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My Dad Died Last Thursday

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I feel like I'm loosing my mind. I'm having panick attacts and I'm really on edge and angry. My Dad and I where not close. As a matter of fact...he was very abusive to me and my siblings. I have faith in Jesus Christ and I know that before he died he asked Jesus to come into his heart. This gives me much comfort knowing that I'll one day see him again but in a different light. My emotions are running wild. I just started back to work today. I had a week off after I found out. I couldn't go to the funeral because he lived so far away. My brother was able to go though. I simply couldn't afford it and now I feel very guilty because of this. I'm scared all the time and I don't understand why. I'm seeing a councellor and an shrink. I deal with depression already but this death has brought a whole bunch of stuff I wasn't expecting. I feel like running away...or curling up in a bawl and hiding.

Any pointers?

God Bless

Connie Bale

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I'm so sorry about your pain and loss. The only pointer I can give is what helped me so much.....I went to Hospice grief groups and indivual counselling. It was in the bereavement groups that I found comfort. I found that my complicated grief wasn't unusual....I heard so many complicated stories of grief. I helped me a lot. You usually don't have to have used that particular Hospice in order to go to the groups....

I hope you find peace. dester

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  • 3 weeks later...

Dear Devoted.

On June 29, 1989, at the age of 48, my dad was driving to Las Vegas from California on Hwy 101, at around 6am. I was 24 years old, and the oldest of 3 girls, and my parents were divorced. He had a massive heart attack all alone in his truck, and died on Hwy 101 in Gilroy, CA. I too have faith in Jesus Christ, and know without a doubt my dad was saved and is in Heaven waiting for me. My dad dying was the defining event in my entire life and has driven me ever since. It's been a little over 16 years now, but I still miss him terribly, but the knife in the gut pain is finally gone. It took me 11 years to have peace and let go of the grief of losing my dad, and it was 11 years of torment, pain, depression, anger, saddness, lonliness and suffering. I too felt the fear you express. I explain it like this to people: I was flying at about 1000 mph in the air and suddendly I hit a brick wall and fell to the ground, then, someone picked me up and ripped off all my skin with all of my nerves exposed for 11 years. It can completely re-define you, and you can let it devestate you, or you can let it make you a stronger, better person. I chose the latter, but it wasn't easy, it was, at times, not even a day-to-day struggle, sometimes, an hour-to-hour, or minute-by-minute struggle, but I made it through.

Guilt does not come from our Father, it comes from our enemy, and our Father does not want you to feel guilty about anything, especially events that you had absolutely no control over, and I know your dad would want to say to you to have a good, happy life, and do not feel guilt or regret about anything in the past, or about anything you had absolutely no control over. Your dad and my dad are standing at the Feet of Jesus right now, and guess what? They're talking about you and me, their children.

I'm 41 years old now, and at times, feel like I'm 100, and at times, feel like I'm 4. I pray you let this guilt go back to the enemy who brought it to you, and that you can give the fear over to our Father as well, as He does not bring us fear, He does not want us to live in fear, read the Psalms and Isaiah over and over again, those 2 books brought me much peace and comfort in the days, weeks, months and years after my dad's passing. Write letters to your dad, write letters to yourself, read them and re-read them, get all of your feelings out. I did, and continue to do so.

I'm on this site because I recently lost my 16 year old baby Meow-Meow, I got her months after my dad died, and losing her has been the hardest loss I've been through since my dad, and I saw the post about losing parents, and I KNOW what it is, and how is feels, and where it takes you. Please feel free to email me anytime at either tracy.herbert@phs.com or tracyeh@deanith.net I am available to talk anytime, and share my writings with you.

You will get through this, the fear and guilt will subside, the knife in your heart and gut will ease its way out eventually, and someday, you will be able to remember your dad and smile, and the good memories won't torment you.

God Bless my dear one,

In Loving Memory of Meow-Meow and

In Loving Memory of Loyd English, Jr.


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I too, had an abusive father. He died 2 months ago. His abusive behavior was by being an alcoholic. We weren't close. In fact, I have felt abandoned by my father for years. It is like a slow death. His dying was like putting the final nail in the coffin, so to speak. It made the abandonment final. I am very suprised by my reaction: depression and panic attacks. It is very scary to feel this way. I believe that in time, the strength of the symptoms will weaken. I am just taking it day by day.

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I read with great interest your posting here about your dad, as my father, too, was terribly abusive and while not technically alcoholic, was the biggest problem drinker in my family. My Mom was officially diagnosed alcoholic, yet her drinking wasn't nearly as problematic overall, at least not to me. Anyway, the reason I'm so interested is because my father hasn't died yet, but is 86 and in a home with severe dementia, so it may not be long now. I don't live where he is and have no desire to see him because he dishonoured my Mother's death and my role as the only daughter in the family so badly that THAT seems like the "final nail in the coffin" to me. Considering your reaction now that your father is gone makes me re-speculate how I'm going to react, too....especially since you've been surprised by your reaction. I've always thought I'd feel nothing much, as I've hated my father for so many years; tried to forgive him and failed miserably because he'd do something nasty again everytime I tried. I certainly hope I don't feel differently than I'm expecting! The only thing I expect in the way of grief is that it will bring up my Mom's death again for awhile. If I may ask, were you expecting to feel something completely different, too?

