Guilt and Grief
Dear WholeDad, Hi! I'm a 13-year-old girl and the youngest of 5. My father passed away six years ago. It didn't seem to bother me then but now it does. I really miss him more now than ever. Is this normal??? Katie Dear Katie, I would think that what you are experiencing is absolutely normal. At the age of seven, the level of maturity of most kids is nowhere near that which it takes to comprehend and process the tragedy of a loss as great as losing a father.
My friend Elaine is 36 years old but she has not yet learned to sit. She can stand, occasionally, but generally, she's in motion. She is chasing her two-year-old, wiping chocolate off her four-year-old daughter's lovely face, or teaching her seven-year-old to ride a bike or her nine-year-old to jump rope. She is outside with them all afternoon, or inside, baking or doing projects. When the kids go to sleep, Elaine cleans or paints something. Thursday nights, she cooks two full meals (feasts, really) for her frequent weekend guests.
Losing a parent, at any age, is difficult and painful. It clearly marks the "end of innocence" for us as children. Our aloneness and vulnerability become painfully clear. Most of us face this emptiness as a natural consequence of our own aging process. Usually the tragedy and loss of one's parent is forestalled until such a time as we have created alternate sources for our unconditional love, which often help us to put the pain into some sort of 'acceptable' perspective.
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