Death of an estranged father

Neesy228

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 9, 2008
I'm not really looking for sympathy or even a response - honestly. I think I just need to write this down somewhere, and since these boards are my "online home" I figured this is as good as any.

I found out today that my biological father died in October of last year at the age of 60. He and I didn't have a relationship - obviously....since I'm just finding out he died 4+ months later.

He stopped coming to visit me when I was around 5 or 6 and I have very few memories of him -- and those that I do have are not positive. He was a heavy drinker and smoker and had much better things to do than be a father. Men like that rank pretty low on my "people I want to be around" meter. Over the years, I had made my own decision to keep my distance.

After I had children, I sometimes wondered if he had matured enough to deserve a place in my life - and especially my children's lives - but I never felt a strong desire to reconnect with him. So, I left well enough alone.

My MIL often talked to me about finding him and going to talk to him at least once - even if it was just to gather health information - and I always shrugged her off with a "I don't want any added complication to my life. I don't like drama." Well, SHE passed away in December and so many of our conversations have been running through my head lately....and today, as I was thinking about those conversations - I googled his name. And his obit came up.

I wasn't named in the obit as one of his children, which isn't surprising. He was on his third wife and had 5 other children with two other women since he had me. It's possible that his last wife didn't even know I existed. My mother has been virtually hovering over me all day - calling, texting. My aunts have called. I think that they're worried I'm going to be devastated, but I didn't even know him. I guess what I feel is just disappointment. I'm old enough to realize that you can't change people, but it makes me sad that he chose the path he did and never wavered. He missed out...not only on me, but on my children.

The men in my life are all truly loving, caring and involved fathers...and those are the men that I so respect, love and adore. So, maybe I owe him a thank you for showing me what I didn't want for my own life. I hope he's found peace - wherever he ended up.
 
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Angeejoe

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 29, 2012
I'm not really looking for sympathy or even a response - honestly. I think I just need to write this down somewhere, and since these boards are my "online home" I figured this is as good as any.

I found out today that my biological father died in October of last year at the age of 60. He and I didn't have relationship - obviously....since I'm just finding out he died 4+ months later.

He stopped coming to visit me when I was around 5 or 6 and I have very few memories of him -- and those that I do have are not positive. He was a heavy drinker and smoker and had much better things to do than be a father. Men like that rank pretty low on my "people I want to be around" meter. Over the years, I had made my own decision to keep my distance.

After I had children, I sometimes wondered if he had matured enough to deserve a place in my life - and especially my children's lives - but I never felt a strong desire to reconnect with him. So, I left well enough alone.

My MIL often talked to me about finding him and going to talk to him at least once - even if it was just to gather health information - and I always shrugged her off with a "I don't want any added complication to my life. I don't like drama." Well, SHE passed away in December and so many of our conversations have been running through my head lately....and today, as I was thinking about those conversations - I googled his name. And his obit came up.

I wasn't named in the obit as one of his children, which isn't surprising. He was on his third wife and had 5 other children with two other women since he had me. It's possible that his last wife didn't even know I existed. My mother has been virtually hovering over me all day - calling, texting. My aunts have called. I think that they're worried I'm going to be devastated, but I didn't even know him. I guess what I feel is just disappointment. I'm old enough to realize that you can't change people, but it makes me sad that he chose the path he did and never wavered. He missed out...not only on me, but on my children.

The men in my life are all truly loving, caring and involved fathers...and those are the men that I so respect, love and adore. So, maybe I owe him a thank you for showing me what I didn't want for my own life. I hope he's found peace - wherever he ended up.
Very wise words! Sending you :hug:.
 

Christine

Would love to be able to sit on
Joined
Aug 31, 1999
I'm not really looking for sympathy or even a response - honestly. I think I just need to write this down somewhere, and since these boards are my "online home" I figured this is as good as any.

I found out today that my biological father died in October of last year at the age of 60. He and I didn't have a relationship - obviously....since I'm just finding out he died 4+ months later.

He stopped coming to visit me when I was around 5 or 6 and I have very few memories of him -- and those that I do have are not positive. He was a heavy drinker and smoker and had much better things to do than be a father. Men like that rank pretty low on my "people I want to be around" meter. Over the years, I had made my own decision to keep my distance.

