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Can't bear the thought of dad not seeing ds grow up

(160 Posts)
rachels103 Tue 16-Sep-08 21:33:55

I'm new to mumsnet, but really need somewhere to talk about my lovely dad who died in May. I hope that's ok.
He and my ds, who is nearly 3 had a really special bond - my ds adored his 'granden' and it seems to be getting harder, not easier, to think about him growing up without him, especially as I know that in a few years he probably won't remember him at all.
To make it worse, my FIL is not a very child friendly person, and it makes me really angry when he more or less ignores ds when they visit (only every couple of months anyway, where my dad looked after him once a week). I know it's not fair to expect FIL to make up for the absence of dad but it just makes me so so sad. Their visit has really dropped me into a hole when I thought I was coping quite well.
I want to start a memory book for ds but don't seem to be able to bring myself to start.

lilolilmanchester Tue 16-Sep-08 21:46:23

Hi rachels103. Welcome to Mumsnet. I'm really sorry to hear about your Dad. You'll get lots of support on here. My DS was 3 when my Dad died, DS was the first and only grandchild at the time he died and everything you say really reminds me of how I felt. I found it also very hard when DD was born, as he never even saw her and would have adored her.
A memory book would be lovely, but don't start it until you're ready.
Do you have a nice photo of your Dad and DS you could put on DS's wall in the meantime?
My DCs both talk a lot about their Grandad (11 years on) and DD never even met him!
I found that I coped quite well and then the grief would suddenly hit me - like the time I was preparign for Mum and both in-laws to come to stay and it struck me that I wasn't making up a bed for Dad. That was 6 months on. I still sometimes have the odd tear. We all deal with grief in our own ways but it's really such a short time since you lost him, compared to all the years you had him - don't be hard on yourself that you are still grieving.

cestlavie Wed 17-Sep-08 13:57:06

Hi Rachel, my dad died in March and DD was 2.5 at the time so I know exactly what you mean. It can be heartbreaking knowing that DD will never really remember let alone know him, even though they got on really well together and I think it's little things (as you say) that make you think about it. Personally, I have plenty of photos up around our house of her grandpa and talk to her about him - not a lot, but just in context (e.g. "Grandpa would have known what type of bird that was"). To me at least, that way he stays 'alive' to her in a meaningful but not maudlin way. I also do think that I'm really glad that she and him got to meet and know each other - I've got some friends whose kids (to be) will never know one or more of their grandparents.

policywonk Wed 17-Sep-08 14:03:06

Hello rachel. I'm sorry about your Dad. My mother also died in May and I know I'm still finding it very tough - if anything it's a bit tougher now than it was immediately after she died. My children are 5 and 3, and I know that realistically they won't have very clear memories of her (if they remember her at all), which is horribly sad and unfair as she was born to be a grandmother. She absolutely adored them, and she would have been a brilliant presence in their lives if she had lived.

I too find it difficult not to be resentful of my parents-in-law, although I know that's not at all fair or reasonable!

maddo Wed 17-Sep-08 14:09:37

Well you guys have made me cry. my dad is in hosp waiting for open heart surgery. Cant get out my head....what if....would destroy me if my 2 sons aged 5 and 3 dont know him like I do. Horrible thing is he is 100 miles away and I feel useless.

rachels103 Wed 17-Sep-08 21:11:45

Thanks for your messages. Hope all goes well for your dad maddo.

lulalullabye Wed 17-Sep-08 21:19:21

I always think, well I believe that they are watching us when they pass and protecting, and he will see all that happens to your ds.

Sounds a bit odd I know, but it helps me.

rachels103 Thu 18-Sep-08 20:18:54

I know what you mean and I do find that comforting to an extent lula. My sister feels like she can talk to dad and ask him things - she's probably a bit more in touch with her spiritual side than me - but I can't quite make that leap.

whispywhisp Thu 18-Sep-08 20:35:55

Hi Rachels103 and welcome to MN.

Its going to be a very hard time for everyone..you especially. I am a firm believer in the saying 'time is a healer'.

When I lost my lovely Dad, almost 3yrs ago (to a drunk driver) it was the most awfully sad time and I really didn't know how I was going to cope. I was very close to my Dad. He wasn't only 'Dad' he was my best friend. My kids were 18mths and 7yrs at the time.

