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those of us with estranged parents, do you ever worry about what w ill happen when they die?

(50 Posts)
filthymindedvixen Mon 06-Aug-07 11:45:27

I know this sounds warped, but I find myself worrying about how I will feel when my father dies. We haven't had any contact for around 4 years, during which time he has moved so I don't actually know where he is. I could find out if I was bothered I suppose. He has never met ds2 (who is now 6.5) and only met ds1 a couple of times. he is just not interested in us.
I've stopped grieiving for him and have explained to ds1 who asks questions that we don't need him as my step-dad is my 'chosen' as opposed to a birth dad and we love him and he is the best grand-father a boy could hope for. I have forced myself to disconnect emotionally from him now for my own mental health and well-being after years and years of emotional abuse.
But I know the issues will all emerge when he dies. His sister will tell me when it happens (though not his wife). I just don't know how I will feel. What if I feel toomuch? What if I feel nothing?

I should start saving up for some therapy shouldn't I for when this happens?

hercules1 Mon 06-Aug-07 11:51:37

I havent spoken to my dad for 15 years or so. He's had a couple of heart attacks/strokes in that time and i believe is in a nursing home somewhere. Like you I suppose I could find out more if I so wished but tbh I am glad he isnt in my life. No idea how I'll feel when he dies but I feel no burning need to see him ever again.

filthymindedvixen Mon 06-Aug-07 11:53:27

Do you ever get emotional on father's day etc? For the dad you should have had?

americantrish Mon 06-Aug-07 11:55:02

i worry about this too with my mother, whom i've not seen in over 7 years, spoke to in over 3 (and when we did, it was not intended, i didnt know the number on my dad's called id and i picked up :i) she's never seen my son or met my husband.

i'm just not ready to forgive her yet.

chopchopbusybusy Mon 06-Aug-07 12:01:33

I think it's good that you are thinking about this now because you still have time to consider your options. (I don't think it is warped at all). You may decide to continue to have nothing to do with him. Or, if you want to you still have the chance to meet up with him and find out if anything has changed. Obviously, only you know all the facts, but it is easier to think about it now and come to a decision, rather than waiting until the inevitable happens and there is no choice to be made then. My DH was estranged from his father for years but when he discovered that his father was terminally ill (his sister told him) he decided to visit him and I met him for the first time. I know DH was pleased that he saw him again (we had contact for a couple of months before his Dad died). I think it really helped to put to rest a lot of the bad things that had happened. His father did have a lot of regrets about the past which DH would not have known about had he chosen not to see him.

Of course, I don't know your circumstances and you have mentioned emotional abuse so it may be the best thing for you to come to the decision that you want nothing more to do with him. But at least you will have the knowledge that you have carefully thought about it and made your decision.

filthymindedvixen Mon 06-Aug-07 12:18:05

I keep forgiving him and trying again. he ends up screwing me up again. I retreat. This has been the pattern for over 10 years now.
How many times do you give someone One more chance without seeming like a mug?

I am just interested to hear how the rest of you cope? It was greensleeves other thread which got me thinking about this.

nomdeplume Mon 06-Aug-07 12:28:35

I haven't seen or spoken to my father (if you can call him that) for 13 years. Afaik he does not know where I am or that I am married with children, I think he is still where he was 13 years ago.

I don't get emotional about it on Father's Day. I celebrate the day with my DH and our children, he is a real father, not just the provider of some bit of DNA who then went on to abuse his position for years.

I am not angry with him anymore, my life is good and my family (including my Mum) are all happy and infinitely better off without him. That said, he will never come near my children and if he ever showed up on my doorstep I would telephone the police immediately to have him removed. When I hear (if I hear) that he is dead I suspect I will feel safe. There will be no more tiny niggling voice in the back of my head teling me that he could come back.

lizziemun Mon 06-Aug-07 13:40:25

i sort of know how you feel.

