Etranged father's passing

My adoptive father passed away over Christmas from covid-related complications . He was only 47 years-old and died suddenly and unexpectedly from covid-related blood clots.

My adoptive father, with my biological mother, have been raising me and my siblings since I was age of 3. He was also adopted, and suffered from both narcasistic personality disorder and suspected schizophrenia. Before his mental health issues worsened, he and I were incredibly close. He was my idol and best friend growing up. However, when I was 12, he went to prison due to DUI charges, and had trouble coping with the fact that I got older while he was locked away. His severe mental health issues resulted in him becoming very emotionally and mentally abusive towards me. Even before he went to prison, I have memories from being 5 and begging him not to kill himself because I loved him…his severe mental health issues, that he refused to get help for, led to us becoming estranged. My entire family supported my decision to distance myself from my father because my father had become very delusional and emotionally (and slightly physically)
abusive towards me. All of this resulted in he and I being estranged despite him staying close to my mother and siblings. Apparently, as he started finally getting help, he came to recognise that most of our issues had been caused by his mental health issues. I spent nearly 10 years trying to fix our relationship before he finally cut me off and I stopped begging him not to.

My family told me that he had been wanting to reach out to me recently to try and fix things, but was afraid to do so because he believed he had done unrepairable harm to our relationship.

Until this point, I have been living outside of the country with my husband. I haven’t spoken to my father in over 3 years. I am having so much difficulty processing his death. I feel like I hadn’t even started processing his death, because before now , I have been busy helping my mother and brother deal with their grief. Now that I am back in the UK, I feel both everything and nothing. I don’t know how to process my grief. Most of the time I feel nothing, but out of nowhere, I will become overwhelmed with grief/anger/resentment/sadness. I feel completely emotionally cut-off most of the time and a disconnected from my job. I don’t know how to process this grief and lack of grief…I feel so disconnected from everyone. I cant connect to my family in their deep and constant grief for my father…but neither can I relate to all my friends and family that haven’t lost anyone. I don’t know how to process this…I don’t know how to grieve an estranged parent that I loved more than anything, but caused me years of pain and lasting mental health issues.

Has anyone gone through anything similar?

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You’ve taken a really brave step posting here @LeiMol. Firstly I want to reassure you that you’re not alone in how you’re feeling. It makes sense what you’ve shared here, grief can be really hard to process and the feelings of disconnection you’ve mentioned are something that many go through. There’s no right or wrong way to grieve, it’s a really personal thing.

You mentioned that you’ve been supporting your family through this difficult time. I’m wondering if you’ve felt able to reach out to them about how you’ve been feeling?

I found a post from another member on the community who also had a difficult relationship with their Dad who passed away which you might find helpful having a read through - Grieving my estranged father!

Keep posting here whenever you need to, we’re here for you :yellow_heart:

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