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Caroline Rules

How to Cope with the Loss of a Parent

Caroline Manzo puts the real in The Real Housewives of New Jersey, and her fans relate to the reality star's no-nonsense attitude, focus on family and, above all, abundant common sense. Check back at Glo every Monday as Caroline helps solve your most pressing dilemmas.

The Dilemma: I'm 31 years old and my mother passed away a month ago. Mom was my best friend, and I feel lost and heartbroken knowing she won't be here to experience so many important milestones in my life. What advice do you have for someone in my situation, mourning such a great loss? –Katherine

Caroline's Ruling: Losing a loved one is never easy. I'm sorry for your loss, Katherine. I'm fortunate enough to still have both of my parents, so I think I'm going to have to flip this question a bit. I'm going to answer from the point of view of a parent. From a mother's heart.

I too have an extraordinary relationship with all three of my children. When I look at my kids I want to see one thing: smiles. I wish them health and happiness. Everything else is secondary. It's tragic that your mom was taken from you so early in your life, but you were lucky enough to have a wonderful relationship with her for 31 years. I don't know where you are in your life, so I'm going to speak in general terms: Treasure your mother's memory. Continue to do the things you loved to do together. The worst thing you could do is let those traditions go; you'll regret it if you do. It may be painful at first, but eventually the pain will dissipate and be replaced by fond memories and hopefully a smile. When celebrating a milestone, hold something that reminds you of your mom — her spirit will shine through. She lives with you in every beat of your heart.

You're going to think I'm crazy, but talk to her. I do it. My grandmother passed away a few years ago, and I talk to her all of the time. I have a very dear friend who passed away last year at the age of 41; I talk to him too. Silly things. For instance, if I find something funny that I think my grandmother would laugh at, I'll actually say to myself, “Gram, did you hear that?” Guess what? I laugh harder. I'll ask my friend John for advice while I'm driving or sitting at my desk, and I swear he can hear me. It just keeps them in my world, and as bizarre as it sounds, it helps. Now I'm not suggesting you have a full-blown conversation; that's just not healthy. What I'm suggesting is that if something you see reminds you of her or you're wondering what would your mom do in a certain situation, voice it.

Don't allow yourself to fall into a state of depression. The simple truth is that you have to live your life and carry on without your mother's presence. Make her proud of the daughter she raised. Trust me when I tell you that with every fiber in my being I know your mom wants you to live your life with gusto and love every minute of it. You're so young and you have so much ahead of you. You were given 31 precious years. Celebrate those years and her memory by being the beautiful happy little girl that she loved so much.

My thoughts are with you, Katherine. xoxo

Do you have a question for Caroline?

Send it to CarolineRulesOnGlo@gmail.com and it may be selected for an upcoming column!

  • From marriage dilemmas to family issues, Caroline's got the answers!

    Photo by Michael T. Greco
Caroline Rules
How to Cope with the Loss of a Parent
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