Death in my family + a vent

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Nomad, Sep 6, 2011.

  1. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    My difficult child father died recently. He was 79. That has been hard and I'm also noticing some weird things. Then again.....I'm still grieving...kind of...and am sensitive. Each day gets better though...

    It would be tooooooo difficult, too painful and take tooooo long to go into the details. We were somewhat estranged. Here's the super short version:
    After my mother died about 25 years ago, I barely heard from Dad.
    We talked perhaps once a year and saw each other perhaps every two years.
    He was VERY abusive to me and my mother. He has a personality disorder (or two).
    AFter she died, he pretended like I abandoned him to get sympathy from people he would meet and he re-created his life in this way. He never knew or care to know his grandchildren.

    About three months ago, I was told that he was dying and it was so very confusing and complicated. I visited him weekly in the hospital and had to cope with his angry girlfriend, who in the end, to my surprise, totally believed me when I told her that the story he presented to her was total FICTION.

    Well.....that is only part of my vent!!!!!

    When I tell people that my father is so interesting the reactions I am getting. 25 years ago, when my mother died, everyone was very sympathetic. Ok, true, the situation was very different. I was very close to my mother. But even strangers, were very nice and appropriate.'s world is different.

    For example, when I missed certain appointments the week he died and said to some people "My father passed and I need to reschedule," some were appropriate and some NOT AT ALL. These are people who don't know the situation.

    My son tells me I am old fashioned. Must be true.

    Seems (to me) the appropriate thing to say is "I'm sorry to hear of your loss. Let's reschedule..." or some such thing.

    When I cancelled his cable...I accidentally gave the phone operator his cell # instead of the house #. I said that I needed to cancel the service for my father, because he passed away and then gave the wrong number. The guy SCREAMED AT ME...actually raising his voice saying "I can NOT CANCEL THE SERVICE IF YOU ARE GOING TO GIVE ME THE WRONG NUMBER!"

    Well, I am probably over sensitive at the moment 'cause true to form, my father was a major grouch in the hospital and it is confusing 'cause although he wasn't in pain ( a blessing ) he was very frightened....and no one (including myself) could blame him.

    However, my mother who died at 49, before she died said nice things to me including complimenting my hair (I just got a lousy hair cut!). My father was unkind to me all the way until the end.

    This grief is so very different. Kind of like....the hope of having a healthy father is gone and I wish it had been different.

    My only hope now is that in the afterlife he is healthy.

    And again, I'm kinda amazed at how weird people are with this topic.

    Thanks for listening....been a strange couple of weeks...but a great learning experience.
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    The world has changed and not for the better. No, not everyone. But far too many people are indifferent and callous, not to mention downright rude.

    I'm so sorry about the passing of your dad. A shame that he couldn't have realized what a great daughter he had and enjoyed a healthy relationship with you before he went.

  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I kinda know how you feel about losing the parent you had the, lets say awkward, relationship with. I was convinced that I had come to terms with the fact that she was dying (alzheimers) and that she didnt know me at all and that I was already past the point that we could ever have any sort of relationship again so I assumed that I was going to be okay when she died, in fact I thought that I would be relieved. In ways I was relieved because it meant her body wasnt suffering anymore and I didnt have to suffer anymore knowing she was still here suffering. But lord I didnt know I was going to break down and really feel a loss like I did. That sudden pain of "oh I can never ever have that chance to maybe get one moment of her saying I was loved." yeah...I get that.

    I also noticed that people acted a bit different when I said things about well I was down because my dad died...or I had to reschedule because I was gone because my dad died or something because my dad died. They always old was he? Then when I say he was 84 its like the next thing they say is, oh well, he had a long life. Yeah, okay, so that makes it okay????? LOL. Doesnt mean I am happy my dad is gone!
  4. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Please accept my sincere sympathies. I'm sure it is a different kind of grief that you are experiencing...but it is real!
    No doubt the world has changed, sad to say. Hugs. DDD
  5. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    There is such a disconnect I've noticed as I get older, from outsiders in circumstances like this. It seems courtesy and common respect for another persons loss no longer factors on peoples radars. We noticed the same things when we had to settle personal affairs when my aunt passed and it was hard to accept and deal with.

