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Packing up my mums memories.

Community Member
We lost our mum to cancer 2.5 years ago. Mum and dad were together 50 years. I had never seen him cry until that moment. For 12 mths he struggled with suicide thoughts. But he was there for his family, always checking on us, making sure we were coping. After 12 mths he met his first girlfriend, she was our age. She refused to meet any of dad’s children even though we have always been a very close family. Dad drifted away. He never had time for us. He was too busy showering his girlfriend with gifts and holidays. She talked so badly to him and every time a family member needed him she would need him even more urgently. Even when my sisters husband died suddenly, the concert that she needed to go to was more important then my sister and her 6 little boys. I eventually told him I was concerned about her intentions. He barely spoke to me again. After 10 months They broke up. I tried ringing Dad every day to make sure he was ok. I messaged him love every day. Eventually he returned my call and told me to stop ringing and stop sending messages. He was so angry with me. On my mothers 2nd anniversary at her grave He hurt his back and I offered him a hot pack, I was told very quickly to back off. I backed off. I gave him space. I didn’t call or message. Then he met a new woman. One his age. She seems lovely from what my sisters tell me. It took him 6mths to tell me about her. I tried to chat to him and asked what I had done so wrong that he couldn’t talk to me. He told me he didn’t like me. Just like that my heart smashed into a million pieces. He has decided all of a sudden that we need to clear our home of all mums belongings. I live 2 hrs away, my sisters live 2 minutes. I am having trouble fitting in around their work days. He won’t speak to me but he told my sisters that it was too hard for him to be there. I thought maybe it would be good for us to say goodbye as a family. I thought he should help pack 66 years of memories away. How can it be so hard when lying in another woman’s bed is not hard? Should I offer not to be there so he can get some closure with the children he does like? He is my father and all I wish for him is happiness. My sisters say I should stop being selfish and just take a couple of days off work and do it. I just can’t be his punching bag any longer. My heart is irreversibley broken and I can’t take any more abuse from him. I have to think of my family. Am I being selfish? Should he be there?
2 Replies 2

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi TA, welcome

I understand your situation. I have my thoughts but it is based on your post and rarely do we get enough information to make judgememt.

Are you being selfish? I wouldnt put it that way. Id suggest you are not or have not, walked in your fathers shoes.

So lets walk in them.He had a very long marriage, lost his lifetime love, survived suicidal thoughts then found love. What a roller coaster.

His relationship with this lady and the extent that she committed to your family wasnt to your liking but really it was for them to be happy with their arrangement. This lady was interested in him not his extended family. This is common. For anyone to object to that is having expectations. Considering his suicidal mind not that long ago, the loss of his wife etc, he finding someone he could spoil and care for was life changing.

He needed your blessing i.e. " if you are happy dad, I'm happy"

From then on he was elusive and secretive. He might feel you dont care about his needs.

re: ". I thought maybe it would be good for us to say goodbye as a family".. this is expectation. What about what he wants.? Grief is an individual right, he sounds like it would be too painful.

I would take time off work to do the clean out. I would also do what I had to do to reverse any hurt I'd created. Its never too late.

You asked the question and I've answered it in a way that I feel has the best chance of you regaining the love of your dad.

Good luck. Its never too late.

Tony WK

Community Member

Hey TA, welcome to the BB forums 🙂

Wow, that’s a tough situation. My take would be, he spent 12mth grieving for your Mum. Then found the younger woman - sometimes when people are grieving, they have an urge to really feel alive, and to a certain extent “ignore” the loss (I haven’t expressed that very well, but I hope you understand the general idea). So, when he gets to the point where grieving might be coming to and end, they break up and he meets someone more “suitable”.

I suspect he got angry with you because he had a sense of guilt about that relationship with the younger woman, and didn’t know what to do with the guilt. So he lashed out verbally and has really hurt you. Now, he doesn’t know how to retreat or repair that damage.

You don’t say if you’re a son or a daughter, and where in the order of siblings you sit - oldest, middle, youngest? I get the sense that you’re a daughter - perhaps you remind him of your Mum?

You don’t strike me as being the least bit selfish. Could you organise a time to participate in packing up your Mum’s belongings as something that you do for yourself, with your sisters? I feel, sorting out your relationship with Dad may take some time, but you shouldn’t deny yourself the opportunity to pack those memories up and say goodbye. I’ve lost both my parents, and they were divorced. So I’ve packed up 2 home units, with my sister. It’s very soothing to look through the old family photos, the funny knick knacks that people choose to hang onto, stuff from when you were a child. It’s a very healing process.

Go and sort those memories out, let your father do what he will and sort your relationship with him out later - do this for yourself - and no, that’s not selfish, cheers M 🙂