Photo Credit: Rifka Schonfeld

Accept the reality of the loss. Sitting shiva, while difficult and taxing, is the beginning of the grief process. Shiva forces you to speak about your parent with others and memorialize him or her. This speaking of a parent in past tense and sharing your pain with multiple people is tremendously helpful in recognizing your loss.

Work through pain and grief. This step is extremely broad because there is no right way to work through pain and grief. In addition, people feel a variety of emotions: sadness, fear, loneliness, despair, helplessness, anger, guilt, shame, relief and countless other emotions. Thus, there is no specific way to work through these varying emotions. However, the most important thing is not to deny or avoid those feelings. Acknowledging those feelings and finding ways to talk about or work through them in others ways is extremely important in moving forward.


Adjust to environment without the deceased. It might take a while to realize all the different ways that your parent influenced your life. As you encounter the holes that the loss of a parent has left you with, you need to adjust your lifestyle either physically, emotionally, or spiritually to fill that void in some way.

Find an enduring connection with the deceased while embarking on a new life. It’s impossible to completely get rid of the grief you feel when you lose a parent, but it is possible to end the mourning process. The process can end when you find a way to consistently and meaningfully incorporate your parent’s influence into your life, while still moving forward into past and present relationships.

The examples I provided above are all very different. Some represent beginnings and possibilities, while others represent loss and reinvention. Whatever the change, it is often hard. But, it’s helpful to realize that change is a part of life and if you know how to move forward, you can ultimately grow from it.


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An acclaimed educator and social skills ​specialist​, Mrs. Rifka Schonfeld has served the Jewish community for close to thirty years. She founded and directs the widely acclaimed educational program, SOS, servicing all grade levels in secular as well as Hebrew studies. A kriah and reading specialist, she has given dynamic workshops and has set up reading labs in many schools. In addition, she offers evaluations G.E.D. preparation, social skills training and shidduch coaching, focusing on building self-esteem and self-awareness. She can be reached at 718-382-5437 or at [email protected].