My dad left my mum 15yrs ago, i saw him once a month for the first 6months then he stopped seeing us (my brother, sister and me). I didn't speak or see him for about 10 years. He then decided he waanted to see us again.

I saw him occasionly for about 2 years then he stopped seeing us again.

Then late last year he started to get ill and was finally diagnoised with abestoes (sp) and given a year to eighteen months and now he wants to see us (me, dh, dd and bump) at least once a month.

I think i have greived for him over the last 15years and i know it sounds cold but i can not feel any emotion about him dying. I see him and speak to him when he calls but it like talking to a friend not a parent if that makes sense.

I will just have to wait and see what happen if and when it happens.

Kewcumber Mon 06-Aug-07 13:44:53

I know what you mean. I haven't spoken to my dad for 10 yrs - though the occasional email and phone call. he just hasn't been interested.

Four years is still very early - it's only been the last couple of years that I hardly notice fathers day. I came to an acceptance that I had the father I had not the one I wanted around them (IYSWIM) and it helped.

But yes, good idea - start saving for the therapy now

mishelfish Mon 06-Aug-07 14:05:06

i havent seen my mum for 15 years and not spoken to her in 6 years, and i dont know where she is, or anything about her. she doesnt know that i have a ds, or indeed anything about me. when i was pregnant i spent quite alot of time wondering if i should make an effort and try and find her, out of curiosity but there was also medical questions as well as feeling like i just wanted everything to be normal. i especially missed having a "mum" when i was pregnant but i came to realise that she would never be able to be what i wanted form her without some sort of emotional payoff from me which i was just not ready to give.
it has been so long since i have seen her that there can be no relationship between us anymore,and i have come to accept that she is just a biological connection, i worry about her a bit, as she had a brain tumor in the past and i believe she suffered from PND with me, but i dont think i will know if anything happens to her. but i dont regret not finding out, everytime i have tried, i have had it thrown back in my face. there comes a time when you have to accept your family situation for what it is and move on. i am a fantastic mummy (if i do say so myself) and i dont need her in my life.

i don't think its warped to think about if/when they die, they will at some point, its whether you are going to regret anything when they are gone.

docket Mon 06-Aug-07 14:12:05

I haven't spoken to my dad for about 4 years either. I have tried a couple of tiems to contact him (when ds and dd were born as I felt I should tell him about them) but he didn't respond. I do think about whether I will feel awful / regretful / nothing if and when he dies but to be honest the more time passes the more I feel reconciled to him not being a part of my life. I think the fact that I've tried to patch things up and he's always been difficult (even when we were speaking) makes me feel better about things.

I know how you feel - it's weird isn't it...

filthymindedvixen Mon 06-Aug-07 14:16:41

lizziemum -'' I see him and speak to him when he calls but it like talking to a friend not a parent if that makes sense. ''

YY, that's pretty much the stage I was at last time I tried to make a go out of a relationship with him....

Gosh, there's a few of us with these issue eh?

I find it impossible to cope with confrontation and I my worst fear is that I will ever start to treat my boys the way he treated us. Sometimes I can be a bit withering and I catch myself and go cold....

Kewcumber Mon 06-Aug-07 14:17:09

on reflection I also don't think that there's anything wrong with being regretful when they die. I will be, I am now. I wish we had a different relationship, I wish I was a better person and able to put behind me the way he behaved and start again. I know that perhaps we could develop a relationship of sorts but it can't be the way it was. It isn't possible to have a parent who treats you as if you don't exist and to not have that affect how you feel about them. It has been exaggerated by having DS - I just can't imagine how I could ever treat him the way my fatehr treated me (at one point I was in hospital having a biopsy for cancer and he never contacted anyone to find out the results).

Kewcumber Mon 06-Aug-07 14:17:45

it is nice to talk to people with a similar issue though isn't it?

docket Mon 06-Aug-07 14:20:00

I feel reassured knowing I'm not the only one with this problem (although, not glad others are going through it, iykwim!)