I pushed everyone away. I didn't want anyone in my life if I couldn't have my Dad. But if it hadn't have been for my kids I would have gone rapidly down hill - they kept me going. My Dad had a lovely relationship with my eldest. Even now I miss talking to him about how she is doing at school etc. He took such a huge interest in her academically. I don't have anyone to talk to about her now. My Mum really isn't interested and we have no contact, whatsoever, with DH's family.

It will be tough for you and your family for a long time. You clearly loved your Dad enormously. He is looking down on you right now. He will be so proud of you and what you are doing bringing up his lovely Grandson.

Whenever I feel down and miserable, and yes I've been there so many times, I just think to myself that Dad wouldn't want me being like this and to try and keep myself upbeat about everything. He was never miserable and always had a smile on his face.

Talk to your DS about 'Granden'. Point to the stars at night. Encourage him to give Granden's star a wave. My youngest, who is almost 5yrs old, always waves to her Grandad before she goes to bed. She says goodnight to him and blows him a kiss. Whilst she never really knew my Dad because she was so young when he died I do talk to her about him and show her photos etc and I tell her why he is 'up there' and she comes with me to his grave. It's important to include your kids I think because it helps them to understand.

It is hard, I know, to know that your Dad won't see his Grandchildren grow up and especially as he was such an important person in your life and your DS's but just take one day at a time. It does get better. You will go through dips and troughs. I still cry now especially on birthdays and at Christmas. My youngest started school last week - I know my Dad would've rung to see how she got on. Obviously I missed that phone call. But I know he's watching and that is a comfort to me.

Take care.xxxx

rachels103 Tue 23-Sep-08 20:03:49

Thanks Whispywhisp - your words were very comforting. I'm sorry to hear that your dad went in such a horrible way - you must have been very angry.

It's lovely to hear that your children talk about their grandad lots, even though your youngest didn't know him well. My dh said something which made me think the other day - the person has gone, but not the relationship that you have with them - or something like that.

I feel much calmer this week - it is still a rollercoaster. We have dad's and ds's birthdays in November so that's the next hurdle. Sometimes the big things are surprisingly ok though, whilst little everyday things can be much worse. We'll get there...

Thanks again. Sorry to waffle. xx

whispywhisp Sat 27-Sep-08 09:28:39

Hiya rachels...yes it was a tough time for us. I went thru stages really....immense shock, complete disbelief, sadness, anger, hatred, disappointment etc etc. For the first few weeks I existed by living in this big bubble. I waited for someone to come along and pop it for me! Really weird feeling.

It is still quite hard for me especially because I'm the one with the younger children - the only other child in the family is my nephew and he's 16. My Dad took a huge interest in my eldest child, who is now almost 10 and I miss that so much. DH's parents aren't at all interested. I feel as if I have no one to share my kids with. My Mum isn't overly interested either.

Losing a parent is something I think we all think will never happen. I would often say to myself...'I can't imagine losing my Dad'. I knew it would happen one day but I think we all get so used to having our parents and for me I had him for almost 40yrs so a very long time. And then in a flash he's gone. The massive gap in my life will never be filled by anyone else but the gap contains so many incredibly happy memories that I will cherish forever. xxx

rachels103 Sat 27-Sep-08 13:31:54

Hi Whispywhisp - although we've lost our dad's in quite different circumstances, (my dad collapsed in the garden with heart failure. He was planting his runner beans...just where he should have been) in some ways our situations are v. similar - I am also the only one in our family with a little one, as I'm much younger than my siblings.

I always knew my children wouldn't have their grandparents for as long, as they were in their 40s when they had me, but it doesn't make it any easier when it happens. I get these irrational thoughts of bitterness at the unfairness of it...why should my brother's kids have had their granddad into their late teens when my ds is barely even old enough to remember him.

And I know what you mean about not having anyone to share your children with...although my mum is great, my inlaws are hopeless, particularly FIL. They think by bringing him a present whenever they come to visit that makes up for the fact that it's not very often. My dad would never dream of NOT playing with ds, or reading to him or whatever, and you could see the joy on both of their faces whenever they saw each other, whereas for FIL it seems like a chore at times.

I feel on the one hand blessed that I had such a wonderful dad for so long, and have so many happy memories, but that only makes me more sad for my ds to have lost him so soon.

