The Loss of Your Father: Missed Opportunities

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 04, 2007 5:52 PM GMT
    I use to come on here regularly, posting and reading the various messages you guys put on here to various postings. However, my job has occupied most of my time, consuming me.

    I'm glad to be back and in the mood to add yet more to this interesting website.

    Approximately two months ago, my father passed away. He came to work, said "hello" to everyone, and passed
    out. He died shortly thereafter.

    I have a family in the literal since (like most), but figuartively speaking, I do not. I am moreso estranged from my family more than anything. However, my father was different. He was the one person I could talk to in my family without feeling so much pain.

    Granted, I had not seen him in nearly three years (the last time I got to see him was at the morgue), and I am still trying to get over those lost opportunities to see him and just, as I cannot change that.

    My father was everything to me. I loved him and hoped that one day I could give him everything he gave me, my mother and his children. He workedhard for everything we ever had. I never had to go without a thing, which I am thankful for.

    My father's death has brought a lot of bad feelings back I did not want to visit. Also, there's the aftermath with settling his estate, which is too long and tiring to discuss.

    My biggest regret is that he never really knew I was gay or really knew "me". I never told him out of fear that he would resent me or reject me. He always said, "You can never turn your back on family, no matter what", but I still was afraid, even at age 24.

    My question to those on RealJock is, have you lost your father? How did you cope with this loss? Did your father ever know who you were (in regard to being gay)? I am just trying to get some advice to assist me with the grieving process. Please provide any advice you have at all.

    sP

    PS- Thank you to all of you who have sent me messages saying hello as I haven't been online for quite a while. That is much appreciated.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Nov 04, 2007 8:25 PM GMT
    I'm really sorry for your loss
    It sounds like you and your father had a special relationship

    as far as regretting not telling him that you were gay
    just realize that if you were sure of his love he would have been ok with it

    just remember his love for you and yours for him
    and in the grand scheme of things thats all that really matters
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 04, 2007 10:29 PM GMT
    My father died when I was 9 and I feel like I missed out on a lot. Granted he was not a nice guy, nor was he ever around (work was much more important and business partners WERE family) but when he died i knew things would never be the same. Like i did not have a father figure in my life. I had my sister and my mom and that's it. i always wonder if it affected my sexuality... i dunno. and i won't know i guess...
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    Nov 04, 2007 10:50 PM GMT
    hey, sorry for your loss, i sorta know what your going through. my father passed away, it will be three years ago this feb. i never told him i was gay and i regret it. he asked me once. he told me that he didnt care, and that he would always love me no matter what, but i just wasnt ready to tell him. i have a feeling that he still knew but i wish i could have told him. ive yet to tell my mother which im just trying to find the best way to do it, im away at school now so now might be a good time to do it, i just cant seem to do it. anyway. as for dealing with the pain, all i can say is one day at a time and have people you can talk to. when my dad was sick up till he passed and even still ive yet to cry or truely morn him. i have a bad issue when it comes to showing my emotions. and my family was and is worried about me for it. i feel im fine but i know im not. that i need to grieve but i just havent seem to be able to. well, i hope this helps and if you ever want to talk, im a click away.

    cowboy
  • RSportsguy

    Posts: 1925

    Nov 05, 2007 12:11 AM GMT
    I am sorry for your loss sP.
    I hope you can treasure your memories and be comforted in the knowledge of his unconditional love for you.
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    Nov 05, 2007 1:13 PM GMT
    I know what a difficult time you are going through right now, and I wish you peace of heart and mind.

    My dad passed away almost 4 years ago. We had not spoken in many years. Before he died, I thought I had "dealt" with all the issues I had with him. Unfortunately, his death only brought buried hurts to the surface. After he passed, I just kept thinking about all the "what ifs". And now it was too late.

