Sons who lost their fathers find comfort in memorial jewerly

Dealing with complicated grief: fatherless son psychology

Unexpected. Sudden. Untimely. A number of circumstances may surround the death of a father that can make it difficult for the son to accept the tragedy. Many sons who have lost their fathers go on to experience complicated grief. In fact, no matter what age you are when it happens, it hurts to lose a parent.


What is complicated grief? And why is complicated grief especially hard to deal with for a fatherless son? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions and more about losing one of your parents and memorial jewelry.

What is complicated grief?

Complicated grief is a persistent form of intense grief characterized by a period when dysfunctional behaviors and maladaptive thoughts are present. People experience a deep sense of longing, yearning, sadness, and often the preoccupation of thoughts of the deceased during complicated grief. According to the Center for Complicated Grief:


“Complicated grief continues to dominate life and the future seems bleak and empty. Irrational thoughts that the deceased person might reappear are common and the bereaved person feels lost and alone.”


People need to accept the reality that a death has occurred in order to adapt to their “new” life beyond bereavement. Adaptation includes accepting the finality of death and how relationships are going to change for the fatherless son. The bereaved also need to be able to see the possibility of a future that can still bring joy, meaning, and satisfaction to life.

What causes complicated grief?

Maladaptive thoughts that can be debilitating or paralyzing, can accompany a loved one’s death, especially those who died due to unusual circumstances. Sudden. Unexpected. Untimely. Violent. 


Naturally, people may begin to question if anything is even real after going through something so shocking. The bereaved may dread the future without their loved one in it. People with complicated grief can experience a train of non-stop racing thoughts or exhibit behaviors that may include:


  • Daydream about being with deceased
  • Spend time lost in photos and memories of the deceased
  • Consider having memorial jewelry made
  • Avoid reminders of the loss
  • Listen to their voice
  • Smell their clothes
  • Avoid places, activities, or people that hold reminders of the person who died


While many of these behaviors may not seem problematic, the issue is when they became the only mechanisms for handling the painful emotions of grief.

Fatherless sons dealing with complicated grief

It’s hard for anyone to experience an unusually intense or prolonged period of grief, but for this particular demographic, complicated grief can put the individual under increased challenges and pressures. To learn more about how father absence (whether it’s through death or desertion) harms children, visit the National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI) page that brings light to the shocking statistics about fatherless sons. You can also read our blog post that discusses the challenges faced by fatherless sons. 


People with complicated grief often experience an inability to regulate their emotions effectively. For fatherless sons, this can further complicate those who already struggle with emotional regulation. 


Acute grief is a highly emotional period for anyone who experiences the death of a loved one. Normally, people are able to grieve and move on with life by giving themselves time and permission to grieve and they balance that with periods of respite. 


People who experience complicated grief have a hard time doing this. Rather, they tend to overload with emotional activation and triggers. These behaviors may cause a disruption to regular routines, such as eating, sleeping, and exercise, which can make it even harder to manage these emotions. 

How to support a fatherless son?

Memorial gifts are a great way to show your support to someone who is grieving the loss of a father. Tributes to the deceased and memorials are a great way to provide comfort during the acute period of grief right after the person has died. Cremation diamonds offer fatherless sons a unique way to carry on their father’s legacy with a diamond that will last forever and be passed down for many generations to come. 


If you know of a fatherless son who is experiencing complicated grief, it’s ok to reach out and offer support. Ask them if they have looked into bereavement support groups or perhaps even grief counseling. Fatherless sons might be surprised they are not alone and so many are out there experiencing the effects of losing a dad.