Take care. xx

whispywhisp Sat 27-Sep-08 18:34:04

Yep. I know exactly what you mean. I find it really hard to go up to visit Dad in the cemetary. When I look at other graves and see that there were people who died at an older age than Dad I ask why? Why couldn't Dad have lived that long? Mind you, my Dad was 76 when he died but he was a very fit and agile man up until a few weeks before he died. Going to Dad's grave is one of the hardest things to do. I don't find it easy at all. I especially find it hard seeing his name on a piece of headstone. I stare at it in complete bewilderment still finding it hard to believe he's 'down there'. When he was buried I used to drive past and feel I was leaving him behind - during the Winter I would worry he was really cold! Mad isn't it?

When DD1 did her SATs earlier this year and passed them with some high marks followed by a brilliant school report I rang my Mum to tell her. I could tell she wasn't interested and changed the subject quite quickly. Whereas Dad would've fired me with loads of questions and would love to sit and read with DD1 or do spellings. He would also compliment us on being good parents etc etc which was great to hear.

Now I've not got him I haven't got anyone that is even remotely interested in my kids. I've even looked at the Adopt a Gran website to see if anyone would like to step in and be Grandparents!

If ever you want to chat my email addy is

phek32@hotmail.com

Please email if you want a natter. I'm usually around. It will be hard for you. Hold on to those special memories you had - all those memories that made you smile, laugh and especially those that made you realise how much you love(d) him and always will. xxxx

whispywhisp Sat 27-Sep-08 18:38:48

Oh by the way...my Dad did die in very similar circumstances to yours. He died of heart failure whilst at home, on his own, my Mum was at work. He was found lying in the hallway with the phone in his hand. Mum had to walk home because he didn't pick her up. He'd had the car crash a few weeks prior with the 19yo drunk driver (3times over the limit and high on E's) and he never recovered. He aged into a very old grey man and died as a result. My Mum has never forgiven herself for not being there when he died. I happened to ring to speak to him and a paramedic answered the phone. I knew he'd died because she told me to get over there immediately. Had he been alive she'd have said. I had to identify him for the Police - he was lying in the hallway covered in a blanket. We waited 4hrs for the undertakers to come and take him away (it was a Saturday) - it was horrible. I cuddled him because he was so cold. I told him how much I love him and gave him a kiss on the forehead. I feel angry with myself for not doing that when he was alive.

luckylady74 Sat 27-Sep-08 18:45:23

Hi,
My dad died at 52 years before I had my 3dc, but I do remember sobbing over the fact that he wouldn't meet my children or give me away on the night of his accident.
It has got less raw for me and now 10 years on I'm only a bit sad. Mostly it's just lovely the way as the dc change and grow more elements of my dad come out in them - his tastes, his sense of humour, his bashfulness - it's all there. My dc all talk about him because me and my mum talk about him all the time and the photos around the house spark discussions.
Rather than a book if that feels overwhelming, why don't you ask relatives for photos that you put in a special box? Our photos help us laugh about our holidays and so on.

whispywhisp Sat 27-Sep-08 18:52:47

I do find as the months/years go by I laugh about him more. He will often come up conversation with DH. Dad and DH were like Dad and Son. When Dad died and we saw him at the C of R, DH put a note in the coffin that said 'Thanks for being my Dad too'.

There's times when I think actually how lucky we were to have lost Dad the way we did because it must be so hard for people to lose someone who is ill and suffers for so long towards the end. Dad died so quickly although the shock was absolutely enormous because we had no prior warning that he was so ill/about to die. It must be awful for families to 'watch' someone fade and deteriorate whereas Dad died in an instant. Had he also survived the heart attack he would have been so incredibly miserable because he was such a fit active man and he would never have been the same. Even getting a cold was a big deal for Dad so to get heart problems would have made life very hard for him and Mum.

Never mind. He's in a much happier place now and I'm sure he's looking down, sat up there with his pipe lit up, tut tutting at me or smiling away!

cutekids Sat 27-Sep-08 19:00:36

oh...you've started me off now.
my Dad died this July...we were abroad at the time.
my kids and I were so close to "grandie" but they're all different and seem to deal with it in different ways.
my eldest-she's 10-was very,very close and yet even though she misses him terribly,she seems to be able to shake it off and she smiles and says something lovely like "he's always with us Mummy"...which cheers me up no end.My other two-9 and 8-seem to have blocked things out a bit.in fact my son hasn't mentioned him at all since the funeral.yet i know they all absolutely worshipped him.

whispywhisp Sat 27-Sep-08 21:38:00

cutekids...it's amazing how kids cope and deal with the grief associated with the death of someone they are close to isn't it? My eldest daughter was 7 when Dad died. She was very close to him.

