Coping with the Loss of My Dad as a Student

I’ve searched high and low for a forum like this where I could find others who would understand these intense feelings of pain and grief as I feel particularly unsupported in my university house right now. The other young people I live with do not understand the pain I’m in and do not make the effort to comfort me.

Living as a university student in the middle of a pandemic has made the loss of my father much harder than one could ever have known. I moved from America to the UK when I was twelve due to my parents divorce and my dad stayed in America. Just about three weeks ago now he was rushed into the ICU in critical condition. He passed away after 14 days in the hospital in an induced coma.

Being on the other side of the pond during the pandemic meant I couldn’t go visit. I didn’t get to say my last goodbyes properly, only through a phone left on speaker next to his bed. The time I saw my father in person was November of 2019.

I’m finding it hard to grapple with my dad’s passing as it happened as if a story was being told. I never got a chance to process what was happening as it was all described to me in phone call updates late at night given the time difference.

How do I carry on?

I’m so sorry to hear about your dad and your situation. When I lost my dad I had similar thoughts about how to go on but everything my dad did was for our family so during the dark moments I think about what my dad would tell me or what he would want for me and I try to focus on that.

Most Universities have really good counselling support. I’m sure they will be doing sessions online. I found counselling really helped and provided me with a space to understand my feelings and thoughts. I’d highly recommend getting in touch with support at your Uni.

Grief is so personal and I found that people around me often didn’t act the way I wanted them to but looking back I think I was desperately wanting some kind of comfort or for someone to say something that would make everything better but really only time heals and you will come through this. Be kind to yourself. Some days will be tough but they will get better.

Thoughts are with you.

Thanks for your lovely response. I’ve been in touch with uni and arranged a counselling session over zoom, so hope this will help me.

I think my initial approach to my dad’s death was to take control in all the other parts of my life that I still could manage like uni work and keeping busy with friends and relationships. It seems like this way of coping has caught up with me a bit and I need to step back and go easy on myself.

Definitely finding it hard to be around people my age who haven’t experienced these feelings, but luckily I’m headed back home tomorrow.

Your kind words mean the most and I’m happy to have found somewhere where we can all support one another


Glad to hear you’ve booked some counselling and are heading home. I think I tried to carry on with life as normal but life is different after losing a parent and it sounds like you need time to process things and grieve with your family who will better understand how you’re feeling. It’ll probably be good too to talk to others who knew your dad and I hope that you’ll find some comfort in that.

Take good care of yourself and do what you need to do. It’s completely ok to be selfish right now and look after yourself. There will be many rocky days but in my experience those days will become less. You won’t stop grieving but you will learn to live with it. It’ll be 5 years this year since my dad died and I miss him terribly. I still have wobbly days, probably always will but it’s ok. It does get easier.


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Dear GraceL

I am so sorry at your loss. I know our children - a bit older than yourself - are struggling with the sudden loss of their dad.

I note that you have already been in contact with Uni. Can I suggest you speak with one of your academic tutors to see what other support is available to you in terms of course work and submitting assignments.

Bluebell is right you need time to talk to others who knew your dad.

Take care