I can't grieve for my dad- why not?(5 Posts)
My dad died suddenly ( got ill and died within two weeks) last October.
I suppose my relationship with my parents has always been a bit complicated. My mum was pretty abusive to us, Dad didn't stop her, they had unhappy marriage etc.
But I loved my dad so much. In fact I used to be so scared of him dying, I used to just need to think about it and I'd cry.
My dad was never ill, but didn't look after himself ( ate, drank too much, smoked) I'd constantly nag him to look after himself, again through fear of losing him.
During the last year of his life he was quite distant from me. I was annoyed with him for being so strange. I got angry that he wasn't the dad I needed in some ways. Now I know it was probably the cancer.
When he died, I felt so shocked I could barely walk for two weeks. But I have rarely cried since. In fact somedays hardly think about him. How can I be so cold about this? I loved him so much, he wasn't perfect but when he was alive I feared this so much. Now he is dead it's like I don't care. I still have him number on my mobile and almost pretend he is still there.
I have his shaver in my car with his hairs still in it and pretend I need to give it back.
Why do I feel like this? Sometimes I wonder if I loved him at all. . Is this normal?
bump? Anyone? Maybe this is just not normal then..
Oh littlestmummystop, firstly so sorry you lost your dad so suddenly.
Secondly of course you loved him, don't beat yourself up about that. I think that you have bottled up a lot of the emotion and subconsciously you are planning to deal with it in the future.
<disclaimer; I have no training in this area, these are just my feelings about it>
I lost my dad just before you and although I know my dad has died sometimes I think I don't really KNOW my dad has died. Does that make sense? I was also very fearful of my dad dying and then when it happened perhaps I had already addressed some of that fear.
You are not alone in this. I think you are processing it in a way your mind can cope with. People are not perfect but we still love them regardless. You do sound as if you are in denial about his death (as in the Five stages of Grief, google will tell you more) and this is a phase which will end. I think there is another one to come though before acceptance ...off to google for myself.
Look after yourself.
littlestmummy - I work as a bereavement counsellor in a cancer charity.
It may not seem like it, but you are grieving. Numb shock is the first reaction and it acts as a buffer to hold off the more extreme feelings of grief.
The numbness may be going on a little longer than you would like because you are trying to understand a very complicated relationship with him.
The first thing is to try and let go of whatever you think grief 'should' be. Just let yourself feel whatever it is that you DO feel - without judgement or resistance to it. If what you feel is a detached coldness, that's fine. Just feel that.
Then let go of the time frame that you think you 'should' be following.
Whatever you feel is your grief. Your worry that you never loved him is part of it. So is the pretending that he is still there, and the holding on to his shaver.
Cruse is the charity that offers free bereavement counselling in the UK, if you did ever want to talk to an impartial person. But really - you are quite normal.
I'm so sorry for your loss.
You obviously do care and did love him.
It sounds like you are stuck in some sort of denial - pretending you need to return his shaver, keeping his number etc but also some distancing as a coping mechanism.
It can take quite a while to get through grief, and i think it can be even harder when the relationship was complicated, as you have to come to terms with the loss and relationship iykwim.
Took me years to get over mum dying, although it was expected (lung cancer) so I did lots of pre-grieving. I still grieve occasionally for the relationship we did have being so rubbish and for the relationship we never got to have because she died when I was 19.
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