Am I being selfish?

I miss my mum. She died 2 years ago, 10 days after being diagnosed with late stage liver cancer.
Dad has never acknowledged my loss or grief. He came to visit recently and we’d been chatting about the funeral of a friend of his at which he’d been a pallbearer. It made me sad, and brought me thoughts of mum’s funeral, which made me sad and I cried, saying “I miss my mum”. Dad’s response wasn’t “I know, I miss her too”, but rather “I miss her, every day”.
It seems like he’s so wrapped up in his own loss, there’s no space for anyone else’s. And never, in all the times I’ve said it to him, has he ever responded with anything other than a reference to his own grief, with no acknowledgement of what I’ve just said.
It’s as if my loss doesn’t exist. Which makes being strong for him hard. It’s difficult not to be resentful - I lost her too, my brother lost her too!
I know the 50 years they spent together means the gap in his life is enormous, but I have a mum-shaped gap that I struggle with.
It would just be nice to know that dad registered that. But that makes me feel selfish, that I need him to empathise with my pain, as well as feel his own. Maybe that’s why he doesn’t - can only deal with his own and no more?

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Morning - thanks for finding the site and sharing your story.

I think it’s ok to be selfish sometimes when it comes to grief. Everyone reacts differently when someone dies, and everyone struggles to handle it and will cope in different ways. Your Dad is coping perhaps in the best way for him. It may not be how you think it should be dealt with, but understanding that people grieve in different ways might help you understand how he’s acting?

You’re not being selfish in wanting acknowledgement of your grief and what you say to your Dad. It helps to share and talk about things at such hard times. Some research we did recently showed that men are worse at talking about their feelings when it comes to bereavement, and maybe that’s showing true here…

There are many feelings that come with grief and there’s no right or wrong way to handle it. But it is important to try and do what makes you feel better.

I hope this helps a bit.


I’m so sorry that you lost your Mum and so quickly after her diagnosis.

It sounds like you are very perceptive as to some of the reasons why your dad doesn’t acknowledge your grief.

Do you have anyone else to talk to about your feelings? It sounds like your dad is managing his grief in his own way but sadly you are hurting from that as well as losing mum. Cruse are very good and might help you through this, maybe give them a call? They usually offer six sessions of bereavement counselling for free and might help.

Take care of you.

Dear Sasquaatch,

Please don’t be hard on your Dad. He probably isn’t certain of what to say for fear of upsetting you.

As your parents were together for 50 years, I take it that you are in your 40’s?

I was married for 22 years but with my wife for nearly 8 years before that. My step-daughter was 45 in May. We were close following her Mum’s death but I haven’t seen her for 7 months, she doesn’t take my calls and occasionally responds to texts saying she’ll call me but she doesn’t. She has stopped any contact I had with my great granddaughter. I have no idea why she is treating me like this.

I know this is not relevant to your post but my point is that communication between you and your Dad is key. Talk about how you are dealing, or not, with the loss of your Mum and encourage him to do the same. The lack of communication can have terrible results. You have both suffered a huge loss and need to understand each other’s needs.

I hope my response helps.