Dear reader: As I noted in an earlier column, my daughter, Lisi, will be handling the writing duties a few times a week. Enjoy her take on today’s questions. – Ellie
I’m 40, married with kids, and have enjoyed a fabulous relationship with my father my whole life. Look up “Daddy’s Little Girl” – that’s me. We did everything together!
I’m close with my mom and two younger siblings, but not like my dad.
Suddenly, he’s gone. He got Covid and it went to his lungs; they thought he had pneumonia but then found cancer. It doesn’t even matter what it was…. it just matters that he’s gone.
Obviously, the rest of my family is grieving and everyone is trying to console everyone. But he was my whole world. I honestly don’t know how to move forward.
I’m so sorry for your loss. Losing a parent is tough no matter how close your relationship.
My advice is to lean in to your people: your mother, your siblings, your husband and your children. They all need you and they all know that you need them. Find comfort in talking about him. Do the things you did together with another member of your family, and keep his memory and the tradition alive. For example, if you met him for coffee every Tuesday morning, do that now with your mom. If you watched Wimbledon together, do that now with one of your children. Teach them all what he taught you. Give them all what he gave you: love, support, friendship, wisdom and life experience.
My mother lied to me my whole life – until she died and I learned the truth.
She grew up in the 40’s in New York, the child of Jewish immigrants who’d escaped the Holocaust. Her parents worked hard and were proud.
My parents met at work and fell in love; my dad’s not Jewish. Her parents weren’t happy. They dated on and off for years, my mom always fighting with her father about the religion difference.
Then my mom got pregnant with my oldest sibling out of wedlock and the proverbial s--- hit the fan. She walked away from her family, married my dad and denounced her heritage.
We grew up mostly with no religion but celebrated the fun and family traditions of Christmas. I never knew anything was wrong until I knew more and looked back on my childhood. I remembered that every Fall, my mom was sad; and that every year around Easter, she wouldn’t eat any carbs like bread or pasta.
When my grandparents passed away one week apart, I remember my mom going to a sister we never knew for a week. When she returned, she brought a box of stuff and hid it in her room. We never knew any of her family.
My dad passed a year ago; we were very close with his family. My mom died four months ago, and my siblings and I started going through her stuff. We found the box…. and a whole other family, religion, traditions, etc.
We decided together to learn more and we’ve met fabulous relatives across the States. So many things make sense now that we know what we know. And we’re embracing it all, together.
What we don’t understand is why she hid it all from us?
I can’t tell you why your mom did what she did, and unfortunately, the story isn’t unique. Across the world, people denounce their heritage/religion/upbringing for a multitude of reasons.
But what I can tell you is that your attitude, and that of your siblings, is what matters; you’re making a great choice by embarking on this adventure together. You may find things that appeal to you and others that appeal to them. Take it in stride. And know in your heart that your mother did what she thought was right at the time.
FEEDBACK Regarding your response to a Reader’s Commentary (July 5):
“I enjoy your column. Just a quick note that 30 years ago from today is only 1992! Our kids did have helmets, seatbelts and mouth guards! Lots of safety things were invented.
“Not sure how elderly the writer is, but 30 years ago isn’t like 50 years ago!”
Lisi-you are too right! Volvo invented the first seatbelt in 1959; helmets have been around since 1975; and the first mouthguard was invented for boxers in 1890! Thanks for calling me out on that.
My point was simply that he was correct in recognizing that every generation is different from the last. Hopefully, they learn from our mistakes and improve, just as we learned from those before us.