Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Growing Up

Did you experience one single moment in your life when you suddenly knew you had grown up?

It sounds an odd but, I think, interesting question, sparked by a recent moment at work when I tried to prepare a family for the potential loss of a loved one.
The family filled the interview room. Wife, two sets of children of various ages, sisters and brothers and a set of close friends.
I explained what procedures were about to happen. I answered questions that they had and made sure I was guarded and clear about expectations, the consultant had made a short time before.
One daughter, who was around fourteen suddenly understood the messages she was being given and after carefully paraphrasing what I had said calmly and with care, she gently reflected the seriousness of the situation to her mother who could not quite grasp the truth.
At that one moment the girl matured in the eyes of all in that room.

My moment was during my grandfather's funeral.
My grandmother was distraught and almost off her legs at the cemetery, so was supported by my mother and uncle at the graveside. and as the large gaggle of grandchildren crowed together behind I noticed my uncle's second wife, who was only a young woman herself, standing alone to one side. She was sobbing quietly.
I was a somewhat gauche eighteen year old, but I walked over and hugged her at the graveside and by doing so grew a little older .
Growing Up, is about empathy me thinks .

What was your growing Up moment? 

104 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. My mother went to the doctor because she was suffering from headaches. She had a 5 minute consultation. She came home and I asked what painkillers he had prescribed. She said Valium. I told her to chuck them in the fire. She did. I was 14. I have never forgotten that moment as defining in our relationship. (She got some reading glasses and the headache went).

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    1. Ah children being adults.......that's completely another rather sadder blog entry me thinks

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    2. She listened to me and I was staggered. I felt very grown up.

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    3. Apart from that moment I am still waiting. When my father died when I was 16 I was sent to school the next morning. I guess I was expected to be a grown up but I dont think I was.

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  3. I became an adult when I held my newborn child in my arms faintly realising the responsibility of keeping her healthy, the loss a my sleep, the mother - daughter battles and the costs of math tuition.

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    1. I am expecting a whole load of these kind of comments

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  4. When I became a mother. Being responsible for another life makes you grow up quickly. Everything changed and yes, empathy exploded in me and selfishness took a back seat.

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  5. I don't really know what "growing up" means. Irritated people will often say to others, "Grow up!" as if being "grown up" was a higher plane of being. In some respects I believe I have always been "grown up" yet in other respects, and very thankfully, I have hung on to childlike wonder and innocence.

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  6. well - my growing up moment is rather a bad topic for this time of year. I was 14 and entered my very rich grandmother's house to find masses and masses of presents overflowing the sitting room and dining room. I thought to myself that this was way too much for one family and we should be reflecting about people who were not so fortunate as ourselves' I kept my thoughts to myself.

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    1. Did you ever act on your new found adulthood?

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    2. Yes indeed! I became less and less enthusiastic about the pre-christmas hype as the years rolled by. Our children had a good time but in a less extravagant way and I am glad to say the tradition continues with the next generation.

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  7. Five responses, all equally fascinating and I don't have a response, but I will try. It was I think when it was the first time I was cheated by a shift swap at work where I lost a lot of money, penalty rates, back in about 1980. I concluded that even people who are very nice to you, can cheat you. I think that may have soured my view on people, irredeemably.

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    1. Yes, the bad aspects of human nature have the same power as the good it would seem

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  8. My father aged 41 died when I was just 13. I took on the responsibility of doing the lawns and garden ect.. I had one of those terrible mowers that you had to wind the cord around and pull to start.. I asked Mum if we could afford to get an easier mower for me to manage for Christmas & thats what I got...I was thrilled to bits!

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    1. I always wanted one you could sit on

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    2. Hey John, still doing the lawns to this day (55 years later) and yes, I have one of those..... a 48" Hustler..its great fun :)

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  9. I'm still waiting for that moment.

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    1. Do not fret, Tom. To paraphrase the Bible: Some of us are slow learners. And some even slower. In the end it'll come to you. Better too late than never.

      U

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    2. One day Thomas, .......one day

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  10. There wasn't a "moment". It was more like a gradual process of growing into whatever adulthood constitutes (I suppose mainly taking responsibility - for yourself and others).

    You emphasize "empathy" as a marker of growing up. Are you sure it's something we can "acquire/learn" as opposed to something we are born with in varying degrees and, at best, may hone in sync with life's experiences?

    U

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    1. Empthy cannot be acquired or learned ...it just happens when you grow up.....growing Up is seeing a picture of things beyond yourself ..........
      Some people find that hard

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  11. When I moved into my first bedsit, I was 16, my parents split up and there was no longer a home for me with either of them. I had to find a bedsit and job close to each other to save on travel costs. I had no bedding for the first few weeks so I slept in my clothes.

