DEAR HARRIETTE: My father passed away when I was 14 years old. Many think that it was traumatic, and it was, but I never had a great relationship with my father, so I hid my grief. My dad was negligent and abusive to me. There was never a day when he and I didn’t fight. He never fed me, bought me new clothes or took me to my dance rehearsals. My father also didn’t leave behind a will, so I did not inherit any money from him. So in short, I never had a close or loving relationship with my father. However, recently I have been having pains in my chest. It is hard for me to say, but I miss my father. Even though he did so many horrible things to my mother and me, I still miss him. Is it normal to feel this way? -- Daddy Issues
DEAR DADDY ISSUES: Grief presents itself at different times in people’s lives, often in a delayed manner -- especially for people who had unresolved issues with loved ones before they died. It is normal for you to have conflicting feelings rising up about your dad. Yes, it makes sense that you could miss your father and experience deep love for him even though he hurt your feelings. He was your dad.
Talk to your mother about what’s happening to you. Since you are having physical pains associated with your emotions, it might be worth it for you to talk to a grief counselor. Perhaps your mother can arrange for this through your insurance, or you can speak to a guidance counselor at school to find out if you can get support through them during this time.