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I've just had the oddest conversation with my Dad.

(44 Posts)
QuimReaper Mon 05-Sep-16 00:03:04

My Dad is 81. When he was in his 20s/30s he was married and had 4 children.

He was an alcoholic and had no real relationship with them, and left before they were teenagers. He moved to England, married my Ma and had me and my sister.

Our brothers have tracked us down on FB, so although we've only met one of them, we know that one of them was very ill, and died about 3 months ago.

Today I was talking with my Dad about a wedding I've just been to and about the startling resemblance one of the couple shared with her mother, and remarked upon a photograph of my Dad's son in which they look freakishly alike. He responded "Oh yes, that's DS1, he died years ago" confused

I said "Um, he died earlier this year?" And Dad just said "oh, did he? Anyway..."

It was so weird. My Dad is a shrink, totally compos mentis and is so plugged-in. It was such a strange mistake.

What is this? PTSD

QuimReaper Mon 05-Sep-16 00:03:49

Two errors? Sorry blush

Had*
PTSD?*

LineyReborn Mon 05-Sep-16 00:07:17

Sorry I don't understand. Your father has a photograph of himself and his eldest son in his house? And you think he might have PTSD from something?

QuimReaper Mon 05-Sep-16 00:08:38

Sorry, probably a dreadful OP.

My Dad's son died about 3 months ago, but during a conversation today he referred to him as having died "years ago".

It was so bizarre.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Mon 05-Sep-16 00:09:42

That's strange,maybe just a brain blip though if there aren't any other concerns.

LineyReborn Mon 05-Sep-16 00:11:02

I do get that. It seems especially bizarre for him to say that about a son he has a photograph of on display.

I think you might have to tackle him on it.

Sootica Mon 05-Sep-16 00:11:33

But he's only been in touch with the children recently and only learnt about the death after the event and hadn't met the son for years? Perhaps it didn't register as clearly as you thought it did?

QuimReaper Mon 05-Sep-16 00:12:05

Dame my friend said the same thing, but what could you confuse with the death of your firstborn?!

Sofabitch Mon 05-Sep-16 00:13:55

Maybe there is another son?

QuimReaper Mon 05-Sep-16 00:14:28

Soot actually he hasn't had contact with them ever really since they were kids. It's only with the advent of social media that my sister and I have had something to do with them. We found out via another brother on FB and obviously my Dad found out via a telephone call from his ex wife.

My sister phoned him to see if he knew / break the news if for some reason nobody had called him, and said he sounded shattered by it.

QuimReaper Mon 05-Sep-16 00:15:26

Sofa there are four but the other three are live and kickin!

The one who died was the oldest but only in his fifties.

LineyReborn Mon 05-Sep-16 00:15:59

Tell us about the photograph. I think that's a key.

QuimReaper Mon 05-Sep-16 00:20:02

Liney it wasn't actually in sight when I mentioned it: it's hanging around somewhere, it's just that I remembered a few years ago my Dad pointing out how extremely like him his son looked in that picture, and brought it up in reference to how alike my friend is to her mother.

Incywincyspinster Mon 05-Sep-16 00:26:02

Could it be he essentially persuaded himself of the death years before it happened to cope with the grief of actually losing his first family? (Regardless of the reason for losing touch) People deal with these things in really odd ways and grief can play some strange tricks. He's also old and could be confused. My 84yr old grandfather argued with me in a shop yesterday that we'd bought him new trousers a fortnight ago when it was in fact two years ago. He Was absolutely convinced. He doesn't have dementia.

iminshock Mon 05-Sep-16 00:28:07

I think he might have dementia

Ginkypig Mon 05-Sep-16 00:34:42

It sounds maybe that's what he's told himself all these years to cope with not having been in contact for so long.

Might be off the mark but could that sound right?

Piscivorus Mon 05-Sep-16 00:37:21

I don't think it is reasonable to start thinking dementia from just one incident now matter how odd it might seem to you. It is only when those odd things happen more regularly that you can reasonably ask that question

My DM is similar age and sometimes she gets confused on things I would not expect, it is just something that happens with age but it is occasional, not regular. FIL is very forgetful and vague on a regular basis, we suspect he is developing a medical problem, it is the frequency that is the important difference

Tartyflette Mon 05-Sep-16 00:38:22

Is it possible he might have had yet another son, born to a different wife or partner that he also left behind? But has kept quiet about it? And this fifth son may have died several years ago?

QuimReaper Mon 05-Sep-16 00:40:59

* Incy* I was wondering whether the fact that he had me and my sister so late had something to do with it.

He really messed to the first time around and really got it right the second time around, but it's so terribly, terribly wrong for a parent to "bury" their child whatever the circumstances, that maybe he just literally buried it so deeply he didn't actually engage with it when it happened.

Maybe in some ways it's as hard in a different way if you never really managed to be close to your child.

QuimReaper Mon 05-Sep-16 00:41:58

I'm definitely not calling dementia yet!

QuimReaper Mon 05-Sep-16 00:42:45

Dad's a dark horse but I really don't think he had kids before his first wife.

GiddyOnZackHunt Mon 05-Sep-16 00:46:10

Given his age there may have been an infant's death that wasn't talked about.

QuimReaper Mon 05-Sep-16 00:48:30

Ginky I hadn't really thought of that. Maybe?

How I felt at the time was that although he's far too pragmatic to have genuinely nurtured fantasies of rekindling a relationship with them (or kindling one; it doesn't sound like they ever had one - but then, he was a baby once, and a first of four...) but his son dying punctuated the end in a way that was more dramatic and final than he was prepared for.

In other words, I don't think he would have troubled himself too much about dying without ever having had much of a relationship with them (as much as he mig he regret that) but one of them dying on him underscored it in a really painful way.

GiddyOnZackHunt Mon 05-Sep-16 00:51:49

Sorry that doesn't really fit.
Could be have a UTI? I had a completely bonkers conversation with my granny on the phone one night. It was so odd, I phoned my dad and my aunt went over the next day. My gran had fallen, hurt her leg and wasn't drinking enough; had got a UTI and it made her seem disconnected. A&E and antibiotics and back to normal.

AcrossthePond55 Mon 05-Sep-16 00:52:08

I second the idea of early dementia. People are extremely good at hiding the first symptoms, passing them off as 'brain farts', 'fatigue', or a touch of 'forgetfulness'.

And I'd expect that a mental health practitioner of any kind (especially a 'shrink') would be exceptionally good at knowing how to disguise them. Either due to denial or a desire to not worry the family.

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