Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Mrs. Bluth,

Recently, you had printed a letter from someone going through belated and deep mourning over the loss of a parent. It touched me deeply because I too, find myself in this same state. My father, a”h, passed away almost fifteen years ago, and I went through a heavy mourning period that lasted almost a full year. I had to do great battle to keep it private so I could be an uplifting and positive force to help my mother cope and get through this most difficult time, so tears and heavy heart were cast aside or left for those times I dealt with it alone.


My mother passed away two years ago, and since the time of her petirah, I have not emerged from my state of mourning and sense of deep loss. I feel disjointed as if I am floating and not in full control of my body. I am so lost and constantly talk to my mother in my head, but there is no answer back and then the tears come. My siblings worry that I’m losing my mind… and maybe I am, but I was always there to care for my parents and was extremely close and devoted to my mother, the spinster daughter who was always there for them and all family members. Now, no one is there for me and cannot understand how deeply I hurt. No one thinks to invite me and spend some time with me so their company would help me get back to myself and find my place back into the world of the living. At 46 years of age, I feel more dead than alive and don’t know how to save myself. Please help me!


Dear Friend,

I truly feel your pain! To lose a parent, not to mention both parents, is a terrible blow to one sense of identity and security. No matter at what age the loss occurs, or how old or young the children left behind are, we suddenly are thrown from being loved and adored by our parents to the terribly lonely and empty state of orphanhood. We are broken and bleeding and for a long time we may be inconsolable. However, with the passing of time and the love and understanding of an insular, loving and compassionate extended family and network of close friends, a day does come when the pain gets lighter, the ability to smile and even laugh returns and the recall of memories spent with the departed loved ones, be they parents or dear friends, can be spoken of without tears and deep sadness. The length of time associated with mourning varies and is different with every person, but the expected period of mourning after loss is a general 12-18 months maximum. Past that point, it may well seep into a depression from which return to normal life and function pose a greater risk of ones own personal ability to recoup on their own and will require the help of a therapist to guide a person back on track.

Your issue, as I see it, is a bit more complex in that you do not have that extended family and close friend support system that is vital at such a time of deep grieving. I am saddened that your siblings, rather than just brushing you off and worrying that ‘you are losing your mind’ can’t see your need for their support and care enough to help you past your grief. It seems that they have regrouped well because you provided the care and supportive love to your elderly parents. Your relationship with your parents went much deeper, so when they passed you experienced a far greater sense of loss compounded by the feelings of uselessness which caused you to question your own self-worth now that you had no one to care for so what was your purpose in being?

Take heart dear friend, you are a noble and wonderful person who has devoted herself to the care of her parents above her own needs. It is time to look after yourself now and to make a life for yourself. You’ve earned it and I’m sure your departed parents will be working from on high to see to it that you succeed. Two years is way to long to mourn, it’s time to return to life and do homage to your parents by living the best life you can. Should you need to talk, get in touch with me, and after our chat, if you don’t feel better, I have a few numbers I can give you to some fine people who, I’m sure, can make it happen.


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