My absent father is dying and his family wants me to help

I need advice. I received a call 2 weeks ago that my biological father had a heart attack. He’s had surgery since that time and is slated to have another big surgery coming up. He’s not doing well and was told that it is very possible he won’t make it through the surgery. To give you background I’m 32 y/o and my father has been absent from my life for pretty much the entire time. I have only seen my father 4 times in my entire life. I am oldest of his 5 children which his other 4 children are from his wife. I tried when I was younger to make contact with him, once when I graduated high school and the second when I graduated college. Both times I sent him an invitation and he never came to either. Not even a phone call. After that I washed my hands of him got married, had a kid, and moved on. His mother however has always tried to stay in contact with me and for the most part has been there throughout my life. She called me to tell me he was sick and most importantly that they needed money for the surgery he needs. I’m not rich but can afford to help out. But Im having a hard time wanting to help because quite frankly I don’t want to. He’s never been there for me and I’m struggling with doing the same for him. My mother says I should do it for his mom. What would you do?


What a difficult position for you to be in. I think I would feel the same as you do at first & not want to help, given your relationship with your father. Perhaps just ask yourself how would you feel, if you don’t help out & your Father dies. I suppose you need to think whether you might regret not helping him and especially his Mum at some point in the future.Is it better to do the ‘right’ thing now? It’s a difficult decision for you to make. Take care

I’m so sorry to hear that your father was not there for you for so many years, and that you are now faced with such a difficult decision. It is a personal choice how much you want to support him, if at all, and you certainly don’t owe him anything. No one can make this decision for you, but I hope that talking things over with other users on this site can help you to work things out.

I just wanted to let you know about a couple of recent posts from others that I thought you might be able to relate to. You might find it helpful to read about these people’s experiences, and maybe post a reply to them if you’d like to talk to them more:

Hi Tbest85, have you made your decision yet? Only you can really answer your dilemma. You’ve probably seen your local butcher more times than your biological father and how would you feel if he asked you for money? There are 4 other children, a wife and a mother and they need money from you? Why do they need money for an op? Is he abroad and not in the national health? Whatever happens, don’t let anybody make you feel guilty. Good luck.

I lost my father 2 years ago, and immediately understood the pain and regret of not having done more for him whilst he was still alive. Our relationship was very different to the one you describe with your father but if it won’t hinder you to help financially then I would advise you do it. I imagine that it will help you to have peace in your heart about your conduct towards him, even if he never stepped up to be a good father to you.