Expert answers – what to do in the wake of my father’s passing?

We frequently get a lot of unexpected curveballs in life. You might wake up one day and find everything in your world completely upside down. It’s never easy to lose a parent, especially suddenly.

A reader sent in a problem and was looking for assistance; hear what our expert had to say about it below.

Notice: Nothing in this text should be interpreted as professional advice. Any advise is credited to the relevant expert, and we take no responsibility for it.

After a reader wrote to us about their issue, we consulted with grief counseling specialist Elizabeth Schandelmeier of Howling Lion Grief Support for some guidance.

Elizabeth Schandelmeier is credited.

A bereaved An issue was raised by a Newsner reader who wrote in. “My dad passed away recently, and it has been a shock,” they said. He died far too soon after suffering a heart attack. He and my mother had been preparing for their impending five-year retirement. They had put their lives on hold, figuring that once he retired, they would have more time to travel and be together. But that won’t be feasible going forward.

“My mother completely fell apart after the news,” the note said. I only had a few months left of college before I had to organize the funeral. She has been relying a lot on me, and I have been choosing her main courses of action.

I am starting to feel a little resentful since I haven’t had time to mourn my own father. How should I proceed? Although I don’t want to abandon her in her sorrow, I shouldn’t have to support her at this time by acting brave. I’m completely lost. Any advice would be much appreciated!


“First, I offer my condolences; the death of your father is a heavy weight on your heart,” stated our expert Elizabeth Schandelmeier, LCSW, APHSW-C, FT, in a letter to the user. Any unexpected and often surprising death is referred to as “sudden death,” especially in light of the rapid and significant changes that occur.

She continued, saying, “Grief is a mixed bag of emotions and all of those feelings are valid,” to reassure our readers that their feelings were real. It makes sense that you would feel some animosity given how distressing it must be to watch your mother suffer and how irritating it must be to be in charge of such important duties! It is crucial to keep in mind that you and your mother are experiencing distinct losses, and that each of you will face unique difficulties as a result of your losses.

With more than ten years of specialized experience guiding families, healthcare providers, and communities through death, dying, grief, and other major losses, Schandelmeier informed the reader about the ways in which a mother and child would process their losses differently because they held different meanings for them.

“Your mother is confronting the challenge of rediscovering herself and building a life she can look forward to while she watches her future, including her goals and dreams, transform in front of her. You are still learning about who you are, anticipating change, and getting ready to live a somewhat independent life from your parents. You are both in different stages of grief.


The reader was reminded by our expert to uphold their limits even in the midst of this difficult period. “It’s great that you were able to intervene and support your mother during her time of need,” the advisor said. However, it’s crucial that you have the freedom to go through life, which calls for some restrictions.

“First, your mother should be encouraged to visit her primary care doctor for a checkup, it is important that she takes care of her own health during this time (this includes nutrition and hydration),” Schandelmeier wrote, offering some helpful guidance to our reader. “It could be helpful if you are able to help her connect with her close friends and wider community where she can begin to develop her support network,” she continued, offering another piece of advice.

“Connecting with other bereaved individuals through community grief support groups can be a great help; occasionally, these groups focus on a specific kind of loss, such the death of a spouse). Get in touch with the leader or other members of your mother’s religion community to ask if they can visit her.


“As time passes, she will be in the position to discover a life that is meaningful to her, but right now that may be hard for her to imagine,” she said, gently reminding our reader of how to go on. Urge her to talk to you about your father, to share tales, and to keep in mind that he will always be at her side.

In order to grasp what “normal” mourning looks like, she also suggested that “[the reader] could also look for professional counseling support through a local hospice agency or therapist network, either for yourself or for your mom.” Refrain from passing judgment on her experience and acknowledge that it will appear extremely different from yours and might be difficult for you to witness. Additionally, keep in mind that her sorrow is her own and not yours. You have plenty on your plate and deserve to be important too, so you don’t have to spend the rest of your life rebuilding hers.

We express our gratitude to Elizabeth Schandelmeier for her work in assisting our readers with their issues. Elizabeth Schandelmeier can be contacted via her website, Howling Lion Grief Support. She specializes in mourning, the effects of childhood trauma on adult grieving, and chronic/terminal illness cases.

This young person, who is seeking some clarity, is receiving such amazing advise. Tell people about this so they can benefit from the advise as well.

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