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Feeling Anger and Jealousy Towards Spouse After Loss of Father


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I unexpectedly lost my beloved father two days ago. He had dealt with CHF since a massive heart attack six years ago, but seemed utterly unstoppable. We saw him through a handful of ER visits and hospital stays through the years as he struggled with bouts of edema, but he always came out the other end. This time, he just didn't make it. It was a swift, frightening and desperate end. Our family is immobilized and devastated. I was a "daddy's girl" in every conceivable way, and I really just feel like I have lost part of my identity. I don't know what I'm doing. Going through the motions, I guess.

I have a wonderfully loving husband, and we have a beautiful toddler, together. He's been great about keeping her occupied while I help my mother and sister navigate affairs. However, he has also been stopping by his parents' house and visiting with his family (we share a hometown, but live elsewhere) when he takes our child out. When he calls to check in, I can hear robust laughter and happy shouting, in the background.

I know this is ridiculous, but it makes me angry and hurt. I so want my daughter to be removed from the sadness, but I also feel very alone in my grief, in these moments. I care for my in-laws deeply, but they can be relatively insensitive, and have not reached out in any expected way (food, flowers, babysitting - it all seems irrelevant. I just want my dad back) despite living a mile from my mother, and being on very friendly terms. So, in my irrational state of being, I feel they are just seeing this an opportunity to have family fun, while ignoring the reality of my unspeakable pain. My husband kindly fields phone calls when we are preoccupied, but he assures others that we're "doing well" or "seem strong". Sure, maybe, but why am I finding myself overwhelmingly irritated, as if he's downplaying or glossing over what's really going on?

I'm jealous he still has his father. Angry that my daughter lost someone who lived and breathed for her, and meanwhile, is spending time with a grandfather who, while still a lovely man, has always been far less devoted. I am not naturally a jealous person; this is a foreign and alarming feeling.

Anyone else deal with similar feelings, in the beginning stages of grief? Will these thoughts pass? How do I communicate these seemingly unreasonable and immature concerns with my husband? Or do I? I don't like feeling this way.

Thank you & sincere condolences to all. This is not a fun club to join.

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I'm so sorry for your loss. I also lost my beloved father to CHF.  He also bounced back from other crises.  When he went to the hospital this last time, I did not expect that he wouldn't return.  He was 86 years old but I honestly felt he had at least three or four years left.  I watched him die for 36 hours straight. It was not a Hollywood death -- he was not able to speak or even acknowledge my presence during those last hours.  I also feel like most of me died with him and that I'm just going through the motions.

I'm probably more prone to envy than you are, because I've led a rather deprived life, having been a caregiver for many years, unmarried with no children.  I'm even envious of your good fortune to have a loving husband and a beautiful toddler, though I'm also happy for you.  If I envy someone it doesn't mean I want to take anything away from them.  And I'm sure that's how you feel, too.  If you had heard your husband's family weeping in the background over the phone, would you have felt better?  Well, it ain't going to happen.  That kind of grief is usually reserved for children and victims of horrible violence. 


The sad reality is that you feel alone, because you are alone in your grief.  We all are, unless we have friends or relatives who loved our late fathers as much as we did.  But that doesn't happen very often.   One child almost always loves a parent more than his or her siblings.  How much a person grieves depends on the quality of the relationship and the personality of the person. 


You can't expect your husband or his parents to miss your father the way you do.  Of course, if they knew you were on the phone, they should have curbed their laughter out of respect for your grief, but most people aren't that considerate.  When my father was dying in the hospital, unconscious in Comfort Care, I went home briefly to take a shower and change clothes.  In my absence, some cousins came to the hospital to visit my dad.  My half brother called me to let me know they were there.  I could hear them laughing in the background, as they were talking about something amusing, and it upset me very much.  My father was dying -- how dare they laugh in his presence?   I worried that my poor father would think they were laughing at him!  I told my brother that I didn't think it was right for them to be laughing while my father was dying. My brother didn't agree with me.  He said it might cheer dad up.  At this point, I don't know if my father could hear anything, because he was on a morphine drip to help ease his breathing, but they say that hearing is the last sense to go.  I don't think my cousins meant to be disrespectful, but I was very unhappy, because my father and I had talked about something similar which happened when my great uncle was dying.  My brother and my dad's brother were talking about their vacations at national parks right in front of my dying great uncle, who would never get to enjoy the beauty of nature again.  If they had to talk about all the fun my great uncle would be missing, they should have gone to the waiting room.  My father didn't approve of that, and neither did I, and then it happened to him!  I'm sure my brother was talking about his travels with my cousins in front of my dying father, just as he had done with my great uncle. 