    I too am very sorry for your loss. I can see the double loss, first the actual loss of your father, second the loss of the chance to continue to hope for something to change/improve with him and you. I'm very glad his g/f realized that she was told untruths and that you didn't choose this lack of relationship etc. Even though he wasn't the kindest to you, I hope those visits helped you in some fashion. (((hugs)))
  6. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry for your loss, Nomad.

    I also think people have gotten ruder and/or more insensitive to the suffering of others.
  7. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    It is extremely insensitive of these people for not understanding your situation and giving you the courtesy you deserve. You are not old fashioned at all. Customer service is certainly lacking these days and it's all about the bottom line.

    I'm sorry that people are just insensitive. I'm sorry that your father wasn't the father you needed and that you lost him before he became so.
  8. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Nomad, I am so sorry to hear about your loss. Even though you were estranged a loss of a parent brings up so many painful emotions. I have had my issues with my dad for years. He is an alcoholic who caused a great deal of turmoil in our home growing up and there was a period of years when I had no contact with him at all. The last fifteen years we reconciled however it has not been without difficult times. He has always enjoyed pitting his kids against each other and he was sucessful in doing that between my sister and I last year. That relationship is severed and probably never will be repaired. But I am more concerned about my dad. He is almost 92 and in poor health. He has surgery last month and I was very uncomfortable in the hospital with my sister. He has to have more surgery next month and I' not sure what to do. I feel awful that this last year has beenso strained but it's too late to fix that. I am afraid that if I don't get back on some even ground I will regret it.

    I think that we always look to our parents for approval even though we tell oursleves we don't need it. And when that approval is not given we struggle with the left over emotions.

    Again I am sorry for your loss and hope that in time you are at peace with yourself.

  9. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    {{{Nomad}}} I understand and I'm very sorry for the pain you are feeling. I think that losing a difficult child (no matter the relationship to you) can be very disconcerting and comes with a lot of conflicted feelings. Be gentle with yourself. I also think you should calmly ask to be switched to a supervisor the next time someone treats you so rudely.
  10. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Nomad, I'm very sorry you lost your dad. And I think I know a lot about how you are feeling right now, because he sounds a LOT like my father, whom I lost a year ago on 8/1. Lots of mixed emotions, including mourning the loss of the chance to have a healthy relationship with that parent on top of the actual loss. Anger over things that did happen, and things that didn't happen. My dad was abusive to everyone close to him. The only positive I could find in his death was that my mother (God bless her) at the age of 68 and after 47 years with that man was finally facing the prospect of having a HAPPY life. I was happy for her and ANGRY that so much of her life was spent taking care of this person who took her for granted and treated her like hired help. The fact that he finally expressed some degree of trust and gratitude towards her in his final weeks of life was small consolation after years of verbal and emotional abuse.

    I learned a lot during those days, too. I remembered all the things he screwed up (like not having a relationship with me or my kids, or letting his fear prevent him from doing things he always said he wanted to do and basically wasting so. much. time. TALKING instead of DOING).

    Eventually I've been able to work through the pain and the anger and though it's still there, I'm trying to also remember the good things, because there were a few. And trying to recognize his influence on me -- good and bad.

    I still get emotional every now and then if I stop to dwell on some of the stuff, and maybe I should go back to see a therapist about it.

    For now, be good to yourself and take whatever time you need to get through this.

