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Losing A Father

Question:

I lost my Father two weeks ago to cancer. He was given 6 months to live 9 months ago . He and I had not spoken in 13 years up until 7 days before he died. I’m 24 years old now so that tells you how old I was when this whole mess started. It all started from a misunderstanding that was blown out of proportion. My father and I were both very stubborn, which is why we didn’t get along. The day I went to see my father I wasn’t sure how he would receive me. He was very medicated and unresponsive. This was very upsetting to me. Something in my heart tells me he knew it was me when he pulled his arm away from me. I cried that day and I haven’t cried since. I am a very emotional person so I can’t understand why I haven’t cried for my Father. I didn’t cry the morning he died but my heart has been heavy ever since. I feel like I want to cry, but I can’t. I feel like I would feel better if I could cry, but I can’t even force it. This stays on my mind all the time. It is really starting to effect my attitude. I’m highly irritated very easily. I’ve come close to having a fight. I simply don’t care about a lot of things or people anymore. I don’t know what I have built up inside of me that’s making me so angry and hateful. That’s not me! I am usually in control. I’ve gotten very good at handling my emotions. I don’t know what to do to fix this. Why does my heart feel so heavy? Have I gotten so used to having this emotional wall up when it comes to my Father, that I can’t show emotion now? Have I already mourned my Father years ago when he stopped being a part of my life? Please tell me what you think, this is beginning to drive me slightly mad.

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  • ‘Anne’ is the pseudonym for the individual who writes this relationship advice column.
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Answer:

This is a very difficult situation. Since this event happened only a couple of weeks ago it is probably very difficult to deal with it now. I suggest learning about the stage of grieving and allowed your self to feel all your emotions. Although there are several suggested phases in the grieving processes most follow the pattern of Shock, Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. In the Shock phrase you will feel numb and hollow, possibly like machine. The Denial phrase people often proceed with there lives as if nothing has happened, and continue even to make plans involving the deceased. The Anger phase will be represented in an angry and bitter feeling towards many, blaming the doctors, yourself, the system or even the decreased. In the Bargaining phase you will likely try to make deals with yourself or God as a way to possibly prevent the death; guilt is highly associated with this stage and questioning of previous actions. During the Depression phase it may seem unbearable to do anything including simple tasks like getting out of bed or making yourself eat. Finally the phase of Acceptance will be reached and the person will have accepted the death, and although you will not forgot the decreased, you will be able to function normally and go on with your life having learned something. These phases are not discreet steps that you will immediately end one and beginning another one so don’t feel discouraged with wherever you are in the process. It is OK for you to cry because of this, but it is also OK for you not to cry. A close friend of mine had a close family member die recently and he didn’t send a tear until over a month after the funeral. You will need to deal with the situation sooner or later, but there is no need to rush yourself into feeling things that you don’t really feel or are not ready for. Your feelings will also likely come and go. Some days you will be able to function perfectly find and the next day your emotions will be overwhelming. It is alright and you should try to give into them and talk to friends or family members about them. The other issue that you have to deal with is the poor relationship that you had with your father. Many people have a poor relationship with there father and one of the things that you need to realize is that it isn’t all your fault. He has to take some responsibility in the difficulties your two had. Do not solely blame yourself. Especially since you were only 11 when you stopped talking. You were still a child and he needed to be a caring adult for you. One reason that even though you did grieve when you stopped talking to him, but are suffering so much now is that, before he died there was always the opportunity to talk with him eventually. Now the finality of the situation will weigh on you. My best wishes for you, – Anne

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Comments
  • Nancy

    Although I always had a good relationship with my father, he and I did have our struggles as most children do with their parents. I lost him a couple of years ago and it has been extremely difficult for me.

    I really enjoy this song I found on youtube written by someone who lost his father. It seemed to speak to my situation. You may enjoy it too.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TOOOyVewLM

  • A

    RECENTLY MY FATHER WAS DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER AND GIVEN 2 WEEKS TO LIVE. I FELT NOTHING. ZERO. I FEEL WEIRD FOR FEELING NO SADNESS, FOR NOT REALLY CARING IF HE PASSED AWAY, FOR NOT EVEN WANTING TO SEE HIM. HIM AND I HAD A FALLOUT ABOUT THE TIME I WAS 17. WE DIDN'T SPEAK FOR 13 YEARS. IT ALL HAD TO DO WITH HIM BASICALLY ABANDONING HIS FAMILY FOR A MUCH YOUNGER WOMAN, GETTING HER PREGNANT AND NEGLECTING ALL OF US, LEAVING MY MOTHER WITH NOTHING. EVENTUALLY, HE LEFT THAT YOUNGER WOMAN FOR ANOTHER YOUNGER WOMAN, GOT HER PREGNANT AND MOVED TO SOUTH AMERICA WHERE SHE IS FROM. AFTER 13 YEARS OF SILENCE, HIM AND I EVENTUALLY GOT TO SPEAKING AGAIN, SAW EACH OTHER ONCE IN A WHILE, BUT IT WAS WEIRD. I HAD NOTHING TO TALK ABOUT WITH HIM. NO INTEREST IN HIS LIFE, EVEN THOUGH HE SHOWED INTERST IN MINE, ESPECIALLY MY SON WHOM HE WAS VERY PROUD OF. AS SOON AS WE HEARD ABOUT HIS SICKNESS, MY SISTER FLEW TO SOUTH AMERICA TO SEE HIM, TO COMFORT HIM, TO HELP HIM WITH MAKE SURE HIS 6 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER WAS TAKEN CARE OF. HE IS, BY THE WAY, 74. I HAD NO URGE TO FLY DOWN THERE AND SPEND TIME WITH HIM ON HIS LAST DAYS. I AM SURE I FORGAVE HIM FOR EVERYTHING HE PUT US THROUGH, I HAVE BEEN THINKING ABOUT HIM EVER SINCE HE GOT SICK, BUT I FEEL NO SADNESS FOR WHAT HE IS GOING THROUGH, AND I FEEL ABNORMAL AND GUILTY ABOUT NOT FEELING ANY LOVE OR CARE FOR HIM. I MAY FEEL SAD THE DAY HE PASSES ON, BUT I FEEL I'LL GET OVER IT IN A DAY OR TWO AFTER IT HAPPENS. I AM JUST WONDERING IF THE WAY I FEEL IS NOT WHAT I SHOULD FEEL, IF IT MAKES ME A "MEAN" PERSON, OR IF I HAVE JUST LOST MY FEELINGS AS I GOT OLDER. I DON'T KNOW.

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