When you lose a parent no matter at what age, it's going to cause a ton of different emotions and grief is probably the toughest one to deal with, after all you've just lost your Mom or your Dad. And if you were particularly close the grief is even harder. In our own grief however; we need to step back and understand that your parent who survives is suffering too. You need to understand that they not only lost a loved one but their partner for life, their soul mate, their spouse and they need your help to get through this devastating loss in their life.
When you lose a parent, spouse or child it is probably one of the biggest emotional traumas anyone is going to experience in their entire life and grief is probably the most difficult emotion that a person will ever have to contend with. The reason for this is that no matter how hard you try you will never be able to completely get over this loss. No matter how hard you try somewhere in the back of your mind it's always going to be there. So it is important that you learn to move on despite the pain of grief.
During this process you need to also understand that you are not grieving alone and that your parent who is left alone now is going through the same thing if not worse. You need to remember that as you were growing up and when you needed your parents, they were there for you. They were your rocks to cling onto and they sacrificed a lot for you and your well being.
It is now time for you to step up in a difficult time like this and give back the favor to your surviving parent. It is actually your duty as loving and responsible adult children to make sure that you show love, give support and help them to be able to cope. It's important that you help them to realize that they still have a purpose on this earth and that they can still enjoy life despite the loss they have experienced.
More than likely you have a busy life and don't have much time to be spreading around. But in times like these you need to try and make time to be there for your parent. This doesn't mean to stop in the middle of a work day and call them on the phone to just check in with them. No, this means during this time of grief you need to go see your parent. You need to take time out of your schedule to actually spend some time to listen to them. You need to be there for them to release the many emotions they will be feeling. Make sure that you let them say what they want, go a head and let them remember the good times and the bad. Simply allow them the chance to say what they feel.
If you live near your parent you need to see if there are things that you can do for them. Generally each spouse through the years had their own duties that they performed and you might be able to help by doing some of the things that Mom or Dad did when they were alive. If you can't do it then consider finding someone who can do it for them. Another good thing to do is to try and help your parent to learn to do some of the things their spouse did so that they can become more self-sufficient.
Be encouraging and try to convince your parent that they can't be alone and they need to stay in touch with their friends and even try to meet new friends. Encourage them to get involved in different activities and get involved in church where they can not only be with God but can meet others like them. Many churches have widow/widower groups that get together weekly or monthly, just to get together to do something.
Don't forget that you can do things together too. Take them on a trip occasionally even if it's just to lunch, dinner or out to see a movie they'd like to see. Remember and most importantly always be happy around your parent act as if you will not be together much longer because that is not far from the truth.