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Old 05-05-2018, 04:58 AM
 
12,243 posts, read 8,649,049 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenneth.24 View Post
Hi all:

While this forum definitely has a select amount of judgmental people, I have received some pretty substantial advise from this community in the past that has helped me significantly, so I think I'm going to turn to you guys for some help regarding some family issues I'm dealing with right now.
This past week has been extremely hard, especially emotionally. About 3 days ago I got a call from my father's nurse saying she came home to him laying in bed, completely unconscious, and then she said that she called an ambulance in order to get my dad to the nearest hospital as soon as possible. The second I got off the phone I sped over to the hospital my dad was in to see what was going on, because prior to discussing everything with the doctors I thought he'd had a heart attack or something of that sort. But then after hours of waiting his doctor pulled me aside and told me they found an excess amount of antidepressants and sleeping pills in his system, which basically means he overdosed. They have him on life support right now but I've been told to prepare for the worst as chances of him surviving are beyond slim.

My dad struggled with really bad depression throughout his life and had tried killing himself twice before (once when I was 12 and then twice rather recently) but I never thought he'd actually do it. He must have finally reached a point where he couldn't take it anymore, but even though I should have expected this to happen it still came as a complete shock and it's really messed me up. I haven't slept in 3 days and keep hoping they'll call me and tell me he'll end up making it after all. And to make matters worse, I am dealing with all of this on my own as my sister is as selfish and as apathetic as always and says she's "too busy with work" to fly over and be here, while my mom just couldn't care less about whether my dad dies or not and literally, and I quote, told me to "call when I get the news".
While I expected this kind of attitude from my mother as she's pretty much the nastiest person I've ever had to deal with (plus her and my dad have been bitterly divorced for about 30 years), I really did think that my sister would have the decency to show up. I actually told her the chances of him making it are close to zero and she just brushed it off and said there's nothing she can do because of work, and that when he "actually dies", she'll fly over to deal with proceedings such as his will, a burial, etc. The indifference is unbelievable. And the most annoying part of all is that she's still resentful towards our dad about events that took place when we were kids (40+ years ago!!) while she's perfectly fine with bankrolling our mom's life and spending time with her even though the fact of the matter is our mom treated us 1000 times worse than our dad did while we were growing up. Our dad may have been harsh and mean at times but even back then he was dealing with severe depression that was making him act that way; he would feel so guilty afterwards and he was STILL way nicer than our mom. My mom has no excuse at all other than the fact she's a downright distasteful person. Oh no but apparently according to my sister, that's totally fine. It's only our dying father that deserves a grudge.

I have been getting an overflowing amount of support from my wife, which is something I'm extremely grateful for, but she too agrees that my sister's behavior is unacceptable and that something needs to be done. We've told our daughters that their grandfather is in the hospital and in critical condition, but I told my wife to keep the part about him overdosing private as I don't want to traumatize them and make them even more upset. They were close to him, especially my daughter Dani, and I don't know if telling them would be appropriate or not. The thing is, they keep asking about what exactly happened and why he's in the hospital, which puts me in a really tough position because while I don't want to lie to them, telling them the truth is just as hard because I don't want it to stigmatize them and make them feel even worse about the whole situation. My youngest daughter is only 12, I don't even know if she fully understands what committing suicide truly means.
I just feel this intense mix of sadness, emotional and physical exhaustion, worry, and frustration at my mom and sister and don't know how to deal with it all. If anyone has any advice it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much to the CD community
-Ken
If you need to wait a few months before telling the whole story in order to keep you and the kids sane, that's fine, but don't withhold the information too long, otherwise these kids will learn that you hide the truth from them, and when they do find out, they might be very upset that you hid this from them, depending on their personality. I know for a fact that I would have been upset if anybody in my family hid something like this from me. Just sayin'
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Old 05-05-2018, 05:22 AM
 
15,404 posts, read 17,449,967 times
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First let me say how sorry I am that you are going through such a bad time....And I am sorry for your father's situation.

If he is still alive he hasn't committed suicide....perhaps it was an accidental overdose....I think that is what I'd be saying if your children ask at this point.

I think that your family of origin issues, are coloring all of this and making it impossible for you to deal logically and rationally. You are likely prone to be hypervigilant about anything involving your dad, especially when it also involves dealing with your sibling. For instance, I would not assume someone was trying to commit suicide because of an overdose....but you are predisposed because of your family history.

I would simply answer as honestly as you can, depending what your kids ask. And, they always say do not give more information then they ask for, nor more than age appropriate.

So, if you kids ask, tell them grandpa may have taken too many of his pills and it made him very ill. Because from your OP, that is all that is for sure.

It would help you to seek some counseling now or soon, because situation like this are bringing up past childhood trauma. Like PTSD, you will revisit trauma of your childhood with almost any stressful or perceived traumatic event present day. A good counselor....would help you learn coping skills, and to process and validate your childhood feelings....so that your childhood doesn't negatively affect your present day life and your family.

