It shouldn't happen … but sometimes it does. You just don't expect to lose a parent when you're still young. It's one of the worst things that could ever happen to you, and your life will never be the same again. It's so hard to deal with this awful, unexpected loss and know that you'll never see them again. There's no fixed way to deal with losing a parent at any time, let alone when you're so much younger than you expected to be. But if you find yourself in this awful position, this may help …
1. There's No Timetable
There is no fixed timetable for dealing with the loss of a parent. You can't say that you'll feel better after three months, six months, two years … You have to let the grief take its course. Nobody has the right to tell you how you should react and when you should feel better. And most of all they shouldn't tell you to "get over it". How can you get over losing someone you love?
2. Talk to a Counsellor
When you feel like talking, there is help out there to help you deal with your loss. Your school will have counsellors that you can talk to in confidence, and your teachers will also be willing to help. You may also find it helpful to talk to people online that are trained to help, and join forums where you can talk to other bereaved young people. If you attend a church, your minister can also help.
3. You May Feel Many Different Emotions
Bereavement may mean that you feel all kinds of emotions. You may feel angry that your parent's gone, be afraid of something happening to someone else in your family, or blame others for what happened. Or you may feel guilty and think that it's somehow your fault. These emotions are normal, but you should never feel that you are responsible.
4. Find Comfort Where You Can
Little things can help you feel just that bit better, such as wearing your dad's sweater or sleeping with your mom's perfume on your pillow. Do whatever helps you, however silly it may seem. If it helps you, then it's ok. Even if it seems a childish thing to do, it's fine.
5. Celebrate Their Life
Some people feel better if they celebrate the life of their loved one, instead of mourning their death. Or you can do both. It's your choice how you deal with your loss. Celebrating someone's life can be very positive though, as it reminds you of the wonderful things about them and of the many happy memories you have of them. Some ways of doing this are to make a video or photo collage, raise money in their memory, or simply tell each other the funny stories you remember about them.
6. They'll Always Be with You
It sucks so much that your mom or dad is no longer with you. But although their physical body has gone, their memory will always be there with you. You're not going to forget them and how much they loved you. They're a part of you, and you'll always love them and remember them.
7. Everybody Feels the Loss
When you lose a parent, it's easy to get wrapped up in your own grief and forget that other people are suffering too. Your mom or dad, brothers and sisters, and other family and friends have also lost someone important. People may say things they didn't mean; it's the grief talking. Console each other and talk about your feelings.
If you're in a country not listed below, there will still be a lot of useful information on these pages. This is just a start - there are many more organisations and groups, both national and local.
For military families:
Different cultural traditions griefspeaks.com