Death of an estranged father?
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07-02-2013, 02:38 PM (This post was last modified: 07-02-2013 03:52 PM by Oxiate.)
Death of an estranged father?
I just found out three days ago that my father had died. He had bipolar disorder and he had a negative reaction to his medicine and overdosed.

His death is especially hits me hard because for the last month I had been ignoring facebook messages and before that I hadn't talked to him for four months. He has had serious drug and alcohol problems and has been in and out of jail. He abandoned me when I was a child and has never paid regular child support and so we have not had a stable relationship because of his problems. I had hoped it would change when I started college, but he continued the same patterns of behavior.

Now I sincerely regret not talking to him. I'm in Italy for a semester abroad right now and cannot attend his funeral and see little point in doing so when he's already been cremated. I don't really want to see his side of the family because I don't talk to them much and I know they'll just try to make me feel guilty.

I really don't know how to deal with this. I'm been managing to go to class and do my homework but I've been sleeping very little. I start crying at random times and go between feeling immense anger to feeling sad to feeling fine. I feel like I'm losing my mind. I'm in class eight hours a day and have three hours of homework every night not to mention the fact I'm living in a dorm with people who I have only known a month. The only contact I have with my family is via email, phone, and skype. I've been ignoring my sisters' calls because I talked to my younger sister yesterday and we somehow ended up getting into a fight about my atheism. I've been so wrapped up in my own life the last few months i hadn't even realized how long it had been since I talked to so many friends and family members.


My father had recently found Jesus (again) and tried to go to church every Sunday even when he was in a bad place. I always thought it was ridiculous, but he seemed to get something out of it so I held my tounge. But why would a good god take one of his loyal followers just when he had found him again?

If I hadn't already lost my faith last year I think my dad's death would have been the clincher. He was only 47. Everyone one in my family that has died of natural causes had died after 80. I think what hurts the most is that I didn't get the chance to say goodbye. I want to reach out to my family (my mother's side and my sisters) but I don't feel like I can. It's my sisters' father too, but I always had the closet relationship to him.

I'm just really at a bad place right now and I have no clue how to move forward. I'm a 21 year old college student in a foreign country with only strangers for support. I'm homesick and I miss the US. I'm trying to deal with the death but I hate the sympathetic looks everyone keeps giving me and I feel like I'm under a microscope. To top it off I'm an atheist surrounded by theists that keep telling me "I'm sorry but he's in a better place" when I know how completely wrong they are.
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07-02-2013, 02:59 PM
RE: Death of an estranged father?
I am sorry you are having to deal with so much and so far from home.
It sounds like there probably wasn't going to be a good resolve to the situation with your father. I doubt one conversation with you would have changed anything. Talk to him now...say what you need to say...scream it, cry it, write it...whatever works for you.
It's okay to be sad and confused but please don't feel guilty. You didn't push him into the life he was living and as the child it wasn't your job to save him. It sure sounds like you are on the right track, studying abroad...how cool is that.
It's a loss, allow the grief...it will come out one way or another. If you go ahead and let yourself grieve, knowing why you are doing it then you will be able to move through all the stages.
In a way, he is in a better place...he is done with the mental health and addiction issues and now you can be too.
Take care of yourself and don't be so hard on yourself.
Unless you are completely unfeeling, his death is going to effect you...you and I could talk a long time about the time I spent going through "what ifs". Eventually that broken record stopped and it will in time for you too. Hug

See here they are, the bruises, some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. - JF
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07-02-2013, 03:09 PM
RE: Death of an estranged father?
What Anjele said...
Be patient with yourself, I know it's a cliche, but it's true that time heals, so let yourself feel what you feel. Try not to fall apart though, it's of no use for you to get depressed about it, but it's ok to feel sad and angry and whatever you're feeling.

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07-02-2013, 04:33 PM (This post was last modified: 07-02-2013 04:36 PM by kim.)
RE: Death of an estranged father?
I can't say much more than Nach and Anj except about the guilt; you need to feel everything you're feeling but put the guilt in perspective and get rid of it. Guilt is only appropriate for someone who has done something wrong, otherwise it is irrational. Irrational guilt is an illusion that just marks an assumption... which never happened. The guilt you seem to be experiencing is irrational and it starts on the outside and works it's way in. Don't let it.

