Death of a father is something that most daughters find hard to cope with. It is even worse if the child is still a minor. This is considering the belief that a father is like a girlâ€™s first boyfriend and a major figure. People react differently to death of their father. It does not matter how old one is. Some people quickly get over it while others take a long time. They will experience many different emotions for the rest of their lives. Dumase Zgambo-Mapemba looks at this issue.
According to Mary (not real name), her father was the pillar of her strength.
â€œI can vividly recall the day dad died. A dark cloud covered our lives.â€
Â Being the first born, she could see him constantly saying to her to take charge. When she was afraid, he cheered her on.
â€œIt was a tough first year and every time I felt like he would open the door and walk in with a plastic bag of bread and milk, but it never happened.
â€œSometimes when people do you wrong, you always feel they are doing that because you have no father. As a girl, you grow up with the feeling that if something goes bad, you can go and tell dad,â€ she says it sadly.
â€œI still jolt when I see someone with the same figure as my dad or I hear a voice near to his. I, however, had closure by being able to bid a silent bye after he died.
â€œI overcame my emotions when he died through writing a journal,â€ she says.
Mary is one of many girls and women who have had to experience the loss of a father. Despite being an older woman who has a husband and child, losing her father has been hard on her and her sister.Â According to e-how.com there are a lot of psychological effects that death of a father has on young daughters.
Daughters up to two years of age have a difficult time understanding that their father is gone. They experience behavioural changes, including increases in crying and irritability.
Â Daughters who are two to five years of age believe that their father will return, since they donâ€™t quite understand death yet. At this age, it is important to explain to the child that their father is dead and wonâ€™t ever be coming back.
Daughters up to 12 years old understand death and experience identity problems and feelings of helplessness. Teenager daughters are able to confide in others about their emotions, but they are able to hide them and may not know how to properly cope with their feelings.
For a grown woman the reaction varies. This is because she is able to understand death and its reality.
Â Cause of death
For example, if the death was sudden and unexpected, she experiences helplessness, anger, confusion and pain. She didnâ€™t get a chance to say goodbye, make up after a fight or give her father a hug one last time. Sheâ€™s left to face the permanent fact of death against her will.
Expected deaths, although just as painful as unexpected deaths, give daughters more time to adjust. They are able to spend more time with their fathers, voicing their feelings and enjoying their final moments together.
Grieving occurs almost immediately after learning about the death of a father. Many emotions are experienced during this time.
Since there is no right way to grieve, it is important to be open to various methods of grieving. Be open to talking with your daughter about the death if she asks about it. Seek professional help if you or your child experiences extreme emotions or behaviours that hurt you, her, or others.
Â Long-term effects
A fatherâ€™s death impacts his daughterâ€™s long-term emotions. Certain things will trigger her to think back to her fatherâ€™s death, such as car accidents, hospitals or strangers that look like her father. Her emotions will forever be a roller coaster ride.
Â For example, if she were once an exceptional student, she may now lack interest in obtaining good grades. Or, she may become more interested in boys in order to have a male figure in her life to confide in. Regardless, a change in personality is a completely normal and expected reaction to death.
Whether we still have our fathers with us or they have passed away, it is important to cherish them and every memory of them.