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To feel so sorry for my Dad?

(102 Posts)
Kneehigim Mon 25-Feb-19 11:13:50

First up, he's happy, in a relationship the past 25 years and healthy.


When he was a teen he moved to London to work on building sites and was there for 6 months. He then got a call to say that his father was ill and that he needed to go home to run the family business. At the same time his uncle offered to bring him to Australia with a job opportunity there.
In the heel of the hunt he went home and still runs the family business. He's a 'make the most of it' kind of person so appears happy, but whenever we chat, there's a deep longing in him for what might have been. He never fails to mention the opportunities he almost had. I think we just chat a lot so he probably doesn't actually consciously think this on a daily basis, maybe I bring out the worst in him lol. We probably have deeper conversations than most people.

So, I'm at that age in life where I can make it or break it. I've a few decisions to make. I genuinely don't want to end up 70 and a little bit sad about what I never did.

There is literally nothing I can do for my Dad apart from to succeed myself in life which cheers him up no end. I can hear the pride in his voice (and I have done nothing to be proud of).

I don't even know why I'm posting. There's nothing I can do. AIBU to be fucking annoyed with his father for stealing his future from him? What the fuck do we do to our children. Such a responsibility we hold in our hands!

Wah! I'm just ranting.

Kneehigim Mon 25-Feb-19 11:17:05

Sorry, my post makes no sense.

He used to box. He used to play snooker. He has trophies for both of these things but had to quit as my mother didn't like those hobbies.

He desperately wanted to travel but never got the opportunity in the end.

I just feel like he has missed out on a whole world. And I feel a little bit sad for him.

BusySnipingOnCallOfDuty Mon 25-Feb-19 11:21:06

Sometimes thats just the way things work out. Yes he could have done nicer things but it sounds like hes happy enough with what he has now and thays whats important

Anique105 Mon 25-Feb-19 11:22:22

Yanbu that is sad but it's also a lesson for you. He had decades to change things. He speaks about it but did nothing to make even small changes. Everything you do is a choice.

Coffeeisnecessary Mon 25-Feb-19 11:24:38

Have you seen the film Up? That bit when he looks further in her book of adventures and realises that she did have adventures, her life with him was. I'm not explaining it well but what I mean is, we can choose to be sad and long for what we didn't have, or we can be happy for the life we had.

pippistrelle Mon 25-Feb-19 11:28:04

He can always travel now, if he wants to. And he can probably afford to do it 'better' now. There's no need to feel sorry for him on that account. But yes, he chose to do what he's doing and has done, and when you choose one thing, there's always another that you haven't chosen.

Kneehigim Mon 25-Feb-19 11:29:31

I hope it doesn't come across incorrectly, my father is happy and I don't think anybody else would know about what he has missed out on. He certainly never talks about it in company. I just sense that there is a latent sadness in him for what might have been.
Maybe we all have that. Hell, I could be president of the USA in my own head.

PlainSpeakingStraightTalking Mon 25-Feb-19 11:31:49

Your father made decisions that were right at the time. The benefit of hindsight is a wonderful thing . We can all look back with a dollop of the 'what ifs' ... what if he had gone to Australia, he wouldnt have met your mother and you wouldnt exist.... what if he carried on boxing and ended up punch drunk with Parkinsons Disease ..... what if he played snooker and ended up with lung cancer from those smokey old halls .....

By Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Kneehigim Mon 25-Feb-19 11:32:31

He really wasn't given a choice. His father was ill and as the eldest son, he had to go back to carry on the business in order to rear the younger ones.
With my mother he wasn't given a choice about giving up his hobbies either. It was that or be murdered.
Maybe that's just life! He certainly never moans about these things. It will just come up in conversation sometimes.

Kneehigim Mon 25-Feb-19 11:34:31

PlainSpeaking That's funny. That's my favourite piece of writing ever, and it encompasses my Dad!

pippistrelle Mon 25-Feb-19 11:36:41

Of course, he had choices and many people would have left anyway - the family business and your mother. There must have been compensations for him not to leave - pride in continuing the family business? closeness to siblings? financial comfort? closeness to you?

Kneehigim Mon 25-Feb-19 11:39:03

No, I very much feel that it was a sense of duty. Duty to his family and duty to his wife I guess.

Holidayshopping Mon 25-Feb-19 11:40:58

With my mother he wasn't given a choice about giving up his hobbies either. It was that or be murdered.

