Grieving the Difficult Relationship

Originally posted in March 2010.

Most grief books help you mourn the loss of a loved one, how to cope with yearning, how to adapt to the emptiness following the death of someone so significant in your life that the mere thought of living without them feels incredibly overwhelming and incapacitating. But, where are the resources for those who had a conflicted relationship? Where is the book on “Things I Really Wanted to Say, But Couldn’t, During the Eulogy”? There are very few, if any.

Not every relationship is that smooth or free of conflict. Many people have mixed feelings about the person that they lost.  Many children have been repeatedly disappointed by their parents or caregivers in more ways than they can count.

It is human to feel ambivalent. The people that we lose often had very human problems – addictions, incarceration, gambling, infidelity. These problems are real and are prevalent, yet the unwritten rule of grief is “You don’t speak ill of the dead.”

However, if you can’t speak about it, where does it go?  The body remembers everything. Consequently, any unfinished anger or unresolved issues remain with the living, which often impede the natural healing. Excessive amounts of time and energy are spent trying to redo conversations once had,  create the statements that were never voiced, or imagine reactions never received. These are heavy bricks to carry for endless days, months, or even years.

Adults have extreme difficulty with guilt for even having the “ambivalent” feelings. Children have an even tougher time with them as it is confusing to have two directly opposing feelings towards a person that was significant in their lives.

None of us do very well with incongruence. So our inclination is to swallow it, hide it away, and hope that it will one day disappear on its own.

Allow yourself the opportunity to name and label these differing emotions. Take inventory of the entire relationship. Help children have a chance to talk. Ask what they miss about the person, also ask what they don’t miss. Permission to have these mixed feelings is crucial. There are no perfect relationships.

Unfortunately, conflicted relationships can often leave much private pain in its wake following a death.  It can be more challenging to grieve, since there is little room/sanctioning to discuss the not-so-pleasant memories of the time you had with your family member.

Invite the feelings about conflicted emotions, invite discussions with others about them.  For, it is the unsaid stories that do the most damage. It truly is ok to love someone but still be angry at them.  It is ok to love someone but not like (or even hate) their choices or decisions. You are not wrong to feel conflicted.

Photo Credit.

98 Comments:

  1. Bill said on February 16, 2010 at 1:24 pm ... #

    Very, very helpful! My mom struggled with this as dad, though a wonderful person, often was an embarrassment when when he drank too much. Fortunately we as a family are able to talk about the wonderful things about dad as well as those times when… Well.

  2. sharon said on February 16, 2010 at 9:15 pm ... #

    I never thought I would see the words describing my grief. My marriage of 25 years was coming to an end because of addictions when my husband passed away one week before the divorce. I have been hit with so many emotions and a large whole in my life that I filled with good memories but I keep forgetting about the pain and anger and that is keeping me from moving on.

  3. Margaret hannon-Gleeson said on February 22, 2010 at 11:42 am ... #

    hi there…such a fantastic idea…I could hardly explain to someone ..how unfinished business…takes me back to my marriage and the affair my husband had shortly before he died…we were trying to make a go of things when he learned about the cancer and over and over again I think of all the hurtful things he said to be about my appearance etc ..when he was having the secret affair and I didnt know what was wrong..I think of these things more than his death…strange..

  4. Jennifer said on March 8, 2010 at 6:29 pm ... #

    How wonderful to give myself permission to even remember the bad times. My husband and I were about to seperate when we found out that he had stage IV cancer. I stuck by him and never left his side as he died 8 weeks after diagnosis. My best friend said this to me when I was thinking about starting dating and felt terribly guilty…”It’s your life and you deserve to live it..he is dead and that was a situation that had untold issues attached to it. It was too complicated for most to understand but he was gone long before he died. You have a life to live…now go LIVE it!” It was the best thing anyone could have said to me!

  5. Jen said on March 9, 2010 at 11:53 pm ... #

    Wow! So well said! I now feel like someone “get’s it”. My ex-husband died by suicide 9 month ago. Relief was one of the first emotions I felt. In more recent years, our relationship had been a roller coaster of conflict and challenges, to say the least. That said, he had been the love of my life long before all that. I have been blessed with two wonderfully bright young boys. We have a lifetime of discussions about their dad ahead.

  6. christina said on June 10, 2010 at 3:58 pm ... #

    I had separated from my husband and had moved to my own place the day he died from alcohol and pill abuse. We had agreed to be good parents to our 6-year-old daughter, eventhough we wouldn’t be together anymore. Just when I felt like my life was going to get better, he died, and everything fell apart again. The guilt that I felt (and still feel) was overwealming. Both his and my family blamed my for leaving him and believed that it lead to him dying. This happened 8 months ago. I don’t feel like I have let my daughter grieve like she should, and that’s why I’ve been doing some research on websites like this. Thank you.

  7. Beth said on June 30, 2010 at 6:41 pm ... #

    Thank you so much for this article. In December of 2009 my husband of 24 years and I divorced. In January he took his life. I have emotions that are all over the board. I have a hard time defining who I am and what role I play. I would love to go to a support group I just don’t know what for. I no longer have typical “divorce” issues but I’m not a widow. Our children seem to be very slowly healing and I seem to have just started grieving.

  8. Anonymous said on July 13, 2010 at 8:09 pm ... #

    THANK YOU! My husband of 7 1/2 years took his own life as he and I were having marital problems and were separated. He was not a good husband and I have learned so many secrets/lies about him since his death. I struggle with helping my children have happy thoughts with him when I remember the real truth behind those memories and what was really going on!

  9. Monica said on July 29, 2010 at 9:48 am ... #

    In August of 09 my husband of 20 years and I divorced. He suffered alcohol addiction. In May 2010 I found him dead of alcohol poisoning. In July 2010 my mother passed away after a long illness. I am just swallowed up in grief. Grieving for two different people, two different ways. This has helped me understand some of my feelings about my ex. I wish I could find a support group for grieving for exs

  10. Kristi said on August 15, 2010 at 11:44 pm ... #

    I feel so blessed to have found this site, the article and, mostly, the comments everyone shared. My story is very similiar to the ones listed above involving an alcoholic, abusive husband who took his own life after I finally took a stand to protect myself and our three young children and filed for divorce after 12 years of marriage. It is beyond comforting to know that I am not the only widow dealing with these conflicting issues. His family and friends blame me and do not think I am capable of grieving because I was the one who filed for divorce. So happy to have found this site and the useful information it contains!

  11. Sheryl Dowling said on October 14, 2010 at 2:24 pm ... #

    My husband died suddenly on Thanksgiving night almost 5 years ago. We were seperated at the time and I was in the process of seeking counsel for a divorce. I am still conficted with my feelings. My feelings are still trapped because I am not sure if I am to mourn as his widow, the mother of his child or what. I still have so much sadness and conflict. So much was unresolved. I also feel guilt because out last interaction was so distant. Even when my daugher, who is 9 years old now, cries for him, I no longer feel connected to what she is going through. It was nice to see an article that let me know that what I was feeling wasnt’ something I should be ashamed of and what a relief to find an outlet to share my feeling without fear of judgement…

  12. Cathy said on June 30, 2011 at 7:56 pm ... #

    My husband and I have been married 23 yrs, separated back in Feb. He was diagnosed a year prior with ALS and seemed to want to go out and begin a new life for himself in his final days. Our marriage was never good, he was very controlling and very cold natured, etc so I wasn’t devastated by him leaving, other than the financial impact. He is now at the end of his illness and in a coma. I have so many emotions going on right now… anger, bitterness, sadness, emptiness, etc. He said and did so many hurtful things over the years and I find it’s easier to get through this by holding onto my anger yet everyone is telling me that I need to let it go. I’m so confused!! Thank you so much for this article. It helps to know that I am not alone in these feelings.

  13. Eileen said on September 1, 2011 at 5:29 pm ... #

    Thank you for writing this article. My father successfully completed suicide in 1994, the day after my mother’s divorce from him was final. He psychologically abused us for 27 years. I barely remember a kind word from him after the age of five. My mother doesn’t really know why she stayed married to him for so long. Neither of us was talking to him the last few months of his life as he had an unprecedented manic episode and began blowing through hundreds of thousands of dollars. He gave most of it away to strangers. Protecting her financial security is what made my mother finally divorce my father. We felt mostly relief after he died. That is still the prevailing sentiment for both of us. I also had very real and scary nightmares for about 7 years after his suicide in which he was very much alive and demanding his money back that I ended up inheriting from his estate. I had to learn lucid dreaming in order to guide the dreams to less scary endings. My mother seems to believe she and I are both “stuck” since his suicide. I don’t know that his suicide is entirely responsible for my being stuck as I experienced a devastating breakup in 1998 and feel that had a more profound impact on me. But I am willing to explore the fact that I may need to grieve for the man despite being glad he is gone. I’d like to go to a support group, but I feel my sentiments would be perceived as insensitive and inappropriate by those suffering in a more traditional manner. Any suggestions anyone?

  14. Jill F said on September 13, 2011 at 5:18 pm ... #

    Keep in mind that earlier losses can get triggered by more current ones…especially
    any that did not get to be fully processed.
    There are so many layers to the death of your
    father…and it is exceptional that you can
    give voice to the ambivalence about that relationship. There are several potential groups
    that you could pursue that would give you
    validation and permission to articulate the many ways you experienced disappointments. One
    group may be an actual suicide survivors group
    if there are any in your geographic location.
    Another resource might be groups conducted by
    NAMI – the National Advocacy Organization for
    the mentally ill. In addition, reading
    about conflicted relationships such as
    Ambiguous Loss by Pauline Boss, Fatherless Women, Unattended Sorrow and The Five Most Important Things by
    Ira Byock might help facilitate some more of the work that you clearly have already been doing for quite some time. Your sentiments
    have merit and worth. Make sure you get a place
    to say them aloud or to put them in writing…
    They are much to heavy to carry alone.

  15. Vicki Scott said on November 5, 2011 at 7:07 pm ... #

    My husband of 29 years died of cancer on August 22, 2011. He wasn’t all bad, but I can’t think of any thing good to say. I “talk” to him and let him know how angry I feel. Four days after his death I found pictures (that had been locked in a briefcase) of him in an embrace with a mutual friend and another woman and he was so happy and they were so nude. I’m not one to hold on to lots of things, but after that discovery the few sentimental items laid aside went to the curb. I miss him. The myriad of emotions are tiresome and the memory banks are working overtime as they do with everyone going through the loss of their loved one. I am not glad he is gone but I have hope now amidst the grief and sorting through all the negativity he projected. So glad I found this site. Thank you and I wish everyone resolution during their time of grief.

  16. candy roberts said on December 29, 2011 at 12:01 am ... #

    My exhusband passed away september 2010. He was diabetic and threatened suicide the day before he passed. He was an uncontrollable diabetic. When he took the pills he knew what he was doing. Medical Examiner ruled out suicide. He had left behind a note speaking of 3 year old son and how he sat not knowing if he would ever see him again. That there was a hole in his heart. To let our son know he waited in life for him. I was the evil person and it was my fault he was gone according to his family. I wasnt allowed to attend the funeral.i had to stay back and my son traveled 4 hrs away to his dads funeral. I was hurting and confused and lost. I became angry over the next year. Even tonight i had an episode inside myself. Will this ever end for me? Will there ever be a normal day for my son and I again? Does the pain stop hitting me like a 90 mile an hour baseball?

