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Hi everyone,


So, I wanted to put this out there as it’s something that I’m going through right now, despite it happening 9 months ago. So, I lost my dad. But, my dad was never strictly the “dad” in the truest sense of the word you see. My mum and him divorced when I was only 18 months because he used to physically and mentally abuse her. So, I never really had a relationship with him, per se. Ever since him and my mum divorced everything became fragmented, to say the least - Christmases and birthdays he’d make an appearance but the other 363 days of the year he’d be conveniently absent. Now, probably is the part where I mention he’d been terminally diagnosed with cancer from when I was the age of 8 onwards. At which point, he remarried. Which, was fine you know, if it made him happy then I - at the age I was - thought I wanted nothing more for him. But back to his illness, I thought I’d accepted it and was ok with it, but I so clearly wasn’t being the age I was, I just thought i “knew” how to behave appropriately and act like I was ok. Yet, once he remarried, I never really saw him, my sister and I (who is 4 years my senior) we’re always having to obey by a diary book which his new wife had created whereby - ok granted he was busy with appointments as he was severely ill - but why should any kid have to “book” an appointment to see their own father? So, there was a lot of resentment on my part for not being able to do ever just “pop in” - everything would be by her books. Needless to say, the more he got ill - the less we saw him. But this is not to sit here and say it was all her fault, because at the end of the day, my father was a military man and was firmly capable of saying what he wants, yet sadly this was not the case when it came to his own kids. So, the years went by and, although we (my father and I, I can’t speak for my sister because she had a very different relationship to him than I did) sent the obligatory birthday card and Christmas card, it soon got to a point where he just stopped trying and didn’t send them anyone. No Christmas or birthday visits. Nothing. So, I - as the child - thought to myself “well if my own father isn’t going to make the effort, then why the hell should I?” And at that point we reached a plateau where neither of us made the effort. And I stubbornly went for YEARS in the mindset of, well you know what, if this man doesn’t wanna make an effort in my life then it is his loss and I am no longer interested in having this man in my life, part time. After all, parenthood is a full time thing, not something you select and choose like a pick n’ mix. Anyway, the years went on and my mum chose to find a new partner, who I absolutely despised - who on reflection is, I hated for no other reason than he was a male figure who as far as I was concerned meant nothing but distrust and hurt. So I rejected him, and my mother actually put me first and ended it with him because I was vehemently against his presence in he house so long after my father, or any male figure! More or less, my mother raised my sister and I as a single parent and I cannot applaud this woman more for everything she’s overcome and till raising 2 beautiful, strong and confident women. So I was raised in a dominant female household from maybe 2+ until I was maybe 15? At which point my mum met a wonderful man, who is now my step dad, who I accepted in my life because he was good, he made me happy and gave me everything I was missing. Fast forward, and we move to London with him for a new promotion and a brand new chapter in my life began - I swear I finally found myself, I was introduced to all of these new opportunities, I shed my old skin and became the real estate. Except, fast forward again 8 ears and my real dad has now passed (February 2019) and it’s sparked so many emotions in me that I don’t know how to process them. Initially, obviously it was beyond hard and knocked me for months, to the point where I interrupted university to resume a year later, but I thought I could get on with it and I would process it “eventually” - but I never did. I’d have episodes of just random crying outbursts, feeling abandoned, feeling alone, amidst everything else. And it was all part of the grieving process so early on, except now nearly 9 on the on, I’m feeling like I’m unable to organically grieve him because he was never really a father to me. How do grieve the loss of someone who was never really there? The grieving process is by no means an organic or linear process, but in this instance I feel like it’s more complicated than normal - I have more questions unanswered than I do answered, and they vary from “why did you never feel the need to make an effort in my life?” to “how can I (as in me) live with myself having stopped making the effort? is it your fault? should you have been there throughout? how different would our relationship be if I’d just have tried more? Why didn’t you think this  yourself? Why am I the only one riddled with guilt? Was I not enough for you? Was I not what you wanted? Am I not worthy enough of your love? Do you not feel like I deserve your time, effort, energy or love? The list of questions I have in my head are endless, and the sad thing is, I’ll never get to ask them now. And yet, I’m riddled with all of this guilt, this pain, this confusion, this confusion in how I’m supposed to feel toward my stepdad who I just feel awkward with sometimes when he’s done nothing to warrant it whatsoever, like this confusion in how I’m supposed to process the death of someone which should be so natural to you, and yet to me it’s such an alien topic, with someone who is exactly that to me - an alien. 


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Oh Hon, I am so sorry for everything you've been through...this could have been written by my sisters and they feel much the same way you do.  My mom married and had three daughters, then married his brother, had two more daughters, then adopted oldest daughter's son.  My older sisters didn't have a relationship with their dad even though he lived down the street.  He never paid child support, never once got them for a visit, didn't go to their high school or college graduations, or weddings.  They got a birthday card with $10 in it, I don't recall them getting anything for Christmas, ever.  My dad (2nd brother/dad) was dad to them.  I'm glad you have such a wonderful mom, we didn't even have that, and I'm glad you finally got a good stepdad.  Cherish it.  I know, he's not your bio dad, but if he treats you and your mom well, that's what counts most in the end.  

Our family (uncle, cousin) didn't even bother letting my sisters know when their dad died, one of them learned about it from a friend AFTER the funeral took place!  I called and chewed them out for not telling my sisters and reminded them that THEY were his children!  I can't forgive that, some things are just WRONG.  I love my sisters more than anything in the world and it hurts me to see how much pain they've been caused through no fault of their own.  I thank God my dad has treated them just like he did his bio children, no difference.  HE was there for their birthdays, Christmases, weddings, graduations.  It does make me see why my mom divorced #1 and married #2.  It really does.  I don't recommend marrying brothers, it caused a lot of problems in the family, as you might imagine, we were estranged from grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, it was very unfair to us kids.

You ARE enough, the problem wasn't with you, it was HIS to own.  Even if he was alive I doubt he could give you a satisfactory answer because what answer is sufficient for not being their for your kids?!   The only excuse for my sisters' dad I can possibly think of is that it would have been difficult to deal with my mom...he DID continue his relationship with my dad (his brother), just not with his daughters.  But difficult mom or not, that's not a real excuse to abdicate your duties as a parent.  None at all.  Maybe all these people just needed to grow up.

I hope you will take these life lessons with you and learn what you can from them...I did.  When my first husband had a child born with his mistress...the first time I laid eyes on him he was an infant and I vowed to never let him suffer for his parents' wrongs if I could help it, and I loved and raised him wholehearted ly until we divorced three years later.  He is still in my heart and life today, these 46 years later.  What our family had gone through had played a role in my response to this sweet child...I have learned that nothing we go through in life is wasted.  This morning I read "Suffering is never wasted"...that is a big for sure, not if we don't let it.

You ARE enough!  Your mom raised a wonderful young woman who is doing well for herself...love her and your stepdad.  If you need counseling to get through the abandonment issues, get it, you are worth it...and you didn't cause any of this.  It's unfair, it really is.  Just don't let bitterness reign.

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