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alpha313

Loss of father, loneliness, and isolation

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alpha313   

 

       My name is Alpha, and I am 19. It has been ten months since my dad's death from stage 4 lung cancer. 

I'm not sure where to start because it's a rather long story.. but I'll start off by saying that I didn't exactly have the greatest relationship with my father. 

He had always been withdrawn from my mother and I. He never really showed much of himself to me. My mother did most of the raising and so I'm more connected to her. He had emotionally hurt my mother a lot during my earlier teens- around the time when I was starting to think for myself, and starting to realize how our family truly was and still is (at least my dad's family). Anyways.. there had been a lot of passive aggressiveness that was displayed by my dad towards my mom, and ultimately destroyed my view of him, while everyone else around him- friends and family were oblivious and completely clueless about. 

It was hard.... it still is hard. It still tears me up inside. It's like he had died twice. Once by extreme lack of interaction and bonding, and twice by an excruciating, long lasting death caused by some bad cells in his body that decided to make the last two years of having him more of a sad, depressing hell. Watching my dad being terminally ill made me feel just as bad mentally and emotionally.. except without all the pain of physical aspects that my dad had to endure. Those last two years he had been sick--maybe even for three years if you count his constant nightly alcoholism-- had been the main time I actually got to connect with him. His personality grew softer, he wrote to me in holiday cards to talk and confide in him more, he wanted to take me out for a smoothie more often, just out to certain places. Although he didn't completely change, I missed that part of him I never got to have. It hurts so badly writing this.. because right now I don't have that chance to have a new life with him anymore. He is in a plastic bag.. in a cardboard box.. and he is simply just not in his solid human form anymore. He's not here. He's not here.... he is not here.. I watched him go through so much physical.. mental.. emotional pain.. and for a long time then he had been a prisoner in his own mind. I realize now that that's what he and I had in common. We're stuck in our heads, depressed. 

 

I had been depressed before he got sick. So it had been long overdo to see a therapist, which I have been seeing her for a couple months now. She's really sweet, and trying to help me get through this, and helping me trying to contact people more.. which I've been failing at. 

I've been an isolationist during most of my teen years. My education is unfinished and I have not been going to school or been in a program for awhile now. I don't have friends and I don't feel incredibly close to my family other than my mother, who has been my whole world. It's difficult on both of us since we are each other's main communication. I feel more intimidated by the outside world now than I had been just a few years ago. The whole ordeal that had been the last two years doubled down on this feeling of the worthlessness of my existence, and the fear of communicating with other people, or more rather initiating the communication. I don't really have problems when people invite me to do something but more so me reaching out to my family and whoever else that offered their companionship to me. I mean.. my life is a dumpster fire and I don't have anything good to say. I just feel as if everyone else already has their friends, has their family, and I'm just a ghost observing all of it. I don't belong anywhere and yet at the same time I know my current place and state of mind is a problem. It's exactly why I'm seeing a therapist about this besides my grief. I just.. don't feel like I'm a part of anyone's life unless they beckon to me. I know I need and want people, but I don't really trust anyone and my relationships with others feels superficial and shallow. I want something more and yet all friendships and relationships have to start somewhere on a lower tier of closeness. Maybe I'm not ready. I'm not even sure of anything anymore. Things are just lonely and I'm having a pessimistic view on people and the world in general. 

I don't know if anyone really understands this situation. I didn't have the normal life of a teenager like I should of had and the person I lost had been horrible until he grew sweeter when he was dying.

 

I'm lost.

 

 

 

 

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reader   

Dear Alpha,

I'm so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I know you are going through a lot. Its not easy being a teenager and its never easy to deal with pain and sorrow. During this difficult time please do not give up hope. I'm glad you are talking to therapist about your grief. I know its hard to reach out, but try to take baby steps. I have always been shy and awkward. I too waited for people to invite me or include me in their life. But since my dad's passing, I realized, I needed to take some steps as well. Its never easy to change our mindset, but I try take baby steps.

In my own my grief, I have tried counselling, joining a support group, reading different articles, books and websites. I find these websites helpful in understanding my loss. What's Your Grief and the Grief Healing Blog.

Others have gently suggested to me to take up volunteering, find a MeetUp group, taking a class that might interest me. Even watching a movie or listening to some music to lift my mood. 7 months later I still get grief attacks.

Losing a parent no matter what our age and circumstance is one the hardest moments in life. Be kind and gentle with yourself. Give yourself a chance.

Take care and please let us know how you are doing. Sending you all my thoughts and prayers.

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Dear Alpha-

If you like journaling this can be an excellent place for release to help you get out your thoughts and connect with others even if it is on a small level.  In some ways I can relate to you regarding your father not being as close to you as you would have liked for him to be, then he's gone.  I admire you for reaching out here on this forum. As I read your post you sound very self-aware which I think is very good, you acknowledge where you would like to make improvements and you are going to see a therapist.  At first reaching out to include others in your life can be a challenge but when you do you will find that it can be rewarding.  Think of what some of your interest are and you may decide to join a local group that has similar interests as you.  When you are around people that share a common positive interest you may find it easier to connect to them, building quality friendships takes time but keep at it.  

In dealing with my own grief it was suggested to me to put together a "tool kit for my emotions" for when the black cloud of depression starts to loom.  Each person deals with their grief differently but in this tool box I have things that help me lift my mood like a kind letter from someone, a favorite set of songs, pictures and or paintings, positive affirmations anything that can help to get me back into a positive mind set. Your therapist probably has additional suggestions. Also when you are ready trying something brand new getting you outside of your comfort zone you might discover something new about yourself that can help you cope with your grief.

