Grieving the Death of an Estranged Parent

My estranged father died a few weeks ago and the unexpected emotions and feelings I’ve endured have been all over the place. I’ve gone through sadness, anger, guilt and cavernous loss. I’ve wept deep, sorrowful tears. I’ve experienced intense and powerful grief and it has left me mourning not only his death but also the loss of an imaginary, what-may-have-been father-daughter relationship.

So many things have haunted me in this grief and so many things had to be considered in just a couple of days, i.e., funeral attendance, flights across the country other people’s feelings and my feelings.

Guilt overwhelmed me at one point as I recalled the unsent letter I’d been considering writing to request that the two of us meet and see how things would go now that so much time had gone by since we parted ways.

I was shocked and wasn’t prepared to experience the range of emotions of grief; afterall, we’d been estranged for over 30 years. The last time I saw my dad, he implied that he was in a sensitive relationship and that it would be best if we didn’t spend time together.

There is a jewel in this story and that is I was so extremely fortunate to have my family as well as my “dad’s family” provide world-class, non-judgmental support to me. I was able to meet and be welcomed by my dad’s family and hear about him. It was somehow extremely healing for me to hear that he was a loved and respected man by his family and also his community.

My mourning has lessened greatly and I have healed immensely from the whole experience. I wanted to share this with you so that you may be reminded that surprise emotions and mourning of great losses come unexpected in this life. Even losses from many years ago can again come to the surface of our awareness so that we may fully feel those emotions and deal with what may have been stuffed down or glossed over.

When someone loses an estranged parent through death, there may or may not be a huge need for support from family and friends. I was shocked that I needed support and very fortunate to have it. But, I know there are many others out there who have very limited support and understanding to go through the unexpected shock and grieving process. I want to encourage everyone to provide this support and to know that many times the support can simply mean asking how someone is doing and then providing a great listening ear to them while giving “no” advice or remedies.

Grieving the death of an estranged parent can be overwhelming even for someone like me who is accustomed to speaking with the deceased and bereaved as a psychic medium.