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  12. 1968 - MLK, my uncle, RFK all died within weeks of each other. I was 14.

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  13. When my Dad died, I knew I'd be responsible for my mother. But as she was an abusive control freak I'd need to take control or I would become my Dad's replacement.

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  14. A death often makes or breaks people it would seem

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  15. When I was 14 my grandmother (who I adored) was laying in her hospital bed and said her feet were so cold. I moved the covers and massaged her feet for over an hour. I fought back tears and told her funny stories from school because I sensed she was dying. I'll never forget her gratitude and smile before she died minutes later.

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    1. Bittersweet but very moving jan

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  16. When I was fifteen, my father became seriously ill while we were on holiday in Greece. He was taken to hospital in Athens, my mother went with him and when she saw the state of the hospital, she wouldn't leave him and stayed with him until we flew home the next day. I was left in charge of my three younger sisters, aged 13, 10 and 7 (and all the luggage) in a hotel, under the friendly eye of our tour guide and other families we had met on the holiday. My mother said that I grew up over those two days.

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  17. Getting married, I was 18 and a quite a few people tried to talk "sense" into me. I loved him with all of my heart. 31 years later I still do.x

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  18. When I turned 40 - for the very first time and despite having been married for 17 years, I suddenly felt like an actual grown up.

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    1. What there a precipitating factor?

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    2. No, it was just the light bulb moment of actually being 40.

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  19. Losing my sister at the age of 24. I was 22. Trying to emotionally support my mother who has already lost so many people that meant the world to her. To have to bury her first born child was the toughest thing she had to do. And I had to help her do it.

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    1. " stepping up" seems to be a common theme here

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  20. Thought I had grown up when my Dad died in 1989. Actually grew up in 2002, on December 1st when my mother died. The sudden realisation, that there was no- one to turn to and no generation to come after me. I was 46, and a headteacher!

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    1. Perhaps you have struck up with the right definition
      Picking up the baton so to speak

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  21. How interesting; I was just thinking of this kind of thing the other day. It seems I'm a late bloomer, for it's only now, at 53, after a year that has included more than its share of deaths and disappointments. I don't know if it's so much growing up as growing old, but I sense a raft of changes coming, following on from the thinking I've been doing. And I suppose that conceiving change and then going through with it counts as part of being a "grown up"...

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    1. Perhaps it's also about " doing the right thing" for yourself and for others..that's feeling grown up

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  22. Not sure whether it was when my son was born or when my mum died - I think they both had a profound effect, even though I was born middle aged and just got older. Sometimes I wish I could quit being a grown up for a while - when the responsibilities and paperwork seem insurmountable.

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    1. Paperwork just means that you are organised that's all

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  23. I've never felt grown-up. I'm not even sure what it means. I'm still awkward and flustered about all sorts of things I probably should have mastered 40 years ago. I have plenty of empathy, but I still feel more like a perpetual adolescent than a grown-up.

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    1. Empathy means you are grown up especially if you show it

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  24. Gosh John, I'm not sure I've made it yet. Growing up is something I seem to postponed..I mean, I've grown old yes...but grow up?

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    1. Grown up doesn't mean staid I guess I mean just when you realised you were responsible

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  25. When my mother was leaving my abusive father and moving us across country, we had met a dear family friend for breakfast. I'd been given a gift and told, "I hope you won't ever forget me." As my mother started driving, I felt tears running down my cheeks and I quickly wiped them away and looked out the window so she couldn't see I was crying. My mom had stayed in an abusive marriage for 24 years, my older brother and sister were on their own, and I knew in my bones I had to be strong for her. I was 13 and grew up in that moment. My little brother was 7. In the coming weeks I learned to cook, clean, do laundry, walk him to and from school and take care of him while she worked. We were a team, my mom & I.

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    1. Old before your time me thinks

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  26. Thunderstorms scare me. There was a huge thunderstorm one night and I was alone in my bed. I got up and brought my two young children into bed with me for comfort (mine). I suddenly realized I was the mom and I had to be brave and take charge. That was my moment of realizing I was an adult with great responsibilities. Mostly I just muddle through.
    Oddly, my two young grandsons were spending the night in a blanket tent under our dining table when a thunderstorm knocked out our electricity. I had to get them into our bed that time too.
    We rarely have thunderstorms where we live.

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  27. The day I found out I was pregnant at age 18. I was supposed to start college that year, but that didn't happen until I was 26. It all worked out though. My son is 50 now, a PhD in neuroanatomy and married with two beautiful daughters of his own. Life is funny.