What do you mean!?

Kneehigim Mon 25-Feb-19 11:41:32

I suppose he's a bit soft in ways. He's very much a man's man, but a complete softy at the back of it. Pity really. I'd have preferred to have grown up in Australia! grin

Kneehigim Mon 25-Feb-19 11:42:27

Holiday My mother used to beat him up. shock

I can't believe I've just written that!

Disfordarkchocolate Mon 25-Feb-19 11:43:46

He's not too old to travel at his age. No need to have that regret when he can do something about it.

Springwalk Mon 25-Feb-19 11:45:21

Maybe the other life he would have travelled along would have been dangerous or unhappy. If your father is happy then possibly it was his destiny to be exactly where he is today?

We don't know that another life choice would be any better for him do we? There are some strange twists and turns.

Be content that he is content. We can't have regrets if we have lived a full and healthy life

Springisallaround Mon 25-Feb-19 11:46:20

Your dad believed in doing his duty, even when it wasn't in his own best interests. I'm sorry he was in an abusive relationship as well. It was a different era, even in the 60's, a few were alternative, but most were conventional and conservative in their choices, and there was a lot more concern with social shame.

It's fine to feel a bit wistful about this. Don't watch The Remains of the Day any time soon, that whole film is about lives not lived, and will have you blubbing!

pippistrelle Mon 25-Feb-19 11:47:27

A (misplaced) sense of duty that he chose to act on. That's appalling about your mother, but you seem determined to consider him as a mere victim of circumstance. And you don't even know for sure that he's unhappy with his choices (although it's probably a reasonable assumption in the case of your mother).

BejamNostalgia Mon 25-Feb-19 11:49:53

Well one sort of important thing you’re neglecting is that if he had gone to Australia he wouldn’t have you! The daughter he is close to and sits having meaningful conversations with.

This happens to everybody in one way or another. You can’t control your own health or that of your family or children. We can’t conjure up unlimited amounts of cash or develop skills and talents that are rare and well rewarded and take us all the way across the world.

We can’t always have the relationships we want with the people we want at the right time.

We’re all a product of our circumstances and the choices we make.

I think if there are people out there who don’t sometimes think ‘What if’ then they’re either lying, supremely unimaginative or have lived extremely dull lives.

I do think there is a danger though, people who are always out there trying to grab extraordinary experiences and catch thrills run the risk of failing to appreciate what they have right under their noses. Like a father and daughter who are close and pass the time together having deep discussions about life and hopes and dreams. That is something very, very special which many people wouldn’t swap for money or adventures.

Kneehigim Mon 25-Feb-19 11:54:19

My father is the strongest man I know, so he is very much not a victim. It's just that when I talk about things like my friend winning the European WBA championship, my Dad then tells me all about how he was boxing in the same weight etc. etc. When I travel, he tells me all about how he got the opportunity to go but ultimately didn't. It's hard to quite put my finger on it. I just feel he's not really living the life he should be. It's a whole life gone now though! Maybe we don't. I'm probably not living the life my creator mapped out, but here I am, still hanging on lol.

Belenus Mon 25-Feb-19 11:54:46

AIBU to be fucking annoyed with his father for stealing his future from him?

Yes. His father left him a family business. You cannot know for sure that Australia would have been any better. Maybe there's a parallel universe where he went to Australia and a part of him feels like he would have been better off had he stayed and run the family business.

My mother used to beat him up.

But you seem to reserve most of your anger and resentfulness for your grandfather. I'd be looking to the violent grandmother more.

Either way, maybe you both need to look to the good in his current situation. You cannot change his past and mourning the past he didn't have won't do you much good.

Holidayshopping Mon 25-Feb-19 11:57:00

Why are you blaming all this on his father (who got ill and left him a business!) rather than your own mother who beat him up?!

If your father has been in a happy relationship for 25 years, could he have done some travelling then!

clairemcnam Mon 25-Feb-19 11:57:24

Even if you take lots of opportunities, there will always be what ifs. Even if they are - what if I hadn't had children.
Live your life, you only have one. But don't spend it looking back at what ifs. We all make choices that seem the best thing at the time. Australia could have been great, or it could have been awful. And he could have travelled when he got older or even now.

clairemcnam Mon 25-Feb-19 11:58:25

And lots of people would love to have been left a family business. Much easier than starting from scratch.

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