Grief and the Death of an Elderly Loved One

By: Matthew Funeral Home
Thursday, June 25, 2020


Grief affects us all differently, especially when the one we lost was a huge part of our lives. After the loss of an elderly individual, grief can be a strange thing. On one hand they lived a full life; but on the other, there is a void in your heart where they have been for your whole life. Many people feel this way when they lose elderly parents or grandparents. This article will discuss how grief can be conflicting after the loss of an elderly loved one.

Suffering in Old Age

Many elderly people deal with a lot of pain and health issues in their final months, or even years. Getting old is not an easy process. It may be hard to come to terms with; but many old people suffer from a lot of chronic problems in their final years. It can be difficult to watch your loved one struggle with their diminishing mental or physical wellbeing.

People Often Minimize Elderly Grief

It can be sad to say, but people often diminish feelings of grief when it comes to the elderly. This is not done on purpose, but it is common for people to try to comfort those in mourning by minimizing their loss. It may sound comforting to tell someone “At least they lived a long life,” but that doesn’t make the loss hurt any less. A long life lost means that those closest to them probably had a lifetime of fond memories with them. Even if they died peacefully, saying that “it was their time” doesn’t negate feelings of loss. 

Parents and Grandparents

It can be devastating to lose a parent or grandparent, at any age. If they were your only parent, you may feel lost and alone. You may also have to deal with your children experiencing the loss of their grandparent. A family losing its matriarch or patriarch can mean a lot of change in the coming years. This is often manifested in the changing of traditions, and feeling the loss even more when the holidays come around. For many families, the elders are the glue that holds them together; and makes sure that everyone stays in touch.

You Were Close in Age

The older you get, the more alone you may feel. Friends and family throughout the years may have passed away. Grief can weigh heavily on those of an advanced age, especially when the one who passed away was close in age to you. Many elderly individuals suffer from what is known as cumulative grief; where the feelings of loss throughout their years begins to weigh even more heavily on them. 

The author of this post is not a professional therapist or counselor. For assistance in finding a grief counselor that is right for you, there are a number of resources out there. For our Grief Resource Center, written by Dr. Bill Webster, click here.  
For almost 50 years, Matthew Funeral Home has been serving the Staten Island community. We can help with almost every aspect of your loved one’s memorial service. Our family is here to serve yours, every step of the way.

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