    I had so many regrets and it took me a long time to make peace with him...and with myself. But please, have faith. It will come. For me, it came from learning things about him that I didn't know, and from understanding and accepting things about him that I did know. And time. Lots of time. Give yourself that.
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    Nov 05, 2007 3:52 PM GMT
    my dad passed away 7 years ago (a drunk driver crashed into his car) and i sometimes think back and wished i had told him i was gay or even that i loved him. my family's not close at all, even now we don't have conversations further than what's for dinner or what's on the telly. when he died, i wasn't in a great frame of mind and what he saw of me wasn't the best that i could've been and his death didn't affect me, or been fully understood, until 3/4 years had passed. what i mean by that was that i felt so distant emotionally from him that when he died it didn't feel like he died because i felt he wasn't really there to begin with and i moved on like nothing happened. and situationally, i was 16 and living in the bush so telling him i was gay then might have been a bit dangerous for me (possible violence from him, the community and/or my peers) even though i was the pariah of the community.

    the regrets i feel now involving him all revolve around questions about if i could/would have done anything different but i didn't do anything back then so now in my perspective about the whole situation is that life doesn't have time for you to wait to tell people anything, your opportunity to speak up is when you think of when to say something. if you want closure, talking to his gravestone helps immensely because figuratively he is still here just in another form. i "talk" to my dad in my head occasionally when i trip over or do something stupid 'cos i know he'd be laughing at me (he and i have the exact same twisted humor, love watching people get hurt lol).

    guilt and regret hold you back and it's always easier to apologize for things already done than to do what's on your mind in the present. what you're feeling is a loss of control, that no matter what you can't change how you were so get in control of yourself and realize to do that is to make positive changes right now. and there's no time limit on grieving.

    i feel sad when i realize the last time he was around that his son was a suicidal violently depressed make up wearing girly drug using thief, that all he saw of me was that but that's how i was back then....i don't know how to put it in words but i have come to terms with it. when he died my family moved to another state so my mum could be with her family and we wouldn't have done that had he were still alive and i love where i am right now.
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    Nov 05, 2007 4:05 PM GMT
    what i also wanted to say was that to try not to lose yourself in the grief or regret and there's only so much other people/family can do to comfort you (though keep your ears open to what everyone says, a conversation you overhear might make something click inside you and you'll understand apart of yourself/your father), the ending lies with how you deal with the passing.

    my favourite book, manhood by steve biddulph has a chapter about fathers, it skims the surface but it put me on the path of consolidating my feelings (not sure if those are the right words).

    keep smiling that smile of yours icon_biggrin.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 05, 2007 4:15 PM GMT
    I'm so sorry for your loss.

    I lost my dad ten years ago, and it was a sudden and unexpected loss. He was a very loving man. It felt like a part of my soul was ripped from my heart through my skull. There is still not a day that goes by that I don't think of him in some way. Mother gave me his wedding band and my partner gave me permission to wear it.

    My being gay was never discussed with Dad, but he knew I had lived with the same guy for 28 years at the time Dad passed, so he had to know. It seemed to make no difference in our relationship.

    Good luck. It takes a while to recuperate from such a loss, but you will get over it.
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    Nov 05, 2007 4:18 PM GMT
    My father and I never really had a relationship to speak of so telling him or not was never really an issue.

    But my grandfather on the other, was my primary father figure. He was your classic stern, Catholic, WWII vet. But I felt I had to tell him and despite my mother thinking it would kill him, his only response was, "I've seen a lot of things in this world I didn't understand. Just trust in G-d and you'll be ok." That was it. LOL - I think he was more horrified that I went to Connecticut for school!

    I did mourn him terribly when he died and think about him all the time. All I can say to the OP is, I have found comfort in trying to honor him in the way I live my own life. That is one of the greatest ways we can pay tribute to them and keep their memory alive.
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    Nov 05, 2007 5:16 PM GMT
    I am so sorry about your loss. I know how devastating it is to lose a loved one.

    I do believe he will still love you unconditionally regardless of your sexuality. I, myself have not seen my father in over 10 years now and I miss him dearly. And like you, I was very close to him. I remember he would always tell me that he loves me everyday that he leaves home for work along with my other two brothers.

    Even up to this day, I know it wouldn't matter if I told him about my sexuality because unconditional love knows no boundaries especially when it comes to family. It's funny I stumbled upon this thread when R. Kelly's song 'I Wish' was playing on my iPod, the chorus struck me the most:

    I wish that I could hold you now
    I wish that I could touch you now
    I wish that I could talk to you
    Be with you somehow
    I know you're in a better place
    Even though I can't see your face
    I know you're smiling down on me
    Saying everything's okay
    And if I make it out this life
    I'll see you again someday


    Hang in there, buddy. Keep your head up, he's smiling down and watching over you.
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    Nov 05, 2007 6:09 PM GMT
    I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your father. I know what you're talking about as this was my situation, too.

