How to handle death in a dysfunctional family

  • Sk8Tex

    Posts: 738

    Mar 12, 2011 9:03 PM GMT
    So.. I'm just going to dive right into the issue I'm experiencing right now because I could really use some feedback.

    One thing you should know before I get to rambling,.. I came out to my family about 15 years ago and it really didn't go over so well. I haven't spoken to my father in about 12 years now and my mother in about 8-10 years? It was made pretty clear that as long as I 'chose' to be gay there wasn't a place for me under their roof or at the dinner table.

    Ok then fine! I can own that and wear big boy pants and live out on my own.. and build a new family made up of close friends and my partners friends. I'm not here to impress anyone so if thats how it has to be then so be it. I do hold a bit of resentment towards my parents mainly because their ignorant to the fact that being gay is not a choice, and second because of all of this animosity I haven't had the opportunity to see or talk to my sisters as much as I would like to. I have countless nieces and nephews I've only been able to see once or twice as well..which sucks. About the only contact I do have now days with my parents is the occasional holiday card or birthday card, and sometimes not even that.

    So long story short I'm talking to my youngest sister on the phone last week and she tells me that my mom had a stroke last year, and that she isn't expected to live through this year. I wasn't quiet sure what to say to it so I just kept my mouth shut but I cant help but feeling empty towards this. My partner suggested I make every attempt to contact her and maybe visit her, because once she is gone its too late to do anything about whatever regrets you might have. I'm just really not sure how to handle this, as I've spent the last decade trying to forget about them, and just be myself.

    I know extending the olive branch at this time is the right thing to do (on my part) but it also really pisses me off that no one ever bothers to call, or write, and that I am just finding out about all of this half a year after the fact. So how would you handle this type of situation?

    I am just finding it extremely difficult to call or talk to them after all this time being left out of the family. *sigh..*
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    Mar 12, 2011 9:29 PM GMT
    Hard choices you have and I can't say as you'd be wrong with either one you choose.. go visit or stay away.
    Since your younger sister has her pulse on the current family dynamic why don't you get her input .
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    Mar 12, 2011 9:31 PM GMT
    SERIOUSLY LITTLE BRO... You are still beating yourself over the head in this thread because what you do to express your LOVE, AGAIN I REPEAT, YOUR LOVE by sexual encounter.... IT'S NOT EVEN A FAULT TO BE GUILTY FOR... Let it go now... Surrender the fact to the universe because somewhere throughout this beautiful eternity we are a part of even what your family is awaiting with open arms with. YOU CAN ONLY GO AS FAR AS TO BE YOURSELF... And I don't sense that the situation is made up of only lust. Pat yourself on the back sometimes cause God doesn't expect you to be anymore than you can be right now. Just do like MY MOM always says to me... LIVE YOUR LIFE TO THE FULLEST, the rest will come when you least expect it and coming from a failure like me, I will personally attest to the fact that the best has ONLY BEGUN!!! Let it go little brother, let it go.... It's not worth throwing your life away... BUILD IT UP RIGHT NOW SO THAT THE NEXT TIME AROUND IS EVEN BETTER!!! That is the gift of eternal life... I don't know HOW THE FUCK we made it this far but we did and we did it together... What harm can be gathered from such a fact?
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    Mar 12, 2011 9:34 PM GMT
    I'm sorry.
    When the parents act like children, the children are asked to be the mature ones.

    My advice is for you to write a letter to your mom and tell her everything in the letter-- the joy, the hurt, the love, the pain-- everything. You don't have to send or even read the letter to her, right now you just want to express every thing that you haven't had a chance to express.
    When you've finished writing the letter, give yourself some time, and then ask yourself if it's important for you to talk to your mom one last time.
    Maybe you want to talk to your mom about what you wrote in the letter, maybe you just want to say 'bye', maybe you don't need to see your mom after having written the letter.

    Whatever you ultimately decide to do, I offer my support.

    I agree with your partner that it's better to live with a regret for something you did than regret not having done something.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16412

    Mar 12, 2011 9:53 PM GMT
    First, sorry that you have have had such a difficult time with your family. I'm sure it has made life tough, especially dealing with parents that are clueless and don't want to be clued in...

    That aside... MAKE THE TIME. Don't make the mistake of not making the effort with your mother. She's your Mom, regardless. If you don't do it for her, do it for youself, otherwise you will live the rest of your life wondering if you made a mistake. She may not care about the whole gay issue at this moment, but it's serious, a life changing moment... go the extra mile and show what you are made of. If you are rebuffed by your Dad... or even your mother, so be it. We all know it will have been YOU who took the initiative and made the effort. To me.. thats what counts!

