Impatience with Dad after losing Mom, help!

peacewalkerDecember 13, 2006

I am new to this forum, and am really grateful to have found you wonderful people because you seem to be going through some of the same things I am. I need any advice you might have.

My Mom died unexpectedly October 24th; she was 79. We were incredibly close, and her loss has been a devistating blow. I was on route there when we lost her, and spent two weeks with my Dad arranging everything for the funeral and supporting my Dad (76). I came back home, tried to get back to work on my dissertation (Graduate student) but got sick. Then I hosted Dad for a week here over Thanksgiving. After he left I continued to be sick and have only just been feeling better over the last day or two.

My problem? Dad calls every day, (my fault, we live in different states, and I did tell him to call if and whenever he needed). I am an older student who has come back to school (39). I have not "reported" to my parents on my life in years. I know that all Dad needs is someone to talk to, and there are days that is fine. But sometimes, increasingly I keep getting resentful, -- I just want to be left alone to greive in my own way. And I want my life private again. I need space so that I can find my own rhythm again and eventually get back to work. I havent even engaged with anybody in my circle here either. While I was sick, I kept having to tell him "no, I'm not better" which made me feel that I wasnt getting well fast enough. Now that I am a little better, it's conversation what I do each day. (Part of my guilt, I havent gotten back to working on my stuff yet.) So, talking to him just makes me feel worse about that too. I have tried explaining this to him, but he still calls.

I want to be supportive to my Dad, but I also want to do what I need for myself. I am stuck. Dad also needs to engage more with his community of people. And it hurts to think how lonely he is -- I know. I am an only child, and the only relatives Dad has are an older Sister also in another state.

I turn to you because all of you seem to be going through similar things. Bless you for taking the time for me...(and my Dad). Help! How do I do the right thing for us both?

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hi, (())) I think the thing you might need to do right now is just be there each day for your dad as he was each day for you while you were growing up, parenting isnt always easy, and sometimes you want a break, but you cant, so just see it as dad needs you really bad right now. You dont have to be on the phone with him for hours, you can perhaps make it 20 minutes a day or less depending on your schedule. Its hard to not suddenly have somebody to 'report' to everyday, you feel cared about, that somebody took interest in you.
hang in there (()))

    Bookmark   December 14, 2006 at 1:26AM
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After my mother died DH and I spent every weekend with my father for a year and I spoke to him everyday. We also went over one night a week very frequently (about an hour drive each way). It's been 6 years and we still talk almost everyday. Before my mother got sick we spoke about once a week.

I don't see how you have lost your private life. It is just a phone call. He didn't install a security camera. He isn't dropping by unannounced. Could you take better control of the calls? Call him and tell him you have 20 minutes. Don't answer the phone (use caller ID) if it is a bad time. If you don't want to talk about your day then talk about what is on the news or TV that was interesting.

I don't mean to be harsh. But the man is very elderly and probably lonely. I would cherish the phone calls. You won't have him forever.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2006 at 2:45AM
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Maybe it's not really his call that is getting to you, it's the time he is calling you. Take control of the situation and call him every day instead when it's convenient for you.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2006 at 5:21AM
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First I want to say how sorry I am. There never is an easy way to say goodbye regardless of the circumstances.
I don't believe this has anything to do with "reporting". YOU are all he has left of her. You have shared the same loss.
With his age, too much time to think is his worst enemy. I have no idea how many years they were together or what kind of relationship but it's obvious he wants to stay close to you. He apparently does not want to lose the connection to you.
I understand you wanting to deal with this in your own way. All I can suggest is as suggested above. Find a way to set up a time to talk. You can say with your schedule that you can talk to him only at a certain time. You would not be untruthful as your schedule right now is finding a way to accept the loss without interruption.
I think the worst regret is to lose someone and wish we had done or said something before we had to say goodbye. I would not wish that hurt on anyone. Cherish the time you now share with him even if you have to set the timetable.
I wish you the best and hope you find what will help.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2006 at 8:37PM
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Hello. It sounds similiar to my situation. My dad is gone 13 months now. He was the glue of our family. After he left I moved my mom in with me. They were married 39 years. She is still not herself. Anyway, after she moved in with me, I became very angry. here i was 35 married with 2 kids and on my own for years and now all off a sudden i was reporting to my mom. It wasnt a good thing. We all miss dad very much and it seemed to me that everytime i look at her i just remember that my dad is gone and never coming back and it hurts. My mom wont even stay in a house by herself now and I told her I cant be with her 24-7. I have a life and I am still grieving too. We faught and it seemed to me that she was walking on egg shells around me. It made us both very uncomfortable. She is now living with her sister and that seems better. I realized that my mom just doesnt want to be alone and really doesnt know how to be alone. When my mom was at my house, evertime I looked at her, all I thaught about is that my dad should be here too. Its not fair. I was mad. Well anyway its never easy to re-adjust your life after something like this happens. But in reality we still have to be there for each other. I talk to my mom daily on the phone and she comes to visit 2-3 times a week. Its hard seeing her alone. I dont know what is worse....losing a parent or watching the other parent being lonely. It all sucks. Just try to do the best you can. I dont think its really reporting to them...I think we are the only good thing left in there lives and they want to cherish every conversation they can. I cant even begin to imagine myself in my moms shoes. It has to be terrifying to realize your love of a lifetime is gone and now it only you all by yourself. Very scary thaught. Parents try to give there kids the freedom they need but I think when something like death happens.. it scares them and they just want to hold onto whatever it is that gives them comfort. And as you know, the kids are the ones who offer comfort. We are the only ones they can trust and confide in. The best advice I can give you is to take time out and call your dad. Just value what ever time you can. Someday they wont be here either. Best of luck to you.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2006 at 8:45AM
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First of all, I'm very sorry about the loss of your mom. I do understand your possible feelings of being smothered by your dad, but I agree with some of the posts above. Your dad's time here is limited also and if you love him and don't want to feel guilt when he is gone, if I were you, I'd go ahead and try to look at the situation as a blessing. It is a blessing to still have your dad alive and able to call you. I also understand that maybe he is calling at bad times for you or possibly asking questions that you don't care to answer. Use caller ID as others suggested, and if he questions your private life too much, just tell him you'd rather not talk about it and change the subject. I believe that your dad is probably extremely lonely and grieving and just needs you right now.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2006 at 9:47PM
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