I am sorry that you are going through this, and that you feel abandoned by your sister. One thing....for each child their memories may be different, because their experiences could be very different....it is not unusual for siblings to side with one or the other parent. Try not to hold this against your sister, it might actually be very healing for both of you if you could hear each other out and validate each other's feelings.

There are many sites related to siblings, and deaths that would be helpful to you. Here is just one regarding siblings and different memories. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/b...mories-growing

Last edited by JanND; 05-05-2018 at 05:34 AM..
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Old 05-05-2018, 05:50 AM
 
Location: Raleigh NC
4,951 posts, read 4,132,594 times
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I would not tell you daughter about the suicide. If she has reason to question it when she gets older you can have a clearer discussion about depression and suicide and the consequences.

As for your sister, you can't control how she feels or what she does. You can only control your response. My suggestion is to let her go.

You have a complicated family history and I suggest grief counseling for you. When my dad died, I had a good long talk from someone from hospice or the hospital (I can't remember) about our tattered family relationships and it helped a LOT with letting go of my anger about my parents.
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Old 05-05-2018, 07:18 AM
 
2,702 posts, read 1,999,267 times
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Ken, so sorry this has happened. Is there a chance he will survive this?

I would be honest with my children and use it as a learning time. Grandpa is in the hospital, the doctors say it looks like he took too many pills. That's so dangerous, remember to always be careful and not take anything other or more than what a doctor prescribes.

Did he try to kill himself? Honey, no one knows for sure, we weren't there.

Don't blame yourself, your sister, the divorce, or the nurse. While you're understandably sad about this, you shouldn't be surprised. Best of luck guiding your family through this sad time.
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Old 05-05-2018, 11:37 AM
 
8,285 posts, read 6,964,138 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KaraG View Post
Ken, so sorry this has happened. Is there a chance he will survive this?

I would be honest with my children and use it as a learning time. Grandpa is in the hospital, the doctors say it looks like he took too many pills. That's so dangerous, remember to always be careful and not take anything other or more than what a doctor prescribes.

Did he try to kill himself? Honey, no one knows for sure, we weren't there.

Don't blame yourself, your sister, the divorce, or the nurse. While you're understandably sad about this, you shouldn't be surprised. Best of luck guiding your family through this sad time.
^^^I cannot improve on this concise, compassionate advice.

Ken, I am so sorry. I lived through a similar tragic situation in my extended family. The children involved were younger than yours, and it was traumatic - but the rest of the family rallied around them. They are now adults, have had additional counseling, and are doing well, though the loss will always be there.

In your situation, try not to let your sister's coldness and distance get to you. Focus on your immediate family. Reassure your children that whatever happens, their grandfather loved them very much. I think it would be best to let them know this was a suicide attempt, and I am sure your older daughter already strongly suspects this and would also strongly being kept in the dark about what has happened.

You seem to be very protective of your younger daughter - was she especially close to her grandfather, and is she an exceptionally sensitive child? At twelve, most children could certainly understand that most suicides occur out of desperation and confusion and pain, not from the actions of another. She will be inevitably grieved and no doubt is already very confused and scared, but keeping the truth from her is likely to complicate things even more and make it more difficult for her to come to terms with the situation when she eventually does learn the truth. Contacting a child psychologist or grief counselor about what is in her best interests might be very helpful.

Perhaps you could tell your older daughter the truth, then have a family meeting with your wife and both daughters, focusing on gently telling your younger daughter what happened. Secrecy will only make her feel that she can never talk about her grandfather, and may make her feel that she is being discounted and lied to, or treated like a baby, leading to resentment, shut down communication, and more distance and distrust.

She WILL learn the truth eventually - she'll either overhear a casual comment, or someone will tell her, or some cruel person will tease her, or she will find a printed document or something - maybe even this thread - online - or someone will assume she knows and bring it up - so tell her the truth, gently and compassionately, to prevent the additional pain any of these possibilities will cause.

You cannot protect her forever - so give her the emotional tools to understand what happened instead. It's acutely painful to witness a child's tears and grief and to feel helpless to assuage it, I know.

I really do know...

About all you can do in such terrible circumstances is to hold the child, let their tears flow, listen to them, and reassure them that you are there for them and that their lost one's love never dies. Then let them talk. Let them ask questions. Answer as best you can. Let them be angry. Let them act out a little. They may be very silly or act a lot younger than their years. They may have nightmares. Keep on reassuring them, holding them, reassuring them, loving them...keep the usual routines going as best you can. It's going to be a roller coaster. But eventually - not right away, but eventually - the roller coaster will level out.

My sympathies and best wishes to you and your family.
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Old 05-05-2018, 11:59 AM
 
Location: Tijuana Exurbs
3,766 posts, read 9,833,013 times
Reputation: 4009
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenneth.24 View Post
Are you sure you aren't my sister? This sounds exactly like her, wow
Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigCreek View Post
She WILL learn the truth eventually - she'll either overhear a casual comment, or someone will tell her, or some cruel person will tease her, or she will find a printed document or something - maybe even this thread - online - or someone will assume she knows and bring it up - so tell her the truth, gently and compassionately, to prevent the additional pain any of these possibilities will cause.

