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Old 03-10-2016, 02:16 PM
 
Location: Chicago
5,412 posts, read 8,296,706 times
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I'm having a hard time resolving my feelings over my father's death. He was minimally in my life (cards, awkward visits a few times a year), but I intentionally kept him at a distance from me and my family (particularly my children, and also my husband who disliked him). I think if you knew his history, you would understand why I did that.

But after his death, I think of the good things he did for me, but he was a human with a lot of demons. I do believe I was there for him in his final days, and we were both at peace with that. I made him his last meal and told him I loved him. We had long conversations. I planted his garden for him. I think there was an unspoken forgiveness.

But I keep thinking of what could have been - what he could have been. I think I'm still angry at him. How do I let that go? I'm not sure if this is a normal progression of the grieving process or something I need to address further. He passed away 18 months ago at 65 y.o. I feel like I have no one to talk to about him. People don't understand how I could love him and hate him at the same time, and that is hard to reconcile with his death.

Just wondering if anyone has similar experiences..

Last edited by GoCUBS1; 03-10-2016 at 02:31 PM..
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Old 03-10-2016, 03:16 PM
 
5,480 posts, read 3,429,912 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoCUBS1 View Post
I feel like I have no one to talk to about him. People don't understand how I could love him and hate him at the same time, and that is hard to reconcile with his death.

Just wondering if anyone has similar experiences..
Of course.

It's entirely normal to grieve the loss of the parent as well as the loss of the parent he could have been. Not only have you lost your father but you lost what you had while he was still alive: The hope that he could turn himself around and be present for you in the way that you needed him to. I think you must have held onto that hope for a long time, even as you had to go to minimal contact to protect those around you.

With the double loss of life and hope, you shouldn't be surprised at how you're feeling and that no one seems to understand. Loving while hating does seem like a contradiction to most people unless they've been through something similar. But I'm sure plenty of people on C-D can relate, just as I can.

I'm sorry you're going through this necessary but painful time.
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Old 03-10-2016, 03:28 PM
 
3,967 posts, read 5,261,455 times
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My mom died 3.5 years ago, and I still am unclear about my feelings. She was a good mom and good grandmother in many ways, but she had some quirks that were unhealthy and make it hard for us to care for her as she got older. Like she refused to let us know who her doctor was or even to acknowledge health problems that I could have helped with (I'm in a medical field.) She never let us touch her when we were younger, which make it wierd later, too, and she cared SO much about what others thought, that she sometimes was cruel. It was only in the last 5 years (when my mom already had dementia, and couldn't talk about it) that I learned that she had for years mentally abused my older sister. When I was a kid, I was oblivious to this, and she never did it to me. It is such a mixed picture, because she was wonderful, taking care of me and all, when I had my son, and although I lived far away most of my life, we talked every week, and she was a great support to me as a young mother. Still, she caused my sister great pain and really messed up her life. So how do you reconcile those things? I really don't carry around a load of anger, but I also really don't understand her, so I'm not clear on what my feelings really are. It isn't a matter of forgiveness, its a matter of clarity to me, and finding out so late that she hurt someone I love (my sister.) Relationships and people in general can be so complex. So I understand your confusion/conflict with your dad.
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Old 03-10-2016, 03:56 PM
 
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If you lose a "bad" parent, sometimes its a relief knowing they can no longer cause you pain. But the flip side, is there's no chance of them changing and finally getting that loving parent you've always wanted.


OP, it sounds like you did your best and did improve your relationship as best you could. I hope you see that and come to realize you got to enjoy dad as much as he'd let you. Good luck to you.


I also think its totally normal to have anger. Anger at what he did, and anger he died before he tried his best to fix your pain. Could you find out what kind of childhood he had? Sometimes learning our parents suffered abuse explains why they did the same to us.
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Old 03-10-2016, 04:08 PM
 
Location: Chicago
5,412 posts, read 8,296,706 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fluffythewondercat View Post
Of course.

