To grieve a living parent is a very difficult thing to experience. I never expected that as an adult child that I would have to process through the reality that my mother was dead in her role as a parent. She is very much alive but she is neither loving or nurturing which are essential parenting tools.
After going no contact with my narcissistic mother and enabling father, I had to accept the grieving process.
Signs that you need to grieve
- You find yourself crying when you remember a positive moment from childhood
- It becomes difficult for you to sleep at night
- You feel unsafe and unprotected by your parent’s potential retaliation against you for going no contact
- You are irritable or angry for small matters
- You question whether you made the right choice to separate from your parents
- You feel shame for creating boundaries
- You feel deep loneliness
5 Ways to grieve a living parent
1. Give yourself the permission to grieve
It is okay to allow yourself to grieve the loss of your living parent. Your mother allowed her toxic behaviors to control how she responded to you as her child. She was never equipped on protecting and nurturing your growth from childhood to adulthood.
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.Proverbs 22:6
Parents are supposed to train you up ( equip you with the necessary spiritual, emotional, and physical tools) to relate to others , yourself, and most importantly God.
Now it is time to do the work of parenting yourself with God’s help. It will take some time, but it is important to not rush this part of the process of being able to cry and to submit your pain to God.
2. Set boundaries with others connected with your parent
It is important to set boundaries with those that are in close contact with your living parent. This can be anybody. Remember, just because they have the title of brother, sister, auntie, etc. it does not give them the right to speak into your life about your choices as an adult.
If a family member calls to shame or guilt trip you into contacting your living parent, kindly tell them your wishes to not discuss the matter. You can use a script like this:
I can see you are concerned about ______ but at this time I need my space from ____ and would like not to talk about this topic anymore or in the future.
If the family member does not respect your boundary, then you can begin the process of separating from this person as you continue to heal. There are several ways to separate: full contact, low contact, and no contact.
3. Your strength is in the Lord
The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.Psalm 28:7
One evening while washing the dishes, I wept and cried out to God, ” I am trying God!” ( in reference to trying to be strong about grieving the loss of my living parents). I did not feel like God could protect me from my abusive parents. Then He reminded me to lean on His grace. I need Jesus! I need the presence of the Holy Spirit active in my life.
When I lean on Him in my weakness, He becomes my shield to protect me. In my weakness, I began to thank Him for being the Lord of my life.
I realized the next day, that He was warning me for weeks about my family members trying to get in contact with me and the evil spirit behind it in a dream. God protected me the whole time because I remained close to Him.
4. You are never alone
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.Deuteronomy 31:6
Behind a lot of my crying out to God was some fear about my parents smear campaigning against me for going no contact. At the time, I also experienced other losses and did not know how to process through all of the grief. God told me in many instances, that He was with me. I would ask Him for hugs and could feel the wind of God, flooding my body. He told me “Jen, I am your family” God the father, Son, and the Holy Spirit is my family now.
In this season, God is fathering me ( guiding and equipping me about steps to take on this journey). I need father God and His love to pour into me. For you, you may need the Holy Spirit or Jesus.
Whatever you do, ask the Lord to show up in your life as a present help, father, and lover of your soul.
5. Accept the grieving process and go at your own pace
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to danceEcclesiastes 3:1-4
There is a season for your grieving process. This too shall pass away…
As the scripture says, there is a time for everything to occur in your life. Move at the pace of the season that you are in. When seasons change, you can sense the shift in the environment, with the leaves falling to bring room to the blossoming of flowers and luscious green leaves. In spring, there is also a fresh ocean breeze in the air and many people are outdoors to soak up the sun and wonderful weather.
There are several things that I noticed in the above scripture. In life, before you are able to transition to something new, death has to occur. The old has to pass away to give way to birthing, uprooting, healing, building, laughing, and dancing.
Right now it is important to ask yourself, what season am I in right now? The order can change depending on your relationship with the Lord and your parents.
Birthing and manifesting the vision that God placed inside of you for the world to see. He wants the plans that He has for you to come to FULL fruition.
God removes from the ground of your heart, weeds that were choking up your spiritual growth. He then empowers you to recognize distractions or any old wounds with the power of the Holy Spirit.
You start to heal in many areas that were neglected by your parents. God heals and restores places in your heart that needs to be nurtured deeply.
You start to build a life with God. He shows you the blueprint and you are able to build according to His plans and purposes for your life.
No more mourning or grieving. You realize that God received the glory from your grieving. He collected all of your tears and turned all of your ashes into beauty. You are fully joyful in the presence of the Lord.
This is dancing with Jesus and walking in the flow of the Holy Spirit. There is a holy union happening in this stage.