When I ran indoors to find him in the hallway I ran back outside to tell DH who was sat with the kids in the car outside my parents house. I can remember her sitting there, in the car, looking totally stunned. She didn't cry until the following day and that was more to do with the fact I was so devastated. She then decided that he would be ok because he was with his old pet dog, and she listed all the other pets and people we'd known to have passed away and told us he'd be ok because he wouldn't be on his own.

DD2 was only 18mths old at the time and doesn't remember him at all - even looking at photos - but what she does know is what we've told her - that he loved them both dearly and called them his 'special girls' right up to the day he died.

Thinking back...just before he died - literally a few days before - he decided to ask more about them, take even more interest than normal and I can remember his neighbours telling me at the funeral that he'd only mentioned a couple of days before he died how much he loved his Grand-daughters etc. Maybe he did know, maybe he didn't but the more I think about it I think he did know he was seriously ill.

I know one thing for sure...if it hadn't have been for the wonderful man I am married to and my two lovely kids I don't think I would've coped. smile xx

WideWebWitch Sat 27-Sep-08 21:40:51

Hello, my dad died when ds was 3 too and they were reasonably close, it's hard isn't it? Even now, 7 years later I find myself googling my dad's name, looking at pictures of places he loved, reading poetry I know he loved... it's all tough. Welcome to mn though. It's a roller coaster (apols for cliche but it is) but it does get better.

whispywhisp Sat 27-Sep-08 22:16:17

Hi WWW....yes 'roller coaster' is a good way to describe it...lots of ups and downs. Fortunately, as the time goes on, there are more ups than downs but nevertheless the downs still remain. I just naturally (and wrongly) presumed my Dad would always be around. I just wish the idiot that left that pub that night had walked home and not got in his car.

whispywhisp Tue 30-Sep-08 12:11:29

rachels103 - how are you? x

ledodgy Tue 30-Sep-08 12:18:05

I agree it is very hard. My parents never got to meet my children at all. My dad died of a heart attack when I was 15 and my mum died from breast cancer when I was 22.

When you have children and lose or have already lost your parent/s you're not only grieving for what once was but for a future that is no longer there and it is very sad. I try to talk to my children about their 'other' grandparents but they are really too young atm to grasp it. I hope when they are older they start asking questions and I will be able to share my memories with them.

rachels103 Tue 30-Sep-08 20:15:38

Hi all. So sorry to hear that you lost your parents so young ledodgy

Feeling better at the mo thanks whispywhisp...very busy at work which sort of helps, and my mum is taking positive steps, which is good for all of us. She's started sitting down in the evenings a bit, which she couldn't at all for ages. She sits in dad's chair tho which I think is really nice, actually. I'm so proud of her. They were teenage sweethearts and had been married for 54 years...it would be so easy for her to just give up on life but that's not her style.

Have had lots of talks with ds about granden this last week or so...he was looking at dad's photo the other night, and he's always talking about how he misses him and he's not coming back because he's living with the angels now. Not in a sad way though - very down to earth, as children are. We say to him (dh is very good at this) that we can still remember granden in our heads and in the things we do that make us think of him, which he seems to sort of get.

He's a bit fixated with granden's tree at the moment...we scattered dad's ashes in a wonderful place called the Eternal Forest in Snowdonia, his favourite place in the world...and we've adopted a tree with a bird box in his memory. Unfortunately last time we went ds fell asleep in the car and didn't actually see g's tree, so he keeps asking which tree is granden's. So I think we need to go again soon so he can get the picture of the tree in his head.

rachels103 Tue 30-Sep-08 20:33:26

...and whispywhisp, I'm sure your dad knew you loved him very much whether you said it out loud or not.

My mum wasn't there either - she'd gone into town on the bus. I'm sure he waited til she was out because he knew she wouldn't have coped. We all saw him, except my sister who lives abroad, and he looked so peaceful. I held his hand, for the first time since I was a little girl I think, and it felt just the same.

Minniethemoocher Tue 30-Sep-08 20:49:12

Just wanted to say that I feel the same, my lovely Dad died suddenly last year and it makes me so sad that he will never see my DD grow up or even know my new baby.

He loved my DD so much, but she was only 4 when he died and it makes me so sad to think that she won't remember him.

She doesn't have another Grandad on my DH's side.

Worried in case my grief triggers post natal depression....

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