    Nine years ago I left my job in Philadelphia and moved home to help take care of my father who had lung cancer. He died a year later.

    I had not told him that I am gay and I also regretted it.

    In the first episode of "Six Feet Under" I recall Francis Conroy's character saying of her husband who had just been killed, "Now he knows all my secrets." I sort of felt that way when my father died.

    In the long run I guess there is nothing to regret. You and I wanted to have quality time with our parents rather than wrestle through those difficult years of adjustment. I have friends who lost parents before that adjustment was done, and so they're last memories of their parents are of being alienated from them.

    Being gay in our society doesn't offer the clean cut choices that TV shows would have you to believe. You made the choice to keep your sexuality from your father because you weren't ready to tell him. What would have happened had you told him? It's possible that he'd have said, "Yes, I know and that's just fine," but you knew him better than anyone, and I suspect he wasn't going to do that.

    This is your life, your experience. There is nothing incomplete about it. You won't spend a day regretting the laughter and warmth that you shared, so certainly don't spend a moment of regret over an even that had many possble outcomes (half of which were negative) when you couldn't possibly have known which one would prove true.

    Deep in your heart you knew which route would provide you with the most comfort.

    I hope your healing period brings you love and warm memories.
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    Nov 05, 2007 8:01 PM GMT
    I just wanted to say "THANK YOU" to the responses I've gotten here and via email for those who chose to respond privately. This is all well appreciated.

    This is definately the hardest thing I've ever had to experience as I feel completely alone. My mother could
    care less about me, and my sisters don't either. My brother is in prison and I can't even talk to him as he
    is pretty "far gone".

    At this point, I'm waiting for my brother's release from prison in January as we will then go through settling the estate, which will be more of a nightmare.
    I hope my brother will think of what my father wanted and not solely of himself. I don't think there's much more I can deal with when it comes to this situation.

    My family is more concerned with the money and not his death. I am hating to even discuss money as this doesn't bring my father back as this is what I want.

    I know he's around me. At the funeral, at home, at work, I can occasionally catch a breeze of a distinct masculine smell that only would be my father as I have never smelled this except for being around him when I was younger. It makes me want to cry, but I'd rather smile, as I know it's him.

    I've had a series of dreams and can swear I've seen him in my bedroom when I've been in the dark awake. I don't know. Maybe I sound crazy, but that's my exerience. Anyway, thank you guys.

    ~sP
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    Nov 05, 2007 9:26 PM GMT
    I'm sorry for your loss. All the money in the world can't bring him back or help you with your grief.

    However, get yourself a good lawyer. By the sounds of your relations you're going to need one.
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    Nov 06, 2007 1:37 AM GMT
    Thx Red. Yes, I will indeed need one. I'm in this completely by myself as my family isn't helping me. I hate that I have to even go this far to settle his estate. I just wish and hope my brother will do the right thing when the time comes.

    ~sP
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    Nov 06, 2007 5:38 AM GMT
    So sorry to hear your lost.
    My father is recently very ill, and we don't think he'll make it long either. Seeing this posting, make me think of what is waiting ahead of me.
    my father seem to be the only person who's holding this family together. everyone else seem to go their own way, have their own life. when you said you r along in this. i feel the same too.
    regarding telling your father about yourself. where i come from, it's better not said. although in my case, my siblings knew about me, and they decide to tell my parents against my wishes. and my father had a heartache. since then he's not so well. so there, something is best keep to yourself.
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    Nov 07, 2007 1:39 PM GMT
    hey sexy_sP_puto i've had dreams since his passing as well. my brother too. they're like childhood memories except in reality they've never happened.
    i don't think anything disappears from here, just becomes something else.
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    Jan 18, 2008 3:37 PM GMT
    I was very moved to read your story. I lost my father in October 2006. He fell ill on his 80th birthday while I was in Italy with my partner. We flew back in time to say goodbye to him. He was conscious but was very uncomfortable due to the septic shock which basically shut down his kidneys.

    My Dad and I were not close growing up despite being very similar in personality. He was never comfortable around kids, and being a doctor was working a lot under tremendous stress. I got closer to him after I came out as an adult. He preferred adults because they could have intelligent conversations with him!

    When he passed away I felt like part of me died with him. It is kind of hard to explain I guess.