You know very well what your relationship with your father was and he had his view of it as well - you owe each other nothing. Your Dad owed it to himself to be satisfied with his choices. You owe yourself that too and you are doing something about it. One could say that he owed you a childhood, but not really; people owe themselves and guilt is an idea we get from others who are avoiding their own lives and feelings. Guilt can fill a void when we experience a loss but it is itself, hollow.

Stay put and take all the time you need. If you have to, think of it this way; your Dad would have wanted it that way. It's possible his problems in part revolved around his own guilt feelings of not being able to do what you are able to do. I don't know that for certain, but I do know from experience with my own father that this idea comes into play very much at that particular "middle" age. Impossible to say for sure, but I personally like to think my Dad would want me to live my life my own way. If your siblings or relatives try to hand you guilt, suggest that to them and tell them you are grieving in your own way.

Take care not to get run down - eat well and get plenty of rest. Try to do some exercise that will force your focus - this will give your grief thoughts some much needed down time. It is necessary to grieve but the mind doesn't need to be overrun with it continuously or you will lose the ability to concentrate.

Heart Keep the body healthy - it's the best thing you can do for yourself while your mind is getting it's shit together.

Mostly - I'm just sorry for your loss and I'm sorry you feel so far away. Feel free to come here and just blurt shit out if you need to or to just hang out and relax. Give yourself time and get what you can out of your grief experience - it's necessary. Shy

I think in the end, I just feel like I'm a secular person who has a skeptical eye toward any extraordinary claim, carefully examining any extraordinary evidence before jumping to conclusions. ~ Eric ~ My friend ... who figured it out.
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13-02-2013, 07:39 PM (This post was last modified: 13-02-2013 07:50 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Death of an estranged father?
Lost my Dad 3 years ago now. Hadn't talked to him since he left when I was 5, some 45 years ago now. He never reached out, I never reached out. I did travel to Michigan from Maryland with my brothers from the same mother to attend his funeral. I cried. But not for what could have been, more for what never was. But I got me 3 new sisters and another brother from another mother I never knew I had. I cried again. But the second time out of joy for what is that I never knew. ... And Girly learned many decades ago, about your age incidentally, that I will never admit the feeling of guilt. Ever. It's not only counterproductive, it is self-destructive. Girly feeling guilty about anything? Never gonna happen.

(07-02-2013 02:38 PM)Oxiate Wrote:  To top it off I'm an atheist surrounded by theists that keep telling me "I'm sorry but he's in a better place" when I know how completely wrong they are.

Girly the nihilist is not at all sure the void offered by the abyss doesn't qualify as a "better place". Depends on the circumstances and situation. ... But Girly's an old man nihilist who can easily imagine eventually getting bored with even just being. Maybe the Big Bang was just God going all suicide bomber and shit 'cause he was just so fucking bored.

I am us and we is me. ... bitches.
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13-02-2013, 07:51 PM
RE: Death of an estranged father?
Sorry to hear you're feeling this way Sad

Good advice has been given by all.
Do not feel guilty. That's one emotion that's not worth it in your situation.

Take care of yourself Hug

Humankind Dodgy (a total misnomer)
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19-02-2013, 03:52 AM
RE: Death of an estranged father?
I'm feeling really bad today. Normally I can put on a happy face and deal with the long days but today I litterally broke down in tears during class. I haven't been sleeping and literally every second of my day from 9 am to 9pm I have class or homework to do or a required lecture or required volunteer work. My college in the states I usually take 16 credits and I'm taking the same amount while I'm here in Italy, but I have twice the class time.

My morning Italian classes are four hours long and after my classes are all down I have about three hours of homework every night. I'm getting to bed at twelve (when I attempt to sleep) and have to get up 7:00 if I want to have time for breakfast and a shower. I haven't had time to greive and my professors insist that I attend every class. I'm just tired and angry and sad all the time. I should be enjoying Europe but all I see is the inside of classrooms.

I feel like there is no joy in my life right now.
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