Mourning the Death of a Estranged Parent

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-20-2007
Mourning the Death of a Estranged Parent
Wed, 06-20-2007 - 4:48pm
I haven't spoken to my father for over twenty years. His wife contacted me last Thursday to tell me he was dying. She gave me the option to come see him. I wanted her to ask him if that was what he wanted. She proceded to tell him that I wanted to see him. His response was to do whatever she wanted. On Friday she called to tell me his response and to also tell me that he had declined rapidly and that I needed to decide either way quickly. My husband and I went to see him that evening, he was already in a morphine coma. Long story - short...he passed on Sunday (Father's Day). I felt very confused when all of this started, but now I feel numb and unsure of my feelings and how and if I should be grieving his death. He was an evil, abusive man and there are many reasons we were estranged, but now I feel like I am struggling to deal with all of this. I've worked with a therapist in the past over issues with my father. I would appreciate any words of wisdom or any books that anyone could recommend covering this topic. Thanks!
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-25-2006
Wed, 06-20-2007 - 4:57pm

{{{JoyJim}}} I'm so sorry to hear about this difficult situation. I do not have any great words of wisdom other than to say that I encourage you to try to abandon the thought line that says you 'shouldn't' grieve. I don't believe that is a deliberate either are or you aren't and if you are, I would try to avoid making that 'wrong' or 'silly' or 'unneccessary' in your mind. I hope that someone else on the board has some good thoughts for you. I'd encourage you to consider returning to the therapist you've worked with before if it is an option. I just got off the phone a bit ago with one of the grief counselors at the Hospice and she indicated that it is always best to return to an established therapy relationship if they feel comfortable dealing with grief and loss and you feel comfortable with them. It helps to have that previous rapport.

Thinking of you...


iVillage Member
Registered: 06-20-2007
Wed, 06-20-2007 - 5:43pm
Thanks for such a prompt and heartfelt response. I am a newcomer to ivillage. A friend mentioned the site to me before so I tried it out. I am looking forward to more replies and being a member of the "village". Thanks again!
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-25-2006
Wed, 06-20-2007 - 6:07pm

You're very welcome. I'm pretty new here mom just passed away about 6 weeks ago. I think you'll find this community very supportive.


iVillage Member
Registered: 01-26-2004
Wed, 06-20-2007 - 11:40pm

Hello, (((((Joyjim)))))!

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-23-2004
Thu, 06-21-2007 - 12:39am

My condolences over the loss of your father.


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-30-2003
Thu, 06-21-2007 - 10:13am


Wow, did your post make me remember when my real dad passed. At the time I hadn't seen him since I was 8 and when he passed I was in my early 30's. He too was very abusive, even when he had me for visitation.

My mom remarried and that is my dad. My mom called me to let me know my father had died and yes, I cried I even considered going to the funeral home, but he had another child (son) and I guess I didn't want to upset the apple cart so to speak. I did call the funeral home and they told me he looked very nice and everything was ok. I felt a little better, but, it still hurt.

You go right ahead and grieve anyway you want. We all grieve in our own way. Try journaling, sometimes that helps. Yes, it is so hard to lose a loved one no matter what the cirmunstances (spelling isn't my strong point!), but it is a healing process and he was your father and it will hurt, but it is ok.

Please keep posting and let us know how your doing.

Love ya

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-21-1998
Thu, 06-21-2007 - 4:13pm
DH had a father like that. I was a bit surprised at the depths of his feelings when the old man passed away (I'd met him once. DH's religion REQUIRED him to get parental permission to marry -- at 42 -- and it was touch-and-go whether his father would show up or not.) But the best advice I can give is just feel what you feel, and don't feel like you have to justify not feeling more or less than you do.
Cthulu Crochet

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-13-2005
Thu, 06-21-2007 - 10:10pm

Welcome Joyjim to this board. You will find here that the women are supportive and understanding. I am very happy to hear that you have a very supportive and compassionate husband, that definitely is a great help.

I am sure that you have alot of mixed emotions and this must be a very difficult time for you. Give yourself permission to grieve in the way you want to and take the time you need to heal. Perhaps you can sit down and write a letter to your dad, this is like journalling, but....writting a letter to your dad and telling him how you feel and everything that you would of liked to tell him, may make you feel a little better getting all you want to say to him down in writting.

Also I would suggest to you to perhaps seek some grieve councelling.

Please feel free to post here any time you wish and know that we are all here for you. Please let us know how you are doing.

My thoughts are with you and here's sending a ((((((((cyber hug)))))



iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2007
Wed, 07-11-2007 - 4:28pm

Hi joy,

I don't know if you will find comfort in this, but hope my sharing of thoughts will somehow make a difference.

I can understand the flood of many different emotions you must be feeling. I believe you did the best you could do under the circumstances and in time will find comfort with that. Somehow you turned into a strong individual and didn't hold that against your father at the time of his death although I sense you would have been within your rights to do differently. You had your chance, now you can have no regrets.

While my father didn't stick around to be abusive, he left when I was 14 months old and never had a relationship with me. My mother, while she could have I am sure, didn't go out of her way to talk trash about him. I was told he loved me in his own way, etc.

Thanks to Al Gore and the internet, I connected with my father's family out of state in 1999. In 2000, a family reunion was held in Texas. I live in Michigan. My husband drove me there to meet a bunch of strangers who basically had no idea who I was other than a cousin/niece of the brother/uncle they also had no contact with. It was one of the best experiences of my life.

After meeting my extended family I became more at peace with myself and ironically with my father. I suppose we'll never know why he did the things he did. My mother was right all along, he definitely lost more than he gained.

I don't know that he would ever need or want it, but given the opportunity I would still like to see him and tell him that I forgive him although I will never forget. No one has heard from him in about 25 years now. If alive he would be 87.

Abuse is a disease much like alcoholism and other addictions. The abuser is sick and needs help.

May you find comfort in knowing you did the right thing and have become a strong, healthy individual in spite of him.