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Posthumous Daughter

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I’m in my forties.  I lost my dad when I was a baby.  My family never spoke much of him, they were too overwhelmed.  And now, raising three children, I finally have a frame of reference of what it means to not have him.  I recently discovered a picture in which he looks identical to one of my children.  It was more than I can process.

My dad is an “old death”, so anyone who’ll listen to me about feeling this trivializes my loss because I never knew him and/or he died over forty years ago so I should be “over it”.  This sadness with the added  loneliness are too much to carry and I’m without anywhere to put the snowballed grief.

I’m not religious and this makes me wish I was.  There is no comfort to be had.  “Old death” is an unfair grief.

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Sometimes people don't appreciate how long ago events still reverberate into the present day. No matter how long ago he died, he was your father and you had to grow up without him, because of his death. Whether people realize it or not, growing up without him shaped who you are. They may not have spoken much of him, but I am sure you heard some stories and saw pictures. And to notice how much one of your children looks like him had to be an emotional moment. 

I didn't lose my own dad till I was 19, we weren't exactly buddies, and I have spent more than half of my life without him, but there are still times when I am almost haunted by him. It was several years after he was gone, I realized that my eyes and nose resemble his. I told my therapist that it felt like a dead man was looking back at me. I wish I could say something helpful, but all I can think of is that your grief is valid. You have the double grief of having lost your father and being denied the opportunity to get to know him. 

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