Many readers have written in detailing how they didn’t truly become an adult until one or both of their parents died. Our first reader, Crystal, was a 20-year-old college student when tragedy struck:
On July 5, 1987, Mom called and told me Dad had died. My life changed dramatically after that, and I felt alone and vulnerable. My dad always helped me whenever I needed him—advice about guys, helping me move, fixing my car … he was always there.
We also shared a birthday on July 29th. I knew I was truly “on my own” when I celebrated the first birthday without him.
This reader was also 20 when his dad died:
I’m the youngest of five siblings and the only one who left home (at 18), never to return. When I lost my father, my uncle told me that “No boy can be a man while his father is alive.”
John Mason pinpoints the day his father passed away:
Sunday, March 16, 2014.
The process began on a Friday. I was home for Spring Break during my junior year, and my dad, Bill, was feeling a little under the weather. I didn’t think anything of it. But my mom insisted he go to the doctor, which was prescient and wise, but it didn’t matter in the end: He was diagnosed with cancer. Specifically it was a type of leukemia that to this day the doctors still cannot identify.
He passed that Sunday, as suddenly as he was diagnosed. We didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye.