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Loss causing marital problems


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I just typed what felt like a short novel on here and lost it. Going to try and type it all again!

My father passed away due to cancer this past August. It was expected (he was in hospice) but he went quickly (I had phoned him an hour before and everything was fine) and well before we thought he would. In a way it was a relief as he avoided the worst of the suffering. His illness and death has put a great strain on my marriage (for me at least) and I just wanted to share my story to see if anyone else has experienced something similar.

My father was an alcoholic. He was in recovery throughout my youth but went astray again after my mom died 16 years ago. He was a functioning alcoholic but he did spent most evenings at the bar. My dad and I would always debate politics, sports, etc...but it was just debate. Occasionally we would argue more and he would usually storm out of the house but an apology was never more than a day away. At some point my wife decided that she had enough of the conflict between my dad and I and she did not want him coming around anymore. This came after years where she was frosty towards him. Once she cut off his visits he had very little contact with my daughters. After the birth of my second girl, he did not see them for about 16 months. My wife stated he needed to go to alcoholics anonymous and go into recovery again before he could see the girls. I just wanted to take the girls and him to a neutral location (park, restaurant, etc...) to spend some time but even that was not allowed. My relationship with him deteriorated to the point where we didn't talk. I disagreed vehemently with my wife but relented to her as I didn't want to lose my marriage, though thoughts of divorce just so my dad could see my girls entered my head more and more once he received his cancer diagnosis.

He found out he had cancer in early 2015 and went into chemo treatment, quitting drinking at the same time. Still my wife would not allow him into our lives at all until he went to treatment. It took me inviting him to one of our marriage counseling sessions in late 2015 to break the ice. Then he was allowed to spend the holidays with us for which I was happy but still extremely resentful towards my wife. I never got an acknowledgement of the pain and hurt she caused me....she blamed everything on my father. I know he was a very imperfect person but I felt betrayed at the way she handled it. Her parents were allowed unfettered access to my kids while my dad had none. My wife and her family also showed very little concern for his health and cancer diagnosis.

Fast forward a few months to Mother's Day 2016. My dad decided on that day to stop treatment and let the cancer take its course as the 2nd round of chemo was killing him faster than the cancer. We had been out for a mother's day breakfast and I got a call from him afterwards explaining his decision to me. I decided at that moment to head to the hospital and see him. My wife was livid that I was taking the time to see my dad on mother's day and went as far to say he was intentionally ruining her day. On top of everything with my dad, she paid no attention to the fact that I had lost my mother 15 years earlier. To be honest, a part of me stopped caring about my marriage at that point.

My father deteriorated at nursing home and hospice. My wife was more understanding in these times but I still didn't ever feel like she cared about my father. My father and I mended our fences and he got to see the girls some. To the day he died he was still hurt and resentful that my wife had denied him so much time with his granddaughters. After he died my wife insisted we keep our scheduled marriage counseling session the day after. Instead of getting support the session was all about how i am cold to her and do not treat her right. I was appalled that she was not even giving me proper space and time to grieve before we resumed working through our issues.  A few weeks later during an argument I let it slip that I didn't feel she cared that my dad had passed. Her response was that she cared as much for his death as she did for anyone else's. I never got an apology for that (or much of anything) and it was another damaging episode. She is a mental health worker and I often feel that her and our therapist collude against me (I think he is intimidated by her). Instead of ever dealing with her treatment of my dad, they both labeled me as a child of an alcoholic and gave me some books to read. Sure, a lot of it applied to me but I still resented my wife. I can't bring it up anymore as I am told by her to move on as it is over.

I'm not without my problems either. I've started on some anti-depressent meds in recent months and its helped. My wife found pornography on my computer a few years back and hasn't trusted me since. She thinks I am an adulterer and doesn't trust me even though I've never come close to cheating and have gone to great lengths to rectify the situation. I had a bad temper (so does she) but I've managed to curb it over the years (now she gets mad because I remain so calm during our arguments!). So I'm not giving myself a break at all...I am flawed as well. I just cannot get past my resentment for her over the way she treated me and my father. And the fact that she has never apologized for any of it and continues to this day to blame everything on my father makes it that much worse. He was a flawed man but also a deeply caring man and it broke his heart (and mine, too) that he didn't see his granddaughters for so long.

This was probably entirely too long but I had to get it off my chest and vent to see if this resonates with someone. I vented to a friend months ago but it somehow got back to her and there was hell to pay. I may be the one who is completely unreasonable here, too.

Anyways, if you have read this far, thank you.


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Dear Carter,

My deepest condolences on the passing of your father. I know you've been through a lot. Glad you were able to write and express everything openly. During these difficult times its hard to know what to do.

I hope you are able to access some community resources. Maybe see a grief counsellor or attend a support group with like minded folks, who can help you through this difficult time.


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