I don’t know where to start with my story really. It feels like such a long story and feels like it has been going on for such a long time, but here goes.
My beautiful mum died 4 and a half years ago. The time leading up to her death was very difficult and sad for myself and my mum because my dad stopped us seeing each other for a total of about 3 and a half weeks before her death. My dad is a very difficult man to deal with. He had a brain injury when he was younger which has resulted in him being a very angry man, who it is pretty much impossible to reason with, who lacks empathy and consideration for other people. About 20 years ago his unreasonable behaviour drove my mum to a mental breakdown and she spent several months in a psychiatric unit, during which time my dad rarely visited her and I visited her every day.
My mum had COPD for quite a number of years and a few months before her death the condition worsened and she ended up in hospital. She came out of hospital needing to be on oxygen 24 hours and to be quite heavily supported with every day tasks. I do appreciate that being thrown in to a full time caring role can be extremely demanding and stressful, however, my dad’s care of my mum wasn’t as good as it could have been, amounting to neglect and risk taking managing my mums needs at times. This resulted in her begging me to ask him to improve his care of her, because she had asked him herself and he had paid no attention.
The oxygen often wasn’t connected to my mum when my dad was moving her around the house, to other rooms or the toilet, is just one example of the type of neglect I’m talking about. My dad is the type of person who doesn’t like to think anyone else is telling him what to do, so paid no attention to me when I asked him to improve some of his practices, in a very tentative and diplomatic way and he just got angry with me. I could see his face getting angrier and angrier with me during my visits to my mum, with no provocation and after a few weeks when I asked him a simple question about equipment that social services had fitted at the house and their future plans he exploded in anger, swore at me, told me to stop interfering as it was none of my business, to get out of the house and told me to never return. His behaviour scared me, I was shocked and devastated, that not only could my own father treat me like that but that his actions would prevent me and my mum from seeing each other.
I told my brother what had happened and he was shocked. He kept going to visit my mum and what had gone on was never discussed between him, my dad or my mum. After a couple of weeks of me being distraught from being unable to see my mum my brother and husband agreed to go to my mum and dad’s house to collect my mum so that she could meet me. As far as my dad was concerned it was them taking her out for the day, he was unaware she was meeting me. I bought a wheelchair online and arranged for the portable oxygen needed to be delivered to my mother in laws house. When I saw my mum that day I knew she was dying, she had really deteriorated in the 2 and a half weeks since I had last seen her.
My mum spent much of the time during that afternoon out apologising to me for my dad’s treatment of me. After seeing the poor state of health my mum was in I knew I had to keep seeing her because she didn’t have long left. I went round to the house 2 days later with a specialist magnifying glass for her to try as she had lost her vision and was really upset about not being able to see anyone or read anything. During this visit I could see my dad getting angrier and angrier at my presence, which eventually culminated in him shouting at me and standing over me while I was sitting on the sofa with my mum. I wasn’t sure what he was going to do but felt a threat of physical violence towards me. I ordered him to sit down, which he did thankfully and that diffused the situation. I quickly left the house because I had felt so threatened and did not want to return without feeling more protected. I contacted social services the following morning and they advised me to contact the police. The police told me in no uncertain terms that this was classified as an attempted assault and agreed to go to my dads house and speak to him and tell him that this behaviour was unacceptable and he needed to allow me to go to the house to visit my dying mum. I phoned my dad after the police visit and he said that I could visit mum whenever I wanted and that he had just been “silly” behaving the way he did.
My mum died a week and a day later.
I made the decision after the funeral that I didn’t want to have contact with my dad anymore, I couldn’t forgive him for his behaviour and for preventing me and my mum from seeing each other for the time that he did, before she died.
Two and a half years after my mum’s death my dad wrote to me to tell me that there were some belongings of mine at his house and to also tell me some things that my mum had apparently being saying about me, in critisism of me before she died.
I arranged for the belongings to be collected by a removals firm and wrote back to my dad to ask him to leave me to live my life in peace.
My dad wrote to me again in August this year telling me there were more belongings of mine at his house and asking if I would be open to a letter of reconciliation from him.
He dropped the belongings outside our gate. I agreed to the letter of reconciliation, thinking that after 4 years to reflect on things he may finally apologise or accept some responsibility for the tragically sad situation he caused.
Sadly he used the opportunity to continue with what he had begun writing previously and told me of even more hurtful things that my mum had “apparently” been saying about me before she died. He also blamed me for everything that happened and justified his own actions and behaviour. I’ve written another letter again asking my dad to leave me to live my life in peace and have told him that I won’t be reading any more texts/emails or letters he might send.
My brother has continued to have contact with my dad all this time. I have told my brother about the contact to me from my dad and what it has consisted of and nothing has ever been discussed between my brother and my dad about any of this. They are merrily texting, phoning and seeing each other as though nothing has happened towards me, but my brother tells me it is an “at arms length” relationship, on my brother’s terms. My brother heavily critisises my dad for the father he has been to us, the husband he was to my mum and his behaviour towards me.
I have recently told my brother that I feel quite betrayed and unsupported that nothing has been said by him to my dad in my defence and that the amicable relationship continues. My brother had said during a recent phone call to me that he is still in touch with dad for selfish reasons as he didn’t want to lose his dad out of his life as well as his mum (like I have). He also said during the same phone call that he was going to ask my dad to sign his house over to him.
I have written a letter to my brother explaining my feelings about what I view as the bizzarre situation between him and our dad. My brother took a week to respond by text when I first told me how the situation is making me feel and has said that he needs counselling and will reply to my letter properly when his head is not so all over the place. That was mid November and I have not had a reply to the letter to date and not seen my brother or my nieces over Christmas.
First I lost my mum, then my dad, now it looks like it’s my brother and nieces too. It feels like a tragically sad situation. I am trying to be grateful for what I have got in life, my health and my husband and to be positive and I guess in the long term I have to live my own life, but it feels incredibly hard at the moment.