  17. Amy said on February 14, 2012 at 1:04 am ... #

    My emotionally abusive husband of 18 years comitted suicide 2 months after I separated from him. He was a porn addict, he was gay, he was an alcoholic, and his suicide plans included ending our lives. I knew that he was gay for many years, I told him that if he wanted to live that lifestyle, that I would support him and release him from our marriage. He told me he was comitted and would never break our marriage vows. Well that was just another lie, I ended up having to get tested for STD’s and AIDS. Since his death, his parents have called the police on me when I tried to retrieve things from our house and they threatned to carry on the civil law suit that he started against me before his death. Every time I interact with them, I feel like my husband is trying to control me again…almost as if they are carrying on his fight for him. His siblings profess support but don’t want to hear how the most grief we have experienced is in finding out that a husband/father never really did love us. (I even found a letter written by my husband admitting this along with some other very hurtful revelations)

    The thing that is most difficult for me, is that those that both knew me and the “charming” side of my husband want to remember him and tell me how good a man he was. I want to shout from the rooftops that this man was a lie! That he only satisfied his every whim and did not care about his family. My older children are experiencing the same type of grief because they know more of what happened. My younger two are experiencing just the loss of a father that they loved. Helping each child through this very complicated grieving process is quite a challenge.

    In a lot of respects, we have experienced relief and freedom that we did not even realize could be part of our lives. My children have thrived in a new community near my extended family. My husbands side of the family can not grasp that they could be happy and ready to move on with life. They seem to be spending a lot of time recreated reality to fit the picture that is the safest for them to portray to others.

    I thank you for this article. I have felt so alone during this grieving process. It is comforting to know that other women and children have experienced such conflicting grief as well.

  18. D.M. said on March 5, 2012 at 3:52 pm ... #

    After 4 1/2 years of marriage, I lost my husband to suicide. He drank alcohol and popped pills. After years of dealing with numerous afairs, constant rejection and emotional abuse I left. Three months after I left, he commited suicide. So many people blamed me, more than anything I blamed myself. It’s been almost 3 years since his death and at times I still feel like I love him and hate him.. I have a child now and he’s my world, I beleive he saved me. Sometimes it hurts me to have moved on with my life so quickly (he was my life) but he never appreciated me. When I think of all the things he did, I get so mad and it still hurts. how could someone that was suppose to love me hurt me so much? I’m glad it’s okay to feel angry.

  19. janis said on March 26, 2012 at 5:07 pm ... #

    My ex-husband died this past year due to long-term health problems…he was 63. We had been married for 13 years and divorced for almost 20 years.
    When he passed away suddenly, I felt very conflicted…it was like going through the divorce all over again, only more “final” in some way. Had trouble knowing how I was supposed to feel. He had been emotionally and physically abusive…not only to me but to my children…and had molested one of them when she was a teen…so I should have felt glad, right? I didn’t.
    Think I have grieved most over the loss of what might have been but wasn’t…and the losses that took place because of his behavior during and after our marriage that tore my family apart.
    Still difficult to deal with at times because there was no happy ending to our life together…and to his life as a Dad.

  20. Eric said on April 22, 2012 at 6:56 pm ... #

    It seems interesting to me, perhaps more, that I am here to write about my mother’s death;so many writing about spouses. My mother lived for about 3 1/2 years with ALS. Prior to that time, I had begun to identify facets of the disturbing relationship that were…well, more disturbing. I started to move away from spending time with my original nuclear family for this reason. Once she was diagnosed, the egg-shells upon which I had once walked became different. At the beginning of the dis-ease process, knowing that the mind would remain intact while the body fell away, I was reminded of a Joseph Campbell quote which stated, and I paraphrase, “The key of getting older is to identify with the consciousness. If we are able to do this, we can watch the body fall away like an old car; there go the bumpers, the tires, etc., but it’s all predictable. But if we remain identified with the body….”. These wwere the teachings that I had gained that I had hoped to share with her. They fell on deaf ears. Later, I tried to help her write he autobiography. We had two sessions where she spoke about her beginnings. I was excited about the prospect of getting to know who she really was. Not to be, as she discontinued after the second session and it had become clear we had come to a painful memory or cluster therein. As she lay there, refusing all forms of treatment, I still wanted her to be able to say whatever she might wish to communicate….with ALS, this faculty falls away and unless one chooses technological assistance, communication is lost. Truthfully, even while she could speak, when I came over their house she mostly read, and eventually, watched the television. As was in life, it was in dying and of course death. So much unspoken; unsaid things. I did say many things to her which eluded to the pain created by the combination of her “ways” and my proclivities. I told her I had forgiven her, for I knew that attempting to change onesself is a difficult process with the assistance of grace. Sadly, this is no less true for me than her. So I am sad, angry and mostly just stuck in an emotional crock-pot of pain. At the Eulogy, my sister called my mother her hero. My feelings were so different.
    My studies of psychology, along with the fortune of finding many great writers about the human condition have expanded my mind about many of the “shoulds” which have become paridigms. I recall in my undergraduate studies while discussing grief, it was said that it gets complicated (complicated grief) when there is ambivalence. This makes me laugh now, as I’m trying to imagine a relationship which doesn’t contain ambivalence within it. In grad school, an example was given of a man who was having a difficult time with the passing of his mother who had been in need of much care during her preparation for departure. He wasn’t allowing the feeling of relief to surface, thinking that he should not have that feeling if he loved his mother.
    For myself I am trying to allow all of my emotions to surface and be expressed as they come. It’s not easy. Many people believe that life is linear; that if I’m mad in this moment, it’s because that care in front of me cut me off. Maybe so. I believe everything is much more spherical—emotions come when they do. If we can allow them to be there, to honor them, we needn’t even name them, just express them in a way that causes us and others no harm, then they, like all emotions, will pass.
    I loved my mom in that I know that deep in her seemingly impenetrable heart, she had love for me. I tried to show it but learned that it was uncomfortable for her….even at the end, but less-so. My prayers are with all of you who mourn a loss. I may never understand my mother or our relationship, but now that she’s gone, the inner-mother may have some space that was unattainable for me during her life. Maybe this is, in part, her gift to me as well. Life..what a trip.

  21. Eric said on April 22, 2012 at 6:57 pm ... #

    Sorry so long….didn’t realize I had so much to say. Thank you for your patience.

  22. Ginna said on May 3, 2012 at 9:54 am ... #

    My husband who I was recently separated from after a month shy of 21-yrs of marriage, took his life on Oct 5th, 2010 at around 2:00am. I recovered his body on the 7th at 4:00pm. He was an addict/alcoholic and although he hadn’t fell off the wagon from alcohol after quitting, he relapsed on meth in July and kept using until his suicide. He rented a bedroom at an owner-occupied house along with another guy who rented a room across from his. After almost a month of unanswered phone calls, voicemails and text messages to the owner to make arrangements to get his things, he finally allowed me access on Nov 3rd (which would have been my husband’s 44th b-day and our 21st anniversary). When I got to the house, I knew something was wrong when I turned the corner in the hallway to go to his room. I had begged and pleaded with the homeowner to let me in for a month because his other tenant was a meth user. My gut feeling was right and I walked into an empty room. His computer with 14-yrs of family pictures was gone, along with external harddrives which backed them up. Our digital camera, video camera and a digital picture frame with photos were gone. All of his jewelry, gone. My wedding set, gone. His wallet, gone. All I had left to give our kids to remember their dad were some clothes.

    Finding him will always haunt me. The roommate had approached the owner 2-days after I found his body and said he had been in the room and that there were a lot of valuables he could sell, and he’d split the profits. Instead of the owner saying he didn’t want to get involved, he waited a month to call me back knowing all along that his other tenant had plans to steal and sell everything. He filed false unemployment claims after my husband died then emptied and overdrafted his accounts.

    The day I found my husband, the detective had come to my house at midnight, gave me his phone, said the watch, necklace and earring were removed by the coroner and that his room (which was dead bolted) was secure. That guy not only stole everything from us, but he also took the jewelry that sat on his dead body from Oct 5th to Oct 7th.

    I spent our anniversary bagging what little was left and cleaned up the ‘mess’ he left from the gunshot.

    Talk about til death do you part. I’m in process of suing the homeowner for negligence as he had an obligation to keep his belongings either secure on location, or move them. The homeowner had been in the room also. Because all of his personal effects were stolen.

  23. Terri said on May 27, 2012 at 5:51 am ... #

    Ginna, I just wanted to post to tell you I read your story, I will think of you and wish you the best I can for your future. Your story is one of such sadness, be sure to get support to help you unpick what has happened. Terri

  24. CaseyorgC said on July 13, 2012 at 5:55 pm ... #

    My mom just passed away on July 4. She was one month shy of her 98th birthday. I had a terrible and tumultuous relationship with her all of my life. I loved her very much, and I know she loves me very much. But when we were together it was almost unbearable.

    She was a very sharp looking lady: always dressed impeccably, and very clean, even in old age. You could eat off the floors of her assisted living apartment, which she lived in to the very end. She used a walker, but only because the doctor and we told her she must. She looks more like she was in her 70s than late 90s. She had a terrific sense of humor, and was very funny. She greeted everyone with a smile.

    But the other side of her, that the outside world never saw, was a very critical, negative, constantly talking, complaining individual. Anything I would tell her, she would turn into something bad. If a friend of mine was overweight, no matter what I might be saying about that friend, my mother brought up how fat she was.

    As I said before, I love my mother very much, and I thoroughly enjoyed taking care of her. Making sure she lived in a good well ordered assisted-living center, making sure she had good medical care, seeing that she had everything she needed for her small apartment and herself. It gave me great pleasure to take care of her. My mother would say that she appreciated everything I did for her, and at heart I know she did. But she was always trying to pay me back with money she didn’t have. Or she would say things like “I don’t want to bother you,” or “I know I’m putting you out but…” She did exactly the same things to other people who would care for her such as my son.

    When I would call her and ask how she was, she would always say, terrible! There was never anything in between. Even the doctor and nurse at her assisted-living could not help her very much because they could never tell exactly what was wrong with her. She complained about something all the time. And the medical staff at this assisted-living was superb.

    I don’t miss her. The gut wrenching hole that so many people speak about doesn’t exist for me. But at the same time it was very sad to me to see her die. I kept her pain-free and I and my spouse and my sister-in-law, a nurse, were with her all the hours before she passed. She had nothing, and left nothing. But her life was important to me. I feel conflicted, though not guilty, because I made sure she was so well taken care of. I know she wanted me to spend more time with her, but it would’ve been detrimental to both of us, because neither of us made each other feel very good with our words. I spent years in therapy trying to deal with her personality, trying to change my own in order to be around her, knowing she would never change hers.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is, I miss not missing her. I miss not feeling intense grief over her like I did my father when he died. I did keep a lot of things of hers because I knew they were important to her even though they were minimal. I guess that’s the best I can do, and I do feel some attachment to those things. Thanks for listening.

  25. Tamara said on September 18, 2012 at 7:53 am ... #

    After reading of so many spousal relationships at first I was still hurt. Until I came to the last entry where someone else spoke of their tumultous time with their mother. I loved my mother dearly but throughout the majority of my life I questioned my mother’s love toward me. Even though I knew she loved me in her way it pained me the horrible things that she would do toward me during her life time. I too have spent several years in therapy trying to understand our relationship. Eventually the best solution was to not allow myself to get physically close so that I could protect myself from her hurtful ways. But what is most conflicting is once my mother asked for me to come to her bedside the gentle mother that I had always yearned to come back finally came. Two weeks later she was gone. Within that time I did ask her why didn’t she like me and even then she answered that like was never in her vocabulary but that she loved me. I am buried in hurt for the answer to why couldn’t this part of my mom show up earlier before she became sick. I have two siblings that after her death, attack me on how I was always away. They are younger and never did I tell them or anyone besides my therapist of how I loved and yearned for my moms affection but how every time I came in close she would do something hurtful. The pain of having such a brief reconciliation is tremendous. There is no one in my life to offer that love and understanding to me. The only person that would have been able to do so was a great aunt that died 17 years ago. The combined loss of both of them is unbearable. Being that I have all brothers and only two adult sons that I can talk to also adds to the disconnect. I was with my mom when she took her last breath. In fact, it was only her and I in the room together as I held her and told her how much I loved her. I kept smelling her within the two weeks seeming never to get enough of my mother inside of me. I don’t know what to do or where to put my feelings. I don’t know how to cope with such a great loss when those on the outside feel as though I didn’t care during her life. The only words my heart can come up with is HELP ME!!