You cannot protect her forever - so give her the emotional tools to understand what happened instead. It's acutely painful to witness a child's tears and grief and to feel helpless to assuage it, I know.
Tell your daughters, and tell it as an expression of your respect for their developing adulthood.

OP, I'm not saying tell your daughters in an uncaring way, but yes, tell them as CraigCreek suggested, and for the reasons CraigCreek suggested.

Of course if the speculation about suicide is purely speculation, then there isn't a need to emphasize that possibility, but they are smart enough to put 2 and 2 together.
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Old 05-05-2018, 01:19 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
15,170 posts, read 14,521,776 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenneth.24 View Post
(snip)
Also, I'm having the issue of my eldest daughter wanting to visit my dad at the hospital to say one last goodbye to him. She brought it up today over dinner and I didn't know what to say so I just said we'll think about it. Should I let her see him?
.
Sometimes, young children (perhaps age 10 and younger) get upset when they see a loved one in intensive care hooked up to many machines, tubes in their mouth and nose, etc. etc. But your daughter is much older than that.

IMHO, unless your 17 year old daughter is extremely immature or nave or sensitive if she is asking to see and say "Good bye" to her loving grandfather then please let her visit. Put yourself in her shoes, when you were a junior or senior in high school wouldn't you have been mature enough to visit a dying loved one in a hospital?

Please check with the hospital first as they may have an age restriction if he is in intensive care and not hospice.

Again, I am so sorry.
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Old 05-05-2018, 01:28 PM
 
Location: Bloomington IN
5,221 posts, read 6,553,134 times
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First, I'm very sorry for this difficult time.

Your youngest daughter is 12 which means the older one(s) is/are teenagers. I don't think they are too young to be told the truth: that your father suffered from depression and intentionally overdosed.

Depression and mental illness IS part of their medical history. I hope not, but it maybe something they have to deal with in the future themselves. Your daughters are at greater risk because of this family history. (I'm sorry.) Ask yourself this: 5 or 10 years in the future would you want them to hide this should they become depressed and suicidal or would you want them to seek help? What you do now may affect them in the future.

To keep the truth about his mental illness and the cause of his likely death is to further stigmatize it, to bury it. It sends the message to your daughters that depression is "embarrassing to the family" and should be hidden.

Bringing the truth to light is important. They need to understand that depression and mental illness should NOT be hidden.

Also imagine being lied to about something and being told years later--it may damage the relationship you have with your daughters later. This is an "essential truth" about your family. And exactly how would having the conversation later be easier?

My son graduated from high school with a bright young woman. She was also on the same sports team as my daughter. She was a bit quiet sometimes, but really an awesome girl. She came from a wonderful family--very involved with church, the kids worked as teens, she was very close to her 1 year younger sister. She graduated from college with top honors and was preparing to leave the country after having won a fellowship to study in India for a year. She was a very down to earth young woman. NO ONE, not her parents, her friends, her sister, NO ONE suspected that she was depressed. She committed suicide in the family home. Our community was stunned.

Her mother and father did the absolute bravest thing I can imagine. In her obituary they stated up front that she took her own life. Then they shared that she left a note indicating that she struggled mentally for years and wrongly believed that there was no hope for her to ever feel or think in any different way. She wrote that she had never been honest with anyone about how deeply she was hurting. They stated that they were being honest because they wanted other parents to talk to their kids about suicide; begging for the stigma of mental illness and depression to be erased.

I'd hope that this story helps you set an example for your daughters.

Last edited by rrah; 05-05-2018 at 01:45 PM..
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Old 05-05-2018, 03:52 PM
 
Location: In a vehicle.
3,854 posts, read 2,350,689 times
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I think from your posting that your daughter understands that "Grandpa" has had some issues. Telling her (Later) that Grandpa had taken his own life. To not be afraid of facing problems or reaching out for help is not bad, it is good and should be sought before doing anything else.


I should know this well. My Mother told us that our Father had hung himself when we were 16/14/12 (I was in the middle) He'd done it when I was 4.

For years she blamed herself for this as he'd said to her he was thinking of seeing a psychiatrist. She snorted and said "That's for idiots" and the next day she found him hanging. Worse yet, he'd used a wire rope and that cut into his neck and he bled out faster then died of lack of oxygen.

She carried a burden that ate at her for 10 years........Not something anyone should do. But we do it as we think it's best to not "Say things" when doing such is better then not speaking out.

If you wish, consult with a professional who knows better how to approach this.

As for the rest of the family, forgive them, they have a blind spot and trying to make them feel guilty won't work.
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Old 05-05-2018, 04:32 PM
 
Location: The analog world
13,308 posts, read 7,747,783 times
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It can be really shocking to learn that a family member took his own life, even if you never knew him. My mother did not know that her own grandfather had committed suicide until I uncovered his death record during genealogy research. She was a toddler at the time. Her family never talked about him after his death; it was like they just wanted to erase him. I thought that was horribly sad. Ken, I hope that you won't follow this same path as you move forward from your grief. Let your daughters know that your father was more than his depression and the tragic circumstances of his death. And again, I am so very, very sorry.
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