"I don't know how to tell you this..."

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by witzend, Jun 18, 2013.

  1. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    or some variation thereof. I understand that my father is dying. My childhood babysitter wrote an email to tell me, although I had also heard through the grapevine that he was unwell. These conversations always start with, "I wasn't sure if you knew..." "I don't know how to tell you..." "I thought you'd want to know..."

    Thank god the majority of them are taking place by email where my expressionless face doesn't make matters worse. (I have a "blank mask" from my MD unless I am being very animated. I don't fake expressions at all.) And so, it's "Thank you for letting me know, I had heard rumors..." Of course nothing from family. I grieved the loss of my parents over a decade ago. I'm glad that I don't have to be there to be inspected for "appropriate reactions of grief". I'm sure that I would be poked and prodded if I didn't respond appropriately and we all know how much I like that.

    There was a cheap airfare to PDX and I actually booked just to see friends and hang out the week around Labor Day. I hate to say this, but I hope that's all over and done with by then. It would be boorish of me to be in town and actually not participate in some way in the rituals. I hope this doesn't sound awful, but it will be a relief when they are gone to everyone else as they are to me, and I will no longer be expected to somehow repair this broken thing.
  2. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    So very sad. Are both your parents alive? Your mother as well? Do you have any relatives that you feel good about?
    My mom died young and my father and I did not get along.
    He died about two years ago. It was very weird. I did chose to see him at the very end. That was my choice. I did not act particularly emotional.
    I'm an "only" child and did feel a certain amount of responsibility to help and to make sure his care was good.
    But, my father was difficult (don't want to say the real word...it was very bad).
    You need to do what is best for you and your circumstances.
    I do not mourn my father's passing, only that I did not have a "healthy" father like others. Sad for me and sad for him. I pray that he made his peace with G-d and that he has good health (mental) in some sort of afterlife. This was the only thing I could give him. It really is very sad when a parent messes up so badly.
    But a little warning...all that I said in the above sentences did hit me hard when he passed. NOt his actually passing, but what it represented.
    Lasted edited by : Jun 18, 2013
  3. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Witz, I will be there with you in spirit.

    My family so dysfunctional, too.

    No contact between my parents and myself for five years.

    The relationship was put back together about three years before my own father died.

    Family toxicity never changed. I was able to see it so much more clearly, having been away from it for so long. Funeral was a disaster, aftermath a disaster, all dysfunctions front and center.

    Be strong, Witz.

    You have the right, and the responsibility, to be there for your own sake.

    Just as you have the right, and the responsibility, to stay away, if that is what you need to do.

  4. C.J.

    C.J. New Member


    Over 30 years ago, I sat at the back of of the room at my father's funeral. I told myself I was there to say good bye to someone who should have loved me. I told myself I was there to show his side of the family that my mother did the best she could with five children and no financial, physical or emotional support from our sperm donor. I told myself I was there to show his new pregnant wife that she was better off without him, and if my mom could do it with five kids, she could do it with one - heck, unlike my mother, she was going to receive financial support from Social Security for the next 18 years - without fail. I told myself I wanted to see that poor excuse for a human being lying in a coffin with my own eyes so that I knew the nightmare of his being on this earth was truly over. I told myself I wasn't going to cry.

    I cried - though not at the funeral. I cried when I thought of cousins, neighbors, and friends who looked forward to their dads returning home from work each day, when I dreaded it. I cry (or get one large lump in my throat) when I see a dad with a little girl, pushing her on a swing, sitting across from her at McDonalds having a "date", or when I hear a dad say how proud he is of his daughter..... I cry for all the things I wish I could have had in a dad, and over 30 years later, the things I missed out on are still bittersweet.

    I don't miss him.

    May you find peace in your current journey - and take the path you need to make it to the other side in one piece.

  5. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I knew you would understand...
  6. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    CJ that was beautiful - thanks for sharing......
    WItz........I completely understand. Sending hugs and love.
  7. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Have not been there done that but I'm so glad that our family can share "honest" emotions. Hugs DDD
  8. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Sending you hugs...............I'm very glad to hear you are doing what is right for YOU.
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    Witz...I seem to say Im sorry to you quite a bit lately.

    Nomad...what you wrote at the end is very true. I didnt expect to really be too upset when my mom died, after all she had alzheimers and didnt know us anymore so I had pretty much lost her years before. I had also not had a good relationship with her for years and she abused me horribly but when she died I simply lost it. I fell into Tonys arms and cried for hours not so much because I missed her but because of the fact that now nothing could ever be right. We could never repair our relationship. Now in reality that ability was gone before with the alzheimers but my heart held out hope I guess. Its that childs hope for love from a parent. Im still tearing up now.
  10. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Nomad, both my parents are alive, and going on 85 years old. I have many relatives, but none that I could feel safe with. If I were to reach out to anyone - and they're all 2,300 miles away, I'd eventually have to jusitfy something to them and I just can't do that now. Maybe in a while, but how do you explain to anyone that none of your siblings talk to you, nor your parents, and your daughter didn't bother to invite you to her wedding let alone tell you that she's pregnant. Too much water under the bridge right now. I told this woman the other day that I have no idea as to why I just don't tell people that Allan and I are childless orphans. No one would have a clue that it wasn't true. It'd be easier...

    CF, I'm glad that I am too far away for it to be practical to go to my parents' funerals. I think that there would have been a time that I would have tried to go and save face, but I know it would be a disaster. I can't please them no matter what I do, so I may as well not do anything.
  11. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Witz, I understand as well. I am very glad to hear that you're doing what's right for you in all this. I do hope that you're able to have a lovely visit with friends, without getting mired in any family dysfunction.

    I also understand about wanting to just say you're a childless orphan. It strikes me that some baggage should just be abandoned in a locker at the train station, if that makes any sense. You're in a new place with new people who don't know anything about you other than what you choose to tell them.
  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It


    Not so much because your father is dying, but because you lost him and the rest of your family years ago by their choosing and dysfunction. You are an amazing, strong, caring woman and your family has lost a treasure of great value by their choices. They have no idea of the depths of their emotional poverty and have no way to comprehend your emotional strength and emotional wealth. Those emotions are not always fun, are usually not easy, and are so precious that those without cannot even understand them because if they did understand they could not go on another second.
  13. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member

    been there done that....I cried at the funeral although I do not know why. My sister looked at me like I had 3 heads and I just shrugged my shoulders. As you said, you already grieved them.....u moved on already.