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Bailey_
06-19-2012, 03:25 AM
Thanks all for your posts. I reached my breaking point this weekend and it was just time to seek support and know that I'm not alone in this. Your kind words helped me to feel better and regain perspective.

I actually went over to my dad's tonight. We had the best talk we have had in a long time (maybe that counseling is helping because we haven't been communicating well this past year). My aunt is causing a ruckus and my dad wanted to know how upset I was -- because my aunt is asking them to end their relationship and his new girlfriend has said if we (the kids) are equally upset then they should consider doing just that, even though it's not what they want. I was able to tell him that I wanted him to continue seeing her if that is what he wants, but again repeated that it was really hard (told him about the car and he felt badly). I asked for a little more time and distance and a lot of understanding as this journey is very up and down - I was surprised with the intensity of my reaction this weekend because I thought I was getting used to the idea. I felt like he heard me and understood -- something that I haven't been able to say much this year.

Anyway, I just wanted to thank you all for sharing your time and your words of wisdom. I will hold your comments close and refer to them often during the tough times that are sure to continue to come along in the coming weeks and months. Much appreciated. I'm always amazed by the warmth, support, and wisdom that is shared on this board.

HisWeirness
06-19-2012, 03:55 AM
Thanks for the update Bailey_. So glad to hear you are making progress in your relationship with your father. :)

victoriajh
06-19-2012, 04:07 AM
Baily (hugs) I can only imagine ( and I honestly hope never have to go through this)
First off, I think it is important to note thet your dad needs are different than yours, I also found that many people who see a spouse die then go quickly on to live themselves, almost like they wake up and say ' I could die tomorrow I better get living!!!" and it is hard for those around them
A friend once described it as like being in a car going REALLY fast, when you are in the car you think hey this is pretty fast and it feels good! Yet those aound you are worried because you are going SO fast and they all think you should slow down, but you don't feel it because you aare the one driving .
Y

Holley Calmes
06-19-2012, 04:08 AM
A thought just occured to me...My Dad is a real hero. But, he is being very non-realistic about my Mother's dementia and treatment. As in-she has none because she refuses to go to a doctor and he won't make her do so. Whatever-this is about me and my Dad. I have noticed over the past year that Dad has started treting me like an equal age-wise and talking to me less like someone younger and more like a partner or equal in terms of experience. I think he needs someone to lean on. There is a definite shift in terms of closeless and sharing of intimate thoughts. I didn't anticipate this-maybe since Mom is retrogressing into being non-communicative, Dad needs someone to connect with on a more personal level. Maybe offering this would be of help.

pat c
06-19-2012, 04:23 AM
Good. :)

May this continue, one step at a time. TLC for yourself, some counselling, and hang in there.

Japanfan
06-19-2012, 09:09 AM
Bailey, it already sounds like you are acting with wisdom, you are respecting your father while honouring your own feelings and need to set boundaries.

There is no 'right' way for a person to grieve. Some people are like your dad - they immediately get into another relationship. I can understand that to you, this seems incredibly disrespectful to your mother's memory. But more importantly, did he love her well while she lived? If so, that counts for something. And perhaps what he is doing is what he needs to do to keep going. He may grieve silently in his own way. Not everyone wants to share their grief or can articulate it.

The alternative of staying alone is not better. My dad sat in his apartment for 14 years after my mother died, getting more and more withdrawn from the world and disinterested in life. When he did show emotion, it was usefully tears about losing his wife. However he was far more loving towards her after she died than he ever was when she was alive. It was really hard for my brother and sister and I to deal with him all those years because he became to a large extent pretty an empty shell of a person living for nothing.

Bailey_
06-19-2012, 12:46 PM
A thought just occurred to me...My Dad is a real hero. But, he is being very non-realistic about my Mother's dementia and treatment. As in-she has none because she refuses to go to a doctor and he won't make her do so. Whatever-this is about me and my Dad. I have noticed over the past year that Dad has started treating me like an equal age-wise and talking to me less like someone younger and more like a partner or equal in terms of experience. I think he needs someone to lean on. There is a definite shift in terms of closeless and sharing of intimate thoughts. I didn't anticipate this-maybe since Mom is retrogressing into being non-communicative, Dad needs someone to connect with on a more personal level. Maybe offering this would be of help.

This happened initially when she was sick. Then, it became a definite role reversal in that he just checked out (ie. the day the oncologist asked to speak with us to tell us if she would continue with chemo or palliative care my dad told us he had to work and asked us to meet with the doctor). It was a role reversal in so many ways, and that is not healthy. That is what we are trying to do right now is set some new boundaries and right this ship. I will also say that his "sharing of closeness and intimate thoughts" has also crossed boundaries in that sometimes I think he looks at me like my mom. He has shared things with me that he should not - things he has not shared with my brother - and the pressure and expectations are different. This is hard because I want to be his daughter, not his wife. So, I've had to step back and set some boundaries here too. It's a part of the whole, not communicating well that has developed over the year...

Thanks again for sharing your stories. It helps to hear that so many people have had struggles redefining relationships after a death. It helps to hear your advice about dealing with grief -- particularly from his perspective. I particularly like the analogy about the car. Without a doubt, he has seen his life flash in front of his eyes. If I hear "I'm only 64, I'm young, I have a life to live and I don't care what you think, I'm going to do it" one more time... It's true, but it sounds terrible when I'm so burdened with grief. And, I know this is not exactly reasonable - but it doesn't seem fair sometimes that he can start a new relationship and fill that void (although I know my mother will never be "replaced") while my brother and I have lost our mother, our "anchor" (I like that too) forever. He may have a new girlfriend and be able to live his life, but we will never fill the void left by a mother, even though life goes on in many other ways...

Anyway, just tough times. I was really encouraged last night -- it was the first time we came close to a healthy conversation in a long time. I think maybe he is learning a few things and coming out of his grief stricken-haze just a little...