“Ask a Priest: How Can I Deal With the Loss of My Parents?”

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Q: My lovely old father died in January, my mother years before. I lived with them all my life. Their total absence is awful. They were great parents and friends to me. People tell me things such as “Treasure the memories.” The memories are what makes the pain worse. I have prayed just for one second to feel God or my parents even in a dream, to let me know I should be happy and to get some relief from grief. It has made me reflect; I have thought my faith was stronger than it must be. Any advice would be welcome. – B.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: Please accept my condolences on the passing of your dad and mom. It must indeed be painful to have lost such loving parents.

While the pain of such loss might linger for a long time, you can continue to show your love for them by praying for them, having Masses said for them, and praying for a happy reunion in heaven someday.

You mentioned that this situation has made you wonder whether your faith is as strong as you thought.

The heavy cross of losing your parents could indeed be showing you where you need to pray more for the gifts of faith and hope.

Our hope as Christians is based on Christ. It cannot be based on anyone or anything in this world.

This might be a good moment to intensify your life of piety, including daily Mass when possible, praying the Liturgy of the Hours.

And see if you can dedicate yourself to volunteer work for the Church. By helping others, you not only live your mission to evangelize and do acts of charity. You might also find a way to ease your loneliness.

Feeling the loss of loved ones can help to detach more from the world and to focus more on Our Lord. This doesn’t contradict the advice of doing volunteer work. Helping others can lead us closer to Christ, the true source of happiness.

One other suggestion: It might be good to see if there is a bereavement ministry at your parish. That could be a venue where you will feel God’s closeness more readily.

Count on my prayers for you and your parents.


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