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From the moment we are born, our parents are with us, supporting us, making us feel secure, and loving us. On a very genetic level, they are a part of us, but the connection goes far beyond that.

In a sense, our parents are spiritually a part of our soul. We resemble them on a physical and emotional level. They hold our hands when we take our first steps, they hold us close to them as they feed and nourish us as an intact, and even into adulthood, they are by our side, helping us along in life.

What no one tells you is that almost inevitably, it is guaranteed that one day we will mourn their loss. Beneath the surface, we realize this, and we accept this. We don’t want to we don’t even want to consider this, because we cannot bear the thought.

Unfortunately, though, that day does come, sometimes during their old age, and sometimes, they are taken from us early.

No matter when their passing occurs, there is no way we could even be prepared for their loss. Sometimes, we indicate what is going to happen next, but it still doesn’t alleviate the pain that follows.

Directly after the loss, the immense grief we feel puts our existence at high risk. Studies have shown that unresolved grief is linked to heart problems, hypertension, immune disorders, and cancer. And even if the physical symptoms were alleviated, the psychological responses we have to grief are completely unpredictable.

There is no right way to feel grief, and it manifests in several ways. Some people experience immense anger, anxiety, guilt, shame, emptiness, sadness, and regret.

Some try to power through, to work harder, and to distract themselves. Others completely isolate and avoid others altogether. And the symptoms of grief are made that much harder when we don’t get to say goodbye. In turn, psychologists say it can take us more time to grieve a loss when we don’t have any time to prepare.

And while there is no certain way to make the process any easier, experts do suggest allowing yourself to feel whatever feelings emerge. Rather than pushing the feelings down, no matter how hard they are, it’s better to allow them to flow.

Take time to tend to yourself as much as you can, by staying hydrated, nourished, and allowing yourself some leniency. If you didn’t get to say goodbye, memorialize them. It won’t take the pain away, but it can be helpful. Small ways of doing this are to make a memorial in your home for them or to plant a small garden in their name. You can also donate to their favorite charity in their name.

It will take time for the pain to ease, but there is no set time. Don’t set limits on yourself, and take it one moment at a time.