Five Things I’ve learned from losing both parents by Barbara O'Donnell.

By Barbara O’Donnell

By Barbara O’Donnell

1. You can add thickener to whiskey - the taste comes through. Dad loved a whiskey and to be able to give him a taste, despite his medical condition, made everything a bit more normal for a few moments.

2. When offering condolences, it is best not to tell the bereaved person that you know exactly what they are going through. You don’t. Each loss is unique. There is overlap in all bereavements, but each individual experiences it differently. The five stages of grief are not linear.

3. When your second parent dies, it can unearth all the grief you felt from losing the first one. It can be like losing the first one all over again.

4. One night in a good hotel room, with a hot bath, comfy bed and room service, may be the most soothing and important thing you can do for yourself. 

5. Every act of kindness, no matter how small, given to the dying, soon-to-be-bereaved and bereaved, is appreciated and will be remembered for a very long time.

Barbara O'Donnell

About Barbara O’Donnell
Barbara O'Donnell is a Senior Operating Department Practitioner with 25 years experience in the NHS. In her spare time, she is also a poet working towards her first collection. She tweets at