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Im young with an old Dad - No idea who I am anymore


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Hi, Im really having a hard time and was wondering if you ever figure out who you are again?

Im 26 year old male but my Dad was 85, just 2 days ago. 

When I was younger I had it all going for me - or so it felt. I was a skater, and guitarist. I was popular, huge ego. I had so many friends and you could barely keep me in the house. I was all about having fun, having a good time. And everyone loved being around me because of it. - My Dad is similar.

But at 13-14 I think I started to grieve a lot. I had already felt like I peaked in life and I had earned the respect of my peer groups through skating, facing my fears etc etc. 

I then had a relationship. A few of my mates were shocked about the girl I was with. So was a girl I used to be friends with. I put it down to the fact that she was jelous, and she may or may not have been.  - Or she may have known what was right for me better then I did. 

Anyway we had 4 years together, but it felt like I just went backwards with every aspect of my life. This girl felt in someways perfect for me, and in others completely wrong. She was an artist. She had bipolar, but it was undiagnosed when I was with her, so you can imagine the nightmare I went through. Anyway, during the relationship i lost 2 uncles, my only grandparent to cancer. Then at 18-19 my ex left me. I don't know If I was the problem or her. Had I just changed during it and become weaker since my Dad got old? Was the relationship wrong to begin with? For years we felt like a power couple. Then here i am at 18 Just wanting to break out of everything and I think she felt the same. - Maybe I had an early mid life crisis as I did everything far faster then others my age, because of my dads age.

Anyway I kept on with college - doing graphic design. But Im really getting torn up inside. Trying to focus on studies, Dad still giving me lifts now and then, but realising how fucking old he is?! Reasing I don't fit anywhere. And not many people know me from before my Dad was old. 

At 20-21 After failing to get into uni (Sabotaging myself because I don't really want to be leaving my old parents behind). I go to the bathroom and there is blood in the toilet bowl. I confront my Dad about it, because I was already suffering so much anxiety seeing him get old anyway, and he tells me to go outside and sit on the bench. He comes out with a cup of tea for us both. And says, he has been passing urine in his blood. He doesn't know if this is the end for him, but if it is, he will have to approach it with a sense of humour. - Over the next few months he has tests etc done, and it turns out it was just prostitus and a bladder infection. He is on medication but he is fine. A few months later, my mum is now taken off in an ambulance in the middle of the night, with chest pains. Turns out she had a goul bladder, and a hiatus hernia. She is then in hospital getting goul stones out. Another worry. This is all going on whilst I am burning myself out working 3 nights a weeks and college 4 days a week. - The next thing I know the man who got me the job (delivery driver) Has died. He was around my dads age, maybe even younger, and was a neighbour/family friend for 20+ years. Another rock of a man gone. I take over his shifts at work, meaning I get weekends, - more money which is good, even if its sad he's gone. I went to his funeral but I don't think I ever really grieved. Not long after, His wife also passed. So I have now been at this delivery job for 3 years and need a change. I remember talking to my mum and Dad about it with my uncle here. He said something like 'So your just going to bum about'? And I was pretty pissed at him. Within a year, he had cancer. Within 4 months of him diagnosed he was also dead. I apply for 300 jobs and get 6 weeks temp work. Then my Car has to be scrapped. Im now burning out the rest of my savings playing poker, take aways, etc etc. Im hardly going out and know there is something off with me but don't know what exactly. Still holding on to dreams of being a guitarist. But then with my unemployment reality is starting to crack me. I haven't had sex since my ex because I didn't want to bring girls home anymore until I moved out. I left the band I was in - Squandering that opportunity, I didn't move out my hometown, if I really wanted to make It I should have. I have 0 social life. Not really fitting in with old friends who have been like family my whole life. Cant get a job in the graphics industry and I no longer feel creative. Im out of touch with myself on pretty much every level. I re decorate my room, It now feels like an office and has lost all sense of personality. I put a piece of MDF over my bedroom door which is covered in stickers and posters. I go down the skatepark and realise I dont want to be around half the people anymore, the people I ususally would fit in with. I feel like I have just blinked and become old. I have countless messages from mates asking where I have been, have I died? How am I? The truth? I have no fucking clue who I am anymore. 

Then what else? Oh my Dad collapsed whilst out with a walk with my mum, and another time with my step bro. Mum gets him to the doctors and it turns out he has diabeaties. Its a nightmare, seeing this once, strong, amazing man, disintegrate into old age. AND its conflicting. He wouldn't want me sitting at home depressed. But I dont want to leave because suddenly I appreciate him a whole lot more. I missed opportunities with 2 girls I was into in america- im british because I didn't want to take the leap of faith with Dad getting old. 

