Dying Dad
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Dying Dad

This is a discussion on Dying Dad within the Grieving forums, part of the Life's Other Challenges category; My dad has terminal cancer and I'm ok with it. I haven't spoken to him in approximately 2-3 years. He ...

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Old 03-20-09, 10:09 AM   #1
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My dad has terminal cancer and I'm ok with it. I haven't spoken to him in approximately 2-3 years. He lives just down the road with my stepmother. I have a photo of me as a child sitting on his lap by my bedside but there is nothing else about my dad in the house.

I'm not scared or worried about him dying because he doesn't exist in my present life. That's my theory. I saw a psych and worked through some anger issues and it has really helped me. But it is odd that I feel nothing.

When I put my child eyes in my head and look through them, I get really upset. Not so much about him dying as in I was his little girl but I wasn't good enough to keep his attention. He pissed off and got a life - just down the road and its been too far for him to travel ever since.

When I put my adult eyes back in, I go dead inside and feel nothing. All I see are the boundaries I marked like the lines on a football field. I made them, I think. So you can never hurt me again and I will be in control of my relationship with you and not the other way round. I will be the one who makes decisions about where I want to take this. I walked it out of the door and closed it. That chapter of my life finished with.

Now he's dying and I'm like...hurry up and go. My brother is staying with me and he visits him. My brother is crying as he watches his dad fade away. I watch my brother from a detached emotional place. I give practical support but of course as with other stuff in my life, I'm not plugged in.

I want to talk about it and make sure I'm ok as I go along. I need to look after me. Has anybody lost a parent or close family member and can talk about it?
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Old 03-20-09, 01:19 PM   #2
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My parents are both alive, and I don't really have alot of exp. with death.
Please know that I will be thinking about you and I hope there is someone here on the forum with more advice :)((((((((((((Delta)))))))))))))
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Old 03-20-09, 01:33 PM   #3
 
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My father died when I was seventeen, or no... I think it was a few days after I had just turned eighteen. I was never able to draw those lines like you did.... I just kept waiting for him to come around and realize that I'm not so awful as he seemed to think I was. Then he was gone, there was no more waiting, no more time thinking if only I just am patient a little longer his eyes will be opened... or his heart will become softer and he'll want to love me. It was just a never ending stream of hurt, I never put up a boundary to keep him from hurting me. I just tried to love him more when he hurt me.

But he's gone now, can't hurt me anymore I suppose. I can talk about it, but I don't think that means I have very good perspective about it. I was very convicted by what you said about "hurry up and go".... I feel that way about my mom. She still lives, remarried, moved an hour away. I have drawn the football lines with her...... so she can't hurt me.... but the lines may keep her physically away and may keep her speech away but her absense hurts just as much I think. The need for lines hurts me just as much as her indifference.......

I think sometimes I have to force myself to be emotionally detached when it comes to my parents. If I do not, my only other option is to have complete emotional breakdown. I am flirting with breakdown...... it is harder and harder to maintain detachment these days. Don't know how much longer I can keep up this facade. The willingness and capacity for people to hurt one another boggles my mind. It makes me struggle to want to be close to anyone......... sometimes.

Don't know if that answers your question very much. I'm sorry about your dad. I know it can be hard to feel two different feelings, esp. when one has been buried under lines for so long. It is my experience that as long as people yet live doors don't get closed, bad chapters don't get "finished" no matter how badly you wish they would be. the potential of what could have been is still there, and eugene says that is something which has to be mourned, like a death. you have to mourn what could have been great, but wasn't. but he is much more jaded and older than I am.... I don't yet know how to mourn like this. I'm still too green, I guess, too unwilling to give up hope that people can change. I might give up hope when I get older, I don't know. the whole idea of it leaves me with many conflicted feelings.

lz

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Old 03-20-09, 06:00 PM   #4
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here's my perspective, and i am really sorry if it's all wrong and i'm galaxies off base.

it sounds like you havn't forgiven him. and maybe he doesn't deserve it, but it's not really about him. the forgiveness would be for you.
there is probably years of shit and hurt that you have drawn those boundaries around and that you don't cross because of how painful it is. and maybe you need more time, but you don't have time. your dad is dying and dying is permanent. he will be gone and that's it. no more chances.

