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Should I go to the funeral? Helping me move on

(51 Posts)
lookingatthepast Mon 13-Jan-20 00:30:20

Very long story but will try and keep it brief by using bullet points as it will be an essay otherwise.

I am a single mum to 4dcs and in my early 30s. Brought up not knowing the identity of my father (I had a thread about this many many years ago on here which I will try and link to )

Mum would never reveal DF identity

Turned out it was one of 3 (later to become 4 ) potential men

All of these men were married but knew of my existence as far as I knew at the time.

3 of them I had met on and off over the years (as mums friends)

Two of them I was named after (female version of their first name- two of them had the same Christian name to complicate issues confused

I was given the surname at birth of another on my birth certificate

There was no father named on the birth certificate

I spent the years aged between 17 and 31 between being depressed , having my own children and being in an abusive relationship trying to search for these various people and find them and uncover the identity of my father. I vividly remember my husband beating me and reining blows on my head telling me my mum was a slag and my dad never wanted me. To say it's left scars is an understatement

Eventually I found all of them and found out who my dad was via dna tests . My mum didn't assist with any of this and it was me who eventually broke the news of who my father was. I don't think she had a clue to be truthful! Strained relationship with us but out of me and my 3 brothers (they all have the same dad from her first marriage who is different to mine ) I am the only one who has contact with her. She's my mum. She made a lot of mistakes but I know human emotions are complex and she really wanted a baby and went to crazy lengths to have one. I veer between anger at what she's deprived me of and sadness at her now being alone and in poor health nearing 70 and what a shit lonely life she's had.

It's cast a long shadow over my life. My brothers say I need to let it go and look forward and stop looking back but when your whole life has been a lie and your entire identity is mixed up between lots of people who basically thought you might have been theirs but did nothing to find out and fucked off and abandoned you well it hurts and I can't heal and get over it no matter how much counselling I have or medication I take

Anyway....
when I found my father it transpired he was sadly dead. I had never met him and as far as I can ascertain he never knew I existed. He died when I was a teenager and he was buried less than a mile from my school and home at the time and they buried him 8 days before my 16th birthday. The fact he laid so close haunts me to be honest. I only found out his identity 15 months ago. He has 3 children who have welcomed me and we are building a relationship and I do comfort myself with the fact there is nothing I could have done to find him any sooner than I did.

Onto now and my reason for posting. One of the men I found in 2012 I remember from being a little girl. One of my strongest Christmas childhood memories is him taking me and my mum in his car to London to drive around with the roof open and see the Christmas lights and Phil Collins song one more night playing on the radio. I found him and did dna with him in 2012 and he wasn't my dad. He is the man I was named after (first name and surname) he had no clue my mum had given me his surname at birth. He then in 2013 moved from London to Scotland and we stayed in contact via Facebook. He knew my older brother and had actually employed him in his first job as an apprentice around the time I was born.

Last summer he became ill (he was mid 70s) and we exchanged a few messages via Facebook which I still have where he said he was happy to have been in contact , he was now ill and would fight it but he'd had a good life and I shouldn't be sad. To be a good girl and keep smiling. And he was happy he now had some photos of me from Facebook and could watch my progress as a woman as my mum would never let him have any of me when I was little and he was sorry he wasn't 'that man' ie my father but he was happy I had now found my dads family.

2 weeks ago he died. And I felt like someone had taken my childhood from me the moment I saw the message posted online that he had lost his fight with cancer. I was in a motorway services travelling somewhere with my children eating lunch and scrolling as you do when it came up on my newsfeed. First of all I was literally speechless then I couldn't stop shaking and finally I went to a toilet cubical kneeled on the floor and literally howled .

The funeral is on Friday . This is it . I am only going to get one chance to say the last goodbye. It's opened so many emotions. I wasn't there to grieve and bury my dad all those years ago. I am crying for the past and what's been taken away. I feel like a little piece of my childhood has died. I know he wasn't my dad. I know that. But for a long time I thought he could have been. And he will always be a part of me. I was named after him .