Im realising im fucking my life up by not getting on with it. But how can you do graphic design with this **** going on? How can I stay at a **** job, when its not enough to afford me to move out? 

The worst part of all this is, I left most my old mates behind for my ex. Who then left me. My Dad brought me up with so many values that nobody lives by today. I am also 26, but feel stuck between being an adult and a teenager. . Everytime I feel close to finding myself I feel back at square one. My world view has shattered on so many levels. 

I went through a stage of punching through doors, breaking phones, playstation controllers etc. - I guess this is the frustration part of grief. - frustrated of my loss of dreams, and dad becomming old. Its heartbreaking. I think I was in denial so long that I have just spend 15 years digging my life into a hole. 

2 days ago it was his birthday, and I heard my half bro say to him, '..... and thank you for all the times you gave me a lift to the job centre' - I almost balled my eyes out there and then. It was like he was saying goodbye. He only lived 3 miles away but doesn't see him often. There was always a bit of sibling rivalry I guess, as I was the golden child of the family. Yet thats another heartbreaking thing. I have photos of us when we were kids and I fucking loved him. It was only in my late teens he was jelous of my popularity. He was 9 years older but not only did I lose my virginity before him. I had the best girlfriend in town. I would get expensive presents at christmas when he would get a pair of socks. His mum also made my dad out to be a lot worse then he is to him, so my bro never got to know him as well as I did. 

I dont really know where Im going with this. - I could rant all day. But the thing is my life has fallen apart on every level it feels like. And the people I needed most, my friends, I pushed away, and never got too close with in the first place because my Dad was always my best mate and none of them will ever compare. I feel like Ive dealt with all of this the worst way possible, I had so much pride when I was younger, I didnt know how to open up about a thing. 

I feel like I have lost my personality, my ego, my passions, and ran myself into the ground on a downward spiral of burning bridges, and acting out of character with every aspect of my life. 

Women say open up etc. I have messages from another bros wife linking me videos on depression and its ok to be vulnerable. But its not. Im a man and she would not understand. Once your vulnerable as a man its like giving up every aspect of your power. Girls dont respect that, guys dont respect that and you become a spectator in the game of life. 

I really don't know who I am anymore. My dad has such a huge sense of humour, character, integrity, and I am realsing how much I am losing once he is gone. He was an athlete and used to run in RAF olympic championships, taught me how to fix cars, everything, was a manager in the social services, a stock controller for volkswagen. And here I am unable to get a fucking job. 

I feel like I have ruined my life, my legacy, and done life all wrong. 

Yesterday my auntie called, - She was an amazing woman as well. But she was in hospital the other week as well. Turns out she had 4 loads of blood transfusions - she has gone down to 10 stone in weight (She used to weigh a lot more). Had a camera down her throat, and she has to go in next week to have one up her ass as well. She is still strong in herself and sounds positive whilst telling me all of this. I feel so fucking numb that if she has cancer and dies it probably wont affect me much. She is a wonderful woman. I am just beyond lost right now and would do anything to feel like my fucking self for 1 day. I feel weak, vulnerable, shell of myself. And I wish I just moved out at 18 and got on with my life. Because I have spent so long in my head I feel I have destroyed myself.

Has anyone been at this stage and come out the other side? 

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Dear D26,

I'm so sorry to hear how you are struggling. I know it is overwhelming and there is a lot on your shoulder. It is different when a parent is a lot older. I too had an older dad and felt very responsible for him. I too felt like I could not leave or start my own life. I know everyone is different but in the end we all have to try and make the best decisions we can to build a future for ourselves.

We all go through so many ups and downs in life. It's a terrible cliché but true. When we are down we can't see the other side, but there is one. I don't know if you feel like it, but maybe consider talking to a family therapist, social worker, career counsellor or joining a support group in the community. Lean on a trusted friend or family member for additional supports.

Having an elderly dad is hard, but he is also a treasure.  Treasure your time with him. Love him. Be with him as much as you can. But also take baby steps towards building your own life.

It takes a lot of work and time sometimes to figure out what we truly want. A person can be any age really and come across this struggle. I hear of people in their 70s have these questions too.

I hope seeing a doctor or talking to a social worker or therapist will help you connect to some resources in the community or through church that will help.

Take care of yourself the best you can. Always remember there is another side. Always. We just have to choose to take steps to get there.

Thinking of you.


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