I am a writer, yet I’ve been having a hard time expressing my feelings about the death of my father. He died on Sunday, October 26, after overmedicating himself with morphine because he was in so much pain from the most aggressive kind of cancer in his back. The morphine shut down his kidneys, and he lasted less than a week. My dad was a pseudo-devout catholic. He didn’t believe in suicide, but maybe on an unconscious level, he hoped to permanently stop the pain.He was a bitter person, often jealous of the success of others and constantly on the lookout for a quick and easy way to make money. My father never told me he was proud that I finally got a book published. He never said he loved me, but once, and that may have been because of all the medication he was on. Yet for all his flaws, my dad tried to show his love through action by fixing things, not always well, and by occasionally offering his sage advice, not always wise.
My dad protected his vulnerability with a crotchety, cantankerous, rude, loud, and antisocial personality.
A therapist told a friend that when her father died, she was so distraught because he never fulfilled her expectations of what a father was supposed to be. I wanted the perfect “Patty Duke” father, always there, always listening, always a kind and supportive word. But my father was more like Archie Bunker, so it has been an unexpected jolt to mourn him so deeply.
Death allows the introspection of things we wouldn’t normally consider at other times.
The moment I saw my dad’s body on the hospital bed, lifeless and without breath, everything came pouring out of me. I hugged him and sobbed so hard that I felt horrible stabbing in my chest, like the pins and needles feeling when I had pneumonia, 100 times worse than when my leg falls asleep. I think I released so much hurt and emotional pain, that the toxins hit my system all at once.
I think it’s better to lovingly share feelings and clear the air than to die with any regrets.
While he was alive, I didn’t feel accepted by my father, but then, I couldn’t accept him, either. But forgiveness? Well, I don’t want to die with any regrets, and it seems silly to hold a dead person accountable for my own feelings. Also, I had to forgive my dad because the alternative was to hold onto the same bitterness, anger, and disappointment he held onto all his life.
Forgiveness is accepting what is and not hoping for a dying person to change.
I understood my father a bit better once I let go of the subconscious need to see him become the father I always wanted or to hear him say what I wanted to hear. My dad was a product of abuse, poverty and neglect, just like me, and through the understanding of generational patterns, forgiveness was all the easier to give.
Despite the flaws of your parents, what is/was one good thing about them?