  11. Star*

    Star* call 911


    All loss; no matter how weird, estranged, dysfunctional or odd IS loss. It's your loss, it's your right it's YOURS, and as my friend for your heart? I am truly sorry for your feelings and wish there really were something I could do to make you feel even a slightly bit better. I'd take you for a cup of coffee, sit with you in a park, cover you with a soft blanket -even just sit and say nothing with you for hours and watch a pond full of ducks with you and talk about my aspirations of owning donkeys and foster pets for hours boring you to tears beyond painful memories of your childhood just to cheer you. I care that much. (wink)

    As far as the world? I don't know if it's changed or if the population as a whole added more *******s making it less sensitive to the care and concern of really nice people. I'm still me. You're still you. Your son says we're old fashioned. Well.....I like the way I am, I'm comfortable with being polite, nice and kind - but cross that line and try to shove my nose in YOUR pile and I can be just like "the rest of the world" and give them a taste of exactly how they are but first? I'd do any and everthing I can to show them - my old fashioned way is really better 10 times before I go "worldly" and let them have it like BURGER KING or rather "THEIR WAY" but when I me - you will get what you asked for in spades and then? You'll wish you'd taken it old skool. I learned the BK way from my X - Old Scratch.

    You stay EXACTLY who you are - It's who you were when I met you - It's whom I've grown to appreciate, admire and love - and it's whom I hope to figuratively grow old with here as a trusted friend.....I like her immensely - even wtih the past you've had? You ARE YOU........wouldn't have it any OTHER way. Thank your Dad for that when you are able. It's taught a LOT of people a great many things because of your ability to rise above it all due to your enormous strength.

    Hugs and love ----
  12. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip


    It doesn't matter who we lose, just because they are a difficult child and we don't have a good relationship with them does not mean we don't love them.

    I feel for you. And you're right. People are just downright RUDE anymore.

    I always try to say something, though "I'm sorry for your loss" isn't enough, when those who have had a family member die are close. Otherwise, it's common courtesy. Which is misnamed anymore.

    More hugs...
  13. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    These responses really mean a lot to me. Similar to having a difficult child daughter, having a difficult child father has also been somewhat of a "secret." Obviously my husband knows, my children more or less know, and my closest friends know. But, it is not common knowledge. So, I limit who I talk to about this.
    When my mother died young it was very painful. She was the healthy/kind parent. The grief was strong and clear cut.
    This grief kind of took me by surprise. I had always known in my heart that he would show no remorse, but I guess in a childlike way (and I'm noooo kid) I had hoped against hope that he would show some humanity at the very end. At best, one day in the hospital he started to cry and said he loved me and then a few seconds later he was mean as heck to me. At the very very very end, he was very quiet around me. He was only giving two or three word answers to people, but to me, one word replies like "hot," "yes" "cold." It seem indicative of something...not sure of what.
    Ironically, I have a friend with a bipolar sister. We share things. Her sister and my daughter are very similar. Her sister died suddenly the other day. I somehow knew instantly the state of mind she might be in and she thanked me for helping her express this .... it is a painful conflict....a confusing type of grief...which you all "get," and I thank you for your compassion and empathy. It is helpful.
  14. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    {{{Nomad}}} I'm so sorry for the loss of your father and the relationship you did not share. And I'm glad that you have your family and close friends to turn to, to sort out your feelings. That's a life saver and comforting.

    About insensitive people. I agree, though I think it's mostly those under 35 years of age. They just don't seem to know the appropriate responses in difficult situations for some reason. I often wonder if it's because they've been shielded and/or raised in a very self centered world. Whatever the reason, I hope with age, they learn empathy and what we've taken for granted: common courtesy.
  15. keista

    keista New Member

    Nomad, I am sorry for your loss, and do understand your grief. My BFF dealt with very similar emotions with her mother.

    Reality is, he gave you what he could. You were LOVED by this man. He was incapable of showing it in a lasting and meaningful way, but he did love you.

    We all want difficult children to wake up one day and "see the light", and some do, but sadly many do not. For whatever reason your father was the latter, even up to his last breath. BUT despite his actions, he did LOVE you, in his own difficult child kind of way. in my opinion it is not any less valid.

