INSIGHTS ON DEATH & DYING: Little boy lost

August 2004 
Volume 34  Number 8
Pages 66 - 66
  PDF Version Available!


  • Figure. No caption a...

    Recently I cared for a dying patient who was curt whenever I tried to talk with him about anything. His son, a young man in his 20s, told me that they'd had a stormy relationship and hinted that his dad verbally and physically abused him as a child. Even so, he spent long hours at his father's side and was inconsolable when he died. I was surprised by his reaction, given the emotional and physical injuries he might have suffered at his father's hands. Can you explain this? —I.Z., OHIO

    The young man is grieving for the dad he always wanted and now knows he'll never have. He's also grieving for the possibility, however remote, that his father might have repaired their relationship if given enough time. Now all those hopes are lost.

    Figure. No caption available. In an odd way, he may feel that having a “bad” dad is better than having no dad at all. He's undoubtedly bewildered ...

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