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by Abigail Van Buren

Friends Expect More Emotion After Father's Death

DEAR ABBY: My dad died of cancer a couple of months ago. While we were a bit estranged, I did love him, and his loss was painful. Despite this, I have accepted things and moved on.

The issue is that anytime I talk to my friends about it, they assume I'm really in shock. My friends are older, so I suspect they think it's because I'm only 22, but it's frustrating that they disregard my personal growth and the way I've dealt with his death.

I realize I have moved on fairly quickly, but the way I see it, death is a part of life, and what's done is done. How can I explain to them that while I'm sad, I have accepted what happened without sounding like I didn't care about my dad? -- MOVED ON IN THE WEST

DEAR MOVED ON: Point out to your well-meaning friends that your relationship with your father may not have been like the ones they had with their fathers. That you were "a bit estranged" may have made his death less traumatic than if he had been a major part of your life. It should not be necessary to put on a display of sackcloth and ashes. Everyone grieves differently, so remind them of that.

Read more in: Death | Family & Parenting | Friends & Neighbors