His wife and two daughters have (to my knowledge) no clue as to this back story . They know me as a friend of the family and the sister of X person who worked for him so there's no strange vibes from them as to why this random woman wants to attend. Also if he didn't delete his Facebook messages then someone may he read this exchange between us as someone has access to the account to have posted the news of his death and you can see now and then someone active on the profile. So I have no idea who's read what or knows what and nothing has been said to me in email exchanges regarding the funeral and wake afterwards. From their perspective I am most welcome to attend and meet them.

Should I go ?
If I go I will be going alone. My mum won't come and isn't up to the journey anyway. My kids are too young. I am divorced so no partner to come. My brother says it's too far. It will literally be me boarding the flight from London to Glasgow alone and back again. I will be travelling there on an early morning flight and returning home on a late evening one the same day. I walked all the other avenues in this complex story alone. Travelling to find people , doing tests , opening the results of them all. Visiting my dads grave
All of it alone. And it's such a heavy burden to carry and look back on. I literally feel drowning at the moment .

Please handhold and talk to me
Thanks if you have got this far x

Apileofballyhoo Mon 13-Jan-20 00:45:55

I think if you want to go, you should go. I'm sorry you feel so alone. It wasn't easy being the only sibling with with a different Dad, particularly when you didn't know who your father was and your Mum was so strange about it all.

Have you been for counselling?

Sn0tnose Mon 13-Jan-20 00:46:40

💐 It’s not surprising you feel this way. It sounds like your reaction to his death wasn’t just for him, but for your own biological father and the sheer bloody shiftiness of the situation. Personally, I wouldn’t go. I’d mark it in another way. Maybe just sitting in a park by yourself for a couple of hours. If you go and it gets too much for you, will you have the strength to deal with his family questioning why someone so distant is so upset? I also think some form of counselling might help you.

Sn0tnose Mon 13-Jan-20 00:47:24

Shittiness, not shiftiness.

Apileofballyhoo Mon 13-Jan-20 00:49:28

I should have put a disclaimer on mine - I'm Irish and funerals are well attended, so an extra person wouldn't really be noticed. I forgot it might not be the same in the UK.

lookingatthepast Mon 13-Jan-20 00:50:37

Yes I have thought about what the hell I will do if I can't cope on the day once I am in there looking at the coffin.

I had counselling back in 2006 as I was an in patient being treated for severe depression in hospital but at that point I didn't have the answer to who my father was.

I then went back to counselling privately when my marriage broke up in 2018 (that happened in the April and in the October I searched again and found my father and got the answer ) it was a huge year that one . I still see my counsellor weekly but don't seem to be laying these ghosts to rest

And yes as PP said I will be crying for more than just him on that day. It will be a torrent of emotions I think (I know that sounds rather selfish to cry for myself and other people on the back of him )

lookingatthepast Mon 13-Jan-20 00:51:43

@Apileofballyhoo he is of Irish heritage although the funeral is here so that's something I didn't consider.

inthethickofit19 Mon 13-Jan-20 01:00:55

So sorry you are going through this OP, sending you love and prayers to help you get through a difficult time thanks

ParkheadParadise Mon 13-Jan-20 01:12:16

Personally I wouldn't come (I live in Glasgow )
If his wife and daughters don't know the back story.

But I don't think anyone would question why you were attending.
I hope whatever you decide, is the right thing for you personallyflowers

Apileofballyhoo Mon 13-Jan-20 01:20:30

I don't think he'd mind you crying for all the sadness, OP. He seems like he was a very nice man. Crying can be very healing.

aroundtheworldyet Mon 13-Jan-20 01:22:44

Wow. Well that’s a life.
I would go. He meant a lot to you. And in a way, him dying is a lot about you confronting everything.
Different things trigger inner emotions.

You’re a close friend who helped when you needed him. That’s all you need to say. If anyone asks.

I would carry on with some more therapy if you can. It’s hard being the only one in contact with w “toxic” parent. That much I know.

whattodo2019 Mon 13-Jan-20 01:25:58

Yes I think you should go. You can lurk in the background and pay your respects xx

TheSandgroper Mon 13-Jan-20 04:33:59

There is never anything wrong with going to the funeral of someone who was always kind to you and saying exactly that to his family.