I agree with Kewcumber that it isn't necessarily bad to have regrets. I think lots of people have regrets even when their relationships are idyllic.

filthymindedvixen Mon 06-Aug-07 14:23:36

kewcumber! yes, it is good to see other people have had similar experiences. Anyone else gro up thinking it was their fault?

For years I thought it was muy mother's fault he was the way he is. And my brother and my sister's fault for being 'wrong'. Then as i grew older, I thought it must be me - you don't have to be Freud to work out the effects on one's self-esteem when a father finds you so uninteresting or unlikeable or whatever...that he is too busy to come and see your firstborn son until he is a year old. At this point he lived only 45 minutes' drive away...

Anyway, sorry, this isn't supposed to just be about me.
I guess it makes us all more determined to do better for our own families

Kewcumber Mon 06-Aug-07 14:32:26

I didn;t grow up thinking it was my fault becasue my dad didn;t turn into absent fatehr from hell until 10 years ago. He and I were very close particualrly when I was a teenager and I had maintained a good relationship with him since leaving home. He didn't come home from work one day, left a message in my sisters answerphone saying he was leaving my mum (who didn't know anything about it). They had had some problmes but we all thought they were through them (including my mum). I haven't seen him since. He had 5 grandchildren and three children and he really didn't keep in touch with any of us much, but now he says he wants to get to know DS.

What do I do? (Not really expecting an answer, but obviously part of me wants to get in touch...)

Kewcumber Mon 06-Aug-07 14:33:14

and actually it is supposed to be about you, you started the thread!

FioFio Mon 06-Aug-07 14:40:37

Message withdrawn

anorak Mon 06-Aug-07 14:44:07

We have nothing to do with DH's parents and I have asked him how he would feel if they died. He said he feels as if they have died already.

FioFio Mon 06-Aug-07 14:45:27

Message withdrawn

Kewcumber Mon 06-Aug-07 14:56:39

I haven;t really made a decision. It was foisted upon me. He is estranged because he left and didn't tell us where he was for 3 years. The problem is that the part of me that wants to re-establish contact with him, wants it to be the way it was before and obviously it can;t - so much water unedr the bridge. The added complication of course is my lovely mum who is in remission from cancer. She would try to be understanding if me seeing him but I know that she would feel terribly hurt and I'm not sure I can do that to her at this point.

There isn;t a solution really. The point at which he made the decision not to see any of us, the dynamics of our relationship changed forever.

Kewcumber Mon 06-Aug-07 14:57:43

I i don;t feel that he has dies - his mother is still alive and in touch with us as is his sister and we live a parallel life where everyone accepts that he doesn;t see us but discusses him as if he does. Very odd.

WendyWeber Mon 06-Aug-07 14:59:33

This was the Family Forum Q in the Guardian on Saturday: My estranged mother is dying, should I go to see her?

Lots of opposing opinions!

AnguaVonUberwald Mon 06-Aug-07 15:10:16

I also struggle with this as I haven't spoken to my father for nearly 8 years now.

I find that I really resent all the images in the media (films, books, tv programs etc) suggest very strongly that you get one last chance to make it up and if you refuse then the parent will die horribly/comit suicide and you will regret it for the rest of your life.

Its like a "punishment" for refusing to forgive all the bad stuff, and just pretend life is wonderful again.

I have thought about this too, my father (biologically anyway) wants to be in contact with me, so its very much down to me that there is no contact.

The thing is the only thing I feel for him anymore, and thats not very often, is guilt, as I know that he thinks we could have this loving caring relationship and that I have been turned against him by my mum and dad (step).

The problem is that he has no idea what hte issues are, and is incapable of change. I don't want anything to do iwth the person he is and am not prepared to support his "everything is your mother's fault" world.

Sorry, apparently the "issues are still alive" in answer to the OP, i have thought about this, and I think I will feel a little guilty about it again, but recongise (which has taken me years) that in the end, even though he doesn't realise it, that this is all down to his choises.

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