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    1. Looking back things never seemed too bad...a great thing hindsight

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  28. Saving my mother's life - I was 5, she was miscarrying & we lived very far from any sort of help/communications. I ran 2 miles to the nearest telephone. And now, at the other end of our lives, I am caring for her again.

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    1. That sounds like a movie

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  29. I know you'll think I'm being flippant but I still waiting for that moment to arrive I guess. Even as a father and a grandfather, I'm still that strangely optimistic kid at heart (strangely because I was never sure what i was being optimistic about and I'm still not - in reality I'm a complete screw up).

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    1. I know you and you are certainly not THAT shallow....

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  30. I was probably born grown up and I'm going backwards ...

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  31. I'm also still waiting. I guess never raising a family of my own has helped delay that feeling.

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  32. I cannot remember feeling thats me grown up. More of a wish I wasnt - frequently.

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  33. I think I have told you this before. It was when my Dad frantically burst in through my bedroom door when I was about 15 to tell me that a girl on our estate had been murdered. My second shock and where I 'grew up' was to subsequently find out that the first boy I had properly kissed was accused (and found guilty) of her rape and murder. I lived in a protective bubble before that moment. I think the enormity of the crime changed me as a person.

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    1. Yes I remember , these comments never fail to surprise me

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  34. No defining moments, so not sure I've ever really grown up and suspect that I'm now sliding down into my second childhood !

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    1. See above, there's a few of like minded characters here !

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  35. At 53, I am still waiting to "feel" grown up. I've felt like an imposter for the longest time.

    I suppose walking out on my marriage, searching and purchasing a house suitable for the me, the kids and animals that were still at home got me closer to that point than ever before.

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  36. At thirteen, my mom had a surprise pregnancy, and I told my dad and 4 siblings that I would stay home from school and cook and clean when she was in hospital giving birth. Prior to that my grandmother always came... I managed quite well, excepted for some porkchops that I cooked into shoe leather. I felt quite grown up at the time.
    Also like Hardup Hester I left home at 16 and managed a job and school.
    Barb

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  37. Interesting question. I realized at 17 that life in the little Carmarthenshire village was not going to give me the future I wanted. I pleaded my case to my father, he agreed with my plan and a month later I boarded the train to Guildford to report for basic training in the WRAC. Best decision I ever made. Unfortunately he passed away 6 months later.

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  38. I was 44 and my husband of 24 years left me with no money, no bank account and no credit cards. I'd spent whole life letting my parents then him take charge of everything. 3 years later I bought my own house and for the first time in my life I felt grown up.

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  39. My father's partner told my brother that she thought I was immature... I was about 19... her own daughter was about 21 & shagging a fellow commuter friend of my dad's - a fifty something & toupe wearing boozer. I remember thinking what a bitch my so called step mother was and if her daughter having sex with some old geezer from the train was mature then I was far more grown up than her daughter.

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  40. Your experience is easy to relate to. I worked in Home Health and Skilled Nursing for years. Very difficult work yet rewarding.

    It wasn't exactly a moment when I realized I had grown up, it was over a couple of months.

    I had my first baby when I was 18. My husband and I were immediately transferred to Japan. The apartment complex we lived in was filled with other Airmen and their wives. My four month old son was the oldest of all the babies.

    All the new mother's came to me with questions and dilemmas for answers. Somehow, I was the 'go to' person. Scared me to death but somehow I always knew how to help.

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    1. Forces wives have to be adaptable I suspect

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  41. I am torn here. Part of me has never grown up - and my inner child is frequently the healthiest and happiest part of me.

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  42. I was 10 years old and asked my teacher where there was a boarding school. She sent for a brochure which I presented to my parents as at that age it was the only way to get away from home. Fortunately they could afford and were glad to send me.

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  43. When I started my first job after I left school at 15. Going to work seemed a lot more grown up than going to school.

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  44. It wasn't so much that I knew I had grown up ... it was that I now Had To Be a grown up and carry on, do all those things grown ups do, not rely on others so much, do it for myself, think for myself .. all that grownup stuff that I had gotten out of for all those years when I was married to a brilliant and funny man ... who could figure out the hardest math problem just by sitting there and thinking for a minute.
    I always thought I should be able to hear the little computer clicking away in his head :)
    Then he would say something completely ridiculous and I was so glad he was that kind of grown up.

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  45. I like the fact that you mentioned that you "grew a little older." Throughout my childhood and early adulthood, I kept "growing a little older" but I never felt like I ever grew up. My mother's death in August made me feel like I had finally "grown up" and not just grown older. My calm and my "management" of things and support of people around me made me say to Jerry, "It's odd. I feel like I've finally really grown up."

