Losing a parent at a young age

My dad died a few days ago. I am only 22 and have never experienced such a loss before. I find that my emotions fluctuate a lot and I end up just walking around the house feeling lost. I am terrified for the future because he won’t be there for big life events or family events which is going to be so strange.

The strangest thing is that I don’t feel too sad about his death because he was in a lot of pain and suffering before he died, and he went as peacefully as he could. However, the lack of his presence feels wrong and the knowledge that we will never be able to share special moments or memories together is extremely sad.

Some moments are starting to feel normal again such as watching TV and reading, and going about daily tasks, but doing big things like working and exercising are a huge struggle and feel wrong. So, I feel like I am stuck in limbo not knowing what I can and can’t do, and what will set me off, or how to feel. Some moments I feel incredibly upset, but others I feel like life is normal. Currently, I feel lost, and find myself walking around on autopilot, and I keep coming across things of his around the house and it reminds me of all of the memories we shared which is beautiful, but really hard to emotionally navigate.

His death was very sudden as he was only diagnosed 2 months ago with stage 4 colon cancer, and in that time went downhill very quickly. This short time makes grieving harder because I am still in disbelief, and it feels like its not real.

One of the hardest parts is dealing with the small things that you don’t think about straight away such as seeing things of his around. His food that he bought was still in the fridge, and his gloves were still sat by the phone. All of these things just remind me of how quick it all happened and how healthy he was 3 months ago.

I miss him so much. For 22 years, he was always there every day, and now suddenly he is gone. Unless I go into his bedroom and see that he is not there, I cannot believe it or comprehend that he is gone. Without seeing his empty room, I still feel like he is in the house. I am constantly thinking of all of the memories we shared and I am finding it hard to distract myself and think of anything else.

No one prepares you to lose a parent so young so any advice from people who may have gone through the same thing would be very much appreciated. I just feel like I have so much time in life left and the thought that he won’t be there scares me.


Dear @Ajc9753, reading this is heartbreaking, I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my Dad when I was 16, many years ago, a life time ago, and it was very difficult. I have my memories from quite a young age and over the years have often talked to my children about the grandad they never knew.
You are likely to be in shock still, please look after yourself and seek support from friends/family if you can. I am sure there are people in this community who will offer advice and support. Xx

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Hey @Ajc9753, my dad passed away when i was 29 and mum a year later so when i was reading your message it brought back a lot of sad memories. With mum especialy becuase she also passed away with cancer which she didnt tell us about, I was pregnant at the time and living in another country so I guess she didnt want to worry me. I only found out she had cancer after she died when my son was 2 months old, she never got to meet him. He is now almost two and I think about my mum every night when I put him to bed. But what ive learned and what my therapist said a while back is what grieving comes in waves, one day youre fine, the next day you think of something that triggers a memory and you cant help but cry. The best thing i found is not to fight the grief but accept that some days would be better and some might be worse and roll with it. Allow yourself to grieve, when you next feel overwhelmed or lost say to your self “im grieving”, naming it helps at least thats what i found. And there is no time limit for that either, you can still find yourself crying sometimes a year or 2 years later and there is nothing wrong with that, you can grieve for a long as you need to grieve. Sending you my love :heart:


Hi, I’m so sorry for your loss and the quick pace of his illness has shocked you and left you devastated at the same time.
I lost my husband last year and our children were teenagers.
Grief makes you disoriented and like other people say you will have waves of feelings and not so good days and better days. Do not be too harsh on yourself and ask for support, take time off work to process what has happened and ask for counselling if you think that it may help you.
Some things will remind you of your dad and comfort you and others will upset you. My suggestion is to move (or ask someone else to) the upsetting things out of sight so that you know where they are if you need them and focus on the things that comfort you- these are different for everyone.
My daughter took a lot of comfort from looking at photos but my son couldn’t do that. She cannot listen to songs that remind her of him though. You may find writing things down helps to order your thoughts and give you focus.
In time you may move things around. That is you dealing with what you need now and not a reflection against your dad. There is no rush to “sort things out” if you want to keep things do that and if you don’t then pass them on. For example, I sorted out my husbands suits because they had no meaning for me but kept all his shirts because I remember him wearing them, please be patient with yourself x take care, Bev

hello @Ajc9753
I get how you are feeling i am 22 as well and lost my dad i recently found this page and all the stuff you are saying is the same as me, My dad passed away a week before my 22nd birthday . it is the little things that you see it does make you think of the memories . Sending you so much love and hugs I hope i can help in anyway . Most of the time I sit and look at some photos of me and my dad .
I Don’t know if its just me but i find comfort writing letters to my dad take it a day at a time that’s what ive been told and it helps

Take care Chloe/Cloe x

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