Nearly all my clients over the past 30+ years were orphaned at birth. This doesn’t mean they had no mother or father. It means they grew up lacking vitally essential nurturant supplies from their parental units to help them thrive emotionally and psychologically.

Have you heard friends exclaim once both their parents have passed, “I’m now an orphan!” as if having lost two parents to death, somehow qualifies ‘em for this title? I can readily see why some could feel like being a parentless adult-child entitles ‘em to make this claim, but to my mind, it smacks of too many folks self-diagnosing as having “PTSD,” while never having looked up its actual definition or clinical symptoms! Shall we feel sorry for ‘em? Should we see ‘em as victims? A BPD Waif would surely think so.

Losing a loving parental bond due to a mom or dad’s demise (under any circumstances) can feel excruciating. An emotionally sound parent fully accepts, understands and adores us, while ushering us into adulthood. Maybe they didn’t perform that job perfectly 24/7 (who does?), but we knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, we were deeply cherished by them.

Many of us grew up with only one solid, loving parental bond. We always found ourselves questioning if we were actually loved by the other. It may have seemed like one parent was critical and impossible to please, while the other delighted in our mere presence, was always happy to share time with us, and looked into our eyes adoringly, as if we were the center of their Universe.

When this type of bond is broken due to a death~ whether it be to another human or a beloved pet, a deep, insurmountable sorrow overtakes us. A vital attachment exists no longer, and we cannot help but feel like one of our limbs has been amputated. Yes, it’s that painful~ which is why we call this depth of connection, “an attachment.”

The sensation of feeling orphaned in adulthood can be experienced when one loses the parent from whom he or she received more tenderness, affection, warmth and emotionally intimate engagement. It’s not just losing a parent that’s at issue in this case~ it’s losing a dear and trusted friend (and perhaps, our ‘partner in crime’).

This agony is incomparable, and even though the other parent remains, we can truly feel as though we’ve been “orphaned.” It’s never the quantity of connection that really matters in a relational bond, it’s the quality of it.

In case you’re anxious and worried you won’t get to see your granny one last time before she passes, trust me… if you’ve shared a mutually loving bond over the years, you are as much with her in spirit, as she is with you. Nobody dies alone, when they’ve been well-loved.