  26. Parmit Randhawa said on October 31, 2012 at 2:19 pm ... #

    I came across this site upon a referral from a friend. This is what I was looking for. I read so many comments and my grief also falls within the scope of so many others that are described here. My husband of 22 yrs also died of heavy aclohol addictions. I battled his addition for so many years but towards the end I was exhausted due to my own health issues and could no longer help him. And, within 2 days he died of accidental alcohol dosage. When I returned home from work, he had not been breathing. This man was love of my life, never abusive in anway. He was a gifted writer, poet, loving father, loving husband. I am having very tough time understanding his addiction issues and can’t help but feel guilty as to why I felt exhausted and why my health issues had to happen around the time when he needed me the most perhaps! I will never know the answers to these questions.

  27. sarah said on November 11, 2012 at 5:20 am ... #

    Thank you for this article. My brother & I hadn’t spoken in 3 years before he took his life in June this year. I am struggling with very mixed emotions and knowing now that this is ok & that lots of other people are going through the same thing does make me feel a bit less lonely & a bit more normal xxx

  28. Janice said on November 11, 2012 at 10:08 am ... #

    My story is a little different, it is the very sad loss of my son, he was in his twenties and life was hard with him, living with the illness and aggression he sometimes displayed. I loved him, always loved him, but the worry for him and torment in our family was difficult to deal with. I am grieving the loss of him, the physical relationship, miss his hugs and the little things that were uniquely him. I have hardly touched on the feelings associated with how difficult life was when he was alive, but know in a split second I would go through it all again for it is soooo much more painful not having him around. But I do acknowledge this see-saw of emotions. Always sad that we didn’t get to say good-bye, to resolve any differences and let him know just how much he was and is loved. The fact that we can never resolve our relationship, but I have to trust that he can see now, how much he was and is LOVED. I havent had a chance to vent any of these bittersweet issues, it is very hard to know we wont see him in the physical sense, but are comforted in the fact that his soul/spirit lives on and looks down on us all. I feel now our relationship has risen to a different level, but I feel the LOVE and how we are now connected forever. I know we both did the best we could while he was alive, as challenging as that was at times, we are grateful for the years we did have with him and treasure those. Love you forever son.

  29. zoradi said on November 14, 2012 at 8:29 am ... #

    well. i have read all the comments. i am astounded. i can relate to pretty much all of them. essentially i read this page because i had a difficult relationship with my mother. she died quite suddenly in june 2010. since that time i have been a wreck. i lost my dad in 2006 and that was a nightmare but this is different. i lost my marriage in 2009 (abuse/adultery) and i am still grieving that. but mostly i find the issue of my mother the thing that gets to me the most. but i dont talk about it. i keep it to myself that she managed to make me feel guilty that she died how she did, like it was because i didnt do enough to save her. i think i will carry that to my own grave. funnily enough, in the few months before she died our relationship changed somewhat. i wonder now if somehow she knew her time was coming to an end. she was only 75 so i dont know how she would think that. anyway, after she died i read all her diaries. what a mistake that was. or was it. i dont know for sure. i did get to realise some of why she was the way she was but overall i wish she had talked to me about it all. now though i find i just miss her. even her old self. i miss that too. and it feels all wrong that here i am at 49 an orphan… because thats how i feel. i wonder if once you experience grief thats it, it is life changing. i thank each of you for sharing so candidly. it certainly has helped me to read your posts. xx

  30. Heather said on January 5, 2013 at 9:53 pm ... #

    I have found some similar threads in these posts. Ambivalence, grief, confusion, anger, etc. I am grieving a difficult and abusive marriage of 28 years that I am still in. Due to my strong religious beliefs, I have been very conflicted about divorce. Recently I attended a seminar on abuse and one aspect was addressing the religious/spiritual aspect of separation. It really made sense to me, as the speaker explained how God does not sanction abuse. I found some hope in that seminar and am moving towards some resolution to this matter. I hope that I can move away from this marriage and find hope and meaning in a new life.

  31. Rachel said on January 7, 2013 at 6:52 am ... #

    My Father passed away just before Christmas. He was a very difficult Man who drank and smoked. I had a difficult time dealing with him mainly due to my hard childhood.
    Dad was very sick with cancer towards the end but didn’t let on how bad it was. This was due to his hatred of hospitals, he lived by himself and self neglected. We offered to get him help in the past but he angrily refused. This being said I feel that me and my sisters should of done a lot more to help. very torn up with guilt, very sad how it all ended. Keep going over all the different ways I could of made things better.

  32. Dara Mee said on January 8, 2013 at 9:59 pm ... #

    My mother died in October of 2007. My father on Dec. 13th of 2012. Both were extremely abusive and neglectful parents..each in their own way. My only brother never left them and they enabled his life-long alcohol and drug abuse. He is now 50. After my father died, my brother attempted suicide on the 30th of December. He is still hospitalized as I type this. A part of me knows he will never get better and probably die by his own hand…another parts hopes and prays for a miracle. I hadn’t seen him in 30 years until this past Saturday when I saw him at the hospital. I didn’t barely recognize him. His life has been such a terrible waste. I have never felt any grief over the loss of either of my parents. A part of me feels like I am being sucked in now by my brother. I won’t allow it, but this is all so emotionally draining. I feel like I am drowning. Just needed to release some of this. Thank you for allowing me to share. I thank God for my faith, because without it I can’t say where I’d be “anyway” let alone to have come as far as I have in my own life and my own family of choice. Thanks again.

  33. Dara Mee said on January 8, 2013 at 10:09 pm ... #

    As I re-read the other posts,I wanted to add that it is extremely difficult to separate what is and was the “right” thing to do versus how you feel when you are in the middle of it (whatever “it” is!) My parents were abusive in every way imaginable to both my brother and I…but they still were the only parents we had. My brother was a horrible person throughout his life once the alcohol and drugs got a grip on him. I didn’t speak to any of them for decades because I couldn’t without getting screamed at or told I should give them money (whatever!) because “You’re rich and you got it.” Yeah right. They threw each other under the bus constantly—but then expected me to gladly join them in their sick and twisted codependent game (which I did not). I am emotionally spent right now given that my brother is in his condition and may not make it long term…but I will never allow myself to be treated like a “thing” ever again (by anyone!) like my parents and brother treated me when they had the opportunity. Even yesterday my brother said to me “You have to come here every day until I’m discharged.” No I don’t. And I didn’t today as a matter of fact. Boundaries are our friends; this codependent enmeshment b.s. is NOT! So—take heart and know that if ended up “the last one standing” (as I feel I am)as the lone orphan (literally and/or figuratively) in your family of origin…that’s o.k. As a matter of fact, that’s great! Espeically when you know (as I do!) that you were the only one in your family who didn’t have your head up your a** like they did. Peace.

  34. Mona said on January 12, 2013 at 12:39 am ... #

    My situation is a bit differen . As a young college student I found myself in love with Mr. Tall dark and handsome.After living together for a year I became pregnant. He badgered me constantlyto have an abortion, but I refused. He even threw me against a wall.After that I asked him to leave. Out of guilt and pressure from our parents we tries to make a relationship work, but verbal abuse was constant and the emotional manipulation was overwhelming. He vowed that I’d I has this baby he would make my life a living hell. For 9 years he made good on his promise.Not all was bad and he even had some great moments as a Dad. But he was very selfish and manipulative towered his child. As she grew older they argued a lot . He would tell her the most hurtful things and act as if she was hurting him . Anyway, he died suddenly last week and I have been searching for ways to help her through this. Honestly, my husband and I were relieved when we got the news. This made me feel guilty, but we knew he couldn’t hurt her or us anymore. However, she did love her dad and we are both confused at how to mourn the loss.I have been so careful to not “speak ill of the dead” that I haven’t even challenged blatant lies that have surfaced. I know that I have much more anger than she does, but I do not want her to feel as if she cannot express it. I am grateful for a forum that will allow us to post our feelings of discontent with him, but still respect and understand our love for him. He was her dad and he gave me my most prized possession. He really loved her,he just sucked at it some times.

  35. Tyna said on January 13, 2013 at 11:52 am ... #

    I’m glad I found this website I think it will be very helpful in my process of healing. I had a brief relationship with a neighbor about a year ago and we became very close. (so I thought)I do belive that he cared about me but maybe not as much as I cared about him.I knew of his on and off past relationship with his ex and I was fine with that because we spent a lot of quality time together just enjoying each other’s company, all I asked of him was to tell me if he decided to go back to her. As he opened up to me about her he said she cheated on him with one of his friends and other people several times, she refused to work and she continued to drink and use drugs. I figure I was the complete opposite so we would have a good chance. Once she found out about our relationship she did everything in her power to get him back, she even threated to kill herself. It worked and he went back to her,he did’t tell me, but I found out. He had to get a second job so he could pay her bills. We stayed friends for awhile after we broke up and he told me that he had so much stress in his life he probably would die from a heart attack. I just felt as he was using me so he would have someone to go to when he was angry with her. I got tried of that because as a friend he was hardly never there for me, I refused to let him stress me out so I stopped all communication with him, even when he tried to contact me.
    He married her in June 2012 and six months later he died most likely of heart attack(he just turned 40 in November). Because of the situation I was unable to participate in the memorial service. The good thing is when he was with me I never heard him say,” I so stressed out”. He didn’t have to do anything but be with me and relaxed and not worry about taking care of me or paying my bills. So I will try to focus on that and I have to remember he made he own choices. Thanks for allowing me to express myself

  36. Kate said on January 18, 2013 at 11:22 pm ... #

    Those of us left behind after an alcoholic significant other dies must remember that they were adults and made their own choices in life. So please don’t feel guilty and let that continue to ruin your life. Loving an alcoholic is so dificult and complicated, but in the end, we can’t change people unless they want to change. Don’t let the alcoholic in your life continue to control your emotions even after they’re gone. Acknowledge that the situation is complex and that you may never come to terms with some things, and then let go and let it be. Move forward with your own life, try to be happy. My beautiful 66-year old mother died two days ago from alcoholism. Her liver had been failing on and off for 5-6 years, and in the end, she died in her sleep, her heart must have just stopped. She was in a nursing home but was up and about, talking although somewhat garbled, and had been out to doctor’s appointments and Chinese dinner before she died later in her bed. I hadn’t seen her for a long time but had started talking to her again on the phone a month before she died. I stopped by the nursing home with some Xmas gifts and spoke to her over the holidays. I said “I love you” many times to her. So even though we had been estranged lately because of her drinking, I feel at peace that I had those phone conversations with her. She didn’t want to die, she said, but her boyfriend/partner told me she tried to order wine at the Chinese restaurant the evening of her death. That tells me she was never going to quit. She never admitted to being an alcoholic and refused help. I did so much for her and tried so hard for so long, to no avail, then I stopped as it was making me sick. Alcoholics make their own choices and we can’t force adults to go into treatment if they don’t want to. So now my mom is gone and I’m angry with her for not wanting to sober up and save herself for her family, and I’m sad she’s gone but also relieved that my constant worring is now over, but mostly I miss my sober mom. We did have some lovely sober times and I will always cherish those memories and remember my mom for the good times and things. People aren’t perfect and life doesn’t always turn out the way we expected. The best those of us left behind can do is move on and try to live a healthy and happy life that includes helping others and giving to our communities. Go towards the sunshine!