(I had also replied to your other posting under Behaviours in Bereavement )

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Guest Guest_floridamom_*


Yes, I actually expected a different response to his death. I always said that I would never shed a tear. My best friend lost her abusive father this year as well. She has yet to shed a tear. In the beginning, some of my tears were for him but now I think that I am mourning the father that I wish I had. I don't cry because I miss him... I cry for the father that he never was. His death brings up these feelings in me.

Apparently, the stress I went throught caused very strong physical responses in my body. I was very surprised by that. The depression sessions and panic attacks have lifted for now. They occurred after my trip back home to pack up his house. (the one I grew up in)I experienced alot of memories and emotions during that trip.

I believe that it would not have been as traumatic for me had I not made the trip. Unfortunately, the task fell to me and I had to step up to the plate.

Since you don't live near your father, you might not experience any grief at all, unless you attend his service. (my father didn't have one at his request)

Just do what's best for you when the time comes.

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Thank-you for your answer. That makes entire sense and helps me a lot. I can see doing that, too - grieving for a father figure who never existed in reality. And maybe even just for the idea of having NO parents left...again, another symbol of security and the like.

I can also imagine how traumatizing it would be to relive history upon packing up your childhood home. Unfortunately, and fortunately, I'll never see that day, as my parents' house was sold w/o me knowing, so my nightmares have more to do with NOT being able to retrieve treasured momentos. And the one trip I made back 3 weeks after my Mother died only netted me a grand total of about 5 hours in their/my old house over an entire wknd., so I didn't even have time to sit and ruminate about anything, good OR bad. I had to work like a fiend, trying to sort through the mess my dad had make of my Mom's clothing and personal articles. I only managed 5 minutes to make a quick trip through most, not even all, of the house, just to say good-bye to everything. So upside, downside, to all our different situations. For me, though, I would have relished having the choice, as most of my Mom's things were sold out from under my feet and I never even got to visit my old bedroom of 19 years ( hey, I haven't even lived anywhere else yet for that amount of time! ), so it felt like I was kicked right out of my very own history.

And for a funeral or anything, there won't be anything like that for my father, either, as he's under the Province's auspices and I don't even know where my Mother's ashes are ( if still with my brother or not ), so that there'll be nowhere specific for them to go....and I certainly wouldn't want his! He never gave my Mother a memorial, though she would have wanted one, and I couldn't afford to go back for my brother's sudden funeral 2 months later, either, so in effect, for me, there have been NO funerals/memorials for any of my immediate family. What are the odds of that?! It sounds so wacko just putting that in print! But then, that's my family....

As for what I might do when the time comes, I'm not too sure. Probably NOT break out the champagne, as I'd normally imagined when I was in my 30's, but I don't think I'll be crying, either, except for how it reminds me of my other losses and how it's all gone, all dust in the wind then. But I've also learned to expect the unexpected, so who knows?

Edited by Maylissa
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[quote name='Guest_floridamom_*' post='2770' date='Nov 17 2005, 11:00 AM'

I am mourning the father that I wish I had. I don't cry because I miss him... I cry for the father that he never was. His death brings up these feelings in me.]

Dear Ones,

It is not unusual for individuals who've had an ambivalent or victimized relationship with a parent who has died to think that we have no reason at all to mourn the death. Feeling relieved at being free of the conflicted relationship, we may think we have nothing to be sad about, and feel as if spending any time or tears on the loss of an abusive parent would be wasted. Any need to mourn feels somehow hypocritical to us, and so we push away any positive memories and deny any feelings of missing the deceased.

In writing about factors that can complicate the mourning process, noted clinical psychologist, researcher and thanatologist Therese Rando advocates "[educating] all mourners, but especially those who deny the need to mourn . . . about the unique issues inherent in mourning an extremely conflicted relationship." She lists those unique issues as follows:

1) Mourning the death of an abusive individual does not invalidate the abuse, lessen the culpability of the perpetrator or victimization of the mourner, or mean the mourner wishes the deceased were alive to resume the relationship.

2) Negative ties can bind just as strongly as positive ones, with the degree of bonding being determined by the strength of attachment, not its characteristics. Characteristics of the bond determine only the quality of the attachment.

3) Extremely negative ties - even those that predominate in number and intensity - can coexist with some positive ties (e.g., from a time prior to abuse, from a time when abuse was not occurring, from an idealization of the abuser).

