How do I help my sibling following our Dad's death 2yrs on

Both myself and my sister had very different relationships with our Dad in his lifetime. He died from complications following a stroke he had had 3 weeks earlier in 2015. If things were down to me, I would’ve bought a skip and thrown Dad’s stuff into it, except for his rings, watch and wallet. I refrained from doing so though. However, my sister does not want anything to be moved, simply keeping the house as Dad would’ve known it. The main issue, is the fact our Mum (Dad’s one and only wife whom he cared for during his last 10yrs), has a degenerative disease. The house has been adapted for her needs, but we are unable to have a ceiling track hoist installed in mum’s bedroom until we empty the loft OR the wardrobe’s. These wardrobe’s, cupboards and the loft are full to the brim with Dad’s belongings. When I informed my sister that the lift csand it had deteriony had told we would have to clear out the house in order mum gets the track hoist in, my sister reacted ‘no! We can’t do that! That’s not possible, Dad didn’t have that much stuff!’.

When Mum was having a through floor lift installed and we had empty the floor space including a dressing table, my sister reacted with horror that we had got rid of our parents old double bed and carpet ( The double bed was unsuitable for Mums needs and loans a hospital style bed and matress . As for the carpet, when myself and another relative took it up, the floor was covered in sand it had deteriorated that much since it was laid in the 1970s).

My sister even complained to me because I’d got a brand new set of fence panels! She believed that all it took was to slot them back in place, but they were crumbling and had been damaged by storm Doris.

It seems my sister has two issues 1) not wanting to accept Mum needs the equipment and 2) wanting to keep the house as Dad knew it.

Anyone any ideas?

Hi Harry,

Welcome to the Sue Ryder Online Community. I’m really sorry to hear about the death of your dad, and how it has affected your sister. If she is blocking adaptations to the house that your mum needs, that certainly sounds problematic.

If your mum is able to make her own decisions, and she wants this equipment, then it should be up to her what changes to make to the house, however difficult your sister finds it. However, I understand that you’d much prefer to do things without conflict. As a family, do you talk much about your dad and your loss? Are there things you can do together to help feel like you are keeping his memory alive, such as looking through old pictures or visiting places he loved?

You can encourage your sister to seek some support with her grief, but there is no way to make her do so if she refuses.

Another user called sday90 has recently posted about struggling to encourage her husband to seek support after the death of his parents. Perhaps you’d find it helpful to talk to her? You can read and reply to her post here:

If there’s anything I can help with, or you have any questions about the site, please let me know.

Community Manager

Thanks Priscilla, at Christmas just gone, my sister was adamant about putting large arm chair’s back in the living room as Dad knew it, but mum’s carers, myself and another relatives all know that my sister’s plan wouldn’t work now, especially as we have equipment in the living room including a through floor lift. My sister wanted to put an armchair back, but in doing so it would block the lift and access to the kitchen and make it incredibly difficult for carers to use the wheeled hoist. I know that Dad had a vast collection of books on WW 2 and cameras and related stuff – these aren’t basic they ate top of the range items. I have considered selling the items to raise money for charity (our dad was part of a drug’s trail while in hospital recovering from his stroke). I know a relative has said to my sister they think she’s depressed, only to have the phone put down!

Oh dear, that does sound tough if she is very resistant to getting help. It might be worth checking out the conversation I linked to in my previous post, as that user’s husband also sounded resistant to getting help.

You can be there for your sister if she wants to talk about your dad and her grief and try to reassure her that he won’t be forgotten.

Grief affects everyone differently and some people prefer to clear out their loved ones things quite early on, while others find it very difficult, or find it comforting to have the things around them. She would obviously find a total clear-out very upsetting, so there may be a compromise on keeping some things, particularly the most sentimental ones. However, I think you and the others involved are right to prioritise your mum’s care needs.