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A Dying Parent, Forgiving, Forgetting -- FINAL UPDATE

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Matt1735, Feb 2, 2009.

  1. Matt1735

    Matt1735 Well-Known Member

    My father has had significant health issues for nearly 30 years (two heart surgeries, cancer, etc.) and it's finally caught up with him. Although no definite prognosis of when he will die has been given (at least to my knowledge), he is now on Hospice care. We do know he will not get better, so Hospice was brought in to make whatever time (six days, six weeks, six months or six years) more comfortable.

    My reason for bringing this to the board... He and I have never been close, and I don't know how or why that came to be. I have my guesses, but those aren't relevant at this time.

    After an incident this past week, I had a conversation with my only brother this weekend where we both acknowledged that the time is drawing near and if either of us had anything that had to be said to him, we'd better do it soon.

    There are several significant issues I'd love to know the answers as to why they happened the way they did, or things I'd love to say if I truly believed anything could come from those discussions. I honestly don't see a positive outcome from having that kind of conversation. He's not going to change and he won't apologize for being who he is or was, so all that bringing up the past will do is cement the wedge.

    For the most part, I am at peace with what happened in the past and have accepted it. But knowing (or thinking I know) what would happen if they were raised, I see no point in doing so.

    So I bring this topic to the board and ask those of you who have dealt with this, did you have those uncomfortable conversations and were they worth the risk that I stated above? Did you get the results you desired? Now that it's been however long it's been, do you regret having or not having those conversations?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. PeteyPirate

    PeteyPirate Guest

    Re: A Dying Parent, Forgiving, Forgetting

    For years I tried repeatedly to have conversations with my dad about the way certain things had gone down that had hurt me and others in my family, to no avail. It grew so frustrating that I just stopped trying. I've just accepted that I'll never know some things. Now my dad and I just talk about the weather and sports, and I have a lot less stress.
  3. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    Re: A Dying Parent, Forgiving, Forgetting

    One of my ex-roommates really pushed me to come out to my grandmother(s). I refused because she did not react well when my father came out to her many years ago. Now she has Alzheimer's and is usually drugged within an inch of her life.

    Do I regret not coming out to her (or being "open" according to that new fangled lingo put out there by some of you kids ;) ? Nope.
  4. tadwriter

    tadwriter Member

    Re: A Dying Parent, Forgiving, Forgetting

    Whatever you decide, decide quickly. Once the person is gone, the chance to say all those things that could or should have been said will be gone. It will never come back. Maybe you should, maybe you should not. That is up to you. But once it is too late, it will always be too late. If there is little time left for them to be with you, there is just as little for you to be with them.
  5. PeteyPirate

    PeteyPirate Guest

    Re: A Dying Parent, Forgiving, Forgetting

    And whatever you decide -- whether to confront your father or let bygones be bygones -- at least be there.
  6. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Re: A Dying Parent, Forgiving, Forgetting

    I agree with both of FDP's posts. Well said.
  7. Iron_chet

    Iron_chet Well-Known Member

    Re: A Dying Parent, Forgiving, Forgetting

    I did not have the exact same situation but reconnected with my estranged parents after the birth of my daughter. Although I do not really care if they are in my life I know they take great joy in their grand daughter and if I can make someone happy then I don't see it as a bad thing.

    We have come to an unspoken resolution to move on and it has worked best for everyone.

    I say go to your Dad with low expectations and at least know you tried.
  8. writing irish

    writing irish Active Member

    Re: A Dying Parent, Forgiving, Forgetting

    I never got to say what I wanted to my dad. Or, more accurately, I never summoned the balls to do so. I advise against making that particular mistake.
  9. AMacIsaac

    AMacIsaac Guest

    Re: A Dying Parent, Forgiving, Forgetting

    Remember, though, that -- if you're over 30 anyways -- our fathers were raised in different times. They just aren't that talky.

    Mine wasn't. I've wondered if I should have asked him this, or told him that before he died.

    I'll leave you with some words my brother gave me in an email as we recently discussed the matter:

    I had the luxury of spending a lot of time alone with him while I was driving him back and forth to his appointments at the doctor’s, the hospital and Halifax; lifting him out of bed, helping him use the bathroom, etc. We talked about it all but you had to drag it out of him, Mom was never there and it never evolved into an emotional conversation. Even when he had to go for the week’s stay in Halifax, all he wanted was to be dropped off at the hospital that Monday and picked up that Friday? He didn’t want her on the trip and he didn’t want me to stay up with him? I honestly think that by the time Christmas ’95 had rolled around, he had resigned himself to the fact that it was only a matter of time before he died. There was no longer any need for further discussion because he had just spend the last two years discussing it with every doctor, nurse and specialist, going through batteries of tests, treatments and drugs only to have the doctor tell him it’s over. I know myself that I would be pretty pissed to go through two years of crap only to have someone tell me it didn’t do any good and I know myself I wouldn’t want to do any more talking.
  10. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Re: A Dying Parent, Forgiving, Forgetting

    I do have any big conversations I need to have with anyone or incidents I feel the need to rehash.

    It's the little, daily conversations that I need to improve on.
  11. lono

    lono Active Member

    Re: A Dying Parent, Forgiving, Forgetting

    Purely by coincidence, I visited my father right before he died.

    We spent the last three days of his conscious life doing all the things he loved - long drives out in the country, eating at a rural inn, going to his favorite restaurant, hanging out and shooting the s--t.

    My last night there, 30 seconds before we were leaving to go to dinner, he said to me, "I have to go into the hospital tomorrow to get an artery unclogged. It's no big deal. I should be out in two days. I might even be home the same afternoon."

    He had a stroke on the operating table.

    Eight days later, I held his hand in mine as he took his last breath.

    In my younger days, we had a very contentious relationship and there are still a lot of questions I would love to know the answer to.

    But I felt so lucky to have three wonderful days together right before he died.

    We were very different - and equally bullish personalities - but we loved each other, respected each other and parted on a high note. I couldn't ask for more than that.

    Rest in peace, Poppi.

    You stomped on the terra.

    And I'm doing my best to teach your grandson who I named after you to do likewise. Seems to be working so far.
  12. lono

    lono Active Member

    Re: A Dying Parent, Forgiving, Forgetting

    Oh, and I other thing: Any telephone conversation I have with any family members always ends with the same three words: "I love you."

    You never know if you get the chance to say it again.
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