    Let us know what happens!
  • barriehomeboy

    Posts: 2475

    Mar 13, 2011 1:16 AM GMT
    I was put up for adoption at birth. I have no way to contact my birth parents. You, however, have a huge circle of family around you. Your parents might have dealt badly with you being gay, but all of those cousins and aunts and uncles around you DO support you. They will help you reconcile with your parents before they die.
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    Mar 13, 2011 1:26 AM GMT
    My advice to you, Go to see her the last time before it's too late.
  • TheIStrat

    Posts: 777

    Mar 13, 2011 1:27 AM GMT
    I'd go see her. You can always say you tried.
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    Mar 13, 2011 1:30 AM GMT
    I hope you get the chance to go be with your mom. It's pretty amazing how things like this can bring people together.
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    Mar 13, 2011 1:33 AM GMT
    Go see her.

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    Mar 13, 2011 1:37 AM GMT
    I think you should visit. I realize they haven't been the best parents but you need to do this for yourself. You need a visit to come to terms with everything you just wrote. If you don't visit you may carry the anger your parents have given you for the rest of your life. Do it for your own peace.
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    Mar 13, 2011 2:08 AM GMT
    What I'm about to say is not meant to diminish or undermind your feelings. In fact, you have every right to feel hurt and upset for the way you have been treated.
    Having said that, I would still ask that you seriously consider visiting your Mom. If anything, the visit will help give you closure and a sense of peace with the whole situation. This is also an opportunity to let your mom know that you forgive her , or will try to find it in your heart to forgive her. Who knows, this could be what she is waiting to hear before she can find peace in her own life.
    This is your opportunity to let her see the beautiful person you have grown to be, despite her disapproval and alienation.
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    Mar 13, 2011 2:14 AM GMT
    I always carry one of these to dysfunctional family funerals.
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    Mar 13, 2011 2:33 AM GMT
    Sk8Tex, you're one of the most wonderful men we know on here. If you love your Mom, go, and show her that you love without conditions, unlike her. Maybe she'll learn something, eh?

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    Mar 13, 2011 2:44 AM GMT
    Sk8Tex saidSo how would you handle this type of situation?
    You're asking people what their course of action would be to a situation that none have experienced.
    Turn the tables -- If you had never experienced this, and someone else asked what you would do, what would your answer be?

    Other than that, all I can offer is a *hug* and my best hopes that you and your family can mend the broken ties before it's too late.
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    Mar 13, 2011 4:41 AM GMT
    I haven't walked in your shoes so this is just me speaking from my experience. If you don't try and make peace with your mother and she passes, you will never have another chance. Is that something you really want to live with?

    Yeah, they have been assholes, but that's on them, not you.
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    Mar 13, 2011 5:29 AM GMT
    I'm sorry to hear about your situation, and your mother's. Given that she is only expected to live another year, I can only assume that she suffered a massive stroke or one in a critical area of the brain. Regardless of whether she retains her ability to speak, identify who you are, or feel your touch, you may want to seriously consider visiting her.

    From her perspective, the stroke has probably reprioritized the important things in her life, family being foremost. Sometimes parents' pride can cause them to do stupid things, like not reach out to their children. However, in the setting of stroke, there is an opportunity for the family to come together in a way that it previously has not needed to nor wanted to. Here is some information that might help you: 1, 2, 3.
  • timmytwister

    Posts: 169

    Mar 13, 2011 5:50 AM GMT
    I agree with most of the comments... go see Mom. But if you view it as paying a visit FOR HER SAKE, you may be disappointed if she and other members of your family give you the cold shoulder (because they're still stuck in their homophobic ways.) Instead, view it as paying a visit FOR YOU - to re-connect, to do the right thing, to give love, maybe to say goodbye. Without the expectations, you'll leave feeling good about your visit no matter what happens.

    My parents died many years ago. I'm so thankful that I didn't lose them while "estranged".

    You're one of my favorite people on this site - you're way too great a guy to have to endure this. I wish you all the best.

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    Mar 13, 2011 5:50 AM GMT
    Go see her. At this point in her life I doubt if she wants to turn you away hating her. The worse case scenario is that you are hurt by her lack of attempt, but at least you get things off your chest. The best case scenario is that you make some ammends, something that you'll take with you for the rest of your life.