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Feeling like I never got to say what needed to be said.


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My father passed in July partly due to cirrhosis of the liver due to his decades long drinking addiction. I had cut ties with him around 20. I found out after he passed that he had gotten sober right after we cut ties. I'm so angry because it feels like he got sober too late. It feels like everything I've ever wanted to say I can't say anymore. I'm angry that we never got to reconcile.

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I held on to anger with my father's death too. He committed suicide when I was still in high school and he also had an alcohol addiction which I'm sure helped him make the choice to take his life. What is frustrating is that he was sober from the time I was about 2 to when I was 13, but in 1992 my mom left him and he went back to the bottle. It was downhill from there. He missed out on years with his children because of it. I wish I had gotten to know him better. He's almost just a faded memory at this point and I hate that. 

Do you think that writing a letter to your father could help? Just write everything you wished you had gotten a chance to say and do, as an outlet for your anger. It might help bring some closure too. 

When my mother was in hospice care I took some time to write one to her and tried to remember everything I wanted to say, anything I felt I wanted to apologize for, anything she did that I was grateful for... It just seemed easier for me to write it down rather than try to say it while in her hospital room where it could be stressful - I knew I would forget something if I didn't write it down. She read it only days before her condition worsened and she lost almost all lucidity. It's not exactly the closure I wanted but it was at least something I could work with. I might write a letter to my father one day, I'm just not ready to do it yet. I'm not angry with him anymore, over time I learned to forgive. I had to see it from his point of view, he was sick and his sickness is what killed him. I just wish he had made better decisions. 

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I am so sorry for your loss, it's too bad someone didn't let you know that he'd sobered up before he died.  My own dad was an alcoholic, he passed nearly 40 years ago from heart.  I raised my kids as teetotalers because their maternal grandfather and paternal grandmother were both alcoholics, our collective siblings were at about 50%.   Thankfully the legacy is broken.  I'm sorry for all he put you and the family through. :wub:

It's never too late to talk to them, write to them...so much we don't know about the life beyond but most consensus is their spirit lives on, who knows but what they can hear us?  Even if they couldn't it's still good to get it said.  But then this coming from someone who still talks to her dead husband 16 1/2 years later and dead dog and Kitty 2+ years later.  Our hearts still feel and the need to express still exists at times.  

Forgiveness is an important part of our power and our being...it means the other cannot have the power to negatively change us.  It's for us, not them.  It does NOT mean what they did was okay, it wasn't!  It does mean we're going to take our power and be who we want to be and will not allow our experiences with them to hold us there.   These expound on that, it's a choice we make that no one can do for us.  If you continue to hurt, I really hope you'll consider grief counseling.  Sometimes insurance will even cover it or some pastors who are trained in it do not charge or there are some professionals that provide it income-based.

Eight Keys to Forgiveness | Greater Good
Forgiveness: Letting go of grudges and bitterness - Mayo Clinic 

Sarah Montana: Why forgiveness is worth it | TED Talk

 

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Excellent advice, Novi and Kay ~ thank you for sharing! 

Several issues come to mind as I read your story, my friend, including the loss of a dream (i.e., the father you wish you'd had); unfinished business (i.e., unable to say what you needed to say to your dad while he was still alive); and unexpressed anger. You have some work to do in order to come to terms with all of this ~ we call it "grief work" ~ but the good news is that it is never too late to do the work of grief. You've already begun by sharing your story here with us, and I encourage you to follow Novi's and Kay's suggestions. If you find that this is not enough, I hope you'll consider a session or two with a qualified grief counselor who can help you sort through it all.

That said, I invite you to read a bit about what you may be feeling. While this person's story may differ a bit from your own, I'm hoping you'll find its content helpful: In Grief: Death of A Possibility

See also:

Grief: Understanding The Process

Mourning An Abusive Relationship: Suggested Resources

Is Anger One of The Stages of Grief?

Writing As A Healing Tool in Grief

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Just now, forgottenglimmer96 said:

 I should probably see a grief counselor as well.

Yes. Not all counselors and therapists are experienced in, educated in, and trained in thanatology (the study of death, dying, grief and loss). See, for example, Seeing a Specialist in Grief Counseling: Does It Matter?  ❤️

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I wish you the best with your journey, I know it's a lot...in addition to having an alcoholic dad, I had a mentally ill abusive mother with multiple personality disorders...just yesterday my sister brought up something from the past and instantly I was angry (with my mother)!  It's amazing the feelings that can be invoked with instant recall years later!  They run deep...and I've had lots of counseling!  My mom ended up with dementia, which softened her, I was with her to the end, I'm glad she softened at the end, weird how dementia can affect people so differently.  We lived with so much during her life, it was a blessing to have it end on a softer note but I wouldn't wish dementia on anyone (my sister and aunt have it now).

This is the best site there is because of Marty, she's amazing, offering her life's collection of articles free to us all.  She never ceases to amaze me, aa wonderful guide.  I pray you find a good counselor!

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