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What The Death Of My Daughter Is Teaching Me About Grief

On July 24, an orca named Tahlequah (also know as J35) gave birth to a calf that lived for less than an hour.

Afterward, Tahlequah carried or pushed her dead calf nearly a thousand miles over 17 days, finally dropping it on Aug. 11, at which point the Center for Whale Research in Wahington state proclaimed that Tahlequah's "tour of grief" was over. Her grief (for what else could it be?) captivated the world. It was so achingly poignant and horrific because it actualized one of our deepest, most primal fears - the death of a child.

I understand that grief.

I lost my daughter, Ana, 16 months ago. Ana was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer when she was 11. Her adolescence was dominated by the disease. Ana died in her room, in her own bed. My last words to her were, "I love you. It's OK to go."

But the truth is, nothing will ever be OK again.

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