Dear Annie: My father was recently killed in an accident. Now it’s just my mother and me. I don’t know how my mom is going to cope with the loss, and I am not sure how I will, either. I won’t have my father around to see me graduate, get married or have kids.
Here’s the issue: I’m 20 and will be transferring soon to an out-of-state college. This was planned months ago. But I worry that once I leave, my mother will have a breakdown.
Am I making the right choice to go away? I’ve been dreaming of this college for years, but now I feel selfish. I know I can’t put my life on hold, but I want to be sure I’m doing things the right way. I want to be on my own and learn to become independent, but I also realize I’ll be alone and will have to start all over, just like my mom. It’s going to be hard.
Mom has friends, Dad’s family and our church nearby to give her support. I won’t have any of that at my new school. Maybe I just need to force myself to be strong because no one else will push me to do it. I know my mom would like me to stay, but she’d feel guilty if I did. I’m so lost. – Devastated Daughter
Dear Devastated: The death of a loved one can make decisions difficult, and it usually is best not to rush into anything. But you seem ready to leave home, and if this is the case, you should go. Your mother has a support network in place, and you can call her often in order to stay in close touch and be sure she is OK. And you also will need a support network. Your new school should offer counseling services, and we hope you will look into them as soon as you arrive. But if you are reluctant to go, find out whether the school will permit you to defer enrollment for a semester.