  37. Vivie said on January 27, 2013 at 11:16 am ... #

    Here is a poem that helped me very much when I was trying to feel something about my mother’s death:

    The Sleeping Fury
    By Louise Brogan

    You are here now,
    Who were so loud and feared, in a symbol before me,
    Alone and asleep, and I at last look long upon you.
    Your hair fallen on your cheek, no longer in the semblance
    of serpents,
    Lifted in the gale; your mouth, that shrieked so, silent.
    You, my scourge, my sister, lie asleep, like a child,
    Who, after rage, for an hour quiet, sleeps out its tears.

    The days close to winter
    Rough with strong sound. We hear the sea and the forest,
    And the flames of your torches fly, lit by others,
    Ripped by the wind, in the night. The black sheep for sacrifice
    Huddle together. The milk is cold in the jars.

    All to no purpose, as before, the knife whetted and plunged,
    The shout raised, to match the clamor you have given them.
    You alone turn away, not appeased; unaltered, avenger.

    Hands full of scourges, wreathed with your flames and adders,
    You alone turned away, but did not move from my side,
    Under the broken light, when the soft nights took the torches.

    At thin morning you showed, thick and wrong in that calm,
    The ignoble dream and the mask, sly, with slits at the eyes,
    Pretence and half -sorrow, beneath which a coward’s
    hope trembled.

    You uncovered at night, in the locked stillness of houses,
    False love due the child’s heart, the kissed-out lie, the embraces,
    Made by the two who for peace tenderly turned to each other.

    You who know what we love, but drive us to know it;
    You with your whips and shrieks, bearer of truth and
    of solitude;
    You who give, unlike men, to expiation your mercy.
    Dropping the scourge when at last the scourged advances
    to meet it,
    You, when the hunted turns, no longer remain the hunter
    But stand silent and wait, at last returning his gaze.

    Beautiful now as a child whose hair, wet with rage and tears
    Clings to its face. And now I may look upon you,
    Having once met your eyes. You lie in sleep and forget me.
    Alone and strong in my peace, I look upon you in yours.

  38. C Jo said on February 3, 2013 at 11:29 am ... #

    Thanks to everyone for sharing your stories. My ex passed away suddenly a few days ago and I have some conflicted thoughts and feelings. Your words are helpful.

  39. Guilt said on February 5, 2013 at 8:20 pm ... #

    My husband and I had been married for 5 years. We had a child during this time and he had anger problems towards him. I eventually removed myself and my son from the home. I had asked him numerous times to seek help for anger. The end result was he took his own life instead. I miss him so much. I am also so incredibly mad at him for what he did to us. Not only just leaving, but the things he put us through. At the same time I wish I could wrap my arms around him and tell him it will be okay. He tried to phone me the night he did it but I never heard the phone ring. My life is consumed by guilt, anger, sadness….

  40. Rowena Payne said on February 11, 2013 at 6:35 pm ... #

    After internet searches on grieving, all I could find was stages of grief with the underlying assumption that one was grieving the love of one’s life. Thank goodness, now I’ve found what I was after. The sudden death of my husband of 38 years last November was a terrible shock, but worse by far was the conflicted emotion. In the beginning we were head over heels, but gradually over the years, his depression, insecurity and controlling nature meant a very difficult marriage. It felt like a terrible physical weight to bear each day. I had thought many times of leaving but went doggedly on. Now I am free of it but the grieving is complicated. Here I have found that I am not alone and that is greatly comforting. One of the comments above mentioned talking about this conflict. I have found my daughter and sister absolutely brilliant in this respect. I hope others can find someone to confide in. Thank you for letting me know I am not alone, it gives me the courage to go forward in my own way and not with any preset pattern.

  41. Jackie said on February 13, 2013 at 11:48 pm ... #

    I am glad that relief is an acceptable emotion while grieving the loss of the alcoholic in my life. I loved him, and I am grateful for my children, but I will not miss the drama and look forward to living my life for me and my children and no longer being controlled by him and his choice not to live sober.

  42. Renee said on February 18, 2013 at 8:00 am ... #

    My Father passed away on Thanksgiving Day 2012. He was an alcoholic, and I had a very strained relationship with him. I still dont understand it to this day, which makes my grieving that much harder. So many mixed feelings that I am trying to sort out. He was verbally abusive towards me my whole life, and yet I loved him unconditionally. I just took his abuse time after time, why, I dont know. When he got oral cancer, I took care of him, even though he pushed me away, matter of fact, My whole life I felt as if It was my responsibility to take care of him. He did leave me some money, I am an only child, I feel so guilty having it. I think I need therapy.

  43. Anonymous said on February 19, 2013 at 12:48 pm ... #

    my husband of 35 years died of cancer. It was a surprise diagnoses in June already at stage 4.A week after he died I found out he had started an affair with someone he was working with right before the diagnoses. It seems there might have been others too. I don’t even know what to think. Hard to believe he loved me and that our relationship wasn’t a joke. No one can believe he would do this. so seemingly out of charachter. It feels like two deaths to have to cope with.Why didn’t he delete the emails. Why didn’t he just tell me before he died? I confronted the woman via text after I found the emails and got details from her. Cant even be sad about him dying without thinking immediately about the other

  44. Rosalind said on February 22, 2013 at 2:50 pm ... #

    Thank You for this site. I was almost a 100% sure no one understood my grief, almost a 100% that I didn’t understand it but I was 100% it was real, almost 100%. But after searching the internet for months and finding your site I am now 100% I am not along. I met and marry my husband in 1980. As the saying goes, He was a man of the world, loves his women and his alcohol. I was just in the 12th grade and because I got involved with him my mother kicked me out of her house. He took me his mom house and although he was living with another woman, we got married and nothing really stopped. We had two children with the next 5 years. I went on the remarried this man three times, I was afraid to move forward so I keep moving backward it seem safe. But my safe place was a pain house. Finally I decided that as of January 2012, I was going to leave him for sure this time and not come back. I threw my wedding ring in the woods and said this time for sure. I went on to live in the house with him but at separate end of the house, I started living my life as if he was not there. He got sick, went into the hospital and died. Before he died he asks me to forgive him for everything he has done to me and he and walked over the sinner’s prayers. I didn’t understand why it hurt so bad, why my grief seem to plead to God to take my life as well…I grieved when he was alive because I wanted to get away from him…now I grieve because I want him here with me..My burden didn’t get lighter (it should had), my burden got heaver. So you see how thankful I am that I found this site. Thank you.

  45. micronut said on March 1, 2013 at 8:42 am ... #

    So glad I found this website. Surfing the net to help explain away the feeling I have been having dealing with the sudden death of my sister-in-law. Her husband and my husband are brothers> even though we did not have an espeially close relationship I still cared about her and was close to her daughter. What I can’t wrap my head around is why her husband did not want to let us make the 5 hour drive to visit and maybe say our good-byes even though she was heavily sedated and was never allowed to awaken, upon after several days did pass away. I wanted to let him know we wanted to be there for him as they( the kids and himself) were dealing with the uncertainly of the situation. Would she start to get better after the biopsy and diagnosis, maybe she could have a few more months. I feel so sad for them all and wanted to grief with them but definitely felt we were being kept at arms lenght and that hurts. Can someone please explain what these feeling are that I am experiencing. I do not want to come across as someone who seems selfish here, especially with all the fammily is going thru now, I find the emotions that come with grief so confusing and complex. I am reaching out to the only place that seems like someone might get it. Thanks for letting me express myself anyway.
    Grieving sister-in-law

  46. L.Y. said on March 5, 2013 at 11:39 pm ... #

    Finding this site has been a God-send. As so many of these post state, loving an alcoholic is no picnic, and grieving that person’s death triggers a flood of emotion. I was married to my alcoholic husband for 3 years. He was the life of the party, and I loved him fiercely. As hard as it was to deal with with the rages & abuse I clung to him, thinking that if I could just “love him through it” he would get better & everything would be ok. I finally filed for divorce from the hospital after we had a 4wheeler accident which broke my back, & he left me out in the woods to either die or get out on my own. We divorced 10 years ago, and with no children together I was able to cut him out of my life, until now anyway. But i would occasionally hear from mutual friends that he was going downhill fast, so i shouldnt have been surprised. Last night (3/4/13) I found out from from a mutual friend that my ex essentially drank himself to death & was found dead feb 26, 2013. All the feelings & memories that I thought were buried 10 years ago have come crashing down on me, there are no words for this grief. Friends & family members can’t understand why I’m taking this so hard, & how can I explain to anyone what I can’t understand myself?

  47. Hope1004 said on March 10, 2013 at 10:32 am ... #

    I agree with everyone sharing on this website. I too have been looking for some answers and compassion with the loss of my husband in January 2013. We had been together 4 years and married 2. We didn’t have any children. There were some signs that should have warned me in the beginning of our relationship that he was an alcoholic, but I chose to ignor them because he treated me so good and we had so much fun. I had recently come out of a long marriage where I found out my ex had an addiction to porn and prostitutes, and I felt very unworthy. I always thought I was a good judge of character, but clearly, I misjudged the last 2 relationships I was in. My first husband died when I was 20 years old of brain cancer and I learned I made poor choices along the way because I never grieved him properly. Now I am trying to grieve this loss the proper way so I can make good choices in my life going forward.
    It is so hard dealing with the pain though. I loved my husband and saw the good in him… but the last 1 and a half of our marriage was pure hell. He had this relationship with his elderly mother that was so controlling, it ruined our marriage and caused him to become deep in his alcoholism, he eventually died. His sister had just died 2 years prior due to to alcoholism too. Now a 3rd brother is taking care of the elderly, controling mother who is 90 years old, and I am afraid he is next. There is one brother left who has totally removed himself from the situation and will have nothing to do with it, but from a distance.

    I am so angry that he didn’t have the strength to fight the control his mother had over him and let the alcohol take over so he could deal with the situation. She even told me the only way he would change was if I left him… which I did 6 months earlier, but I was still there all the time to help him, and try to get our marriage back. But there was no hope as long as he was in that situation. He knew he had a problem and needed to stay away from the liquor store, but his mother needed her vodka, and didn’t care about his problems. She even thought that there was no such thing as “hitting bottom” so you could get better. He was so close that that and in the last month before he died, owned all of his problems and issues to me, promised his undying love, and said he would never drink again. I saw him the weekend before he died when he pledged that to me. The next weekend I talked to him 2 hours before I arrived at his mom’s house… only to find him dead.

    I am so lost and angry at this mom, as she feels she played no part in this. I know people have choices, but when you are a child controlled by a manipulative parent, there is no way out… at least for 2 of her children who died and now there are 2 left. I feel she will outlive the other 2 as well. She is in a wheelchair and need total help, but since she has come home to her home has grown stronger willed…

    I desperatly am trying to find solice this this situation and feel so sad for children that come into this world only to live their lives under such control. Everytime I look at my husband’s picture when he was young, he was so handsome and naive… but whatever he learned during those early years (along with his brothers and sister) scarred all of them to living such sad lives. Why does this happen?

    I am grieving the loss of a wonderful, loving man (when he was sober), and angry that he wasn’t strong enough to get out of the control of his mother, who I believe is responsible for the death of him and his sister… and worried about the one that is now taking care of her.

    Does anyone have any answers or words of wisdom for me… Thanks for listening…

  48. JMM said on March 10, 2013 at 4:32 pm ... #

    I wasmarried for 13 years to a man I loved fiercly. He was the love of my life. He was also an alcoholic but I was naive about that most of the marriage. We loved hard, played hard, and when we fought it was loud and hurtful. I loved but I hated the alcohol. He was a good man in so many ways. Our child was 3 when he left me. I discovered he had been using meth and other drugs. Even so, I was devastated. I wanted him to get help and go back to being a family, tho now I understand that was never ralistic. He got sick a couple yerars after the divorce and died in 2010. My empotiona sre so complext. I’m angry at hom for being an addict, angry he left me, and I realize how poison my own life was with dealing with his addictions. But i loved him and he waqs my best friend and I will always miss him even tho I am remarried and have a good life. I wonder when the pain will end, or how. Grief comes and goes. Today is a hard day, for some reason.