Please let us know how you are doing.  

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alpha313   
On 6/5/2017 at 2:44 PM, reader said:

Dear Alpha,

I'm so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I know you are going through a lot. Its not easy being a teenager and its never easy to deal with pain and sorrow. During this difficult time please do not give up hope. I'm glad you are talking to therapist about your grief. I know its hard to reach out, but try to take baby steps. I have always been shy and awkward. I too waited for people to invite me or include me in their life. But since my dad's passing, I realized, I needed to take some steps as well. Its never easy to change our mindset, but I try take baby steps.

In my own my grief, I have tried counselling, joining a support group, reading different articles, books and websites. I find these websites helpful in understanding my loss. What's Your Grief and the Grief Healing Blog.

Others have gently suggested to me to take up volunteering, find a MeetUp group, taking a class that might interest me. Even watching a movie or listening to some music to lift my mood. 7 months later I still get grief attacks.

Losing a parent no matter what our age and circumstance is one the hardest moments in life. Be kind and gentle with yourself. Give yourself a chance.

Take care and please let us know how you are doing. Sending you all my thoughts and prayers.

Thank you.. I often feel reluctant to contact others because, most of the time. I feel like they don't understand, especially my grandmother- who told me to "replace the bad things with the one good thought/memory of them" and I don't think that's how it works at all. Sometimes there's too much bad versus good. Most of my dad's family and friends, who are nice people, don't understand that. His friends, that have often offered themselves to us, don't get that, because they only saw my dad's mask. The surface level of his personality. They don't know what it was like to be his daughter or wife behind closed doors. I know that if I say anything negative or slightly odd or offensive about my dad in their view of things, they wouldn't believe me or understand it, and outcast me for it. He isolated us so much to where my mother and I would look like the bad guys for having any sort of negative experience with him. So instead I post this here.. where I can get it off my chest.. to where somebody could understand this circumstance. I don't believe somebody's death just automatically takes away all the awful behavior, emotional abuse or whatever else they did away. It doesn't give them any sort of halo, to me. They just leave you feeling robbed of love and kindness and support. Everyone got to experience my dad's intelligence, charm, and kindness first hand but as his daughter, I only got his back side. I only got to see the straight face and sullenness he gave out, and absence, more so. His lack of appearance as a father. 

 

Despite this rant.. I am getting by. I try and do my art, see my therapist and reach out little by little. It's difficult but I'm realizing that I do need people and that I can't try and hide from everyone all the time, no matter how ashamed I may feel about my life, or misunderstood I feel about my dad. I just sometimes wish my family would respect and acknowledge my experiences instead of trying to minimize them, but I guess that's just something I can't really share with them. I feel limited when it comes to people I can be real with, people I can feel comfortable about being myself around, and being truthful to. 

 

I miss the part of my dad I never got to have, I don't miss how he actually was.

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reader   

Dear Alpha,

I hear you. I really do. I'm sorry for the hurt you feel. Because you are right, everyone has two sides. And its true people don't want to hear about the other side. I know you feel like you can't talk freely to the people in your life sometimes and that is very common. I'm going through that right now too. Family, friends, colleagues people don't know how to deal with grief. It seems strange to say but some people really don't have compassion, empathy or sympathy for anyone but themselves. And like you said you feel like your feelings are being minimized. I want that too. The validation and acknowledgment. But my own family doesn't know how to give that, so I have to find support elsewhere. Its hard.

Please continue post here. We will support you the best we can. I'm glad you are reaching out. And you are right, we all need people. Baby steps. There are good people out there. I'm sure you will find the right group to connect with. It does take time but don't give up hope. I force myself to do things even though I rather hide. Even if it means I go to a movie alone. I just need to get out and keep practicing until it feels more normal.

Just know all your feelings are natural and normal. And we all go through these questions.

Take care of yourself. Thinking of you.

 

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alpha313   

Yeah, it's very difficult. I'm glad someone understands. It makes me so angry sometimes. Just the way my grandmother treated my mom for trying to do her best to take care of my dad, like she wasn't doing something right or questioning why she would go to the hospital late at night to bring something my dad wanted or needed. She has pissed me off greatly, especially when my mom was kicking herself around the block to do everything she could for my dad, my grandmother was ugly about it. Honestly, I hated her then. I was never close to her to begin with and those last two years of my dad being sick made my feelings for her worse. Now, I'm simply confused. I've been spending time with her sometimes, and I would get a soft spot for her.. but I'll never forget how she was then. Even now I can tell she's not maternal at all. She hates animals and isn't loving towards her small grandchildren at all. She's a cold fish. I can't be around that. It's too hard. 

Anyways I'm sorry for the tangent. I have a lot of anger build up that I'm not allowed to show. Thank you Reader and Paradise garden for being here for me when it seems like only my mom and I are suffering from this. I've always known there are other people out there that feel the same way, its just that over time, when you're alone and trapped in your head that it feels like you're the only one. It's nice that I'm getting a break from that now.

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reader   

I hear you Alpha. I really do. Its normal to have anger about what happened. Please continue to express yourself here. I'm sorry to hear how your grandmother's behaviour was upsetting to you and your dear mom. It sounds like your mom did so much and this certainly wasn't easy on her. I can't say for sure why your grandmother behaved that way. Please do what you feel is best during this difficult time.

I have the same struggle and I am twice your age. A counselor suggested writing a letter and some friends have encouraged me to journal. I normally bottle up my feelings,  it was the way I grew up. But I am learning to try and be more open.

Don't worry about going off in a 100 different tangents, we are here for you.

Thinking of you and your mom. Take care.

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