SENSE & SENSITIVITY
Sex-talk dad a true male role model

DEAR HARRIETTE: I want to share a story with you: I received the “birds and the bees” talk from my father, not my mother. He explained to me that he loved my mother no matter what she looked like (both pre- and post-children) and that, actually, he was more attracted to her then, than when she was skinny! He explained that no matter what you look like on the outside, there will always be someone who loves you for who you are, and having confidence in yourself was the best way to carry off any shape and find that special person. Hearing all this from a male role model really meant something — I believe it is important to hear messages like this from both male and female adults. — Piper, New York, N.Y.

DEAR PIPER: Thank God for your father, and thank you for sharing that story. When we honor our bodies and our spirits, I believe we attract people to us who have the intention of honoring us as well. And, as your dad surely knew, the body changes over time. So, no matter who you are, your physical body will not remain the same. Your inner being, however, will!

Years later, woman still grieves for her parents



DEAR HARRIETTE: I am 34 years old and I have lost both of my parents. During an argument, my boyfriend told me I should get over their deaths; he said it is something I should have dealt with in my 20s, and that I need to move on now that I am a full adult. Most times I beg to differ, especially since my father died when I was 29 years old! (My mother passed when I was 18.) But, sometimes I do kind of agree with him. Maybe I need to move on with my life and stop thinking about them so much, since there is nothing I can do to bring them back. I wonder if there is a time limit people should give themselves to grieve over lost loved ones. — Thandie, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.


DEAR THANDIE: I would venture to say the loss of a parent is felt forever. That doesn’t mean, though, that grief should cripple you for a lifetime. Your boyfriend’s tactics may not have been the kindest, but his message surely got through. It’s time for you to seek professional help as you process the loss of your parents and your reality today. Rather than continuing to play out your life in your head or worry your friends and loved ones with issues they can’t possibly resolve for you, find a grief counselor. 
Share all of your feelings as well as specific experiences you have had that you believe have been compromised by your grief. Also, look at moments when you were strong and clear and empowered.