"I came across your blog when doing a web search...my grief counselor wants me to write a 2 page paper on what it means to be an orphan--I have to complete this by tomorrow. I wanted you to know how thrilled I am to have seen your blog; I never thought I would see anything like this.
I became an orphan at age 16 (mother died when I was 16, father died when I was 15). I have been an orphan for longer than I have been a non-orphan. I am just seeing grief counselor now because I apparently never grieved appropriately earlier and an event occurred this past year which apparently set off delayed grief (which sucks--really would have been nice to keep this in a small nice little box buried deep inside me). So I guess I now have to grieve/mourn for my parents. Why now? No adult in my life guided me to such when I was in high school and I was too busy trying to take care of the house my parents left behind, participate in school activities, work my after-school/summer jobs, getting myself into and off to college etc to do anything about it myself.
My main reason for leaving this comment is to let you know how needed your site is--I wish I would have found this or something similar years ago. I really do not know anyone else personally that was an orphan as a child and from my previous web searches there really are not any groups etc that would bring orphans together or provide them resources.
I think your efforts to create the orphan handbook and to bring orphans together are admirable and so needed. I really could have used someone else to talk with about being an orphan, or a book/blog to get information from to learn how others grieve, how to do the things in life that your parents would have taught you were they here, what to do with yourself during Christmas break when the dorms are closed etc...
Thanks for creating the orphan handbook—and for your willingness to put yourself out there. I really admire and respect your willingness to share your own story and for broadening awareness about orphans (I think many think once the orphanages closed there just weren't orphans in the US anymore). Your efforts will inspire me as I do my dreaded “grief homework” today.
Your feedback is an inspiration and it reminds me that I need to keep writing. Never keep your grief buried. That isn't healthy. Grieving is normal. Orphans are normal people who have had a normal thing happen in their life. Its just not very common. Its normal to love someone who has passes away. Its normal to miss them and it is normal to cry. Don't bury it.
Sometimes we are distracted after we lose our loved ones. I was busy thinking about boys. I never really started to miss mom until I was 21. Then I started to miss her everyday. I still do. She was meant to be a part of my everyday life. Why would she not be even if she has passed away?
I remember a time when I thought I wasn't going to be able to finish college. I tried to get a scholarship because my mom had died of cancer. I had to write a paper about losing my mom to cancer. I cried and I cried. You know when the muscles in your face tense up and your body shakes. Finally I got the paper done and I read the rules and I didn't qualify because too much time has lapse since she died. I was very upset but I think I needed to write that paper.
Grief is a strange thing. I'm not sure why it is necessary. Why does water have to come out of our eyes? It is so inconvenient. But it is better than holding the sadness in.
Thats is great that you have a counselor and that you are dealing with your grief. Thats the problem with this world. Everyone runs from their problems. They even run from other peoples problems. The world doesn't know and doesn't want to know what its like to be an orphan. We all need to learn to care. Thats why we have feelings. So we can care about others and help others. Otherwise we would just be robots and just go through motions.
I never really looked into having a counselor or a therapist etc. I never thought they would really understand me. But for some it is just what they need. At least have someone to talk to. I remember getting a tattoo because it was like paying someone to talk to me and spend some time with me.
Perhaps you are starting your grief now because this is the best time. Back then I hadn't started this blog. Perhaps this blog will help. It all happens for reason.
I hope this blog does help others of my own kind. I hope it stay around for a long time. I have always wanted to find others of my own kind. To see how they coped. So far we all seem to be reacting the same way. Which is good. It also makes me feel that I am not alone. We become an inspiration to each other. We strengthen each other. Like a family.
I remember in High school I had a mother figure. She was a French teacher from Canada. I wanted to work at an orphanage in Canada. I wrote letters to several orphanages in Canada. Finally my aunt told me the main reason why there aren't so many orphanages is because of abortion. I guess I gave up. The next year over 1,300 kids were orphaned by the terrorist attacks of September 11th. I hope this blog will help them one day. Here I am still trying to help orphans.
I have thought about telling others to write about their grief but I don't want them to be overwhelmed. Keeping a journal helps. You grieve a little each day. Then you can look back on your thoughts as time goes by.
Thanks for the feedback. Go ahead and spread the word about the Orphan Handbook. We all just want to make life easier of all of us.