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Hi everyone, 

I'm fourteen years old and my neighbor died about an hour ago. It was from old age and he was really sick before he passed. I feel really numb at the moment and am not sure what to do. I've known him almost my whole life. 

I didn't go over and visit him like I should have. I was selfish and stayed at home because I didn't want to see him sick. I really thought that he would live forever, I guess. He'd been sick before and always got better. My mom always went over to go visit, but I didn't like to, so I stayed away. His house was full of dust (his wife died when I was eight and he had mobility issues) and I have bad allergies, so that was one of the reasons I didn't go over. I realize now that it sucked. By the time I realized that he was going to die soon, I wanted to go over and sit by him and let him know that I love him, but my mom didn't want me to go see him as apparently he was really bad and it would have disturbed me. She does have pretty good judgement, though, so I trusted her, even though it made my gut wrench. 

Anyways, I guess my point is that I have a lot of regrets. I only told him that I loved him once and that was when I was little. He was your stereotypical old guy: kinda brash and grumpy, but lovable. As I'm lying here in bed on my laptop typing this, I don't feel much at all. Obviously, I feel a bit sad, but I honestly feel basically nothing. I never went over there because I wanted to after his wife died, as she was one of the kindest old ladies you could ever meet. I don't know what to do. I go back to school on Tuesday and I'm afraid that I'll start crying in the middle of class. What do I do if this happens? Is it normal that I feel almost nothing? Please help me!

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Dear Kato,

I'm so sorry to hear of your neighbor's passing. Please know that everything you are thinking right now is normal and natural. Maybe you can talk to your mom more about your thoughts and feelings. I am sure she would like to know how you are feeling and will support you through these difficult questions.

It is only natural to have some shock. We all think everyone will live forever. It is also natural to have regrets. We all do. I think your neighbor would have understood.

Let your teachers know what happened and maybe if you want try talking to a school counsellor. Please don't be afraid of your emotions. It is okay to cry and feel sad or feel numb. Its all part of grief and it takes time for our minds to work through this news.

If it helps maybe write a letter to your neighbor telling him how much you loved him and cared about him. I don't know if there will be service, but I am sure his family would appreciate your kind words.

Thinking of you.

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