What if our parent had passed and we regret not doing our best for them?
I would explain this from Buddhism perspective but I believe other faiths have similar practice to revere their parents. Maybe we had been ignorant, immersed in materialism and now is filled with a lot of regrets.
If we do dream of our departed parent from time to time, please do meritorious deeds or spiritual practice for them. We need not necessary part with our money. If we are Buddhist, we can do chanting and volunteer work with a sincere heart, and then transfer the merits to them.
The method taught by the late Master Lu Jun Hong of Guan Yin Citta which involves “Little Houses” chanting can help to elevate our ancestors and the deceased to a higher level of rebirth through systematic chanting of established Buddhist sutras and mantras. Example in cases below, the grown children were not particularly filial when their mothers were alive but were filled with regret after their mother passed. They did the chanting of “Little Houses” and Master Lu was able to describe how their parent looked like and the higher realm of rebirth their parent had moved to.
The first case below, the girl’s parents separated when she was young. She was not particularly in good terms with her mother when her mother was alive. In fact, she made her mom very angry when she insisted to marry someone who her mother did not like. After her mother passed, she dreamt of her mother often. She felt a lot of regret, you can see she cried when she spoke about her mother. She then chanted “Little Houses” for her mother and was able to cause her mother to move to the Heaven realm.
When her chanting was sufficient and reached a certain number, she dreamt of her mother coming to her with a note that said “thank you”. Master Lu said that she was a ‘karmic creditor’, come to collect debts from her mother, hence caused her mother a lot of heartache. But it is commendable that while she was not able to do much when her mother was alive, she made amends by chanting and helping to raise her mother to a higher realm of rebirth.
Another case of a daughter who asked Master Lu about the whereabouts of her late mother:
Master Lu advised in the above that if we had not been filial when our parents were alive, we can help them to transcend by chanting the “Little Houses”.
Another case when the mother passed, they invited monks to do transference of merits ceremony. Then the daughter herself also did chanting of “Little Houses”. The mother is now at the Heaven realm.
Like Master Lu said, doing something now is better than not doing anything at all. To do deeds to help our parents, we need not use a lot of money. After my dad passed, I had donated a lot of money but because I did not know how to transfer merits, he did not receive much the merits (the merits got returned back to sender). Basically I just wrote his name when I donated money to charities.
In the end, I learned that just spiritual practices are able to help my parents. Similar to the “Little Houses”, it requires time and effort but need not cost a thing. We start out because we wish to help our parents, we would find the chanting itself gradually calms down our mind and would in turn, help us to face life situation calmly, let us pass through tribulations and dangerous periods of our lives and meet with help.