River Song

by River

I am 52 and my dad passed away on 15th December 2013 - it was a sudden death from alcoholic and heart symptoms he was 76. Over the years he lead a chaotic life but drinking was the main priority in his life and trying to spend time with my mom - they divorced ten years earlier but still maintained the dysfunctional relationship they had done since I can remember.

I tried for several years to balance out his alcoholism, helped him through his divorce from my mom ( a situation no child whatever age should be put through in my opinion - got him a home, sorted out his day to day existence and medical appointments for hip and knee replacements.

I didn't have a close relationship with my dad but felt I could offer him some kind of stability and for 4 years out of the seven I managed to get him sober (something that my mother or sister or anyone else in the family never seemed to be able to do).

My dads addiction ruined our family set up and the selfishness that goes with alcoholism - so I felt angry, hurt and let down all my life that my father put all his energy into this anti social anti family activity - as it broke the relationship with my mother and sister up into pieces - so none of us can relate or speak rationally to each other even after the death of my father.

The last two years I decided to put all my focus into my family as my fathers addiction to drink and continuing the dysfunctional scenarios with my mother seemed to be too strong and so I moved away to concentrate on my husband son and daughter.

Not only did my sister become abusive to me over the years from learned behavioral patterns but also having a rational relationship with my mom seemed too difficult - it had not just been like this its always been difficult between us all.

So when I got the call out the blue from my sister screaming down the phone that my father had passed away - my feelings were very strange - clinical almost mechanical and extremely detached.

I started to call other family members to let them know, my dads brothers, my cousins and other close members of the family.

The next day I drove three hours to pick up my sister to go through the funeral details and within an hour my sisters attitude became hostile again telling me to drop my guard and cry or be upset - the attitude in the funeral directors was dreadful and the administrator kept on taking in coming calls at least 8 or 9 from other clients - then relaying the clients information to us while we sat there trying to arrange out fathers funeral.

Due to my ability to organize in a clinical manner I must have come over as cold and meticulous but no one else was there to take the lead - my mother although having found my father and her continued relationship with him just passed all the responsibility to me - the funeral, his home and his estate on to me to sort out again.

So I tried to maintain this picture of organization amidst the arguments started by my sister the name calling and the hurtful texts she sent me - the Christmas preparations the new years events and then the funeral traveling up and down the country to try and orchestrate a reasonable funeral as required. To clear his home and possessions to move on through it without admitting my exhaustion, guilt, upset and pain.

I had nt seen my dad for over two years so I had in effect let him go - I don't know how I feel really - a bit used i think anger at his selfishness - hurt that he only cared for alcohol and my mom - yet she didn't really care for my dad as she left for a planned holiday 3 days after the funeral for several weeks so she isn't around to be of support ??

I dont know how I feel except when I drove back to where i am living 4 weeks ago i developed a locked neck and pain even moving my head and neck, loss of enthusiasm loss of energy - wet eyes as if I am about to cry but can't, exasperation with my family expecting me to carry on as normal and function normally when I don't feel I can the expectations I have of friends who don't call or ask me to do anything is very very strange - but I am expected to continue as if it was just something naturally expected of me...... I feel lost in something that could be the grieving process but one I don't feel I deserve to be in or feel.

There are good memories of my father and his part in our family which I outlined positively in the editorial at the funeral but deep inside there is a physical energy that is hurting and frustration that I cannot release in all these lonely hours I am spending xxxxxxx

Comments for River Song

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Feb 08, 2014
River Song
by: Doreen UK

part 2
River I can relate to your hurt at not having a normal relationship with your siblings. It hurts now because you will all feel like strangers and find it difficult to come together. We have the same problem. The only difficulty is that my mother had a parenting style of sorting out all the family problems between her 5 daughters so none of us can resolve conflict. It is all tied up in our mother. She has been dead for 11yrs. I think our difficulty is in not bonding. Trying to bond and feeling it is impossible.
Your mother may have gone away on holiday for weeks as an escape. You need her support now and she is not available. Perhaps she may not have been able to support you In the way you need. It is usually in late life that the pain of the past starts pressing for resolution which is why your family history is affecting you now triggered from the death of your father and it is affecting your grief. If you see either a good counsellor or CRUSE bereavement support you will not only have the space to talk about your grief (which is connected to your past). But you will have the space and respect to tell your story and how it has affected your life. You will also as part of counselling learn/develop skills that will help you better in life and with your grief. It is never too late to sort out one's life issues if it spills over into the present. And it will because nothing has been resolved. You may never be able to resolve your pain of the past. But you will be healed enough to live in the present with an inner feeling of peace and happiness by resolving things for yourself in the NOW. I resolved much. I at least can now live above the pain of the past. I can also walk away from family if I feel it is affecting my life. Without the guilt that can be manipulated from the past. You sound as if you have had to take the parent role and everyone is dependent on you. You may have the skills to do this but the family dynamics would say that you may feel abused by your family. I truly understand how you feel and what is going on with your siblings. I am sorry for your loss of not only your father but also your loss of relationship with your family.

Feb 08, 2014
River Song
by: Doreen UK

River I am so sorry for all the emotional turmoil you are left in from your father's death and what your family have put you through.
You are going through grief even if you don't feel you deserve to be due to your dysfunctional family. I live in the U.K. and I also come from a dysfunctional family. My parents faced displacement from society and so we all lived a sheltered life not accepted in our community of Scotland. We were made to feel inferior because my father was of English decent but came from India. he wanted to be in his father's country of England. Due to living in a displaced hostel my parents struggled with poverty. Mum turned to alcohol to block out her pain. All 6 siblings were bullied at school and this formed the pattern of our childhood. I understood my mother turning to alcohol despite how it affected our family. I understood the family dynamics. I understood it more after needing therapy/counselling in my 40's. I was my mother's favourite because she could rely on me to parent my siblings at the age of 14yrs. when she couldn't cope. Due to poverty and the struggle my parents divorced. I needed counselling due to losing my childhood by becoming my siblings parent at such a young age. I felt damaged. I nevertheless obeyed to command and did my best.
I faced sibling rivalry. I understand your placement in the family where you could be seen as the astute one who was capable of managing the family so just left to get on with it. If I didn't understand or read between the lines I would have said you had a choice to handle the funeral etc. But I do understand the pain you are in, and the confusion that goes with it all. I do understand that there were good times but that somehow the damage of living in a dysfunctional family has caused you to speak of the damage and not the good times because it is the damaged person that is confused and can't sort it all out. You could benefit from counselling. It has to be the right person who is highly skilled and can support you. I did it and it was the best thing I did for myself. I no longer walk in the shadows of my mother or tolerate disrespect from my siblings. If I cannot resolve the past I walk away.
You have a husband and family. You are not being selfish by focusing on them. You may very well have to walk away from your family if it is affecting your immediate family. Due to space I will be cut off so end with the hope it works out for you.

Feb 05, 2014
you did your best
by: Anonymous

hi you probably grieved for your dad long before he died, so maybe don`t beat yourself up just try and focus on the future and your family. You did your best for him x

Feb 01, 2014
My son Alan 26
by: Ellen Mclean

God bless you I totally understand your grief , iv also had alcoholism in my life, I lost my brother and my son within 9 months of each other, my brother took his own life, my son suddenly from a DVT, I know the destruction the demon drink causes ,

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