4) All ties, whether positive or negative, must be relinquished. This demands mourning.

5) Contrary to popular assumption, mourning negative ties does not mean that the mourner is sad that the deceased has died or experiences unwanted deprivation. There is nothing in the definition or requirements of mourning that mandates sadness over the loss. In reality, mourning only means that whatever ties existed are worked through in order for the mourner to be free from them and that the mourner adapts suitably to their absence. Not to free oneself is a form of continued victimization.

6) Much of the mourning that must take place after the death of an abuser focuses on mourning for what that abuser has taken away from the mourner (e.g. innocence, autonomy, a happy childhood, trust).

7) [successful mourning requires] that much alteration must be done in the assumptive world, the self, and one's behaviors in the world after the death. Thus, the mourner should not focus exclusively on the deceased. He must be helped to see that the major purpose of mourning is to free himself, and, only if appropriate, to express sadness and other emotions over the loss.

[source: "Ambivalence in Mourning a Conflicted Relationship," in Treatment of Complicated Mourning by Therese A. Rando, Research Press, 1993, pp. 472-475]

Rando goes on to say that whatever one's feelings may be, it's important to understand the need to review and to feel all of the emotions and memories pertaining to the deceased and come to terms with them: "If he wants to bury the unpleasant memories, that is fine - however, he needs to bury them dead (i.e., worked through), not alive." [p. 477]

I want to suggest a groundbreaking book on this topic that you may find quite helpful, entitled Liberating Losses: When Death Brings Relief, by Jennifer Elison and Chris McGonigle. See also Less Than Loved Ones: Hopes and Dreams, an article by Russell Friedman and John W. James of The Grief Recovery Institute.

Wishing you peace and healing,

Marty T

Edited by MartyT
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Dear Marty,

Thank-you so much for all of that!! I'll be looking more into what you suggested as reading material. I also wondered if you would mind if I copied and pasted your reply into another grief site I use, as someone else there has had a very similar situation to mine and was just speaking of some of the same things yesterday. I think this info. would be of much use to her as well.

P.S. I posted about some of the 'bugs' in the system in the Comments forum.

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[quote name='Maylissa' post='2781' date='Nov 17 2005, 05:46 PM'

I also wondered if you would mind if I copied and pasted your reply into another grief site I use . . .I posted about some of the 'bugs' in the system in the Comments forum.]

My dear Maylissa,

You are most welcome to copy and paste my reply into another grief site, although as an alternative you might simply place a link to this entire thread into the message you post elsewhere. To do that, just go to the address box in your browser, then copy and paste the URL address into your message, like so:


I read your post about the "bugs" and I've forwarded it to our administration. Please keep telling me about whatever other problems you discover as we all continue to figure out this new system. You are our eyes and ears . . .


Marty T

Edited by MartyT
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Thank you, Marty. That was very helpful. I read the article, and am looking into finding the book. My subconscious is apparently forcing me to address the grieving. I have dreamed about my father quite frequently lately. (3 times just this week.) I wouldn't classify them as good or bad dreams. His presence is just there in the dreams as if he should be there.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Guest_sarah_*

Dear Connie,

My father died suddenly almost one year ago and I was very close to him. I too felt like I was losing my mind. Emotionally I stopped. I went to work, I cooked dinner and did all the normal things a mom and wife should do except embrace the loss of my dad. I still dont know how, but the one thing I do know is that my husband and friends listen and hold me when I am crying and that is helping. Please talk about him,the good the bad and the ugly. dont destroy or blame yourself. My prayers are with you

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Some of us morn the loss of our parents all our lives so when they die we don't skip a beat.

Sounds funny doesn't it.

My mother left my two sisters and myself when I was 2, at that point my dad being useless gave me and my older sister to an Aunt, my dad and my younger sister move in with my Grandparents, so my grandmother could raise my younger sister. We visited every two weeks like clock work for the next 14 years .We only lived 50 miles apart.

At first I thought my Dad was a good man, he paid room and board for all of us and my thought was he must not have anything left for himself.

When I was 16 I realised that money was the easy part, love was the hard part.

When I was 20 and married I tried to start a real father son relationship with him, that lasted a year before he had no time again.

Now we move 20 years down the road, I haven't see my dad in 20 years ,both our choice, we still live 50 miles apart ,no fight no alcohol just no relationship.

He gets cancer ,wants to see me ,I don't go ,he dies ,I don't go to the funeral ,now 10 years later I still don't regret what I did or in this case didn't do.

My mother ,she left with another man, had 8 more kids.

Five years ago one of her kids was doing a family history and found out she had 11 kids not 8, she had never told them. They wanted to get together, no way.

My mother is still alive but I could care less.

You see why I say we morn them and there loss, but there death really is not a big event in our lives because by then we have given up on the idea of reconciliation.

Sounds like a soap opera.

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