My Childhood Blocks Me from Grieving


My father suddenly passed away nine years ago, and my mother died in January after suffering from cancer. I am 29 years old.

Since then, I have realized that I experienced neglect in my childhood. I used to see a psychologist (I don’t anymore) to process my mother’s death and to talk about my childhood. I am in the process of accepting my childhood now and that my parents did the best they could. But it’s difficult, and I feel stuck. The worst part is that it blocks me from grieving my mother, even though she was the one I loved most, and we had a good relationship.

What should I do?


Dear 29-Year-Old,

I understand how difficult it must be to figure out the best course of action.

You mentioned losing both your father and mother and realizing that you experienced neglect during your childhood. That’s a lot of grief to carry, especially at the age of 29.

It’s good and brave of you to seek help by going to a psychologist. It sounds like you have already gained a lot from it. You write that you are in the process of accepting that your parents did the best they could, but it also blocks you from grieving your mother. I can understand that. Can one grieve the loss of a mother they loved while also being deeply sad or angry about past experiences?

I lost my husband four years ago. I don’t know what it’s like to experience the neglect you wrote about, but I do know what it’s like to reflect on everything that happened. Your letter makes me think of how difficult it was when my husband died to accept that it was definitively over, that it just ended without me having said everything I still had to say, or without us doing everything we still wanted to do.

You are very welcome to write again to the Advice Column or attend a Café Meeting. See below.

Warm regards,

one of the volunteers

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