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Dear Frankie: Am I an orphan?

by Publisher
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Dear Frankie,

Last year my dad walked out.

At first, my mom thought he would come back, but he didn’t. We only heard from him when we got a letter from a lawyer saying he was filing for divorce. 

When my mom realized her marriage was over, she fell apart. I did everything I could to comfort her. I slept by her side and listened for hours when she ranted and raved. But nothing I did helped. 

Eventually, my grandpa and grandma, who are very old and not in the best of health, agreed to come to pitch in for a few weeks. When my mom didn’t get better, she agreed to go to the hospital for people who were sad and lonely. She has been gone awhile, and my grandparents need to leave. When I ask them when my mom will come home, they say, “soon.” I’m afraid they know something they are not telling me, and my mom is not coming back, just like my dad. 

How did it happen that I went from having two loving parents to becoming an orphan about to be surrendered to a shelter in one year?  


Dear Lionel, 

An orphan is a child under 18 whose parents are not alive. Your parents are living, so technically, you are not an orphan.

I understand how anxious you must feel faced with unanswered questions about your mom and future care. As dire as your situation seems, all is not lost. 

First, your mom understood she was sick and agreed she needed help. Second, she went to the hospital because she wanted to get better and take care of you as she did in the past. Third, she is getting the rest, and expert care, she needs to recover. And lastly, people like your mom, who are recovering from a traumatic event, get better and can return to their former lives with support from their doctors and medication. 

This is a long way to say, “Hang in there, Lionel. Everything points to your mom coming back home and taking care of you.”

As for you going to a shelter, this may not be what your grandparents have in mind. They may take you with them or find a friend of your mom to take care of you. You sound like a friendly and brave fella that someone would be pleased to have as a guest. I’m keeping my paws crossed.

Best, Frankie

Comments and letters can be sent to Frankie at dearfrankiecolumn@gmail.com.

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