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Tired of being everyone else's rock

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
My dad died this past July while my parents were travelling. It wasn't really unexpected, as he had a terminal lung disease, though none of us expected it to happen in Warsaw.

I was on the next plane to Poland, leaving my home and family with 3 hours notice. The entire time I was in Poland with Mom, dealing with the issues surrounding the death of a citizen abroad, Mom didn't ask me how I was doing. She was too upset and needy. I get it. It was just really, really, really hard.

Then, I came home and I had to become adult and shoulder for my 5 year old. Both of my in-laws died in 2005 (they were quite a bit older), so from her perspective, her grandparents just keep dying.

Well, now we're in January. My mom just moved in with us and she's watching the kids while I go back to school. My daughter talks about my dad every day, and frequently cries about him. My mom is, of course, still mourning. She's got pictures of him in her room, and many times a day, she'll say how much she misses him, or she'll get teary. I don't begrudge them their reactions. I am as supportive as I can be.

But still, no one asks me how I am.

Mom thinks I need to get my daughter into grief counselling. I don't know if she's right, but I don't know what someone SHOULD expect from a small child who has lost 3 people in less than 2 years. I'm hesitant to take her to any sort of counselling where she'd be dealing with other kids' even more intense experiences. Last thing in the world I need her to do is realize that not only do grandpas die, but sometimes, so do mommies and sisters and brothers!

I guess this is mostly a rambling rant. I miss my dad. A lot. I feel like I can't grieve because I need to be strong for my daughter, or I'm busy trying to support my mother. The only 'good' thing about ALL of this is that Dad died on his terms. He didn't sit at home, staring at his four walls. He died doing what he loved and didn't let his illness keep him from truly living until the end. But just because I don't feel like I have to mourn the actual circumstances of his death doesn't mean I don't miss him a lot.

There's nothing left for me.
post #2 of 8
(((HUGS))) I am so sorry you are not getting the support that you need and deserve.
post #3 of 8


I am so sorry for your loss.

My dad died a year and a half ago, so I can relate to some of what you are going through. Would it be possible to sit down and talk to your mom about what you are feeling? Keeping it all inside will make it grow and get harder. Even the rock of the family has to let out the grief sometime, even if it is scary for everyone (including you). I know it sucks that your mom hasn't asked how you are doing, but she may be coming at it from the perspective that you would say something if you wanted to talk about it. I don't think you need to be strong for other people, even your daughter. Or, more specifically, you don't need to be strong by being stoic. You can show your pain and still be strong. The only way out is through. Give yourself permission to feel everything and express your pain. Your dd and your mom will learn about how you grieve and it will help them in their own grief to support you. Especially your dd, as she watches you feel the pain, keep going on, and slowly heal. As someone who struggles with telling people how I feel, it has been a long process learning to trust my emotions with other people, even my dp. But, what I have found is that despite the difficulty of sharing, I feel so much better and stronger when I've shared my burden. Even if your mom is unwilling to listen, can you tell a friend or partner? Or maybe start a blog? Express your grief somehow to let the emotions flow through you. And be patient with yourself.

Much love and healing to you.

namaste,
cloudspinning
post #4 of 8
boy do I understand this! I've always been the rock. Or, if I'm not, I'm expected to be.

Do you have anybody outside the family you can talk to? that's helped me a lot. I mean like all that stuff that everybody says "they should understand..." like not wanting to go to school on the day of the funeral or being really tired or not wanting to be the one who has to clean the whole house... they don't. They understand for my sisters, but I'm "the rock." the one really good at turning everything inward and self-destructing so that nobody has to deal with me.

Anyway... back from that selfish tangent, my point is that in the past one of the big things that helped me cope was to have friends outside of the situation who couldn't turn it around on me. You know? Like there's no way I'm going to get any support from my family because they lost their daughter and sister same as me, but if I go to certain friends, they don't really have any need for a rock and so I can turn into a massive puddle of goo on them and it's okay.

Good luck. I hope better days are ahead for you
post #5 of 8
First, let me say that I'm so sorry for your loss.

I totally understand what you're going through. My mom passed away in August after an short 2 month battle with cancer. We were a super tight-knit family before she died. My dad has gone totally off the deep end since she died so now I feel like I'm mourning his loss too even though he's alive and only 10 minutes away from me. My sister has a husband who works 60 hours a week, all night shifts. So essentially she's a single mom of a 3 year old and a 6 month old. My mom used to help her out so much and now that has all fallen on me. I watch her children all the time so she can do what she needs to. I'm trying to rescue my dad from the abyss that he's fallen into with little success. I'm trying to raise my own child. I'm putting out fires for everyone all the time. There's no one left to help take care of me.

