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My mother died on October 23, 2008. A month later I spent that first Thanksgiving without her at my godmother Ginny’s house with her family. I had known Ginny my whole life and her three daughters, all around my age, were like cousins to me. They were all there too, one of them with her own three daughters.
Imagine Development Manager Kaitlin Casey shares what Father’s Day was like for her after her father passed away, and how her childhood emotions towards the holiday are different than the ones she feels now.
Susan Angel Miller is the author of the memoir Permission to Thrive. She lives in Milwaukee with her husband Ron; they are the proud parents of Sara, Rachel, and their forever-beloved Laura. Here she shares some hard-earned grief and loss insights that apply in both ordinary and extraordinary times.
Recently, my cousin asked me, with sincerity and care, “What was it like to be raised in a single-parent home?” I must admit the question took me a bit by surprise, and despite being a mature adult, I had to reassess my sense of family.
My grandfather died when I was 2 years old. I never met him. The only things I have of his are two pictures – which are actually my mother’s – 2 black and white pictures. The first is of a tall, lanky man, dressed smartly – if not oddly formal – standing in the middle of a yard with the hot Caribbean sun beating down on him; the second, a close-up portrait. That was it. All imagined interactions, hoped-for futures, dreamed of backstories, stemmed from these 2 pictures.
Let’s imagine something different. Let’s Imagine a world where children coping with loss grow up emotionally healthy and able to lead meaningful and productive lives. Let’s imagine a world where grief, loss and trauma are transformed into resilience, empathy and compassion. So that someday the world is driven by love and compassion, and not unresolved grief.
So what happens when someone dies? Do family photos become terrible reminders of the person who has died, or symbols of the love and support that the person provided? We think the latter….
The act of living is different all through. Her absence is like the sky, spread all over everything.” C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
My father died when I was 14. My father died when I was 14. My father died when I was 14. Heart attack. While he was running. Training for a marathon. Yes, it was unexpected. Yes, just out of the blue. Yeah, just about the worst thing that could have ever happened, just really the absolute worst, nothing worse will ever happen to me! (I will laugh at this part, a little. To make sure you know it’s okay, that I can think about this thing and laugh at the same time.)