An Open Letter to Every Kid Who Has Lost a Parent

Originally posted by The Odyssey Online. Written by Lauren Seago

Written by Lauren Seago, reposted with her kind permission. Originally appeared on The Odyssey

A letter to tackle different aspects of losing a parent.

Dear Sweet Child,

First off, I just wanted to start by saying you are strong, even when it feels like the world is crumbling beneath your feet.

Secondly, I wanted to say how sorry I am for the loss of your parent in your most crucial years of needing love and words of encouragement. A piece of your world was stripped away from you, and that will never be replaced. Which I know personally, stings so deep.

As you continue to grow throughout your life, I wanted to address some aspects that I have learned on my own are not the easiest to conquer; that in most cases people do not understand.

1. It’s okay to cry, on the real: Forget those people who tell you crying is for the weak. You go ahead and cry; you probably need it.

2.Every holiday is like ripping a Band-Aid off over and over: Your family will laugh about memories from the past when everyone was all together. Reminiscing what your parent was like, their favorite desserts, or how they would laugh a certain way. With a smile plastered across your face, you’ll nod as family members tell you stories and you’ll think about what you would give to have them there with you.

3. Graduating, moving away to college, first date, first real job, any big event will cause a sting of pain: In the moment, you are so happy and excited as these new chapters open up. But later on, once alone, you think about how awesome it would be to have them carrying boxes into your dorm room, questioning your first date, looking out into the crowd at graduation, and seeing them with a camera recording you with a thumbs up. You’ll get chills as you think about how different life would be with them around.

4. You question everything and ask over and over why?: Whether it was a natural cause of death or some accident, you question everything you know and what you believe in (if you believe in anything). You will replay moments in your head questioning your actions asking what if? But if anything, the re-occuring question is why? An answer that is one to be continued.

5. You will be jealous of kids who have both their parents: You will see kids who have both parents and something inside you will stir; a sense of resentment. Because at one time; that was you and the world wasn’t perfect but it was lovely and everything you knew was great.

6. Watching your other parent heal is one of the hardest things you will ever watch: Though extremely challenging and frustrating at times, watching your parent cry to the point of exhaustion will be really hard, but the grieving process does get easier. So hang onto that small nugget of gold.

7. Family traditions will never be the same: Summers of camping and spending endless days on the water, baking rum cakes together, Saturday mornings spent watching cartoons just become a memory that you hold so close to your heart.

8. You become extremely protective of your siblings and whoever makes fun of them for losing a parent: No one messes with your squad but especially when someone brings up how you lost your parent; you go into protective mode. Just remember to breathe and walk in love. Kill ’em with kindness.

9. Heartbreaks hurt just as much, if not more: You will want that one parent to embrace you in their arms with snot running down your nose and tears streaming. You will just want to hear them say, You’ll be all right, kid. I love you and that’s all you need.”

10. The word “sorry” becomes numb to you: People don’t know your story and openly they don’t know what to do besides say sorry. After awhile, you smirk and softly whisper, “Thanks.” The word sorry no longer has meaning after you have heard it over a million times.

11. Pictures and old family videos are possibly one of God’s greatest gift to you: One day you will come across a tub filled with pictures, and as you sit on the basement floor looking through them, you’ll start to cry. Your mind will take you back to that exact moment and right there alone on the cold floor, you encounter a special moment of what life was like then.

12. Death will change you and your outlook on life: Seemingly the small stuff isn’t so bad anymore. You stop complaining and you really take a check of what is important in your life.

13. You wonder if they’re proud of you: When no one was looking and you did the right thing, or when you ace that test you studied so hard for. You stop to think I wonder

14. Hearing old stories from relatives and friends is a great thing: Shocked and trying not to laugh, you can’t believe what your uncle just told you about the one night they all snuck out and crashed a car. These stories will warm your heart, take the time to listen to them.

15. Lastly, you grow in ways you never thought possible: There will be moments where your whole family will be together and you’ll think to yourself how in a weird way everyone has a quirk of that parent. Then looking at your own heart, you realize how much you’ve grown.

As you continue to grow, just remember wherever you are in life, that parent is right there with you, cheering you on and flashing you thumbs up as you graduate throughout the stages of life.

All my love and tears,

A girl who lost her dad

Lauren E. Seago in 500 Words On on Aug 19, 2015

Authored by Lauren Seago

Author’s photo (Lauren Seago)

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Family Lives On is tremendously grateful to Lauren Seago for her kind permission to repost this blog in it’s entirety. Follow Lauren on Twitter at @llaureneunice

Family Lives On Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The Tradition Program is entirely funded through charitable donations.  If you would like to help support the grieving children and families we serve, please donate here. To learn more about the Tradition Program, please use this link.


204 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Every Kid Who Has Lost a Parent

  1. This is beautiful. I lost my dad to a sudden cancer about a year and a half ago while I was a junior in college. Thank you for sharing this.

  2. I lost my mom 2 years a go on 02/16/2014. I am 43 years old every day I moss her more then yesterday. As you grow as a mom you miss her more and more.some time I just wanted to hear that she is happy where is she.and I want her to know I miss her.