my opinion, and again i'm very sorry if it's awful and wrong. but stick a massive lance in all that bundled up hurt and anger. talk and yell at him and tell him Everything you feel. scream at him for being such a jerk and abandoning you. and most of all try and forgive for the sake of your future peace of mind.

again, so sorry. i feel very edgy writing that because i know how it feels to lose someone and thereby the opportunity to speak my grief to them. when they are in the ground there is nothing left but air and a big hole in your belly. there is nothing left.

take the time you have and try to heal
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Old 03-20-09, 06:07 PM   #5
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sorry, just wanted to add..

i fear that even though it is your brother hurting right now, that it will be he and not you who will feel the better after his grieving is done, simply because he was able to forgive and go through the process of loss. and feel.
i fear that because you don't deserve more hurt and such an ongoing struggle.
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Old 03-20-09, 06:46 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone for your comments. LZ it isn't that I give up hope that people can change, its just that it isn't my responsibility to sit around a speculate whether they will. That's their job. My job is to speculate whether I can. I know that sounds compartmentlized but it saved me pain that I didn't need to inflict upon myself. Thanks for writing what you said.

Kix you maybe right about forgiveness idk. I love him and I am sorry that he failed in his responsibility as a parent. He doesn't have integrity and I paid dearly for his decisions. My issue is that he doesn't own this. I wrote him a letter several years ago where I owned my part in our sucky relationship. It was good to write sorry for the bits that I had contributed towards. I don't feel guilty since doing that because I know that our relationship is circular. My father, however has never responded or spoken about the letter. That is his choice and I respect that. I reason that if my father is unable to do this then so be it because I get to make decisions in my life which are not dependent on this man who refuses to let me or my other brother visit him anyway.

He confides in my other brother his feelings about me but he wants no contact. I can guarantee that anyway. Losing me is his single biggest regret. I agree. His regret however is not enough to get him to call me. Actions will always speak louder than words and he is putting my brother is a terrible position, using him as some psuedo-conscience.

I just want to talk about this because I know as times passes, it could intensify and I need to look after me so I can look after my children.

Thanx
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Old 03-20-09, 07:12 PM   #7
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I think that your dad is still causing you much pain and I hope that you know that you aren't to blame for this relationship!
I think Kix is kinda right about forgiveness, I think it would allow you to feel better!
But then, I haven't been in your shoes, so I hope I'm not speaking out of line :(
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Old 03-20-09, 07:23 PM   #8
 
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Delta, I am sorry for your loss. I have experienced and seen a lot of death but I was never very good at dealing with it. You seem to be taking it much better than I would have. Maybe this is because you really lost your father long ago and in a sense have already dealt with his death? Like he died with your guys' relationship. Did your kids have much of a relationship with him (if I may ask)? How are they taking things?

Also, I think Kix has some good advice about the forgiveness part. If its at all possible, I think perhaps it would be good for you to make amends before he passes. Hopefully that way, your pain concerning him, will also die with him.
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Old 03-20-09, 08:31 PM   #9
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Yeah you could be right. I forgive him in some ways but I don't when it comes to forfeiting his duty and not owning to the truth of that. Only he can do that. Not me. I can forgive him for forfeiting his duty. But I can't stand here and forgive him for choosing not to own that forfeit. He has an opportunity to do that - he has had opportunities in the past but he chooses to defend his position instead. That really is up to him and I understand that clearly. He doesn't want to say to his daughter, 'I let you down. I'm sorry.' so that I can reply 'I forgive you.' It means for me that I have to trust in myself and know that people make choices (me included) which have consequences. People say to me 'but he is your father.' I hear them. My reply atm is 'yes and I am his daughter.' Everybody deserves better but they have to make choices for that to happen - even dying dads.

I hope ttl members understand this. Somewhere inside is a whole lot of hurt which is stored within my inner child. I am her daddy now and I love her very much and will always do the right thing by her. I will never ever leave her side.
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Old 03-20-09, 08:58 PM   #10
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I do undrestand Delta <3 Only you will ultimatly know in your heart, and from what you say I'd feel the same way. You have lived up to your part of this deal, and he chooses to ignore you, I don't blame you for feeling the way you do.
I just don't want you to feel guilt after he passes, then it's too late, but I trust your judgement on this matter.
You have every right to feel the way you do!
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