How do I get over this?(6 Posts)
It's a very long story, so I'll try to summarise the most relevant points.
My dad passed away very suddenly 4 months ago aged 64. My parents divorced when I was 4, my mum and I returned to Wales where she was originally from, my dad remained in the Midlands.
We remained in fairly regular contact until 3 years ago, when my mum dropped a bombshell regarding things that had happened during their marriage (some things I was aware of, others not) and I made the decision to distance myself from him. I chose not to confront him because, apart from the fact he was divorced from my mum more than 30 years before, he had a lifelong heart condition. I didn't want to lie to my mum and continue to see him behind her back, so this seemed the only real option. I sent cards, pictures of my son, the occasional text, but that was it. The whole situation upset me, but I felt I just had to play the hand I was dealt.
Four months ago I got a call from my step mum. He had suffered a massive cardiac arrest and died almost instanteously. I attended his funeral, I went to see him in the funeral home the day before and read a letter I'd prepared telling him that despite everything, I loved him and hoped that he could forgive me for not going to see him for the last couple of years. I guess I hoped it would give me closure. And it did, for a while.
My step mum has been great. I asked if I could have a few mementoes of my dad's to keep and when she felt up to it, she put together a small box of things, including his watch and glasses. I'm staying in touch with her as I have learnt that she was the one who bought and sent birthday/Christmas cards, vouchers, etc. all these years and I had always given my dad the credit.
I also recently learnt that my dad had not left a will. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't hoping for a huge inheritance. I just wanted to know if he'd given any consideration to me (his only child) and his only grandchild in the event of his death. He hadn't. If I hadn't have asked my step mum to have a few mementoes of him, I would have nothing.
I now feel like I have very few memories of us to hold onto, hardly any photos and very few personal items. I wonder if I'm grieving the loss of the dad I had, or the one I 'thought' I had. I don't know anymore. I spent the last couple of years feeling so guilty that I wasn't the daughter he deserved and now I wonder if he even thought about me at all.
So, how do I start to move on from this?
You seem to have a decent Step Mum there.
Yes it will be a combination of grieving for the dad you would have liked to have had along with grieving for Mr imperfect.
Yes, howtorebuild, my step mum has been really good. I have told her that I didn't give her the credit she was due over the years and, although I don't think we'll ever be particularly close, I will stay in touch with her.
I think part of the problem is that I put my dad on a pedestal from a young age. Even a near-perfect father would have trouble meeting those standards and unfortunately, as much as I loved my dad, I now understand he was far from perfect. I guess I just hoped it would come good in the end, instead of the mess it ended up.
Do you mind my asking whether your dad's estate would be worth more than £250,000? And was he married to your step mother?
No, Imperial, my dad's estate wasn't worth more than £250,000 and yes, he was married to my step mum. So, I already know that legally I'm not entitled to make a claim.
I don't begrudge my step mum inheriting what he did leave. She was married to him for over 30 years. It just would have been nice if he'd made a little provision for his only grandson, if not me. I'm learning the hard way that my dad just wasn't wired like other people's fathers.....
I really feel like I'm mourning two people, the dad I would have liked and never had (and now will never have) and the 'real' dad, the one who hurt people and was actually, pretty selfish and thoughtless. And I loved them both, rightly or wrongly.....
Can you take any comfort from the fact he never left a will, rather than actually leaving you and his dgc out? Maybe he just never thought to write a will yet, 64 is still fairly young, even with his health condition he might have been in denial of the risks.
My dad died 15 months ago and grief does send your mind into over spin.
Sorry for your loss.
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