Grieving...

Discussion in 'Family Life - Stories, Pictures & Updates' started by 77horses, Jan 29, 2019.

  1. 77horses

    77horses ◊The Spontaneous Pullet!◊

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    Hi fellow BYCers. So I've been, more or less, a part of this wonderful community of chicken enthusiasts for over 10 years...over the last decade you have all been a wealth of knowledge and kindness. I've learned so much from all of you. I've always been able to come here to 'nerd out' about my love for chickens or to seek advice about more personal things, both of which has been invaluable. Unfortunately this is one of those more personal times and I mostly just need to vent about it because I'm going through a complicated time right now.
    My father passed away last night from health complications. Long story short, he's had heart health problems since I was a kid, and to be honest, I've been preparing myself for this day since I was around 10 years old. Every visit with him has been a question of "will this be the last time I see him?" over the last 14 years. It has been a hard thing to grow up with, constantly having that in the back of your mind. What complicates this is he was verbally (and sometimes physically) abusive towards my mom and siblings. He had a wicked temper, and I have a lot of bad memories of being yelled at or him throwing a tantrum or fighting with my mom. He was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder, which complicated things further...still, he was my dad and we had a lot of good memories. He positively influenced who I am today from the times when he was 'good,' when he didn't have a temper. He's the one who got me into raising chickens. He's the one who influenced me to become a visual artist. So he wasn't all bad, and part of my is still conflicted about the role that bipolar and borderline personality disorder played in his actions...
    After my parents divorced when I was about 7 years old, my mom moved out and my siblings and I went with her, which was tough because we had to leave my childhood home and go to a new school. Because I was young and naive, I blamed my mom for making us move. I didn't understand the extent of the situation, or what a real father figure looked like. Once I grew up and learned of some of the stories my mom kept quiet about, I hated him. I learned that he had been in jail for some horrible things before he met my mom and before we were in the picture. I hated him for hurting us, for hurting my mom, for only partially being there to support us. I also hated him for the good memories, because part of me still loved him for those, despite everything bad about him. Even so, over the last 5 or so years I distanced myself from him. His temper mellowed out with old age and loneliness. He was depressed a lot. It was a lot to think about as a teenager. It hurt too much to visit him in my childhood home, where so many memories- good and bad- remained. It hurt too much to see his health decline every year. I felt guilty for not visiting, for not calling or staying in touch. But it was really devastating to visit and to be reminded of such a broken past, a broken family. Maybe it made me a coward to avoid him after everyone left him, after he pushed everyone away, I don't know...
    But I digress. This part of my childhood has always been lingering, always in the back of my mind. Whenever something good would happen to me, there would always be a voice in the back of my mind to remind me that my father isn't there, that he's alone, to make me feel guilty for protecting myself. And now he's gone. He was brought to the hospital for chest pains a few months ago and we didn't think he was going to make it at the time. It came out of nowhere. So I mustered up the courage to go visit him, thinking it was the last time. I hadn't seen him in several years. I cried a lot that day. He was in bad shape, the meds made him groggy and he didn't really know what was going on or who anyone was. But he recognized me, and he seemed pretty happy to have some of his children visiting him. I mostly went to show that I cared, to make him feel less alone, and to also say goodbye. Even though he made somewhat of a recovery after that and even went home for a little bit after physical therapy, it was the last time I saw him.
    I'm fine, my friends and colleagues seem to expect me to be in ruins, to need to take time off from work or classes, but I'm fine. I'm sad about the whole situation, and I feel sad for him, but I'm glad he was surrounded by his family (relatives on his side whom I haven't known since I was a child). I think it's mostly because I've been preparing for this for a while, and having not stayed in touch with him has made it "easier" to digest. He never played a significant part in my life after the divorce (and vice versa) so it doesn't feel like much has changed other than the knowledge that he's no longer on this earth, and that my childhood home he stayed in all these years is now empty but for the trinkets and possessions which haven't changed since I last visited...there are a lot of photo albums and things that my siblings and I had when we were little that he held onto, all of which is now in that empty house. I don't know if I want to visit to go through things. I think it would hurt too much, especially considering that the house is apparently quite dilapidated after he stopped taking care of it. Just a reminder of my dilapidated past, dilapidated childhood memories of playing in the yard or building the chicken coop with him during the summer. I don't know what's going to happen with the funeral, whether I should go or not. I think it would about tear me in half to go, but I would want to out of respect for him. Also, several years ago he told me that when he dies, he wants the song "Everybody Hurts" by R.E.M. to play at his funeral. I don't know why I committed this random conversation between us to my memory, or why I still remember it after nearly a decade, but I listened to the song after learning of his passing and now I can't get it out of my head...I guess I'll wait to see what his side of the family plans for the funeral and decide from there. :(
     
  2. Clubber1234

    Clubber1234 Free Ranging

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    I'm so sorry:hugs:hugs:hugs.
     
  3. The Phantom

    The Phantom I love birds!!!

