Loss of dad is breaking me

I lost my dad suddenly in March, he was 57. As a kid I was a complete daddy’s girl, so when my parents split up when I was 6, I was devastated. I didn’t know the reasons behind why they split up at the time but it sent my mum in to deep depression. She would spend all day in bed and on the days she did get out of bed she would spend it laying on the sofa. My 2 brothers and I still saw lots of my dad. One day he introduced us to his new girlfriend, we were fine with it because it made dad happy, but deep down it scared me that she would take my dad away. They got married, they had a baby, then they split up, my stepmum moved away and we never saw my sister again. During this time my mum had met someone else and got engaged.
Teenage years were the worst, I blamed mum for dad not being there, I felt she was the reason he moved out, and she was the reason he was seeing us less. Months would pass and we wouldnt see or hear from him. The he would just turn up out of the blue, tanned and teeling us stories of the holiday he had just been on with his new girlfriend before disappearing again for months, sometimes a year would pass without so much as a phone call.
When I turned 18, I went to a club with my bff and some friends to celebrate. I noticed my dad playing pool with a woman I didnt recognise. I hadn’t seen my dad for 2 years at this point, I walked over and said hi, he looked at me said hi and went back to his game, as I stood there waiting for him to continue the conversation, he turned to me and asked if we were waiting to use the table. My heart shattered, my own dad didnt recognise me. I asked him if he knew who I was, he replied “I recognise your face”. I walked out and went home crying to my mum, who comforted me, it was then I asked why they had split up. She told me she found out he had been having an affair with his brothers wife for 2 years and possibly fathered her child. My view on my dad changed. He messaged me that night to apologise, but our relationship had started to spiral out of control.
For 17 years since that day, our relationship has been up and down. He never married again or had any other children but had plenty of girlfriends. One in particular didnt like the fact he had a past, wife, kids etc. He was living in her house at the time she gave him an ultimatum, her or us. We didnt see him for 5 years- until they split up. He was arrested for drink driving twice. He was arrested for harassing a girlfriend who had ended the relationship, I know this because he would turn up on my doorstep drunk or I’d get a call from the police station. Every time things went wrong with a woman he would come running to me. And every time I would let him. He met my son when he was 2 days old, the next time was when he was 6. My son didnt know who he was and kept asking why he had to call him grandad. A few tears ago dad met a woman and they decided to move to Spain. I later found out this was because dad was being chased by CSA for 16k of child support he never paid to my stepmum and because he never paid the fee when he was arrested for harassing his ex. Since he moved to spain 5 years ago I never saw him.
The last 5/6 years our relationship was very vocal. He would beg me for a relationship, and ask me to fly out there, when I said I cant drop everything and just go he would get nasty, call me names, say how my mum brainwashed me in to hating him. I would explain why I was how I was with him, how HE hurt me time again but he would curse me and block me. This went on for years and years back and forth. At times we would get along, chat about how our lives were, reminisce. But most of the time it was spiteful nasty words to each other.
On 19th March we had a call from my cousin to say dad was dead. I must add that at the time we all thought it was a joke to get us to contact him as in the past he had lied about having cancer twice, as well as numerous other medical issues. It shocked us but we held our breaths until the news was confirmed. Dad was in his home with his girlfriend, they had breakfast in bed, and my dad, who ALWAYS walked the dog asked his gf to take him for a walk. Lockdown had already been initiated in spain so time was limited but permitted for those with dogs. His gf left and returned 45 mins later to find dad unresponsive on the bathroom floor. He was gone before the paramedics got there.
Because of the virus he was taken away, and autopsy was done and he was cremated 46 hours after he died.
We have no cause of death, the autopsy came back as not natural, apparently more tests are to be done in the coming months to determine what caused his death. This is all coming from is gf through our cousin since she wont speak to me. I begged her for more information the day we heard of his death, she told me it was “too little too late” and that “I broke his heart, he still called me his little girl”
She refuses to talk to me unless through my cousin, I dont know anything other than what I’ve written here about his death. I’ve asked but she apparently has no answers to give me.
The last few months have been awful, because of uk lockdown I havent seen my mum or brothers since February, other than through facetime. I’m the eldest, my youngest brother struggles with anxiety and depression and my other brother lost a baby daughter 3 years ago, I’ve always mothered them since the day dad left so I feel it’s down to me to hold them up when they need support. I’ve started the process of dads will and it’s made me realise that I’m in a bad place mentally. I’ll have days where I feel strong, dads always on my mind but some days it hurts a little less and I can just about cope. Other days, I’m praying I could be with him. Those days are happening more and more and I’m starting to find less reasons to stick around. I dont feel I have anyone I can open up to, I feel if I do I will be criticized for being a hypocrite. The guilt I feel for the way I was towards my dad is overwhelming. The last message he received from me was awful, I told him to leave me and my family alone and that he was a waste of space. (Sent 6 months before he passed) I cant get my head around him thinking I didnt love him, the thought of him on the bathroom floor, in pain, scared and alone, thinking his daughter hated him.
But the biggest thing that’s affecting me is that my dad is gone, I didnt get to say goodbye (he didnt have a funeral) I will never get to say sorry, he will never know how sorry I am and he will never know how much I truely adored him.
I’m sorry this is so long. It’s a difficult situation to understand hopefully it makes some sense