You may be jealous that your husband still has his father, but I'll bet you wouldn't trade your father for his for all the tea in China!  Someday your husband's father will die and you'll wish he was still around laughing with his family.   And after the funeral, don't be surprised if your husband tells people that we're "doing well" or "seem strong".  Men like to feel like they have things under control.  I don't think I would say anything to your husband about how you're feeling, unless you want him to feel guilty for feeling happy.  It probably wouldn't sink in anyway, and you might feel even more angry.  There are many times I have asked my brother not to act a certain way with me and he still does.  If a person is insensitive, there's not much that can be done about it.  I don't think sensitivity is something that can be taught without aversion therapy via electric shocks.


The insensitivity of people is amazing.  One aunt by marriage attended my father's funeral but not the wake.  She said she couldn't come to the vigil, because she had to take her granddaughter to a makeup consultation.  I didn't need to know that finding out which season her granddaughter is was more important than praying for my father.  I hope everybody laughs and sings happy songs at her funeral. 


I don't like the way the world has changed.  Nowadays a funeral is a "celebration" instead of a time of mourning.  If we can't mourn at a funeral, then when IS the appropriate time?   Our society has an obsession with youth and fun and a dreadful fear of death and sorrow.  This is not healthy.  It was better when bereaved people poured ashes on themselves and tore their garments to show how they were feeling.  That helps people get through grief better.  "A stiff upper lip" is only good for when you're going into battle, but when the battle is over, that is the time to weep and show respect for the dead and for the bereaved. 


Even the clergy are getting on the party bandwagon at funerals.  The deacon who presided over my mother's wake was like a standup comedian.  I thought I was at a roast.  I told him I wanted the Rosary recited at the vigil, and he said, "We'll only recite one decade of the Rosary, because more than that puts everyone to sleep."  There just isn't a sense of reverence anymore.  Even my brother wanted to play upbeat music at our mother's funeral.  He said he didn't want it to be all doom and gloom.


After my father died, my brother asked me if I wanted to go to Europe with him, just six months later.  I felt envious that he could be all happy about his upcoming trip so soon after losing his mother and stepfather.  My parents died within two months of each other.  I have learned that I can't expect anyone to understand how I feel, except the good people on this forum.

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Hello jcpg, I am sorry for your loss first of all, its a really difficult emotion to go through, the loss of a parent. And about your feelings of anger and jealousy, I understand them.


However our circumstances are much different. I am 20, unmarried and no children. A child myself I think. And I lost mum almost a month ago. And I get angry and jealous when I looks at pictures of friends who are my age with selfies with their mum and dad. And they put a caption "best parents ever" -- I know they probably are not thinking when they post these images "Oh! Maybe there is someone out there who might feel this is sad because of a situation" why would someone think that. I know I wouldn't have if I did that.


But just seeing that makes me angry and jealous. Because I can't have that anymore. It's really hard. Everything about a mother and daughter makes me angry and jealous. And your feelings are understandable. I am a slightly jealous person, it was only with my parents when people got too close to them (like my friends and nieces and stuff) that was the only time I got jealous, but now its extended to seeing people with their mothers. Hearing someone say Mummy just sends me into a tailspin of anger and sadness.


Again, sorry for your loss, I wish I could say you would feel better, but as I am going through this journey I am learning you don't get to feel better, but you have a toddler and a husband to love and who will love you back. I wish you all the best.





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Hugs jcpg....I am so sorry for your loss.  I became super sensitive when I lost my parents.  That is a time when every feeling we could possibly have comes pouring out.  


The thing is, no-one, not a single person has a clue how it feels until they themselves have lost a parent.  And even then sometimes people don't get it because they didn't have the relationship that we may have had with a parent.  


Prior to losing my parents, when a friend or co-worker or relative lost a parent I would send a card of condolence.  I felt terrible for that person and my heart went out to them.  I was sincerely sorry for them but it wasn't until I lost my own parents that I really, truly knew and understood how those people felt.  We just have no way of knowing until we go through it ourselves.


So today, I totally get it when we feel others aren't being sensitive to our feelings.  They simply don't get it and I will feel for those people when they go through it themselves one day because I KNOW the pain they will feel.  


As far as envy/jealousy of others who still have their parents.  If there is anything to be envied, it would be others to envy me for the wonderful relationship that I've always had with my parents.  Sadly, many people don't have that.


You take care and know that we all understand and really do have a clue how you feel.


Cindy Jane 

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Thank each and every one of you for the kind words, condolences, and commiseration. I really appreciate the way in which people here can relate, even if our situations and circumstances somewhat differ. I'm so sorry for all of us.

There's nothing like losing a parent. I'm only on day five, and it still feels so immensely bizarre. My dad was retired and wasn't much of a traveler in recent years, but I'm all but convinced he's on a vacation out of town, or on a business trip. The reality that he's gone is just too unbelievable.

We had our toddler watched by my in-laws, yesterday, so we could return home, get more clothes, and do laundry for my mom before returning for the week. While gone, I received a photo text of her on my father-in-law's shoulders. It totally knocked the wind out of me. Knowing she'll never again do that with my dad is the absolutely most heartbreaking part of this.

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