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Thread: Estranged Father passing away soon

  1. #1
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    Estranged Father passing away soon

    Hi everyone,

    Seeking some advice/thoughts, if there's any to be had.

    I've just found out that my birth father is unwell and will most likely pass away soon. I haven't seen him in 26 years as we moved away as my parents divorced when I was young.

    My half-sister who I keep in touch with told me (she is closer to him than me) and wants to know if I have anything to say or feelings to pass on.

    I only have a few memories of him and those aren't monumental in the slightest. I do have ideas of visiting him, but as indifferent as it sounds, it was mainly to answer the question of knowing what he is like in my adult years.

    Familial bonds in the past have been lost on me - I recognise that they are good to have and I'm working on building those closest to me, but now that time is pressing I don't know what to think.

    I almost feel nothing, is that right to feel? But I also want to be considerate in how I deal with this with my other half-siblings who have more of a connection.

    Thank you
    R

  2. #2
    Gold Member SarahLancaster's Avatar
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    Why did you not see him in those 26 years?

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    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Tough situation. I suspect I'll be in a version of your shoes some day, as I haven't had much contact with my father in 25 years and that's unlikely to change. Though he's alive and well these days, best I know, I've long approached our "relationship" from the standpoint of "How will I feel when I find out he's about to die?" Probably I'll never know the answer, until I do, so the choices I make are really dice rolls.

    Anyhow, I guess in your shoes I'd be asking what you want, in this juncture, for your own life story. Feeling "almost nothing" is nothing be ashamed about. Is what it is, that part, and makes sense under the sad circumstances. But it does sound like you've got feelings for your half-siblings—and feelings about what kind of relationship you'd like to build with them—so I say let those feelings be your guide.

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    Mainly didn't see him as I never thought about it until a few years ago. Not trying to make excuses but I don't remember being close to him as a kid so the want was never there.

    Thanks bluecastle. I'm a bit "I should feel something", which is confusing me. Also now thinking what happens if I do think of something to say but it's too late! Is that something that will hang over me?

    R

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  6. #5
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    My take on my own situation is that it's the big thing that is going to hang over me for life, even after my father is dead. That's the hand life dealt me, so the question is: How do I play it?

    Whenever I have thoughts like yours, or at least when they reach a certain decibel, that's when I reach out to my dad. In the movies those are seminal moments that bring tears and confessions; in life, or at least mine, they tend to be kind of meh: stirring some weird feelings, often disappointing me, but every now and then giving me a little something-something that makes the thing hanging over me hang a little differently.

    But facts are facts: he is your father, he is dying. After he dies there are going to be things you wish you said—that's true of everyone who passes away while you're still alive—but if you're having that thought right now maybe try to think of something you'd like to say now. For you. For him. For your family. Ask yourself if you'd like a visit to be part of your life story, and if there's even a flicker of "yes" then do it.

    There are no right or wrong answers here, which is the "good" part, just like there is nothing you can say that changes the whole story. It's just a part of the story that you have some control over. I'm feeling like you wouldn't mind saying or doing something while he is still alive, so try, best you can, to figure out what that something is and do it.

    I think you'll feel better, having done that, than thinking about what you could or should, or can't or shouldn't, do or say right now.

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    Just because you're related by blood to someone does not obligate you to feel anything. If he didn't step up in the last 26 years, of course you'd feel nothing for him. There's no shame in this.

    As for your half-sister, you can express your sympathies to her.

    Not that I think you would do this, but keep your own feelings about him private. If others have sad feelings about his passing, let them grieve.

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    My father was a deadbeat. I haven't laid eyes on him for 35 years by my choice. I do not and will not regret not seeing him, even when the geezer eventually goes.

    If you have no bad feelings toward him, how about sending your sister a.sympathy card and maybe a small flower arrangement to the funeral home?

  9. #8
    Platinum Member Cherylyn's Avatar
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    I'm sorry about your inner conflict Rhombus.

    My mother had a horrific childhood and teen years courtesy of her wretched, despicable late father. She deliberately ignored him towards the end of his life and wasn't at his deathbed either. No regrets. What goes around comes around.

    You can look at this several ways. If you will feel guilty for not having any closure with your father, then see him one last time before he passes away. You can forgive meaning move on but forgive doesn't mean forget any wrongs against you by him in the past.

    Perhaps he has something to say to you before he passes away. Perhaps there can be compassion and reconciliation in the end. Maybe it's for him to tell you he loves you or say he's sorry. You don't know.

    A lot of times when people realize their mortality or when the end is near, their hearts soften and they wish to express sincere remorse, apologize, made amends or make it right with you in their own way. You need to decide if you're willing to take a chance and hear your father in person before it's too late.

    If you hang onto your bitterness and resentment forever, then don't see him and don't feel any ounce of guilt for ignoring him during his last breaths here on this Earth.

    You can either make one last ditch effort to see him before he dies or completely ignore him and remain satisfied with your ultimate decision. It's up to you with whichever direction you decide to take.

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    If your father wasn't abusive --- your parents divorced and mom got the kids and there wasn't good coparenting in place to allow you a relationship i would be tempted to see him, to get whatever medical history questions after. To ask about how great grandpa came from the old country. there doesn't have to be a big emotional thing. Just anything you would like to know.

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    Figured I'd sleep on it and maybe I'd come to a a decision but still have no idea what to say, if anything. A part of me thinks that if I don't say anything that it'll impact my relationship with my brothers and sisters, which seems selfish.

    My main thought is 'why don't I have anything to say?!'. No questions, no remorse, no wishes, no anything. Feels like if I were there with him right now it would be complete silence. But at the same time that feels wrong!

    It's so strange. He's effectively unknown to me but there's some shadow of doubt lingering? I don't know where this feeling is coming from. Or is it purely from what I'm expected to feel?

    I've looked into flights out to see him, which has always been difficult to commit to due to the distance (other side of the world). Maybe I should just face him and at least I'll know?

    Anyway, thanks for the responses and kind words everyone.

    R

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