Dear Alliecal,
No reason to be sorry for the length of your post. It is quite a story and it is good that you have come to this place where you will find many people who like you (and I) have lost their dad. Everyone’s circumstances are different, but we have one thing in common: we are grieving a loss. You and your dad did had a far from ideal relationship, but what comes through in your story is that you were always willing to give him another chance. I think that should more than make up for the last text you sent him. You did not know at that time that it was to be the last one. Had you known, you would have written different words. He did not know either, otherwise he probably would have replied differently. Don’t make your grief worse by feeling guilty or thinking ‘what if…’ You have enough on your plate. Just try and remember the good moments in your relationship and the love there was between you despite everything.
It is admirable that you have always felt you needed to be the big sister and carry most of the burden, but I think that it would be good if your and your brothers could support each other since they are adults too. You should not have to feel alone in this. If you feel that you cannot cope, please seek help. There are helplines, such as the Samaritans, or you could ask for one-to-one counseling from a Sue Ryder professional. (Let me know if you need me to give you the details.)
I saw that you have added some more posts and hope that you will find comfort and support in the replies that you receive and in reading posts from other people. You are not alone. xxx

Hi @Alliecal - wow, what a heartbreaking story. After you commented on my post, I thought I’d pay you the same respect and learn your story with your Dad. I’m sorry to hear it was so distant and traumatic. I just wanted to comment and say, that I found my Dad in his bathroom too and It’s been 7 months and I still don’t really know what happened. My Dad was in pretty bad health suffering with Emphysema which was diagnosed on my 18th birthday. It was almost 9 years of constant worry and caring for him, dreading this very awful day. We didn’t do an autopsy due to my grandmas ill health (she’s been in hospital for 2 years) and we didn’t want to draw out the process. My point is, these details don’t hold much value. The main detail is what’s important, try not to dwell. I know it’s really hard but 99.9% of times there is absolutely nothing you could’ve done to stop it. I’m not sure how spiritual you are, but I believe people know/ have some control over when they die. I’d last seen my Dad the Thursday, text him Friday - the last message I received was ‘feeling good, scallops were delicious’ at 7.12pm, then I found him on his bathroom floor the Sunday. From other stories I’ve read on here, especially with men, it’s quite common for men to slip away quietly on their own.
Don’t ever apologise for anything you write on here. Thank you for sharing your story and keep posting. This is truly a wonderful site. My inbox is always open.

