WPP 022: Riley Elliott reflects on losing her dad at age 7

The one thing I would have to say about giving a parent advice on what to tell their child is that they don’t have to live with this guilt for their entire life. I would advise parents to still encourage their kids to be happy, and not make their parent’s death their identity. But I would also say that they need to acknowledge it because it is a part of their life. And they don’t have to be sad forever if they don’t want to be. Giving them that freedom, and that encouragement, is something that I was kind of told, and I think that hearing those words really did help me.
— Riley Elliott

I had such a great discussion with Riley Elliott for this week’s show. Riley lost her dad to brain cancer when she was just 7 years old. As a widowed parent, I always think it’s helpful to hear the perspectives of people who are now adults and who lost a parent when they were a child or teenager. It’s not like it’s going to tell me exactly what my kids will go through, but it gives me a lot to think about and be on the lookout for, and helps me figure out how to support them better.

Riley and I discussed:

  • Wanting to feel “normal” growing up and not wanting to be treated differently because her dad died;

  • Finding it difficult to know what to say to new people about her family’s situation;

  • Gaining perspective, including wanting to get more out of life from an early age;

  • How her family has turned grief into action by getting involved in the brain cancer world;

  • and so much more.

I hope you enjoy my discussion with Riley Elliott.

Links & resources for this episode

The End Brain Cancer Initiative

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