  49. Hope1004 said on March 10, 2013 at 4:43 pm ... #

    JMM,
    Knowing what I know about a loss of my first husband, the pain will never go away… it just softens and we find a place in our hearts where it always stays. The pain comes up from time to time… and now I have to find another place in my heart for my recent husband who died in January.

    I wish I had all the answers, but I don’t. Just know there are others that feel your pain. Take the happy days when they come up and try and get through the painful days. Today is a painful day for me too!

    Take care JMM!

  50. Gin said on March 18, 2013 at 6:29 pm ... #

    My husband wasn’t an alcoholic, he was just basically an awful husband and father. No one knew except the kids and me. The rest of his friends, acquaintances, and workmates thought he was great, and he was, to them, just not to his wife and children. Well he wound up dying after surgery, and although it was a shock, and we all cried, it didn’t take long to get over the grief. I feel sometimes like an animal, forgetting my mate so quickly. I don’t even feel guilty, because I no longer have that ever present gnawing on the inside that had settled there during our marriage. I should have left him long ago, but I wound up staying for 31 years. There had to be some good things to make me stay so long. It wasn’t money, he made sure we were forever in debt, living paycheck to paycheck. I guess there were periods when he wasn’t angry, complaining, blaming or acting disinterested and bored like a child, still now, I am just relieved it is over. He had no excuse for being like he was except that his father was a rotten man too. But to hear his family talk, the guy was top of the line. I never met “the old man”, he died before I met my husband. Yet, from what I was told about him, I’m glad I never knew him. So here I am, almost a month later, feeling more at peace than I have in years, memories of good things come so easily now, things I had forgotten I could feel. The children who had left home early, want to come and visit again. Yes I miss him, he was part of my life for a long time, but there are so many things about him that are a relief to not have to deal with anymore. Maybe if I was younger I could feel worse, but as it is I think I’ve reached, and am over the limit, of crap I’ll ever be willing to put up with in a lifetime.

  51. Maggie said on March 21, 2013 at 7:51 am ... #

    Like a lot of those who write here, I am glad I came across this website. I want to share something just in case others are feeling like me and feel they are alone and at odds with others. My mother-in-law has just died. My husband and daughter are heart broken. They talk of all of the good things that she did with my daughter. I recognise none of these good things. My mother-in-law was really nasty to me at every opportunity and my husband acknowledges this. She said dreadful things about my daughter when she was a baby, calling her “that thing”. I am finding it very hard to stay positive for my daughter who is talking about lovely times she had with grandmother. These were times that grandmother told me she resented every minute of. She told people I married my husband for his money, and that I had ruined him. Eventually she told me to get out of her home and never come back, then she told people I did nothing for her. Things she did may sound trivial but they were constant and nasty. I would go so far as to say, I hated my mother-in-law. I need to support my daughter and my husband. I try to be happy for them and sad for them, but I can’t help feeling a little resentful. As hard as I try this resentment shows a little. For me the good times they talk of seem false. I accuse myself of selfishness and I suppose it is to a point. But the reaction to a death is still there. And it is hard to deal with.

  52. Kathy said on March 24, 2013 at 9:18 pm ... #

    My husband of 27 years died one year ago St. Patrick’s day. This first year has flown by due to the fact that me and my 2 daughters were forced to move out of our expensive rented home because we instantly had no income to speak of.he did not leave a pension or retirement account or even life insurance due to our bankruptcy 2 years before his death. By a miracle a friend of his offered a small house for us to live in , it is a gift from God, I feel he is still watching out for us. We moved our children often to follow his many jobs and I have not one friend to help with anything and I am disabled. My oldest daughter is 20 and helps out quite a bit. My husband and I fought a lot! We were in love crazy for each other but we loved hard and fought hard. It is a long story but he was a diamond in the rough when we met and he made something of himself and worked hard for me and our daughters. He was loved by many and thrived on that and had to have it at any cost and I paid very often. Now that he is dead his friends and family have turned their backs on me and our daughters. They have gone as far as to tell me they weren’t sure he loved me or not. We did argue but we were very close . When he was diagnosed he looked at me like I was going to fix him and I thought I could because I took care of him. No one knew what we really were to each other and I don’t have the self esteem right now to have any strength to believe in myself enough to believe his dying words. They were beautiful, he told me he was who he was because of me and it is true . He is gone and I am lost and alone, I have my daughters but they are a bit angry because of our rocky marriage . It is a lot

  53. Leeanne said on April 3, 2013 at 6:01 pm ... #

    . I have a lot of anger toward my brother in law who just died. i didn’t realize this until I heard about his death. My brother in law caused a lot of pain and misery to his family and mine. Now people are remembering the recent years when he seemed to mellow a little and saying how wonderful he was. I am alone in my anger, anger which has erupted out of nowhere at what he put us through for many years. Rather than go into the details, lets just say that I need to deal with this anger before the funeral, and I will find a way to do so. This article and your postings are helping me. I thought there was something wrong with me, something selfish and immature for feeling this way. My children noticed it and were disappointed in me as well. Now that I know I’m not alone, I think I can begin to let go of these feelings, or at the very least, not let them spill out and affect everyone. I’ll save that for an appointment I made with a grief therapist.

  54. Rowena Payne said on April 5, 2013 at 7:49 am ... #

    Comment to Gin @ march 18th 2013. I take great solace in your words. It helps me stop feeling guilty that I am not grieving endlessly for my difficult husband. Like you I have had enough and want to grab my life,I did 39 years a real battle; staying for the children and misplaced loyalty. I also so identified with you saying ‘that ever present gnawing on the inside’ which I had too, thank god that physical pain has gone. Like you too my children love coming home again. Gin you have comforted me, may I wish you peace, cheerfulness and hope, you are obviously a self-reliant person and will be fine.

  55. Donna said on May 2, 2013 at 6:40 pm ... #

    Like so many have stated, this site has helped so much. I don’t feel so alone in my thoughts. My abusive ex died recently and I am experiencing so many emotions. I felt so guilty feeling relieved, but not having to look over my shoulder, every day is a burden lifted. Won’t go into great detail, but it has been a part of my life that I wish I could just block out. First couple of years were good but then it all turned around to the biggest nightmare one could imagine.

  56. Holly said on May 10, 2013 at 12:06 pm ... #

    SO glad I found this article and all the comments attached. It feels really good to know I am not alone in these feelings. My mother died about 6 years ago, after not having seen her for 15 years before that. I had to walk away from my entire family after my father molested my child, and then he denied it and the rest of my family took his side. It was the best decision for my child, and I’m glad I got away from such a toxic family. My parents were neglectful and self-centered, God forbid actual parenting get in the way of what THEY wanted. I thought I was perfectly happy with just my husband & child, making our own little family. So when my mother died of a sudden heart attack, I really struggled with conflicting feelings of sadness, and guilt, and anger, and regret. Part of me grieves for the few happy memories I have, part of me is still really angry at her for not believing me about what happened to her own grandchild, and part of me wishes I had talked to her at least once before she died. The feelings are all bottled up like a knot in my stomach, and as the years pass, I feel it slowing eating away at me. Mother’s Day is coming up soon, and when I see all those happy commercials about all those lovely mother-daughter relationships, I want to throw something at the TV, because I’m still angry because I never had that. I can’t even imagine what kind of emotions I’m going to have to deal with when my father dies. I think then, part of me will be relieved.

  57. Patti Jacobs said on May 13, 2013 at 2:08 pm ... #

    My son died from a overdose of drugs on 5/25/12. I had not spoken to him in 7 years. I have so much guilt over this, that I feel stuck in my grief journey. I want to forgive myself as well as him for all the crap that took place between him and I. I can say it and think it but my heart does not follow through with it. I’d give anything to be able to tell him I loved him.

  58. lindac said on May 13, 2013 at 3:39 pm ... #

    How do you deal with all of these negative emotions BEFORE the one you love (hate) dies?? My girlfriend spent 18 years being physically and verbally abused by her stepdad. She is 32 now, and has so much anger and yuck inside her, that it wares on our relationship, but especially on her relationships with our three daughters. I want her healed BEFORE her stepdad ends up dead!! I want her healed before she damages our children any more!! I might need to read this book myself just to find a release for my own anger and hurt towards her for who she is because of what she has been through!! Sometimes I wish I could just kill her stepdad myself so she could grieve and move on, but still… she loves (hates) him.

    BREAKS MY HEART!! :’(

  59. anonymous said on May 27, 2013 at 7:57 pm ... #

    There is a truth that is to be found here that many won’t speak of, and so I appreciate the courage that each person here has shown in admitting how messy relationships can be and how that affects our loss.

    I also had a turbulent marriage. I was pregnant and we married young. Neither one of us were terrible. We were just young and fallible. There were good times and there were also hard times. Along the way we carved out separate lives alongside the life we shared together. When we were married 25 years, my husband was diagnosed with cancer. A year later, he moved out of state to improve his career prospects. It became clear pretty quickly that there was more to it. We filed for divorce six months later. It was the second time we had filed for divorce. Our first attempt happened maybe 13 years before. The second attempt was dismissed six months later. Midway in his five year adventure, he thought to come home, but it was harder coming back than it was going. He couldn’t get the job he wanted and he was having a hard time accepting that like his life hadn’t stood still, neither had mine and he decided to stay where he was and that we should divorce.

    We were not good at getting a divorce as it turns out. We were more successful at staying married. My husband died 18 months after the third divorce petition was filed. He died out of state and he essentially spent the last five years of his life with strangers. I loved my husband with all my heart despite the separate lives. There are debates about the grief of divorce versus the grief of widowhood…I dealt with both sandwiched together. I feel like a widow. I lost my husband, the father of my children, and despite our imperfect circumstances admired him greatly. My grief has been compounded by feeling like I am not a legitimate widow because we weren’t living together when he died and we had a divorce filed.

    I know I was a wife because I was there when he died. He was in a liver failure induced coma. He couldn’t say good-bye. I held his hand and left my tears on his cheek. I was there. I know I was his wife because I walked into a mortuary with my children and made arrangements for his cremation and planned a nicer than nice memorial. He had panned to come home for a visit about 9 days before he died. He was going to take me out for my birthday. In the end he left the state on the day he had panned just not as he had planned. I know I am a wife because his ashes were delivered on my birthday.

    I am very grateful for a place to defend the troubled marriage or even a divorce as being legitimate loss, share that people and relationships are complicated, that our emotions are complicated. We can and do care very deeply about people who have hurt us. We can grieve through hurt and anger because this stuff is not cut and dry.

    It is difficult and I feel like I will have to prove myself for the rest of my life as the last attempt at divorce caused so much doubt for me and in the minds of other people. Sometimes, it feels like the 30 years that I was married have been summarily wiped out. The confusion and sense of abandonment make the grief very heavy.

  60. Hank Engberg said on June 12, 2013 at 3:50 pm ... #

    Thank you, I wish I had something like this in the 70’s. I t may not have taken me the number of years it did to understand what I was truly feeling and how it is really OK to have mixed feelings. I can remember only to clearly how I felt when at 53 my father died. I can still here people behind us at the funeral home saying how good he looked and what a hard life he had. The truth be told he was dead and the hard life was his own doing.

  61. Beth said on June 13, 2013 at 4:51 pm ... #

    I have known for many years that I suffer from PTSD because of the physical and emotional abuse both my mother and father heaped on me as a child. My only brother drowned when he was fourteen and a year later, when I was twelve, my father told me he wished it had been me who died. By the time I was fourteen I was a blackout drunk. My dad died when I was twenty-four and in the throws of my alcoholism. I did not grieve his death. I got sober at thirty-two and my mother, an alcoholic herself, died two years later after wringing me out with her neediness. I did not shed a tear after she died. I have utilized different forms of therapy and have relied heavily on the program of AA to heal. I have never written this information down and it is liberating! I am naming my demon and this act alone frees me even just for today of the guilt I have carried for not grieving the loss of people I was supposed to love. Thanks for sharing.