Take care and be very kind to yourself. Take it day by day and don’t look too much into the future.
Best wishes x

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Watt92- You must have been writing this as I wrote to you on yours :joy:
My grandad (dads dad) died aged 61, his dad died aged 60. My dad, for YEARS and YEARS would go on about how men in his family died young and he would tell me that he would be lucky to make it to 60. Because of the relationship we had he would sometimes use this against us, telling us we will regret avoiding him when he is gone, and how we would know what it felt to lose our dad so early like he lost his. I always saw that as blackmail, to get a reaction from us, how right he was. He was only 57 when he died. He didnt even make 60.
I am somewhat spiritual, but at the moment I’m finding it hard to accept that he would be with me as at times I cant accept hes gone, and I cant forgive myself for letting him down. I see it as why would he want to be around me. I know all these thoughts are avoidable and I shouldn’t think like that but like they say, it’s easier said than done.
I’ve not been on here long but I am finding it better by telling about him good and bad to get it all out as like you, I find it hard unloading on family and friends. Now I have that outlet of sending him my letters I’m hoping it will add a little more comfort, it may not, but I’ve reached a period where I’m falling apart and cannot see a way out, I have a child that relies on me, I cant be distracted from that so I’ll try anything .

Always here for you

@Alliecal haha! Great minds and all that :sweat_smile:
Ow that is quite heartbreaking for your Dad to probably know his life span would be relatively short, but also for you to carry that around. It was wrong of him to make you feel pressured by it, but I can see where he’s coming from by trying to raise awareness of it. What was your dads name? My Granda died 81 from Cancer so I’m not sure how that feels. When we lost him, it was the worst thing ever. My Grandma still grieves harder for him than her son - I find that strange but the poor lady is so confused. My Dad was only 64. I think no matter what age you still feel robbed - but especially to those only in their 50s and 60s!
Och that is tough. Try not think like that (I know it’s easier said than done) but judging by what you’ve told me, it sounds like your Dad always wanted to be in your life. It’s hard to think of them as other people who are also just trying to be happy in themselves instead of just ‘Dad’ but I can bet he loved you very very much. I’ve said from the start there’s a very special bond between Fathers and Daughters and I’m sure he would hate you thinking that way. When we scattered my Dad’s ashes (some of them - the rest I keep in my room and in a necklace that I wear daily) in a special place not far from where I live - the wind blew them back at me. The same happened when I travelled up to Shetland with my partner (my hometown) and I scattered the rest there - he blew back on me. He didn’t want to leave me so soon I know that.
I’ve found it really really hard knowing my Dad was on his own when he died. When I found him, I just broke down to the floor in a heap - just saying to him I should’ve been there. I know I couldn’t stop it but I’d have given anything to just be there holding his hand and reassuring him I’d be okay. Those moments are so precious to those lucky enough to be present.
If I can suggest one thing I did that really helped - I know this may be different for you, but try write him a letter. I wrote my Dad a big letter from me telling him all the things I never got a chance to. I put it in his shirt pocket, along with err some goodies (I’ll tell you if we ever mail!) and sent it up to heaven with him. I don’t actually believe in heaven or hell, I just know my Dad went to a good place.
I’m waffling now! Hope you have an okay day today, it’s sunny where I am and whenever that happens I spend the day outside. If you have a garden, being outside and listening to nature is the best medicine for your soul.

Here for you x

Afternoon watt92,
Hope you’re enjoying the sunshine where you are, it’s very overcast here, every now and again we get a quick glimpse of the sun but its followed by some rather angry looking storm clouds :see_no_evil::sun_behind_rain_cloud:
You are so right about spending time in the garden. We moved out of a flat and bought our first home together 2 years ago, the garden has become my Eden. The first few weeks after dad died I found it was the only place I could go that made me feel better. My dad unfortunately never got to visit, but we would talk quite a bit about the projects we were doing in our houses (he bought property with his partner, done them up and rented them out) I feel less restricted in the garden, like my mind isnt so busy and full and my heart seems a bit lighter. I’m grateful for that space at the moment, if only the weather would improve so I can enjoy it again.

