Seventeen years ago, I came bounding into a world of love and laughter. I was the first child, the first grandchild, the first niece, and the primary focus of my entire extended family. Although they were not married, my parents were young and energetic and had every good intention for their new baby girl. I grew up with opportunities for intellectual and spiritual growth, secure in the knowledge that I was loved, free from fear, and confident that my world was close to perfect. And I was the center of a world that had meaning only in terms of its effect on me-- what I could see from a height of three feet and what I could comprehend with the intellect and emotions of a child. This state of innocence persisted through my early teens, but changed dramatically in the spring of my sophomore year of high school. My beloved father was dying of AIDS.
First Body Paragraph
From the moment my parents told me, I confronted emotions and issues that many adults have never faced.
Development of ideas related to the topic sentence (Signpost question addressed: values and philosophies)
Death of a parent, and AIDS specifically, forced my view of the world and my sense of responsibility to take a dramatic turn. I had already accepted my father's homosexuality and had watched through the years as he experienced both prejudice and acceptance related to his sexual preference. However, in this case I did not have the benefit of time to understand my father's illness since he decided not to tell me until he had developed full-blown AIDS. My role in the relationship was suddenly reversed.
Where I had once been the only child of my single father, I was now the parent to the debilitated child.
Second Body Paragraph
By the summer of my junior year, I had rearranged the structure of my life; as my father's illness progressed and he became increasingly incapacitated, he depended... [continues]
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