It's entirely normal to grieve the loss of the parent as well as the loss of the parent he could have been. Not only have you lost your father but you lost what you had while he was still alive: The hope that he could turn himself around and be present for you in the way that you needed him to. I think you must have held onto that hope for a long time, even as you had to go to minimal contact to protect those around you.

With the double loss of life and hope, you shouldn't be surprised at how you're feeling and that no one seems to understand. Loving while hating does seem like a contradiction to most people unless they've been through something similar. But I'm sure plenty of people on C-D can relate, just as I can.

I'm sorry you're going through this necessary but painful time.
Thank you so much for your understanding. You said it so well - I am also mourning the loss of the hope that he would change. I kept thinking he would change. And maybe, at the end, he really did. One thing that makes me so sad is that, when I was cleaning out his desk I found a recent file containing brochures of all these places I wanted to travel to (it was very particular to my interests and he had hinted at it over the phone). I think they were places he wanted to take me to, but we never went.
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Old 03-10-2016, 04:12 PM
 
Location: Chicago
5,412 posts, read 8,296,706 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G Grasshopper View Post
My mom died 3.5 years ago, and I still am unclear about my feelings. She was a good mom and good grandmother in many ways, but she had some quirks that were unhealthy and make it hard for us to care for her as she got older. Like she refused to let us know who her doctor was or even to acknowledge health problems that I could have helped with (I'm in a medical field.) She never let us touch her when we were younger, which make it wierd later, too, and she cared SO much about what others thought, that she sometimes was cruel. It was only in the last 5 years (when my mom already had dementia, and couldn't talk about it) that I learned that she had for years mentally abused my older sister. When I was a kid, I was oblivious to this, and she never did it to me. It is such a mixed picture, because she was wonderful, taking care of me and all, when I had my son, and although I lived far away most of my life, we talked every week, and she was a great support to me as a young mother. Still, she caused my sister great pain and really messed up her life. So how do you reconcile those things? I really don't carry around a load of anger, but I also really don't understand her, so I'm not clear on what my feelings really are. It isn't a matter of forgiveness, its a matter of clarity to me, and finding out so late that she hurt someone I love (my sister.) Relationships and people in general can be so complex. So I understand your confusion/conflict with your dad.
Thank you for your response. That is how I feel also - my father hurt a lot of innocent people around him, including children, and the only way I could possibly interact with him and protect myself/others, was to accept it was a mental illness, the alternative was just too horrific.
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Old 03-10-2016, 04:22 PM
 
Location: Chicago
5,412 posts, read 8,296,706 times
Reputation: 6352
Quote:
Originally Posted by breeinmo. View Post
If you lose a "bad" parent, sometimes its a relief knowing they can no longer cause you pain. But the flip side, is there's no chance of them changing and finally getting that loving parent you've always wanted.


OP, it sounds like you did your best and did improve your relationship as best you could. I hope you see that and come to realize you got to enjoy dad as much as he'd let you. Good luck to you.


I also think its totally normal to have anger. Anger at what he did, and anger he died before he tried his best to fix your pain. Could you find out what kind of childhood he had? Sometimes learning our parents suffered abuse explains why they did the same to us.
Thank you. Yes, there was a sense of relief, along with grief, sadness, anger. The person closest to me, my husband whom I adore, did not understand my grief (still doesn't I think). He said, basically, "I thought you hated him." I had to explain that I both loved and hated him, despite how crazy that sounds.

