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Struggling with unresolved issues/grief

(3 Posts)
Raisinsaretoddlercrack Thu 12-Oct-17 14:44:28

My father died over two years ago now but I am still struggling with anxiety and intrusive thoughts about issues surrounding his death. I'm not sure really what I'm looking for with this post other than maybe a chance to get things off my chest and reassurance that my feelings are valid?

My father developed cancer at a relatively young age and sadly died within 6 months of diagnosis. He had a relatively new partner when he was diagnosed and they decided to marry. Although I didn't know her very well I was pleased that he had her support and did my best to welcome her to the family. My daughter's happily called her grandma and we always had a good warm relationship. In fact she helped us become closer to my dad as he was never the most communicative of people and for that I was grateful.

During the decline of his health I did my best to see as much of them as I could even though I lived at the other end of the country. I was there at the end along with my brother and sister and my father's wife.

As a father he had his fun moments but overall was a reserved, distant and authoritarian type of father. His behaviour could be described as abusive at times especially when my parents were divorcing and the lead up to it. This resulted in a strained relationship which only started to recover in my early 20s and then when I had my own children. I worked hard to build bridges and form a good relationship him again. No-one else really bothered to do this (understandable), I have always been the one to arrange family meet ups at Xmas, birthdays etc.

After his death his wife was understandably very distressed and struggled to cope. She seemed to manage this by cutting us all out. The funeral was arranged solely by her with little mention of us - his three adult children. We tried to offer support, visits, phone calls etc but she made it clear she wanted space which we respected knowing that she had good established friends that she could rely on.

Over two years later she is now completley uncontactable. She has sold her own house and my father's house and moved to a different county. She doesn't reply to messages, answer her phone or email (I haven't even attempted in over a year). At first I was concerned for her welfare and wanted to make sure she was ok. Now we are desperate to contact her as we don't know the whereabouts of my father's ashes - whether she has scattered them yet or still has them. She is also in possession of all our family photo albums which dad took when my parents divorced (all from before she met him). Anniversaries of his death and his birthday, father's day etc have come and gone and I feel like I have nothing of him left to look back on. My eldest DD is starting to ask about me when I was a baby/child and I feel so sad I can't show her our photos.

In addition my father changed his will before his death disinheriting all 3 of his adult children and leaving everything to her. Nothing in trust - no mention of us at all. The photos are legally hers. Morally though surely she should do her best to return them? I know she is grieving but having our photos and somewhere to visit to remember him (where the ashes are scattered for example) would help so much with our grief/closure. I cant help but feel angry that in two years she has thought so little of us that she hasn't considered how this would make us feel.

Being disinherited hurts so much but I have never blamed his wife or fallen out with her in any way. My dad was a very wealthy man with an estate worth approximately 1.5 million. His widow was wealthy in her own right. It's hard to grieve whilst reconciling feelings that he didn't love me/care about me or his grand daughters. I know that money doesn't equal love, but he showed us so little during his life - only ever being affectionate after a few drinks. His parting message to us seems to be that he didnt care.

Speaking to my brother and sister about things has brought up buried memories of emotional and occasional physical abuse. These memories are eating away at the happier memories I worked hard to create with him in adulthood. I feel bitter about the will and my childhood and increasingly angry about the photos.

I try not to think about it as much as possible to the extent where I don't think I have grieved properly for my dad. My DH is banned from asking/bringing the subject up and I feel like I use a huge amount of mental energy avoiding thoughts about this yet still they pop into my head as intrusive thoughts. I find myself wallowing in negativity when I have a moment to myself to think.

I was hoping to have been able to move on but I'm not sure that's going to be possible without my photos/knowledge of where his ashes are. Maybe I never will.

Yorkshirebornandbread Fri 13-Oct-17 17:40:03

Hi Raisins - so sorry for your sad loss and having to deal with the subsequent upsets and difficulties. IIs must feel so horrible to have been cut off in such a manner. Have you considered counselling to help you entangle some of these thoughts and process your grief. Two years is not a long time by any stretch of the imagination so this might help you flowers

Raisinsaretoddlercrack Fri 13-Oct-17 18:43:46

Thank you Yorkshire. Yes I have considered counselling and I am still considering it. The NHS waiting lists put me off as I have been telling myself that by the time I get an appointment I will be ok but maybe I should just accept that I need a bit of help with this. I sent an email to the service my work provides asking about counselling and got a reply straight away. I just need to fill in some details to get a referral, hopefully quicker than on the NHS.

I suppose I have been putting it off because to a certain extent I feel like It's natural to feel the way I do and maybe I just need to feel it and give it time, but then it often gets on top of me causing anxiety.

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