We expect to outlive our parents, but we still struggle with grief. Take this quiz to learn about dealing with the loss of a parent. Put an “x” next to one answer for each question.

1. Losing a parent suddenly is worse than losing a parent after a long illness.
__Strongly Agree __Agree __Neutral __Disagree __Strongly Disagree

2. If your parent dies before you have made peace with her or him, it is not too late to mend things.
__Strongly Agree __Agree __Neutral __Disagree __Strongly Disagree

3. Usually, you should not discuss the nature of the ailing parent’s illness in front of him or her.
__Strongly Agree __Agree __Neutral __Disagree __Strongly Disagree

4. Having had a good relationship with the deceased parent can make grief easy.
__Strongly Agree __Agree __Neutral __Disagree __Strongly Disagree

5. If your surviving parent develops a serious relationship after a little over a year, it doesn’t mean that he or she did not love the other parent.
__Strongly Agree __Agree __Neutral __Disagree __Strongly Disagree

Scoring and Explanation

1. It doesn’t matter whether the death of a parent is expected or sudden. Grief is a highly individualized experience. The ages of the parent and the surviving children, cause of death and the happiness of the parent-child relationship affect our reactions. Longer term illnesses allow the ill parent and the children to resolve important issues, but all deaths of parent make us struggle to make sense of loss and fairness. Five points for Strongly Disagree, Four Disagree, Three Neutral, Two Agree and One Strongly Agree. Read Explanations 2 and 4 to learn more.

2. It is usually easier to discuss unresolved issues while the parent is still alive. If you have already lost your parent, you can still make emotional peace by writing them the letter you always wanted, enacting imagined conversations and talking to other family members about your feelings. Five points for Strongly Agree, Four Agree, Three Neutral, Two Disagree, One Strongly Disagree. See Explanation 1, 3 and 4 for more help.

3. Usually, it is best to keep all discussions open. Keeping illnesses a secret robs everyone of resolving old issues and saying last thoughts and requests. Some families might need to modify their discussions if the parent has limited abilities to understand or cope due to issues such as mental illness or Alzheimer’s. Five points for Strongly Disagree, Four Disagree, Three Neutral, Two Agree, One Strongly Agree. Read the explanations to 1, 2 and 4 for related ideas.

4. There’s no way around it—grief is unpleasant. Feelings of guilt, confusion, anxiety and anger can accompany bereavement. A good relationship with that parent can lessen guilt but increase anger and confusion about unfairness, especially if the parent died young or accidentally. Five points for Strongly Disagree, Four Disagree, Three Neutral, Two Agree, One Strongly Agree.

5. Just because your parent has fallen in love again, it doesn’t necessarily mean your parents’ marriage was bad. Older surviving men who have relationships tend to begin them at about six months while older surviving women around ten months or longer. Previously happily married people take a little longer to get romantically involved, and many have agreed that life should go on. In general, be supportive. Five points for Strongly Agree, Four Agree, Three Neutral, Two Disagree, One Strongly Disagree. Read all the explanations to learn about loss of a parent in general.

23-25 You’re informed—and maybe grieving will be slightly less confusing.
20-22 You’re getting smarter. Learn about your key issues.
15-21 You’ve been doing some thinking. Learn more.
14- 5 Prepare yourself and read some more about grief.

This article first appeared in www.w2wlink.coms

Author's Bio: 

Dr.LeslieBeth Wish, EdD, MSS, MA
Psychologist and Social Worker
www.lovevictory.com dr.l.b.wish@comcast.net
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I am a psychologist and social worker, nationally recognized for my work with women's relationship and career issues and my work with soldiers and their families. I am a regular feature contributor to major self-help sites such as www.helpstartshere.org, the award-winning consumer site for the National Association of Social Workers; www.networkabundance.com; a major multi-media company; www.w2wlink.com, the premier web community for professional women and www.selfgrowth.com, Yahoo and Google's number one self improvement site, where I am the family expert.
My expert advice is frequently quoted in many major newspapers, magazines and websites such as The Washington Post, Women's Health, US Weekly, More, VivMag, Better Homes and Gardens, Star Ledger and Hartford Courant. I am a speaker for non-profit, corporate and university organizations. I offer sound, research-based relationship advice that makes sense -- specializing in issues such as smart dating, women's relationship advice, career coaching, families, post-traumatic stress, sexual dysfunction, and leadership training. I also serve as the Co-Director of The Counseling Network of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. The Network offers free counseling for grief, post-traumatic stress and family and children needs for military families and veterans.

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