  62. Lynn said on June 28, 2013 at 4:36 pm ... #

    This is such a helpful site. My ex of 22 years died Sunday – about three years after we split. I did a lot to take care of her over the past six months battle with ovarian cancer. Throughout most of our relationship she was physically and emotionally abusive. I found out two weeks before she died that she was doing the same thing with our daughter. I did not know. I was also a victim of Parental Alienation.
    I was ashamed that I’d stayed so long and ashamed that I didn’t remove my daughter from her “care”.
    Yet still, I stepped up and did as much caregiving as I could because anything I didn’t do would have fallen on our daughter who is 19 and in school full time.
    There was no one else as she aliented every friend she had and every member of her so dysfunctional family.
    Both of us were at the bedside all day and both of us felt a lot of grief the first couple of days. My daughter felt a lot of guilt.
    I realize now that my own feelings of guilt were driven by my primary emotion – relief. Relief that I don’t have to take care of her. Relief that I don’t have to deal with her craziness any more. Relief that I don’t have to financially support her. Relief that I don’t have to pretend to be upset by her suffering. I cared only in the way that I would care for any suffering being.
    My daughter and I are re-establishing the relationship that was taken from us. She has already seen a therapist and feels like she will finally be able to have a life.
    I know she feels a lot of guilt – that’s what she was trained to do.
    It’s a relief for me to see the posts by other ex-spouses and adult children of abusive parents. Good luck to all and thanks for sharing your stories.

  63. Min said on June 28, 2013 at 10:10 pm ... #

    My mother died six years ago. She was 75 years old. She wasn’t an easy woman to love, but had many endearing qualities. She was remarkably creative, and herself endured a difficult childhood surrounded by abuse and alcoholism. She was cremated and to this day, my father refuses to bury her ashes.

    This is not so uncommon, but what makes this situation unbearable is that he has taken up with a woman in town who my mother disliked, and for many a good reason. If my father had any respect for himself he never would have taken up with this woman, since before my father, it was any other man who’d just lost his wife who she’d walk the roads holding hands with. He brings her in the house to shop through my mother’s clothes while the box that contains my mother’s ashes sits in the middle of the dining room table.

    Recently I learned from my father’s bank statement that my name and my sister’s name is on that twice in the past year he has given money to the attorney who set up his “irrevocable trust” right after my mother died.

    My father abused me and my sister when we were very little girls. He would beat me until I passed out. My sister remembers him beating her when she was very little, too. Even at middle age, we are both still traumatized.

    Though she was difficult I miss my mother terribly. Nothing could be more hypocritical and disrespectful of her memory than what my father is doing. As long as he is involved with this woman there is no chance for healing my relationship with him. He is to shallow to care, or to begin to know how to have a healthy, open, honest discussion. I wish him no harm, but I will be very, very, relieved when he finally goes. It is impossible to love a person like my father, even though he’s my father. I can’t think of too many human beings more disgusting than he is.

    I’m grateful to have found this sharing. Thank you all.

  64. Flores said on July 4, 2013 at 12:44 pm ... #

    I lost my brother a year ago, and I’m still having trouble dealing with the guilt of wanting to speak ill of the dead, and actually truly missing him. That same week, I lost my grandma and my father, all for different reasons. They were both older and in declining health, so even though all three of them were unexpected in their own ways, I could understand it and grieve properly. My brother passed away from a drug overdose the day after threatening suicide. He was a constant terror on my mother. My last memory of him was when he was obviously high, waving around an unloaded (oh God I hope it was unloaded) gun, breaking glass and trying to set the house on fire. I lived far away, so I usually only visit my family once a year. I always dreaded having to make contact him with him, but still he was my brother. I think what’s hardest for me to accept is the fact that he had so much opportunity and potential to take all the love everyone gave him and give it back. We all wanted to see him succeed at life and just be happy, and he passed away before ever being able to truly be happy.

  65. Coni said on July 9, 2013 at 9:10 am ... #

    My exhusband died recently. I believe he is trying to tell me something. I am very depressed, even though I divorced him. I feel like I am losing my mind. Strange things are happening in my home. I know he is here and wants to tell me something. I can’t work, someone keeps taking the sliding glass door off my apartment, things disappear, there are cold spots in the house, and I can’t think of anything else other than what is he trying to tell me. I cry constantly. All I want to do is sleep. My family thinks I am losing my mind. How do I find out what it is he wants me to know?

  66. Melissa said on July 11, 2013 at 6:07 pm ... #

    Two years ago my ex-husband passed away suddenly, but not unexpectedly. He had a myriad of health and drug addiction problems. Before we divorced he became quite kooky and irrational. It was really painful to watch him disintegrate; when I filed for divorce he got extremely vicious and turned the divorce proceedings into a three ring circus and a nightmare
    He also lobbied his stepdaughter and daughter to take sides. That was an especially painful experience; to this day my youngest daughter – his biological child, will not talk to me. (she was in her early 20s when the divorce was finalized) When my ex died, he died in his bed. His daughter found him. She blames me for his death, and will not speak to me. Even though I know that this is not true, it still really hurts.
    That said, when he was younger, he was a very, kind, gentle, sweet person, and I will always remember him as such. I really loved him, and I still do, despite what happened.
    I wish I could have said goodbye, that is the hardest part of the whole thing. A couple of weeks ago i had a dream where he appeared to me, I ran toward him and hugged him. I told him I loved him and I missed him. He started to cry, I then woke up
    I sincerely hope that he is somewhere out there in a wonderful space, surrounded by friends and family, and, maybe there with Jerry dancing to Dead tunes……Rest In Peace, Bob

  67. Lynsey said on July 17, 2013 at 1:37 am ... #

    My best friend sent me this link. Today is exactly 1 year to the day that my children’s father and ex fiance of 9 1/2 years passed away. He had scitzophrenia and aspergers. He was physically abused and locked in closets during his childhood of whichonly worsened when he turned 10 and his 15 year old sister was murdered. These life issues caused him to feel the need to drink and use street drugs off and on. He really did try hard and for a good 3 Years the managed to stay sober and made the deans list at school.The lying about his addiction is what I could no longer handle and we Seperated when I was 6 weeks pregnant with our third child. About 6 months later there were allegations about my kids dad molesting mymiddle child and my best friends child. There was a CPS investigstion. During the investigation I found out that my kids father had been cheating on me with my best friend at the time. I got a year restraining order and worked hard to get a parenting plan in place and supervised visitation. 6 months after the restraining order was granted, he wrote a letter to me on his blog spot saying he could not live without me or our kids. 3 days following an officer came to my door to inform me that my children’s father had passed away. He died of a herioin and alcohol overdose. What a helpful site!

  68. Mandy Hawkins said on August 1, 2013 at 12:24 am ... #

    I’m in a very bad place right now early early yesterday morning my 18 year old brother attempted suicide by slitting his wrist he has been very depressed for some time now and things that have happened in the past few months have not made things better for him but worse! He kept talking about he had nothing to live for and we were all just telling him things would get better but I guess we didn’t realize the seriousness of it he left a note in my mailbox telling everyone how much he loved us and that he was sorry and then wouldn’t answer his phone or reply to any text messages! I then called the cops and put a bolo out on him they found him thank god and that’s when they noticed he had already slit his wrist! They took him to the hospital for evaluation and now have moved him to a facility to get him the hell he needs and none of us no where he is at! Bc they couldn’t real ease info on him bc of the hippa laws!!! I’m having a very hard time coping with this and I’m scared of what is gonna happen once he gets released I’ve never had to deal with anything like this and don’t really know what to expect I’m glad I called and they found him before he died but its killing me inside knowing I have now put him in a place by hisself! I feel like he will hate me for trying to get him he’ll by doing this! And I’m afraid he may feel his family gave up on him which that isn’t the case at all we love him very much and just want him here with us and to be healthy and not depressed!!! How can my family and I shake this feeling of grief? What should we expect with this whole process now that he has survived his attempt and he is in the psychiatric facility!!! I’m so scared and so worried its making me sick I just don’t know what to do know!! What is to keep my baby brother from hating me when this is all over and said and done?

  69. Veronica said on August 1, 2013 at 10:25 pm ... #

    My ex-husband died in April 2009. His liver gave out because he was an alcoholic. We divorced in 2000. I loved him so much. He was my soul mate. I miss the good times that we had together, even though he was so abusive to me in every way. I did okay with his death until now. I feel tormented because I never got to say good-bye. We talked in 2006 on the phone & he was trying to get into treatment. Tears come to my eyes because all though I tried to get him to get into treatment, I could not help him when we were together. He was a tormented soul who was abused as a kid. He cried like a baby when he had flashbacks of what he did to me when he was drunk. I am not sure why it is bothering me so much now. Guessing that I have been in denial for a very long time. I wanted to help him, but I had to save myself. The last day I talked to him, he told me that his greatest wish was that we would be together again. That was the last time I talked to him. I traveled to Sioux City where we lived together & went by the river where he spent his last moments in hospice in a camper. I can’t find where he is buried, either. Seems that I can not find closure and I need, too. Always, feel like he is still here & has not left. What to do…

  70. brigette thorp said on August 4, 2013 at 5:53 pm ... #

    I am so glad I came across this site. I felt guilty yesterday when our family was scattering mu alcoholics husband ashes. I had so much anger and couldn’t talk about how I really felt. And why not?
    I wanted to scream instead of saying something nice.
    So reading some articles on this site made me realize it’s ok to feel the way I feel. Nobody can tell me how what I suppose to say.

    Brigitte

  71. Joule said on August 10, 2013 at 7:52 pm ... #

    Like others posting here I have been searching for some way to mourn my mother’s death 18 years ago. I really thought things would get better after she passed, they got way worse. Four years after her death I was in a bad depression and started therapy. It took me a long time to understand the extend the the emotional abuse I received from her. The anger I felt was beyond words and it often spilled into my life with other people. The hardest part is I did and do love her, I just do not like her for the things she did. I know in my heart if I had loved her unconditionally morning her passing would have been easer. I have become aware that to progress in my healing I need to find a way to morn her. At least I know there are others who are facing the same thing.

  72. Anonomous said on September 8, 2013 at 12:08 pm ... #

    My husband and I lead a small group for Christian couples, One of the women in the group had a strong belief in God, but did not have the capacity to share her beliefs with others in a Christian way. She was judgmental, unaccepting of new members, resentful of her husband, and became very toxic for the entire group. Her husband traveled a lot, so he occasionally would not be at the meeting to run interference for her. I remember the last meeting I attended with her in attendance. Her husband was not there, and she said “I feel like I’m the only Christian in this group, and feel very alone.” I cried all the way home, and my husband and I decided to wait until they were away on vacation (2 weeks), and we said we were going to take some time off as leaders, and were going to start a new group in the fall. One very wise woman said “this is all about _______”, isn’t it. Of course we denied it, then everyone started speaking up about all of the things she had done to them, how our group could never continue if we left, etc. One of the men said we needed to take the issue to the church leadership for advice on how to handle. Long story short, the couple left our group, and we are very healthy. EVERYONE is included in all activities, and no judgmental comments are every made about a person, their family, etc. No unsolicited advice is ever acceptable. This woman died of an unexpected heart attack last week, and I must say I have some guilt about cutting her out of my life, but as I have read the other comments, I recognize that some people just have “social chips” missing, or unresolved personal issues, and only THEY can fix themselves.

