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Father-Daughter Team Returns To StoryCorps. Dad Reflects On Being A Single Parent

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

Time again for StoryCorps. Today, a father and daughter we first met in 2019. Sylvia Grosvold sat down with her dad, Josh Weiner, to remember her mom, who died by suicide when Sylvia was just a little girl.

SYLVIA GROSVOLD: I had this whole story about how she lived in a city on the moon. And so I'd look out the window and talk to her.

FADEL: Sylvia is now 18 years old and going off to college. She and her father recently came back to StoryCorps, and Josh recalled becoming a single parent.

JOSH WEINER: Losing your mom when you were 5 years old, there was just so much more responsibility on me to take care of you and keep you safe. But now I don't need to know where you are all the time or when exactly you're going to be back. And that's been hard. And that'll be hard about you going to college as well.

GROSVOLD: Yeah. But I'm terrified because the longest I've been away from home is two weeks.

WEINER: Yeah. But you are going your own way, which is beautiful. You know, there's nothing good about your mom dying, but our relationship is really special because of that.

GROSVOLD: Yeah, absolutely. We've gone through everything together, and we've had long conversations about really hard stuff.

WEINER: Yeah. And that's something that you have in common with your mother. She was like that, too. When she had things that were bothering her, she had to talk about them. Although a big difference is you do a good job of recognizing that you're not going to be in that place forever and moving forward in a way that she had trouble with.

GROSVOLD: Really?

WEINER: Yeah. What is it that you hope for me now that you're leaving for school?

GROSVOLD: I mean, you've worked really, really hard as a teacher. You've always put your students first and then you were a single parent. So you deserve some rest and tea on the front porch.

WEINER: (Laughter) Thank you. I mean, ever since you were born, you have been the center of my life. Everything I do kind of revolves around taking care of you and making sure you're OK and stuff like that.

GROSVOLD: Yeah. What do you think that first night alone is going to feel like?

WEINER: For you or for me?

GROSVOLD: For you.

WEINER: It's going to be quiet, which I like. But your presence is going to be absent. And that's going to be like a little hole in my heart. And it's going to feel like there's a part of me that's missing.

GROSVOLD: That's how it's going to feel for me, too.

WEINER: But wherever I am will hopefully still feel like home to you.

FADEL: That was Josh Weiner with his daughter, Sylvia Grosvold, at StoryCorps. Their conversation is archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. And if you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is open 24 hours a day at 800-273-8255. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.