A lot of people have told me he wouldnt want me to feel like I do, I am beating myself up but at the moment I feel I was in the wrong. I feel I should have backed down and not been so hard on him. At times i realise I had reason for being so hurt and angry with him, I did, I could write a book with what I went through with dad, but that still doesnt make me feel better about how I treated him. Time has been stolen from us, theres nothing to say that if he had another 30 years our relationship would have improved, but the fact that I never had that time to see just crushes me. I’d like to think that the older we got we would have.

I’m sure your dad knew that, you weren’t to know that was his time, he didnt know either, but the bond you shared, he knew that you would have been there with him. You don’t know, maybe he felt you were, because you were so close. You dont have to be there in person for him to feel your presence. The photos you posted with your dad, he looks so happy, a fun dad, and a funny one by the sounds of it too. I think hes as proud to call you his daughter and you are calling him your dad. I think those gusts of blowback were him telling you he’s sticking with you.
I’m planning on writing my letter this weekend, I’ve made plans to have some alone time so that I’m not distracted. Feel free to inbox me whenever you want, it’s always open to anyone, and I’d love to know more about your goodies to heaven, my brothers and I are trying to come up with something to do for fathers day. :blue_heart:

Sending you best wishes and strength today xx

My dads name is Ross, he was 6’3, I called him ‘my daddy long-legs’. He only ever said my name when he was angry with me or I was being told off. Otherwise I was Polly, Flo or ‘little legs’ (unfortunately I got my height from mums side).

Evening, @Alliecal

I’m glad you’ve found a little peace in the garden as well. Like you, we moved into our place two years ago and it’s the first place I’ve lived in with a proper garden. Dad never got to see it either, and it breaks my heart cause he’d have loved it. It was a lot like his backy where we spelt a lot of our time together. It’s even next door to a number 7A which was my Dad’s number. What breaks my heart more tbh was the fact he never got to meet my partner. It was the next thing on the list but… life happens.

Hope you managed to find some quiet time to write. I wrote my Dad another letter yesterday. I’m finding I’m having so much I want to say/ can’t say leading up to youknowwhat. My mind has been all over the place, I’ve been really confused about a lot of things that I’m not sure are just being affected by grief or valid things.

Thanks for saying that about Dad. I wish he could say those things to me still yknow? I’ve had a bad couple days where I’ve been struggling for a way out of my head. Sometimes you just can’t fight the negative thoughts so just need to face them. Always easier said than done.

That’s really sweet the nicknames you had for each other. Would make a cute tattoo!

Best wishes x

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Hi @Watt92,
How are you doing my love?
My dad didnt get to meet my partner either, my dad lived in spain the last 5 years of his life so the chance never really came up.

I’ve not written to dad yet, I was going to come up with loads of reasons why but the truth is I couldn’t face it. Apart from that first week, last week was my worst yet. I found it hard to get out of bed, I’d wake up and lay there for a minute before the tears started again. I thought I was doing alright for a while, I mean, I know I was struggling but last week was something else. I’ve never felt so overcome with sadness and desperation. I find myself begging for him to come back, to take me with him, just something so that I’m with him again. It’s been 12 weeks and it’s frustrating me that I still cant get to grips with it all. I will get around to the letter, theres so much I want to say to him, I’m scared I will start it and it will make me worse.

I saw my brother for the first time since dad died at the weekend, that made me feel better in a way knowing my grief is shared by him, he knows how I feel…though he is also struggling, he cant cry, he tries not to think about dad and as a result you can see its destroying him and in turn that hurts me to see him in so much pain. Losing him has just left a path of destruction and pain, its suffocating.

Funny you should say that, my 2 brothers and I are planning a joint tattoo with a tribute to our dad. I saw your tattoo on another post, you were very brave to go with such a big, detailed tattoo for your first one. It’s beautiful. Did your dad have any tattoos?

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