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I joined this forum, purely as a last resort, I've tried to cope for the past 3 years and I just don't think I can keep it all in any longer. First and foremost, thanks for taking the time to read, if you have the time to respond, then thanks twofold.

I just don't know which way to turn anymore.

I'll start, not at the beginning, but where I think the unresolved issues began.

When I was growing up, I quickly learned the word, "Divorce", my mum and dad used to use it frequently. Many times my two sisters and I would help mum to repack the suitcase she'd packed prior to leaving my dad, who emptied it, telling mum not to be so silly. Once, when mum managed to get as far as my aunt's house, my dad told us 3 girls it was our fault she'd left, that we hadn't helped clean the house enough, that if we scrubbed the kitchen floor she would come back. We knelt down with brushes and a bucket of water and began scrubbing. That afternoon I went looking for my mum, I don't know how old I was, I only know I wanted my mum back.

I was the youngest of the girls, my brother is 5 years younger than me, I don't think he saw my dad as anything other than a hero as he was growing up as he was 'a boy, he doesn't do housework'.

I tried my best throughout infant and junior school, placing best in my class in each year. I always remember my dad either being at work or the pub, therefore never seeing my school reports. I knew how hard he worked to pay for the holidays abroad and the good house we lived in so I could live with that.

This is about the time we started to see less of dad, we got used to answering the phone and asking who was at the other end, if it was one of his friends from the pub we'd know he must still be at work, if it was someone from work we'd know he was the pub.

I'll never forget running down the hill across from our house though, I was 11 years old, and I'd placed in the highest 4 pupils in the whole year in the final year of junior school, I had the school report in my hand. (The comprehensive system started when I left junior school so parents had a choice to pay for an 11+ test, but only if they could afford grammar school fees, my parents opted out of this so therefore I was put in the school closest to my home, away from my sisters in grammar school). Anyway, my dad was walking down the road towards the pub, I ran like hell to get to the bottom of the hill so I could show him what I'd achieved. There is no doubt in my head today that he heard me, but chose to continue on his journey to the pub at the bottom of the road.

I walked in the house and handed the report to my mum, who congratulated me.

I went to the new comprehensive school and the fact that my older sisters were at grammar school meant I was a sitting target for the girls who hated them for it. I lasted two and a half years before my mum finally decided enough was enough and arranged for me to attend another local high school.

That's when I discovered drinking, smoking, truanting. That was until the dreaded day I picked up my GCSE results. I knew I'd cocked up. Yet again I'd failed to please.. but at least this time I'd had fun failing!

I started a Youth Training Scheme program upon leaving school and at 17 years old met, what I thought was, my Prince Charming, he seemed to like me, which was a big achievement in my eyes!

Dad always expressed his discontent about the age gap of 15 yrs, he gave me the choice to stay at home, or leave and live with my new man.

Being the stubborn sod I was back then, I defied him and went to live with my new man.

Dad was hurt, I didn't see that, I saw my dad no longer loved me because I had a different opinion to him. He walked past me in the street, wouldn't look in my direction, didn't want to know me, I was an embarrassment to him.

Unfortunately it made me more estranged from my mum, sisters and brother. I took to drinking, after all, that's what my new man liked to do every weekend.. all weekend, so I joined him, his friends and their girlfriends, thought it cool I could outlast men drinking pints.

I didn't tell my family about the violence until it really was the last resort, until I desperately needed them. I'm talking now about running up the road in a t-shirt with blackened eyes and my nose bleeding, to a payphone, phoning my mum's friend's house, who I knew my sister was babysitting for, and asking her to pick me up. I went home a few times then, but each time, my dad never saw the full extent of what I was going through and I was always made to feel that I had let him down.

I kept going back to my 'Prince Charming', as I felt accepted there, yes, I may have been told I was nothing, but at least I knew where I stood in the grand scheme of things.I had my first born girl when I was 20. I had my second born at 24.

By this time I'd gotten used to being kicked, hit, punched or generally being a target for nasty comments, but when I saw my 5 yr old pleading with her daddy to stop kicking mummy in the head I realised I couldn't be responsible for ruining her life, I phoned the police and got my daughters and I out of that situation for good.

To cut a very long story short, I set up home for my daughters and I did my best for them with what I had.

My dad continued being friends with anyone he came across at the pub, one of those people was my daughters' dad, my 'Prince Charming'. I felt like I'd been kicked in the teeth, that a friendship at the pub was worth so much more to my dad than his daughter and grandaughters.

I accepted this and stepped back from family involvement, didn't allow myself to get too close to him anymore.

I met the man I wish I'd met at 17. We married and I had another daughter. My dad paid for the wedding, the dress, the flowers, food, everything. Throughout the day I remained distant, until I stood up and asked dad for the honour of a dance. I am so glad I did, it is the closest we have ever been, the closest we ever were.

I felt closer to my dad after the wedding, he seemed to realise I was happy, because I was being cared for. Just as we were beginning our journey into father/daughter territory he began to complain of chest pains. He held out for 2 weeks, then went to A&E, nothing could be diagnosed until a week later, then we were told it was secondary cancer of the liver, it was too late, there was nothing to be done but wait.

My sisters and brother told me that we should say what needed to be said to him, but how could I put what I wanted to say to him into a sentence within a day? I ended up walking into his room at the hospital and blurting out, "I'm sorry for being such a pain, but I've loved you every minute", He nodded and said, "I already know". He couldn't get many words out by this point.

Within a week he had died, the most painful thing I have ever seen, animals are shown more compassion.

It has been my mission since he died to make him proud, I have since gained a job in childcare, special needs, a level 2 and 3 qualification and am about to start my BA honours degree to become a primary school teacher. I just want to make a difference to somebody, even if it's just one child.

The problem is, when dad died the family was around him, we promised we would stick together, since then, I have been left out of everything, barbeques, christmas celebrations, you name it, I'm not invited, I don't hear about it until after the event. I try my best to stick by my family and know they are grieving also, but feel so alone in my grief. xx

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cant move on

Hi Geena. I'm replying not because I can totally relate, but because I'm really glad you reconciled with your dad before he passed at least giving a bit more time with him, but I know it wasn't enough. Something I'd like to have done but never did. I come from a large family yet we never seem to talk. I give it to the fact that when we grew up it was every kid for themselves, sort of like an ongoing exercise in survival. You're not alone here. Maybe through talking with me and others here you can figure out what's happening between you and the rest of your family. As I said my family is a large group of individuals and are gradually reducing in numbers, mostly through liver disease, and really hate to see someone else with a wedge between them and their family.

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