    And just a note to "running11" your father passing away when you were 9 probably did not influence your sexuality, since most experts agree that it is fixed almost from day one. However, it could influence your relationships with other gay men or who you choose as a boyfriend/mate.
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    Jan 18, 2008 3:46 PM GMT
    It takes an enormous amount of time to understand parents and their passing marks a stage in that understanding.

    As I get older I start to see myself in my memories of my father, both the good ones and the less good ones. They say we become our parents, and that is happening to me. Frankly, I find that really comforting (though I might not have at your age).

    There is nothing to do about the hurt. Time is about all that really works. Swallowing feelings and trying to "buck up" just prolongs the process but, in the end, I bet it all equals out.

    This is bound to have been some kind of a design criteria for how we are made as people.

    Life without parents is a brave new world.

    Last thing, I went through the settlement of an estate with my two brothers. It was tough. People behave badly and death tends to bring out the worst in people.

    The f---k of it is that the people we might have turned to for help aren't there anymore.

    A good lawyer can help but they are hard to find. Don't let yourself get convinced into worthless litigation that you cannot afford and that won't solve anything.

    If there is one thing I have learned is that principles won't bring back the dead, they don't put food on the table, and they don't keep me warm at night.

    Peace to you
    Terry
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 18, 2008 3:56 PM GMT
    My father is in his 80s. We had a horrible relationship when I was young; I ran away from home at 16 because I was tired of being beaten up for being a homo. I didn't speak to him for 10 years.

    Strangely, though, in the past 15 years we have become very close. He is an altogether changed man, thanks to life and therapy and my mom. He is now completely okay with my being gay, and in fact looked at my ex as another son and was unhappy that I broke up with him (!). I can't imagine not having him to talk to. My parents now live in the next town and I have dinner with them every Sunday night.

    My deepest sympathies to those of you who have lost your dads. I dread the day that will happen to me.
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    Jan 18, 2008 4:20 PM GMT
    I am sorry to hear about your father.

    My Dad died this past March. We were not close when I was growing up but became closer as I got older.
    He did know I was gay. We did not talk about it a lot but he accepted me for me.
    I am so happy that I was able to get close to him before he died.
    It sounds like you guys were close so it does not matter if he knew you were gay or not. He still knew you. Being gay does not define who you are as a person. And just because you did not tell him does not mean he did not know.
    Cherish the fact that you two did have a special relationship. Focus on that instead of any regrets.
  • jarhead5536

    Posts: 1348

    Jan 18, 2008 4:26 PM GMT
    My father died in May. We had a complicated relationship, to say the least. He figured out I was a little 'mo when I was quite small, and didn't know how to handle it, so he basically avoided me in favor of my much more gender appropriate brother. I came out to my family at 19, and he threw me out and disowned me. I didn't speak to him again until I was 32.

    We had been slowly rebuilding a relationship for the next ten years after that, but it was still sort of walking on eggshells. When he died, I grieved more for what might have been than what actually was, because he really was trying, his Southern Baptist convictions just really kept getting in the way...
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    Jan 18, 2008 4:33 PM GMT
    Sorry to hear of the loss of your dad. For any child, young or old, the loss of a parent is very difficult. And it really doesn't matter if the relationship has been great or not so good. The loss is real and the wound deep. Thank God, time brings healing (or philosophical resolve in some cases) and we move on, hopefully, with some good memories and a new appreciation for all the relationships in our lives. My dad died of a massive heart attack when he was 48, I was 24 at the time. It was sudden and left a large void in my family. He was a great guy with a large heart for his family. Of course, I will never forget him and in many ways, his legacy as a father still guides my life.
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    Jan 18, 2008 4:41 PM GMT
    What a sad and difficult time. My sincere sympathies to you. I have not lost my dad yet but his days are very limited as he fights an ever difficult struggle with cancer. I lost my mother to Alzheimers about 5 yrs ago and I know what it is to grieve.

    Just remember that there is NO time limit to your grieving. Some may use the rule of thumb that after a year you should be doing ok, it's only a rule of thumb. It took me over two years to come to grips with the death of my mother. We were very close and it wouldn't take much to bring me to tears but there came a day when I realized it was OK.

    Feel the pain, greive the lose, shed the tears...it just shows even more how much you truly loved your dad. And, if you ever feel lonely...by the looks of the posts, there are plenty of friends here in this community that would be more than willing to chat with you and at least give you a virtual hug!

    Blessing my friend.