stone

This episode was sponsored by The Tree of Life Memorials and Digital & Stone – a new platform to create digital memorials, environmental legacies and fine art monuments. Share the Stories, preserve the memories, conserve the land, connect the Souls…. because Love never dies. Find out more at https://www.digitalandstone.com/

We are also selected as one of the Top 50 Grief Blogs on the Web!

From Everyone Dies:

Everyone Dies: and yes, it is normal!

Everyone Dies (and yes, it is normal) is a story about a young boy named Jax who finds something special on the beach where he and his grandpa Pops are enjoying a wonderful day. Pops helps Jax understand that death is a normal part of life. This book provides an age appropriate, non-scary, comfortable way to introduce the important topic of mortality to a preschool child. Its simple explanation will last a lifetime. Autographed copies for sale at: www.everyonediesthebook.com. Also available at Amazon

Mourning Jewelry
mourning jewelry earings

We offer a way to memorialize your loved one or treasured pet with a piece of handmade jewelry.  When people comment on it and the wearer can say for example “I received this when my mother died” which opens the conversation about this loss. All our jewelry is made with semi-precious stones and beads, vintage beads, and pearls. You can choose between earrings or bracelets and the color family. Learn More

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