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    1. I always liked the phrase " grow a little bit older" I first read it about a surviving character in Paul gallico's Poseudon adventure...it stuck with me

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  46. Mine was as soon as I had given birth to my first son at the age of 18, I felt the instant change.
    Briony
    x

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  47. I agree with Yorkshire Pudding. I have never fully admitted growing up to myself or anyone else, either. I'm a darned good father. I was a good son, not without justified moments of worry. But, I came out alright at the end. I am a husband. I laugh when something is funny, especially at myself. I cry when I'm sad. I give my son the best advice he never heeded, what more can I do? I believe spirit lives and walks the face of the earth and that we can encounter it in our daily lives. I believe I did encounter it once and I pissed it off royally. I've been atoning ever since. Maybe someday I'll feel absolved. I believe in karma even if I'll never see it happen. And I think I've completely lost what the blog is asking.
    When my crazy aunt, who had secreted my grandparents far away literally in the dead of night, had to be hospitalized. My mother didn't want to go. I remember looking at her and saying "Mom, when someone needs you, you have to go". And so we went. Oy, what a journey that turned out to be. I took a great step toward manhood that day and in the strange time that followed. I'll tell you more about it sometime.

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    1. Maturity. Is putting yourself second
      Perhaps that's the best way to describe growing up eh.....please do tell me the story btw

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  48. What a challenging question John! I had a very protected and loved first eight years, living with my mother and a wonderful aunt, but then my mother 'went back' to my father (an alcoholic but otherwise kind, although distant man) and I was sent to boarding school. At that point my life utterly changed, and as with many children sent away too young, I either 'grew up', or 'froze' emotionally. In many ways I think I froze. Once I was at university, and living close to my aunt again I did the thinking, feeling and inner work necessary, but that freezing in childhood takes some getting over!

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    1. Frozen is a word to describe many of us at one time or another.....growing Up is a thaw I guess

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  49. I think there are different ways of being grown up - financially, emotionally, physically. Emotionally, there were two events that made me suddenly realize I had to "step up" as you put it. The first was after my parents and three extended family members were in a car accident which left two dead and three in hospital. The day my dad got home from hospital he was crying with severe back pain, my aunt and uncle were there and didn't know what to do, I made tea and talked to my father to calm him down. The second occasion was right after my dad's stroke, when I realized I was the one closest to him and took responsibility for his well-being until his death eight years later. I think when we become the only one who looks out for one or more people, whether it's our kids, our parents or someone else, that makes you grow up emotionally - just as you did in your story, John.

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    1. The "need of others " perhapsx

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  50. I just love to read you. Happy Christmas, New Year, Happy all of them!

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    1. Merry Christmas to you too x

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  51. The first and only time I picked my passed out drunk mother off the floor and put her in bed...Merry Christmas to you and the prof.

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  52. I grew a little older as a 2nd year student nurse, when a lady who had a mastectomy cried to me. She was worried her husband would find her distasteful to look at. I advised her as best I could for a 20 year old. Later , her Consultant came to find me and asked me to come and work on that ward when I qualified. I felt very grown up.

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  53. I think i have an old soul. I have always had to care for my 2 younger sisters growing up. My mother withdrew from all resposibilty and had a breakdown. My cousin calls me poor milli, always taking care of everyone.
    I neither feel poor nor sorry for myself. Life is a gift and to have the honor of helping another through is the greatest gift.

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  54. I think i have an old soul. I have always had to care for my 2 younger sisters growing up. My mother withdrew from all resposibilty and had a breakdown. My cousin calls me poor milli, always taking care of everyone.
    I neither feel poor nor sorry for myself. Life is a gift and to have the honor of helping another through is the greatest gift.

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  55. For me, I can't remember when it was I felt like a child.

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  56. I was a senior in high school, age 17, and my father was in Viet Nam when my grandmother passed away. I helped my mother pick out her casket and shroud. I steered her away from the expensive caskets that the mortician was pushing to a plain gray cloth covered one. Later, my mother thanked me for helping her make the right choice.

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  57. I am in my mid to late 20s and have lived a pretty sheltered and uneventful life till now. I still feel like a child sometimes. This year in april, my father fell and hurt his knee. For about two weeks, I felt like an adult in and around the hospital and all, but then I got back to being an idiot. Seems like I have a lot of growing up to do.

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    1. Lol nice to have your comment......I do feel old...I have sock older than you x

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  58. Being there to hold my mums hand as she passed 11 years ago and with my father this February. Now my niece is ill, I feel that I have to surrender the helpless feelings and just be available for her.

    Julieq

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  59. Mine was gradual

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