DEAR HARRIETTE: My father recently passed away, and I have so many feelings about it. We had not been close for years. I tried to stay connected to him, but after he and my mom got divorced, he stopped talking to us. We went 20 years before speaking, and that was only for a moment.
When I got sick with COVID-19, my father reached out to me through my siblings, but we never saw each other. Now he has died, and I have learned all kinds of things about him, including that he and his girlfriend had many foster children. They were constantly taking care of other children, but he never took care of me or my siblings. I have also learned that he didn’t include us in his will or his pension. I feel hurt all over again. I can’t figure out why he didn’t love me. My heart aches. What can I do? -- Brokenhearted
DEAR BROKENHEARTED: First, I am so sorry for your loss. Even though you were not close to your father, the finality of his death has hit you hard. I imagine you always longed for him to reach out just one more time. Who knows what happened between your mother and him that caused their marriage to end and for him to be completely estranged from you and your siblings? I feel certain it was nothing that the children did. Sadly, children of broken homes often suffer the repercussions of broken hearts.
Instead of beating yourself up about what you could have done differently, ask for peace to move forward with your life. Welcome grace into your heart as you attempt to forgive your father for his shortcomings and draw upon your inner strength to live your life independent of him -- which you were already doing. If you can, also seek out a grief counselor who can help you through this tender time.