Can you heal a relationship broken 25+ years ago? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 06-19-2014, 07:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Can you heal a relationship broken 25+ years ago?

So a little background, my parents divorced the 1st time when I was 3, then got back together when I was 51/2, then divorced again when I was 7. My father was an alcoholic, and had mental issues he refused treatment for. When I was 10, he vanished. I have had no contact with him since then.

Fast Forward 27 years, tonight I found out he is in the hospital in another state. He has emphysema & is dying. He has days to live. I spoke with him for the first time in 27 years. He asked me to come out. I am flying out in the morning by myself.

I do not really know what to expect, or why I am going, other than my gut tells me I should go. Thoughts? Comments? Support?

Wife to M , Mommy to DS aka Captain Obvious  (06/06) and DD aka Lissalot  (03/09, anoxic brain injury)
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#2 of 8 Old 06-19-2014, 08:23 PM
 
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I wouldn't expect to heal the relationship. Ever. Even if he were healthy. Given time, you might be able to build a new relationship - one that acknowledges that you're an adult now, and that he has a very limited ability to care for people and hurt you gravely.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't go, just see the limitations of the situation. This is not going to heal you. He's unlikely to look at you, from his deathbed, and say anything that changes how you feel about the things he's done. (Also, be prepared for the possibility that he's actually fine, and has found a way to yank you around. Sorry. It's a risk.) What you do may make a difference in how you feel about yourself, though.

It's really hard to shed a sense of familial obligation, even to people who willfully don't uphold their end of that deal. Do this for yourself, so that you don't beat yourself up later.
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#3 of 8 Old 06-19-2014, 11:05 PM
 
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I agree with meepycat that it won't heal things - though I think it might help somewhat depending on what he does. I would totally go. You'll never have to see him again. It could be beautiful. People do change, it's rare but it does happen.
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#4 of 8 Old 06-19-2014, 11:58 PM
 
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All the best to you and your father in this time. I am glad he reached out to you. Be gentle with yourself and your expectations.
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#5 of 8 Old 06-20-2014, 12:51 AM
 
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I definitely agree with Viola P. I really think you should go.
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#6 of 8 Old 06-20-2014, 02:18 PM
 
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Many relationships are one-sided, particularly those in which compassion is required. We all have different capacities; your father may have had a very low capacity. If you still have love of him then go. If you don't then send flowers & forgive him.

Be kind to yourself and give yourself plenty of privacy and self-care.

If you choose not to go then know that you are protecting his legacy by caring for yourself during this difficult time.

*hugs*
Puma
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#7 of 8 Old 06-23-2014, 03:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I went, he was in a coma when I got there and never woke up. I expected it to be very emotional, but in reality it was not. I essentially walked into a stranger's room. I am glad I went, since I would have forever wondered if I had not. Meepycat - I thought the same thing, I actually spoke to his nurse before I spoke to him. Gotta love a legacy of mistrust.

Thanks for the support.
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Wife to M , Mommy to DS aka Captain Obvious  (06/06) and DD aka Lissalot  (03/09, anoxic brain injury)
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#8 of 8 Old 06-24-2014, 09:46 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anj_rn View Post
I am glad I went, since I would have forever wondered if I had not.
Good for you for going, and staying in your center. Hopefully, you'll be able to have closure.

Normally when someone loses a family member, I tell them I'm sorry for their loss. But in this case, I'm sorry for what you never had.

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but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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