I wondered about his childhood. His sister once told me he had made her childhood a living hell. She said he and her mom were crazy. I didn't ask for more details because I could tell it was a painful subject. I guess I'll never know.
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Old 03-12-2016, 09:38 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,889 posts, read 51,443,250 times
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To clarify, your anger may be focused on his past negative behavior at the same time you were able to make connection with the more lovable person laboring underneath that baggage. Having anger towards bad and hurtful behavior seems healthy until you can just learn whatever lesson is there and let it go. Having compassion for the person recognizes that we all have baggage and just try to do as best we can under circumstances thrust upon us.
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Old 03-12-2016, 12:36 PM
 
Location: Alaska
256 posts, read 198,884 times
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Have a similar situation. My father wasn't around much (military), and when he was my mother would argue with him every night. He was a very intelligent man, hard worker, and good provider, but his mother died a horrible death when is was 10 years of age, and his own father wasn't around much.

He was a drunk, and while he never physically / mentally abused any of us, he was never around. Then one year he was working over seas with a rotation of 3 months on / off, he came home early one night with a diamond ring fro my mother. He always promised her a real one and thought it would be nice to finally surprise her; anyways, he walked in on her cheating on him.

Fast forward a year and their divorce was final, I was 16 years old (1999). My mother moved 1100 miles away back to her home, and my father started dating the neighbors girl mother. Things were 'okay' for about 6-months, then suddenly my soon to be step siblings began feeling threatened by me for some reason. They were mean, one threw a knife at me, the other had me jumped one day.

One morning, I woke up and my father drove me an hour into the city and dropped me off at the bus station. He chose his fiance and her kids who he barely knew over his own kid.

He always needed to have a woman or he felt empty.

Anyways, we didn't talk much for about 10 years till he was diagnosed with advanced cancer. He never came to my graduation, but he did randomly show up to my 19th birthday for a day. He took me to the movies, went and hit some golf balls, and that was the last we saw each other till October 2011.

He was always a very grumpy unhappy man with a scowl on his face full time.

About a year before he passed away he came and visited, but wound up in the hospital most of the time and is prognoses was grim, they didn't think he would make it back home.

Roughly eight months goes by and my phone rings with my step mother on the other end stating my father wasn't doing well and me and sister should find a way to visit him (we lived 4k miles away). Wasn't easy to find the money because my wife just gave birth to our second child and it wiped us out financially. My mother actually stepped forward with the money (she is well off), but she didn't do it out of love, she did it so she could brag to the whole town about how great a person she is. She told us we wouldn't have to pay her back, but a year later she tried to hit me up for the money. She has always been a money grabber.

Anyways, we flew down and stayed a week, I helped him out with a few things around the house and went with him for his last Oncology visit. The Doctor stated he could probably live another 18-24 months if he wanted, but he decided now was the time after fighting this cancer for 3 years. He felt like he was a burden on everyone and passed away 11 days later.

However, before we left he did have a conversation with me. He apologized for everything he did and wish he would have done things differently. I told it wasn't necessary and have him a hug. My step mother did the same thing and says she loves my father, but after all these years she recognized how horrible her children are, and wishes she would have never gotten involved.

I talk with her once a month, and can not believe how bad her children are. They tried stealing her house, car, and tool most her money when she was sleeping!

Back to my father sorry for ranting here and there.

Just wish all those years were not lost, I now realize how much I need him to this day, and how much he loved me. He just never knew how to show it.

My mother for years had me even more angry with my father filling my head with lies, about two years ago is when my wife helped me realize my mother is verbally abusive. She is very negative, always making fun of me, and always bad mouthing me to the local community. Thankfully, I have lived here for years before she decided to move closer.

Anyways, to this day my feelings for my father have yet to be resolved. Still haven't mourned his death because my wife's father was diagnosed with the same cancer that killed my father about 13 days after he passed away. And her father was an amazing father-in-law, grandfather, etc. He was everything my own father never was.

Still feeling conflicted!
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Old 03-15-2016, 05:03 PM
 
Location: Cochise county, AZ
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Of course you are conflicted. I often wanted to say bad things about my son's dad but, thankfully, was able to keep it inside. This is a decision a child, grown or not, must make for him/her self.

It seems that no matter what a parent does, there is still love for that parent. That is all I can offer. You are not alone in this. There are many of us who have the same conflict.
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