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  4. TropicalBabies

    TropicalBabies Crowing

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    Your mother did a beautiful job raising you, I bet she (and your dad) are very proud. This is hard and I am very sorry for your pain and your loss.
    My dad passed last year, I think that we have a bit in common with our stories though I am 30 years older than you. You put a lot of my thoughts and feelings down very eloquently. Thank you for that.
    I think... that you would regret not going. It will be hard, sad and extremely uncomfortable, even a little embarrassing. From your chicken rescue story I am pretty sure you have an awesome partner. Now is a good time to lean on that partner and grow some more. Your dad, with his imperfections, did love you as best as he could with what he had. It may have fallen short of a "regular fathers" love. We can't give what we don't have. So, this will be about you, doing and being your best and healing your pain is good.
    With my dad, I wrote him a letter and placed it in his urn. Telling him how I felt, gratitude for the good... and the OTHER things I felt I needed to say. I to this day have not shed a tear for him (cry like crazy if I lose a chicken...) but the sadness and confusion and depression are there. You don't want this to carry into your functioning life. Regrets have a way of holding us back. Go, and then be free. :hugs
     
  5. Ducksandchickens

    Ducksandchickens Free Ranging

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    I’m so sorry that sounds hard. My parents are divorced and it’s no fun so trust me I know that’s really hard. A million hugs sent to you and your in my prayers :hugs
     
  6. Lady Lionheart

    Lady Lionheart Songster

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    I am sorry for your loss. But I thank you for sharing this. Our stories are very similar... But my dad is still alive but with swiftly declining health. I've not really allowed myself to think about what I'm going to do when I'm in your situation. But I know that I need to. The most important thing we need to do is forgive. Not only our dad's, but ourselves too. God bless and thank you for sharing again. Testimony is very powerful.
     
  7. I hear you, and i get it.
    My Mother passed 2 years ago and she too would have probably been diaganosed with bi polar or something simar had she recognized something was wrong with her and it was really not everybody else who was wrong or the "problem" all the time.
    Your discription of your Dad reflects my Mothers behavior. Yelling, hitting, verbally and physically abusive most of the time.
    I did not go to her funeral or even go see her in the nursing home before she passed. We always had a very rocky relationship, and the final straw was about 5 years ago when her hatefullness landed on my 11 year old daughter. I kissed her and hugged her that final time and that was my last goodbye.
    I thought more hatefullness would possibly unfold with the reading of the will so i did not attend that either.
    My sister has her ashes and i may go to the gravesite with her for the burial, not sure yet.
    When i think about my my Mother i feel great sadness, for her as she distroyed her life and wrecked every relationship she ever had.
    For myself as i failed to have the well of forgivness and tollerance to continue to keep in touch, hoping for that rare occurance of Peace between us.
    And for both of us i grieve the loss of any semblence of Mother Daughter relationship that many people have and seem to take for granted.
    I was blessed to have a Father who was the total opposite however who balanced my childhood. Even though i lost him when i was 19. He showed me how to be peacefull, contented an made me know i was loved and valued.
    What really suprises me now, at the age of 60, I Thank God for both of my parents.
    I would not be who i am or where i am without both of them.
    I wish you find that inner peace that comes with forgiveness and understanding.
    God Bless You!
     
  8. Eggscaping

    Eggscaping Enjoying Life!

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    Oh, hun...I'm so very sorry for your pain. Both of my parents are gone, and I miss them, even after decades. Parent/child relationships can be very complicated and complex even in an 'ideal' relationship. You've gotten some good advice from the posters before me and I agree...if you do not go, will you always wish you had? Neither of my folks wanted any sort of memorial or funeral, they just wanted to be cremated and poured into the ocean down in San Diego on the Embarcadero Pier where they had their first kiss. We did that, and it was all the closure there was. But if you absolutely feel that it would be more painful if you do go - you are the only one who can make that decision. Your dad is gone now and funerals are for the living...so if you can't go - don't. Do what you need to do for your emotional health. :hugs:hugs:hugs
     
  9. 77horses

    77horses ◊The Spontaneous Pullet!◊

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    After talking with one of my brothers about any funeral plans (as he was much closer with my dad up until the very end) I've learned that my dad said he doesn't want a funeral, but rather wants to be cremated and spread at one of his favorite beaches on the ocean or up at a mountain he used to hike when he was younger...I think I would be more likely to attend this than a funeral/burial.
    Several years ago he told me that when he dies, he wants the song "Everybody Hurts" by R.E.M. to play at his funeral. Even though it was just in a random conversation with him, I never forgot him telling me that to this day. I played it after learning of his passing and now I can't get it out of my head...:( My brother remembers him telling him the same thing years ago, and played it in his car on the ride home from the hospital last night...Perhaps we will gather to spread his ashes at the ocean and play the song in remembrance of him.
    Thank you all for your kind words. I'm sorry so many of you have been/are in similar situations with your parents...my heart goes out to all of you, I wouldn't wish this kind of pain upon anyone.
     
  10. TropicalBabies

    TropicalBabies Crowing

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    Sister from another mister?!! ;) :cool: I'm glad you had a good dad who gave you the self esteem your mom tried crushing because she was... who she was.
    Amazing thread. Lots of similarities, solutions and love.
    My DH has a "normal" family. He has the most beautiful courage and esteem. Great to see and I try to emulate his blueprint rather than my own... lol, my best thinking is to usually flip the bird and walk away. That works till it does not. Either way, I guess there's never any wrong answers in the big scheme of things. To thine ownself be true. May our good *** bless us all. :love
     

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