Like a PP suggested, I find the most comfort in turning to a close friend for support. She's always been MY friend; not a family friend or family member. She's there just for me. She hasn't suffered a loss like I have so she doesn't know exactly what I'm going through but she's always there just for ME. It's not the same as having another rock in the family but it does help. I've also found that I need to be a little more selfish for myself. I've been trying to take some time just for me; even if that means a burdern for DH or MIL to help watch my DD. I had to stop feel guilty and start nurturing myself. Don't get me wrong, those moments are few and far between and I'm still the rock, but they do help a little. A friend gave me some great advice once. She said to try to treat myself like I would a dear friend. We're always ready to give the shirt off our backs for the ones we love but sometimes we need to do that for ourselves too. Easier said than done. From one rock to another, . I'm a PM away if you ever want to vent!
post #6 of 8
I am so sorry, losing your dad is a horrible thing. Mine died a couple of years ago and we all miss him every day.

I am a coper and someone who just gets on and manages too. I sotred out all the practical things for my mum and called her a lot as we are too far away to visit every day. Thinking about it now neither my mum nor my sister ever asked me outright how I was but they were both dealing with their own grief and I didn't expect it for some reason. At the time I didn't have a friend I felt I could share with so my husband was the one who held me up.

I cried with my children and they cried with me and the sky didn't fall in. My husband listened to me and held me a lot and when I felt that I couldn't keep adding to his burdens I went out driving in the car and cried by myself. It was as if all those tears HAD to come out and I just had to let them fall.

Sometimes if you need help you need to ask for it; do you sit down and cry with them when they cry? Let it out and let them be there for you.

I am so sorry that all the pps are also struggling with this to you all
post #7 of 8
I have not been in your situation and I'm sorry that any of you have! However, I have been in a similar situation to your DD. When I was about 8, I lost both grandmas, a great-grandma, and a cousin all within a year. One to cancer, 2 in a car accident, and a drowning, so 3/4 were unexpected. My family struggled a lot to deal with it. I don't remember really what everyone else was going through b/c I was too young to take care of them really, but I know my mom tried to take our whole family to counseling. I think everyone else was pretty resistant-my dad thinks you should just deal with things on your own. I did continue to go for about a year and I think it helped. It would have terrified me to go to a group situation, as you had already expressed concerns for your daughter learning that even worse things happen. However, it's possible that she is already figuring out that if grandparents die, others can too. Anyway, the setting I was in was just me and the professional (I think she was technically a child psychologist) and we did things like roleplaying with dolls about my feelings and stuff. I know now my mom also talked to my teachers over the next several years b/c I had random break downs sometimes, just so they would understand and be sensitive.
At some point, you will need to find a way to release your grief, whether it's to a friend, a therapist (I am usually not real pro-doc, it's just another option), or a family member. Now, almost 20 years later, my mom is still dealing w/ her feelings and both she and my dad have talked to my older sisters and I after holding onto their pain for so long. I hope you are able to find some way to have the support you need! It is hard to be the rock and to have to go on with "life as usual." Good luck!
post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by lah7 View Post
Mom thinks I need to get my daughter into grief counselling. I don't know if she's right, but I don't know what someone SHOULD expect from a small child who has lost 3 people in less than 2 years. I'm hesitant to take her to any sort of counselling where she'd be dealing with other kids' even more intense experiences.
Group counseling would not be a good choice for your dd's age, I doubt that any good therapist would recommend this either.

Personally I think your dd's grief is normal, and it's really healthy that she cries and feels free to express her feelings.

My own dd lost her dad, (not to death, but he walked away) when she was four. Then my Mom (who we lived with so I could care for her) passed in Sept 06, six weeks later my grandmother died. So the end of 2006 was really rough on dd, as she was close with both.

My dd still talks about my Mom a lot, grandma not as much. Many times she will recall something about my Mom, like how they would cuddle, or read books. Then she will get really quiet and she'll cry. We talk about my Mom when ever, and it's not always sad now. We don't always cry, but sometimes we still do. It sounds like your dd is coping amazingly well.

My family doesn't ask me how I'm dealing with my Mom's passing anymore. My Dad has a girlfriend, and with others I guess they are afraid to ask now that time has passed. I usually talk to my best friend about it. She doesn't ask me, I just tell her this is what I need to talk about right now.

Look around at the people in your life besides your Mom, and maybe there is somebody there that you can say "Hey I need to talk about my Dad". Can you talk to your partner?

I'm sorry you lost your Dad. Blessings to you.
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