  73. Not a genie after all said on September 14, 2013 at 5:11 pm ... #

    My biplar mother died on 13 March this year. She got ‘bronchitis’ in mid-February, swiftly lost the ability to walk, or control her bladder or bowels (3 weeks), went into hospital while I aas away on business for 3 weeks, and my adult aughter was with her while I was away. When does bipolar slip into dementia? How was I, or my daughter, supposed to know?
    I hav a very difficult relationship with my mom, and my father was a paedophile who messed with me from the time I was 4 until I was 15. My parents separated when I was 4 and divorced when I was 9.
    When I was 11 father got custody, and mother walked out of my life for 4 years. Hell on earth, with no way out and no one to talk to- I left what could loosely be described as home when I was 15 and went looking for my mom. I found her.
    Sometimes I thought I would have been better off if I hadn’t- she has loved/hated/loved/hated me, played come here/go away/come back/go away so often I became almost innured to it- and boom- now she’s gone.

    Sometimes I miss her so much I’d even be happy to hear her bitch at me! But the layers and layers of emotion make grieving very, very complicated and the sadness comes out in little ‘blurts’ sometimes. The rest of the time I’m sort of numb. I’m 52.
    My advice to children of a bipolar mom is dont live with her when she gets old and starts leaving the stove on and the taps running- find a situation where you can visit often and then LEAVE- for your sake, and perhaps for hers.

  74. Vix said on September 28, 2013 at 5:17 pm ... #

    Renee – I read your story and felt like I was reading my own. I hope today is a good day for you. Kind regards.

  75. Anna Clark said on September 29, 2013 at 8:48 pm ... #

    Disappointed (with parents) is not the word for it. More like screaming from the memories of wounds of parental abuse and neglect. It’s easy for them to be dead, but I still have to cope with the legacy of their unspeakable damage! I haven’t even scratched the surface, where do I begin…

  76. Lourdes said on October 2, 2013 at 10:10 am ... #

    GlD I found this site did not think there was anything out there for my situation

  77. Natalie Spiczka said on October 4, 2013 at 12:02 am ... #

    This page helped me realize that having several mixed emotions after my father’s death this past week is normal. It made me realize that it is ok to have these HORRIBLE moments of anger, hurt, sadness and inquisition. My heart is in a million places and this helped let me know that it’s ok to feel that way. It has been a horrible situation since day one and I am giving myself the right to grieve the VERY conflicted relationship. Once I get through the grieving process I will move on and never look back. It is what I need to do for myself. Thank you for sharing this site.

  78. Michelle said on October 27, 2013 at 10:30 pm ... #

    I lost my mother on 10/10/13 at age 56. She was an addict for the past 18 years. She died with nothing and noone around her who cared about her. We don’t know if it was an overdose or if she aspirated her own vomit. Even more tragic than that was the way she lived and the torment she put my family and I through. I am not sure if I am more sad about how she died than about how she lived. I spent so long being angry with her and being mean too her. Now that she is gone the anger I felt all those years has been replaced with sorrow. Constantly I find myself wishing things were different, wishing everyone would not remember her as an addict, wishing that was not what defined her. I wish I could have forgiven her when she was alive but it was just too hard for me to accept the person she had become. Now all I have are awful memories of her mixed in with a few fond childhood memories from before things got bad. My only solace comes from my hope that we are all at peace when we die and maybe I will see her again so I can tell her I loved her all along.

  79. Jan said on November 10, 2013 at 10:37 am ... #

    I have been through an extremely difficult divorce over the past 3 years (Im just getting ready to sign the divorce papers). I have since moved onto another relationship etc etc etc
    Suddenly I feel almost numb-could this be grief? I have been in fight mode for 3 years to protect myself and my children financially, emotionally etc etc so why now? I feel numb towards the new partner in my life as well.
    Any ideas? As I said-this happened as soon as it is finally coming to an end i.e. all of the papers signed.
    Thank you

  80. Eliza said on November 24, 2013 at 8:41 am ... #

    I wish people would stop using this space to shill for healers. Please go start your own site if that’s what you’re interested in sharing–I just find the testimonials to your healers to be distracting from the otherwise great work being done via this space. Thank you.

  81. admin said on November 25, 2013 at 9:32 am ... #

    Hi Eliza,
    Thank you for the comment. Our spam filters catch many of those comments, but not all of them. We have deleted many of them on this post. If you see others, please email hellogrief@comfortzonecamp.org with a link to the post that they’re on. Thank you!

  82. Anna said on December 3, 2013 at 12:54 pm ... #

    Thank you. I lost my honey last year, Dec 1, 2012. There was so much insanity around our life, his death and the ‘players in the drama’. It is hard to grieve while having memories of that ‘drama. Thank you for helping me understand that I’m not crazy. Many of my friends, who i believe, mean well, want me to ‘let go’ and start living etc etc etc . I did not stop living when he died. My life changed. I feel as if many of the people in my life can not deal with the strong emotions i am feeling now more then ever. Thank you for helping me see that it’s okay to have those ambivalent and incongruent feelings. You are now all part of my support group.

  83. Kari said on December 4, 2013 at 12:03 am ... #

    I just found out my mother passed away today, me and her did not get along by any means…she was a good person for most of my life but after our parents divorce she grew cold and distant towards me as the eldest because frankly..I.. I did not and would not put up with her manipulative BS. And because of this she practicly wrote me out of her life, no birthday presents no christmas presents and such not even a phone call to say hi, that she wanted me in her life. Someone not really worth sheding tears over.. My youngest sister is listed as her next of kin, not me the oldest but the youngest and yet her I sit at my laptop still missing her, or rather who she used to be and now that person wont ever come back. I dont know how to feel really..

  84. Lindsey said on December 13, 2013 at 1:28 am ... #

    I have been having such a difficult time since my dad passed away. It will be a year ago next week. My mom and him had been married for 20 years before they decided to divorce and it caused great turmoil in our family. My dad despised everything that she did. We all did, but we never let it come between us. I was 30 years old and I had my first ever fight with my dad 6 months before he died. He thought I was sticking up for my mom so he became very angry with me. His last words to me were, “I don’t have a daughter named Lindsey.” Normally, I’m the type of person that forgives and forgets, but seeing as how I had never fought with him before, his words hurt me so incredibly bad…it rocked me to the core. I was so hurt. So I decided not to see him, talk to him, take my kids around him….this went on until he died suddenly of a heart attack. I saw my dad often before our fight. We had a great relationship. I loved him very much. The last words that my dad ever said to me haunt me daily. I struggle so bad because I feel like maybe I have no right to mourn. My family and close friends all knew that I had been angry with my dad so I feel like they don’t care that I’m grieving. No one checks on me or asks me how I’m doing. I suppose it’s because in their minds, maybe I was wrong to stay away? I don’t know, but I go back and forth daily on my emotions. It’s been a year and I still don’t know how to cope. One minute I’m crying hysterically because I miss my dad so bad that it physically hurts. The next minute I’m mad at him for leaving me in this world the way he did. I don’t get to talk about this ever so I am thankful that I found a place to get this off my chest.

  85. Linda said on December 17, 2013 at 7:02 pm ... #

    Thank you so much for this site. And thanks to all who have posted here. My heart aches for all of us. I married a much older man, his second marriage, the first having lasted 40 ears and producing four adult childern. He lasted 7 years before his heart gave out. Year One was severe psychological abuse. Year Two was recovery for me. Then the physical abuse began. I prayed for relief. What I got was a silent home. Very few words were ever spoken. We lived out in the middle of nowhere and I was isolated and afraid. I begged him to at least talk to me, but his life was online. I was not allowed to have any money or a drivers license and he ignored me except for meal times, which were silent. I continued to pray. Then he had a stroke. I thought if he needed me, he might love me. I was wrong. The emotional abuse continued, even after he was wheelchair bound. I cared for him two years, during which he physically abused me if I got too close. I held on, being a Christian, and sadly loving him. A week before he died, he confessed to me that he had a fantasy life of being a major in charge of psychological torture experiments on recruits. And that he was sorry. My world has been like a tomb ever since. He died in September. His funeral was a farce, with his relatives talking about how kind and charitable he was, what a wonderful man he’d been. I was in shock. I cannot talk to his family. They don’t even know him. I loved him, yes, but cannot after what he told me. I am so angry at him for trying to destroy me. I had no idea the whole thing was orchestrated for perverse pleasure. I tried abuse therapy, but it didn’t address the grief. I tried grief therapy, but it didn’t help with the anger from the abuse. I have a new therapist that I’m starting with tomorrow, and thanks to all the posts on this site, I finally believe I know what I need to talk about in sessions. Thank you all so much for your courage in sharing here, and may God bless us all. Try to have a pleasant holiday.

  86. justine selekman said on December 29, 2013 at 8:17 am ... #

    Have dyslexcia spell phineticlly mean so very much to me if you can look beyond my gramer mistakes and listen to my bleeding heart! someone does not have to be actualy dead to feel the grief of there death or there inpending death.I have suffered with severe dyslexcia,depression,anxiety and obsessive thinking. im not a victim on meds married 3 children. im 39 and my mom now 70. my anger is and was that she saw me as a victim. psychiatrist from psychiatrist……tranqulizers she did it out of love but, never looked at me as a competent person pop a tranqulizers. Again good intentions but, I never learned copeing skills of my own! except take a valium or klonapin starting at 15! now after all these years I cant deal with the real world! I don’t abuse just after so maney years even if you don’t abuse you cant cope with the real world with out poping a tranqulizer.If she onley had confidence in me! showed me the waye out was not to numb yourself out of life but breathing or meditation or something not drug related.
    my poor children had to deal with a mother who couldn’t teach them how to deal with lifes ups and downs. never ever put them on pills! but if I never learned how to cope! and when they have friend issues ect I fall aparte! your sapose to make light of it but to my mom everything was a tragedy concerning me! maney people with mentale illness function im all for anti depressants they help and mood stabalizers but not the tranqulizers! she looked at me as a diagnoses not a person!do you know how maney labels I grew up with! emotionaley disturbed, mentaley ill poor Justine until that became my identity! the symtoms I have does not effect my intelligence! to this day I have no sence of self! except emotionely disturbed! that’s why im made well partley also she never let me detach from her as a teenager at 13 or 14 when kids need to,to finde there place in the world! so now as a adult it crippled me! for years in theropy actualy trying to re grow up. make my own decisions and stop the codependency of not turning to my mother as a adult because I was not allowed to detach as a teenager! when she dies it will be so hard for me. in maney ways I have this guilt that I ruined her life by being so troubled! I feel if I did not have all these problems she would of been a happyier person. we also fought so much that will eate me alive! see our love for each other was and is so intense but we never accomplished a true healthy mother doughter relationship. before she dies my love for her is so profound that was the one wish I had in this world. not a codepent relationship a real one. she tried her best with what she new and the love between us is so strong maybe im still trapted as a 13 year old girl never detaching developmentaley handicaptes you as a adult and emeshes you in your own childrens life. I cant let go. when she passes the guilt of all my problems I made her suffer. the fights,the guilt. the paine of never accomplishing a relationship. I think I will have a break down. please who ever in charge of post correct my gramer and spelling it would mean so much to me love justine

  87. B said on January 10, 2014 at 3:19 pm ... #

    Wow! I thought I was alone. I love my mother and deep down I think she loves me but I always felt left out since the age of 18. And now at 54 watching my mom dying in a hospital I worry I won’t be able to properly mourn for her because of all past hurt feelings. My sister and her are exactly alike, controlling people who can never say sorry or accept any mistakes they made. I always regretted that I never sat with mom and told her how I felt. They tried to blame my husband for my distance that I started to create but if they only realized it was I had no more room to bear the deceptions, lies, secrets they held right to this exact day. Even the living will and some inheritances got changed and they not only did not tell me but let me continue to do things for her knowing I had no power until legal decisions had to be made I was then told by my sister she has all the control. This was another dagger into my heart. Many family say it was my sister who got this all changed not your mother but mom was part of this, she signed the papers, she owns this too. Mom can still hear me, they say to talk to them, do I tell her how I felt and what I want or is it too late? All I wanted was to be treated equally and to be told how proud of me she was. As I said they are exactly alike and now my sister is trying to control and hurt me. I have decided to say nothing and just be her to care for her. My sister once said in a weak moment (this are very rare)she is worried she will loose me once mom is dead…She lost me along time ago. My question how do you mourn when you carry so much hurt and anger. One you actually feel like you already lost long ago and do I tell her now how angry I am or bury it too?