    • I lost my mom @ 23yrs old Im 38 now I feel same way …i want to have dreams of her letting me know shes ok & that shes proud of me! Xoxo

  3. What a wonderful article that I shared with my 2 boys that lost their dad and little brother in a car accident 4 years ago. My boys were 12 and 10yrs of age at the time. it has been extremely hard and very challenging at times to deal with my own grief and help them get through theirs

  4. As a remaining parent, I would like to say this is wonderfully expressed.

    After 4 years I don’t think of it every single day, but I will always think of our family, often at the oddest times, and start to cry but then remember what my children have become and are becoming, and how they embody and give life to their other mom.

  5. I lost my mom at 22 and having my first daughter who was turning 2. I am now almost 40. and still struggle with all things mentioned. I still miss her painfully ..though less often. I always wonder if she sees me and is proud of me and how I am raising my girls. I hear some stories or find new pictures and it is like when the Goonies found the treasure. I started to hate the word sorry….it only causes negative feelings. The death of old friends and family or neighbors…it doesn’t bother much ..I already lost the hardest one to loose (besides my kids). So many things just aren’t a big deal now.

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  7. Thank you for writing this. As a terminally ill (hopefully not) father I worry about how my kids will do when (if) I pass. The pain of the loss for the kids is felt by the one who dies as well.

  8. Thank you so much for this. I lost my dad 6 days before my 12th birthday, and as I am now a senior in high school, about to graduate in just a few short months, this was amazing for me to read. Thanks.

    • I lost my mom 10 years ago when I was 7. In the 10 years since she has been gone no one has truly understood or been able to say the right things to comfort me. I recently read your article today, and it was the first time I felt like someone understood me and I wasn’t alone. I could relate to every part of your article, it truly touched me. I’m graduating in 4 months and it’s been really hard for me to accept that she won’t be there, finding your article today has showed me that it will all be okay without her with me anymore. Thank you for sharing that.

  9. I lost my mom 10 years ago when I was 7. In the 10 years since she has been gone no one has truly understood or been able to say the right things to comfort me. I recently read your article today, and it was the first time I felt like someone understood me and I wasn’t alone. I could relate to every part of your article, it truly touched me. I’m graduating in 4 months and it’s been really hard for me to accept that she won’t be there, finding your article today has showed me that it will all be okay without her with me anymore. Thank you for sharing that.

  10. My dad passed away in still feels like it just happened…the same with my brother april 4 1991. Is when we lost him..and no it dont get better or easier. .you just adjust to living with pictures and memories. Always looking for them knowing they are gone..its something you try to do alone..and its really hard but you can do it…because i do daily…

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  12. Amazing story ! I lost my father last September and this story touches my heart in so many ways. People are correct when they say it never gets better , you just learn to deal with life a different way. You will always have this emptiness inside and you can never fill in. So , when you want to cry … let it out …. Scream if you have to. I have a total different outlook on life now and I’ve learned to show and tell everyone you love that you care.

  13. My daddy died because he got ran over and 2 other men did too,I am 12 and miss my daddy very much I can’t even think about how much I miss my daddy. He was my hero and was the best daddy ever he helped me with softball all the time I love him for everything that he did for us before he passed away. He passed away April 2,2015 every night,day,second,minute, hour I think of you I wish you were here today so you could help me. Although you are gone but still in my mind I know that you help me through every single day and not gitting hurt. I told my momma yesterday 5/10/16 that I just wanted to hear you again and hug you and squeeze you for ever and ever. The day that you died I hope it was just a prank but it was all true. When I’m feeling down I know your there with me holding my hand and encouraging me to stand up and shake it off. While I’m crying here tipping this I’m thinking that you have always told me every one will go and you will see them again I love❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ u dearly daddy and can’t wait to see you again 👼🏻👼🏻👼🏻👼🏻😘😘😘😘✝✝✝😢😢😢

  14. For years I felt alone, that no one understood what I was going through. My grief was so immense. I had lost my parents to a car accident at the age of three. I am the youngest of 7 children. The oldest was 17 at the time. My parents death devastated our family. It split us up into different homes when we needed to hold each other the most. Their passing devastated their own siblings lives, having to look after 7 brokenhearted children between two families. No one talked about how they coped with the impact of their death, because everyone’s emotions were so fragile, as if someone would break. I just wanted to be back in the arms of my mother, safe, to cry and grieve and be protected by my father. It never happened, they were gone. I too became afraid to talk about my parents for many years, for fear of upsetting any of my family. It is only in recent years, I have learned to grieve, cry, smile and be proud of my parents for all they achieved in their short lives. They have 7 children, now adults who are all in happy relationships, have jobs, children and grandchildren of their own. My parents before they passed, each had their own business and worked hard to provide for their children. All of their children work hard for what they have today. It wasn’t an ease start to my life or my siblings, but I have learned so much. I have become strong emotionally and grateful for all things I achieved, worked hard to have for my daughter, so she would have a better start in life than I did. Most importantly, I learnt to love, without fear of someone i love dying. I have learnt to live, understand my grief and the impact of a parents death had on me and my family. I will never forget, or stop living so my parents can be proud of me as I am proud of them.
    Thank you to Lauren Seago for helping me know I am not alone in my grief, with your letter. Thank you all other orphaned or half orphaned children or adults for sharing your grief, inspiration, courage, wisdom, love and kindness and more importantly, your understanding. I know I am not alone anymore.

  15. Yes, it is sad losing a parent, but it is worse if you lose your child. Parents are not suppose to outlive their kids, but we all know this happens. Prayers also going to the parents that this has happened to.

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