    If he had given you more, explained himself, made excuses. It would have left you with more questions, more wants, more regrets.

    More than anything else, I think you are mourning the loss of HOPE. The HOPE that if he were alive there was even the slightest chance of a positive relationship. Now that hope is gone forever and you need to accept and move on. A difficult task indeed.

    Remember always that he was a difficult child and as such, was incapable of a "normal" relationship, but also know that deep down somewhere, despite not being able to, he wanted it as well. He told you this himself - he told you he LOVED you.
  16. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Nomad I am struggling, a lot right now, with this very thing. My Dad was not as horrible sounding as your Dad, but he was not Mr Cleaver either. There was abuse, and I always had a huge wall up between he and I. It took me 7 years of therapy to process and forgive. My sister never did. I chose the route of forgiveness over estrangement because I wanted the path of peace, and to not perpetuate the hate that already festered in our family. My sister chose the other path, and she and my dad both died without that resolution.

    I chose to put the last year of my life on hold to be with my Dad as he died, and then help my Mom transition. I thought a lot about this choice in the beginning, and it is very much what I wanted to do - yet now I resent it a little. I am not sure I exactly got what I anticipated from it. I think possibly that I thought that if I sacrificed enough for my Dad. If I just tried harder, and more, than I would be brought closer to him. But that did not happen, nor did I get the acceptance I really craved. Yet the reality was, that at some point, both of us put up walls for different reasons - and those walls never moved - not even at death's door.

    Now that he is gone however, the walls have crumbled - and I am blindsided by my grief. Like you, I have been completely caught off guard. I find myself deeply missing him - missing the things he did do for me that I just took for granted. Missing all the little happy things he did that I had did not recognize in my effort to keep him walled off from the hurtful things he did.

    When I lost H. I was so deeply wounded, so eviscerated. I had never known pain like that - ever. I still cry frequently over the loss of my sister. Now with my Dad, it is a different pain, but still deep, I guess just not as devastating, not as immobilizing - but I find myself missing them equally, which I could never have imagined.

    The other part of this, which I am sure you feel as well, is the feeling that your family is *gone*. By that I do feel immobilized. Without a spouse, and a 20 yo difficult child, I feel very alone. I find myself freaking out over the littlest things that I would not normally have been petrified about - like that something will happen to Tesla. Right now we have a lot of fires here, and the other day I was driving home and saw smoke coming right from my neighborhood. I burst into tears - and ran over and over in my mind what would happen if I lost Tesla - and that maybe I should take her everywhere from now on just in case. And I am obsessed over the well being of my Mom, because if she goes - then that's that. I am the last man standing - and I don't want to be that person - standing all alone without my family.

    Anyway - know that I understand, completely. Death is the most elusive entity that I have yet to encounter. Before 5 years ago, I was probably that rude person you talked to that said some caddy thing like, "oh he lived a good life though". Those are people that have not lived through death. I had not had anyone die in my life that I loved until my cat was killed 5 years ago. Truly, it was that death that opened my eyes to the gravity of loss. I cried SO much, I thought I had mentally lost it. I loved that cat - more than any animal I had ever had - and the neighbors dog killed him when he was only 3. Then my grandmother died, and then a close friend, and then my sister, and so I feel so guilty for the things I must of said to people who just lost someone. I just did not *get* it. I was naive, and sheltered from that particular type of loss.

    i send many hugs, and peaceful thoughts your are not alone.
  17. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am so sorry for your loss. Regardless of the relationship, losing a parent is hard.

    Please call that company where the guy screamed at you and ask for the top boss. not the supervisor, but the person in charge of everything. Ask them if screaming is an appropriate way to behave for the emplyees and also as how it would look in the media if it came out that right as you were dealing with making all the plans and everything, an employee of company z screamed at you because you made a mistake? This co does NOT want the media to hear this. They WILL do what they can to make it "right" with you.