  88. Michelle said on February 13, 2014 at 7:22 pm ... #

    I feel very guilty for the attitude I had towards my dad and our relationship only started mellowing once he got sick six months ago. Dad didn’t smoke, drink, steal or cheat on my mum but he had an awful temper at times from when my sister and I were kids. He had many demons from a tough childhood and he felt like the world was against him. Because he had a complex about himself he would often lash out verbally or physically and it was always worse if my sister and I fought back. He often made the wrong decisions about things and growing up I shamefully would compare him to other dads who had more money and dealt with things in a better way. It seemed to annoy him when others did well too. Deep down he adored my mum sister and I but smothered us with his love as deep down he didn’t really love himself. aside from all that he loved to make people laugh, had fantastic general knowledge was extremely principled and very sentimental about the past. He was just very understood by a lot of people because of his temper. he’s left such a massive void in my life more than I ever could have imagined.

  89. Linda said on March 7, 2014 at 5:17 am ... #

    My brother passed away just over six months ago and I’m finding it harder to believe as time goes on. We had a difficult relationship and I was scared of him for many years. I too have searched the web for material that might help, but haven’t been able to find solace. I realise I can’t stretch friendships by talking about this with friends as I do feel the pressure to be over it by now, but in some ways I feel like I’m just starting to touch the surface. I can’t even write about why our relationship was so strained for fear of dishonouring him and my family. I guess it is still hard to believe that we don’t have the chance to ‘fix’ things, but I’m ashamed to think that I don’t know if we could even if he was still here. I’m guessing others have felt this way so would appreciate it if anyone who can relate to this could comment.

  90. Lee said on March 16, 2014 at 8:57 am ... #

    Looking back over a 40 year marriage which ended with my wife’s suicide I realize that for the last 20 years she was slowly sinking into mental illness. I stayed with her for my son’s sake and as she grew worse I stayed for her sake. She had 4 psychiatric hospitalizations. Two weeks after her last release she sent me on an errand and killed herself. Obviously I had thought a lot about separation, divorce and a life without her before the suicide. Grief comes without regard to the circumstances. She was loved by many people and had so much to give if she could have beaten her depression. I am very thankful for the support of our friends. There is no one path through grief. We are all on our own paths but we have to walk that path. For some of us ambiguity and relief are a part of walking the path but it doesn’t stop the pain and emptiness.

  91. Pamela said on March 20, 2014 at 4:05 pm ... #

    I am the last one left from my immediate family. My father died March 2003 from ALS, my brother passed unexpectedly 10/1/12 from a massive heart attack in his sleep and my mother died 10/09/13 from congestive heart failure and Dementia. My mother was a violent borderline personality who ruled our household (including my father) with an iron fist. She shut down my grieving for my father because *she didn’t need that* and it ended up staying shut down until she died. Her grief was the only one that mattered. When my brother died, I had to bury that around her as she lived with me because of the Dementia and I needed to keep her as calm as possible. My relationship with her has always been difficult, virtually from birth. I know she loved me but I also know I paid dearly for not being born a boy and not being able to think with her brain. She was abusive in the extreme, both from her own upbringing of being beaten and her mental illness. She called it discipline but it was actually her venting her rage….she beat us until she felt better. When I became an adult, she couldn’t beat me physically so she used manipulation, unending criticism, correcting nearly everything I said, being completely UNsupportive of pretty much anything I did and telling boyfriends, her friends, my friends, etc., what a total POS I was…in front of me. While she was doing all of that, she was ALSO saying things like how amazed she was at all the things I know how to do and how proud she was of me. 0.o She was a Master of Mixed Messages. In a nutshell, she drove me batcrap insane. However, she was my mother and I understood she was mentally ill and I loved her. While she was living here, we became closer than ever before and she was a lot nicer to me, although it’s likely that’s because she didn’t always know who I was, but I’ll take what I could get. However, shortly before she died, her eyes kind of brightened up and she looked at me, called me by name and the last words she ever spoke were to tell me she was sorry she hurt me and that she loved me. Then her eyes dimmed again and she was mentally gone again. You could tell very clearly that she was somewhere else, then she was there, then she went away again. Now she’s gone and I’m grieving all three of them. I’m angry and alone and sad and I cry throughout the day, every day. I don’t mean just tears, I mean wracking sob bawling that drains me, leaves me exhausted and frequently with a headache. It hits me over and over and over again. I have no friends where I live and when I talk to the couple of long distance friends I have, they tend to think I should be getting over it all by now. I also have no family support. When my dad died, I had to be strong for mama, when my brother died, my grief was shunted aside by his family because they lost their husband/father and he was *just* my brother so their loss was so much greater than mine (I’m not making this up) and when mama died, they told me once again that their loss of their father was MUCH greater than my loss of my mother because he was only 56 and Grandma was 81. Even my daughter told me their grief mattered more because his wife lost the love of her life and they lost their dad, so I should take care of Grandma all by myself because they were grieving. HUH? And I’m not?? To ice this dysfunctional cake, I have Asperger’s, which is probably why my grieving is just one meltdown after another. That’s also probably why they all think my grief is insignificant and unimportant…they don’t know I’m an Aspie, they just know I’m weird and the family outcast which renders me unimportant (unless they want something). The candles on the cake are that they sued to have me removed as trustee of her trust 6 weeks after she died because they didn’t have their money yet, I wasn’t *doing my job* and accused me of stealing trust assets for my own benefit. Basically, they want the annuity that was left only to me and the only way to get at it is to accuse me of stealing from her while I was her 24/7 sole caregiver and then stealing from the estate. Never mind that the only reason there IS an estate is that I took care of her instead of private or nursing home care. I did that by myself because they refused to help in any way at all. So in addition to the grief, there’s constant anxiety about this lawsuit and her creditors. They call me almost daily about her bills I can’t pay until the estate is settled and THAT’S dead in the water…which means the little money in the trust checking account is being eaten up with insurance and utilities for her house and is almost gone. I am ready to just run screaming into the night and never return. I would go to counseling for all of this but they have stopped me from using her car which will go to me and which I’m paying the insurance, maintenance and $300 tags for myself. I have no other vehicle so I haven’t left my house in nearly 3 months. I’m waiting for my atty to get me permission to at least go to the grocery and Dr. and then to take care of selling her house, unless they succeed in removing me as trustee. At the end of the day, I’m depressed and guilt ridden for the anger I feel, I’m angry and hurt by the family betrayal and I’m sad to my core over all these losses. I lost my immediate family to death and I lost the rest of my family to betrayal. Sometimes it’s just hard to breath, it’s like having the wind knocked out of me. I realize I have just been rattling on here, once I started, I just couldn’t stop. This is the first place I’ve found for grieving difficult relationships and I just kinda went crazy with it. Thanks for reading, I feel a bit better for now.

  92. Greta said on March 21, 2014 at 1:21 am ... #

    Thank you. My mom died three weeks ago. My parents where great parents but also absent parents, and the older and harder life with children became, the more absent. Thank you for letting me grieve a woman who wasn’t a good mom, but thought she was. Children to her were pets. Dismissed when real life happpened. Seen but not heard. Thank you. I miss not only my mother, but the mother she could have been.

  93. C said on March 26, 2014 at 10:54 am ... #

    I lost my daughter 3 months ago to a heroin overdose and I am feeling so angry with her. She was a challenge all of her teen years, and no matter what we did for her, it was never enough. She danced, cheered, had two loving parents, two loving brothers, huge extended family that went to every dance recital she ever had, it still wasn’t enough. She went to counselors, rehab, so many people tried to help her. I feel like she hated us, she was so disrespectful, I’m only able to focus on the negative things about her right now. Of course, when she was younger she was the daughter everyone would love to have, but the teen years were miserable. She was in rehab, however she relapsed the week she died. Now I feel like I’m left with the horrible memories of the past few years for the rest of my life. All the misery she put us through while she was alive and now in her death, the misery is going to continue for the rest of our lives. I want to forget them and remember the good my daughter did, the successful adult she could have been. I know I’ll get over this negativity someday, but it will take a lot of work on my part. I would give anything to have her back and try again, but, that’s impossible. I’m tired.

  94. Pat said on April 1, 2014 at 2:47 am ... #

    My mother mother died on Saturday I feel nothing for the women but feel for my mother’s loss. I cannot even bring myself to call her grandmother. She was cruel bitter and used every opportunity to put down my mother. As a kid I felt so helpless seeing my mother broken and so desperate for her mother’s love which she never got. Lula as they called her had made bad choices had 9 children with a married man and she blamed everyone for her decisions. As a child she took take of me and was cruel verbally and psychologically abusing me telling me how my parents did not value me and I was a bother to them. Throughout my adulthood she hurt everyone with her words she had a sharp and mean tongue. I did stand up to her and would disrespect her and cease to have a relationship with her or refused to speak to her because I unlike everyone else would not put up with her cruelty. As the funeral is this week I am forcing myself to attend for my mother Lula’s funeral my mothers mother I feel nothing for her and many of her grandchildren feel so sad because of her death but I don’t feel anything as her last days neared I forced myself to go to the hospital but I felt nothing no pity no sadness no feeling just bad memories. I am glad I am not alone that not feeling love or sadness for the death of someone you should love is common.

  95. Sheila said on April 3, 2014 at 7:48 am ... #

    I am grieving my alive daughter. She is an incest victim, still, at age 49. Counselling has helped each of us, but she is now mentally and emotionally unstable, at risk of suicide. She has only just kept in contact, and has just written to me, telling me not to contact her ever again. I won’t contact her because of her health.
    I think she blames me for allowing the incest to happen. In her ill-health, she also feels I ask too much of her, and can’t see the consistent love and support I’ve given and shown, all these years.
    There is no obvious website online for the support or companionship of MOTHERS of incest victims (now adults) so I am blerting here.
    Best wishes and support-thoughts to all who have written here..

  96. marts said on April 4, 2014 at 3:44 pm ... #

    I can’t believe that I’m not alone in feeling this way. My ex (we divorced two years ago) passed away on Sunday night. He passef away from various problems, including a heart condition and starvation. He was only 39. He was an alciholic. I feel so guilty. Maybe if I didn’t leave him he’d still have been alive? I miss him so much. I love him. He is my soulmate. I am engaged to re-marry nnext year and feel I can’t grieve for him. My fiancée, family and friends don’t understand. They just saw all the horrible things he did to me. I am devastated. Thanks for the perspective. I need it.

  97. Robert D. Stolorow said on April 4, 2014 at 7:21 pm ... #

    Pathologizing grief: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/feeling-relating-existing/201402/the-war-grief

  98. Moses said on April 14, 2014 at 8:26 pm ... #

    My parish priest passed away a month ago of suicide but only a few of us that work for the parish know that this was the true cause of his death. He had severe mental illness and we tried to get him help the last few months of his life. He was a “Master Manipulator” and fooled everyone that was close to him. Had I not worked for the church and been witness to all the irregular behavior patterns and mood swings – I would never have believed anyone who told me he was crazy.
    The last few months were pure hell. He lied to everyone in the parish. He made up illnesses to get attention from the parishioners. His lies were so big and woven so deep I do not think he could see any way out.
    Everyone talks about how wonderful he was, and I just smile, nod and agree. In the meantime I am
    just cringing inside because I know all the horrible details. I am praying and I know God will help me heal in time. This is just so tough.

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