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early loss of mom 4 y ago making day-to-day relationship with dad really complicated


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my therapist keeps suggesting attending a grief support group but covid makes that prospect super scary rn... so here i am instead

anyway in a few days it'll be four years since my mom passed away from cancer. at this point the hard part isn't even the feeling of "i miss my mom" but rather navigating the shared loss with my dad... on the one hand having someone to share the loss with is helpful, but at the same time my dad's methods of grieving that are really incompatible with mine are now a more consistent source of pain than the death itself. 

for background, i'm 27 and live at home and my dad is 65. my mom would have been 67 this year. at the time my mom died i was living at home post-college, and i just never ended up moving out. i'm an only child so doing so would have meant my dad was by himself; plus moving was just no longer appealing to me after such a profound family change. but as much as moving out is unappealing and i feel way closer to my dad than i did when my mom was alive, my dad also drives me insane with the way he talks about my mom like she was an angel (she was a loving but immature and abusive parent), or with suddenly getting sad or sentimental at me and forcing me to comfort him. but if i dare express my own feelings around him he just goes to pieces and gets all despondent and wails about feeling like a bad parent, which in turn Does actually make him a bad parent because he isn't doing a goddamned thing to help me and is making it all about him. my therapist has been recommending pushing him to seek grief counseling as a solution, so that he will stop using me as his outlet, but i'm scared even of pitching this to him lest this, too, cause him to go to pieces and force me do damage-control. it's all just really exhausting.

so often when i complain about my dad to my therapist (who isn't a grief counselor, i'm seeing her for depression/anxiety) or my friends (none of whom have lost a parent) they just zero in on Moving Out as the only viable solution... i think they think that being 27 and living at home is just fundamentally wrong and that clearly my dad is like, manipulating me into staying or something. but that's not true and the 20s i am having are not the same 20s my friends are having. i do feel like my relationship with my dad is really important to me and being in the house i grew up in makes me feel closer to my mom.

i don't know anyone else my age who has lost a parent and has had the trajectory of their 20s/possibly whole life completely altered as a result. sometimes i feel like a crazy person for being over 25 and not being desperate to get away from my family. i guess i'm hoping to find some other young people who are in the same boat.

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There are many grief support groups meeting via zoom right now, you might contact hospice of the valley for information.

I'm older than both your parents, so not a young person, but I was 29 when my dad died and my mom put all her stakes on us, she had no friends, it was a lot of pressure.  When I lost my husband all too soon/sudden (he was barely 51) I didn't want to do that to my kids!

Keep living with your dad if you want, sounds like it's working for both of you, but cut him some slack, extend grace...he is navigating the hardest thing one can go through in life!  If he wants to saint her, let him, not your place to lay on him how to navigate his grief journey.  Each of us handles it in our own time and way.  
You might want to share these with your dad...
Grief Process

Tips to Make Your Way through Grief

Don't feel you need your therapist's permission to live how you feel comfortable living.  While it's natural for kids to venture out on their own (my daughter couldn't wait!  Moved out when she was 18, my son went into the service but was back with me for a couple of years afterwards), there are plenty of cultures where it's multigeneration and that works well too!l

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