He left me before she was born, and has blown pretty hot and cold ever since in terms of contact (wanted none for the first 2 years then hassled me for more than she wanted - to avoid CSA payments, then got a girlfriend and couldn't be arsed, couldn't cope with stroppy teenage years, etc etc). I've picked up the pieces over the years and been in part angry and in part proud of her in how she's responded to the crumbs he's deigned to drop from his table. She's now in her early 20's, he was diagnosed with cancer in July and probably won't last much beyond Christmas.
He's been pretty open to her - recognising he fucked up. She loves him and she's so angry and sad.
She lives with me (with her DP and baby) and I know she wishes she lived in a flat that he could come and visit. I'd be fine about him coming here but he won't entertain it, even if I go out. We haven't spoken in years.
What's the best way to support her? I'm doing practical things, like caring for dgs and housework, washing. I don't think I'm doing enough for her emotionally. I feel like I'm letting her down. I'm rubbish. I can listen and hug but I don't know what words of wisdom or strength to give her - I'm at a loss. (crying here)
I think you're doing great. You can't be hypocritical and start saying what a lovely bloke he is. You can't experience the grief for her or take the upset away - that's something she has to experience personally. There are no words of wisdom to explain why a man would rather stay at a distance than walk across your threshold - although there are a few inappropriate home truths. All you can be is what you are normally and what it sounds like you've been her whole life.... the person who is constant and reliable when others have routinely let her down. She's grown up to be a caring young woman with a baby and a DP of her own in spite of crappy teenage years and a dead-beat Dad etc. Emotionally, you've done her proud.
Thanks for responses - so quick - you're all lovely!
LivesInJeans I've suggested I write to him, she just says it won't make any difference - but I could suggest that again. Thing is I know (and dd knows) he's unhappy at his mum's. I think I will write to him. It's a weird family. Honestly I think she's the one beacon of sanity and brightness in his life. Yes, I feel sorry for the bastard
Thanks, people for telling me I'm doing things right, and AF it's true, she does have to find her own way through this. She's really mature for her age (but she's been through loads of shit already inher short life, it seems so unfair!)
His brother gave dd a lift back the other day and she was looking forward to having a chat with him about the future - but then controlling matriach grandma got in the car. Dd's shy of phoning his brother (older, bossy) - maybe I can help there. I think she feels the family is organising him in a way that suits them best and not him. That's a way I can help - and with getting counselling for her. I know there's been contact with MacMillan (sp).
Cogito you're right, she's a pretty special kid. My God, she gave me grief in the past but I'm so proud of her now
She's also got a younger brother who's in denial ( she rarely sees him) and wants to support him too. Okay, I've got a plan. Write to her dad and contact Macmillan charity.
And keep on doing what I'm doing. Thank you all so much x
I have worked with them, and there is something about the extra training they get that makes them wonderful people who get how families are often complicated and how to cut through the crap that can hamstring you when you are immersed in it