If you end up in a situation where the story might need telling, perhaps just say that there is a story and you are happy to share it at another time as it’s too long for the occasion.

similarminimer Mon 13-Jan-20 08:26:02

Sorry if I misunderstood - but you have basically the same name as him, are really upset and are planning to fly from the other end of the country to attend the funeral? What on earth are his wife and children going to think. I wouldn't do it to them - it doesn't seem a positive way of honouring the memory of his kindness.

lookingatthepast Mon 13-Jan-20 08:51:50

@similarminimer on Facebook and my emails I use my married surname still. I don't plan to take my birth certificate and show them. I haven't booked my flights yet. Hence this thread as I am all over the place with what to do.

I do not intend to tell them this back story but as I say I have no idea if his messages are left sat in his messenger inbox and anyone has accessed them. That I will never know

WorldEndingFire Mon 13-Jan-20 09:51:58

Depends how much of a hold of yourself you will have; if your suffering your grief will over spill disproportionately to what the immediate family would think appropriate for what they think your relationship is, I would stay at home rather than risk imposing the things you need to work through on them on what will be a precious and terribly sad time for them.

If you are confident you can keep it quietly together, pay your respects discreetly and leave, and that having done so will be healing for you, then by all means attend.

Allfednonedead Mon 13-Jan-20 10:01:53

I cry uncontrollably at all funerals, whether or not I knew the deceased. I’ve found that if you just sit quietly and have plenty of tissues to mop yourself up, nobody pays much attention, so I wouldn’t worry too much about that.
It sounds like going to the funeral would be reasonable just because if your relationship with him, so I don’t think there’s a problem with bringing your other emotions to it as well, as long as you don’t demand that his family get involved.
Have you talked to your therapist about this? Would she be prepared to be on standby for a phone call directly after the funeral?

Apileofballyhoo Mon 13-Jan-20 11:16:38

How are you feeling this morning, OP?

lookingatthepast Mon 13-Jan-20 14:02:15

@Apileofballyhoo still pondering. Have made an appt with counsellor for this coming Thursday as she was off sick last week so I haven't been able to discuss this latest development with her.

Apileofballyhoo Mon 13-Jan-20 14:08:25

Well, that might help you decide. You could always do a donation to charity in his name or plant a tree, something like that, maybe with your brother that also knew him. Something to mark his passing and what he meant to you.

Your feelings must be all over the place, though I have to say you've done a very good job of articulating the weirdness and pain of the situation in your OP.

flowers

Spied Mon 13-Jan-20 14:13:16

I think there's a good chance that they will know about you. They have access to his Facebook. There is also a chance he has told them himself.
It's a huge stress for them losing their loved one so they haven't been forthcoming in opening this can of worms.
Go to the funeral.
Privately I think they will know why you are there.

lookingatthepast Mon 13-Jan-20 16:45:51

Thanks for all the support. Decision has been taken out of my hands now. I needed after school childcare and asked my mum if she would do it and she's refused. Saying he was nothing to me , I only met him a couple of times and I have no business attending. I made my excuses that there was a delivery at the door and ended the call before I pulled her through the phone.

clippityclop Mon 13-Jan-20 16:54:21

Can anyone else help with childcare? Only you can decide but perhaps you'd be best investing the time and money in something to remember him by, and then also something positive for your own future. Time to take his advice, keep smiling and move forward.

AdaColeman Mon 13-Jan-20 17:10:24

I think it might have been very traumatic and hurtful for you if you had gone to the funeral OP.
You don’t think that the family know much about your relationship, so it’s possible that you would have felt very much on the outside looking in, something that you don’t need at all just now. I think it might have been a destructive rather than a positive event for you.

Why not create your own commemoration for him at the same time as the funeral, with the music from the era when you knew him, some candles, maybe some flowers, read something that reminds you of him.
Later on, if you have a garden, you could perhaps plant a rose in his memory.

Grief is so painful, I do hope you start to heal soon. thanks thanks thanks

Apileofballyhoo Mon 13-Jan-20 17:13:28

I'm sorry, OP. He was important to you. flowers

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