After I had children, I sometimes wondered if he had matured enough to deserve a place in my life - and especially my children's lives - but I never felt a strong desire to reconnect with him. So, I left well enough alone.

My MIL often talked to me about finding him and going to talk to him at least once - even if it was just to gather health information - and I always shrugged her off with a "I don't want any added complication to my life. I don't like drama." Well, SHE passed away in December and so many of our conversations have been running through my head lately....and today, as I was thinking about those conversations - I googled his name. And his obit came up.

I wasn't named in the obit as one of his children, which isn't surprising. He was on his third wife and had 5 other children with two other women since he had me. It's possible that his last wife didn't even know I existed. My mother has been virtually hovering over me all day - calling, texting. My aunts have called. I think that they're worried I'm going to be devastated, but I didn't even know him. I guess what I feel is just disappointment. I'm old enough to realize that you can't change people, but it makes me sad that he chose the path he did and never wavered. He missed out...not only on me, but on my children.

The men in my life are all truly loving, caring and involved fathers...and those are the men that I so respect, love and adore. So, maybe I owe him a thank you for showing me what I didn't want for my own life. I hope he's found peace - wherever he ended up.
OMG Neesy228, I could have written your post. I had to do a double-take when I saw your thread title.

So, I had the EXACT same thing happen to me. It's been months since I found out and I can't stop thinking about it.

My parents were VERY young when they married and they were about 19 years old when I was born. Within 2 years, they had separated and were divorced when I was about 4. My mother remarried when I was 8 and I have been raised by a wonderful stepfather.

During the earlier years after the separation, I had contact with my biological father several times a year as well as with my grandmother, her daughter (my aunt), and my aunt's son (cousin). The contact with my father dwindled. As I have found out later, he was a drug user. I won't go into all the details but I had final contact with him when I was about 12 and final contact with my aunt and grandmother when I was about 18. No drama, nothing. Just loss of interest I guess. I always adored my father and didn't know any of the negative things about it.

Over the years I was always curious but, things weren't as they are now. No internet, no easy way to find anyone. Once they internet came about I tried to find him but he has a very common first and last name so it was nearly impossible.

Then last October, out of some weird fluke, I stumbled upon his obituary on the internet. He had died November 2012 and I found out about two years later. I felt devastated. Mostly because it was just "unfinished" business in my life that I thought I would always get closure to.

I was not listed in the obituary. He was on his third wife (who was listed), had two children, and my aunt and grandmother were listed. I wrote a letter to his widow. She contacted me and wanted to talk to me and tell me everything but then just dropped contact.

My mother ended up contacting his sister (my aunt) and they had a nice conversation and I got all the details. It's very, very sad. I did find out that my grandmother is still alive and is 94 years old (and doing well). This aunt seemed to be happy to hear from my mother and want contact, but then, we haven't heard more. So maybe it makes people uneasy.

Who knows. But it seems odd that I am so shaken by this. I can't explain it. But it's good to hear that I"m not the only one who feels odd about it. But you seem to be taking it a little better than I am. I'm pretty sad for not reconnecting with him.
 
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  • mommasita

    DIS VETERAN
    Moderator
    Joined
    Aug 3, 2004
    Hugs to both you and Christine.. As I was reading it, the word closure came to mind, then I saw Christine had written that in her post..

    You both seem to be wise women with lovely families, I am very glad for that.
     

    Neesy228

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 9, 2008
    OMG Neesy228, I could have written your post. I had to do a double-take when I saw your thread title.

    So, I had the EXACT same thing happen to me. It's been months since I found out and I can't stop thinking about it.

    My parents were VERY young when they married and they were about 19 years old when I was born. Within 2 years, they had separated and were divorced when I was about 4. My mother remarried when I was 8 and I have been raised by a wonderful stepfather.

    During the earlier years after the separation, I had contact with my biological father several times a year as well as with my grandmother, her daughter (my aunt), and my aunt's son (cousin). The contact with my father dwindled. As I have found out later, he was a drug user. I won't go into all the details but I had final contact with him when I was about 12 and final contact with my aunt and grandmother when I was about 18. No drama, nothing. Just loss of interest I guess. I always adored my father and didn't know any of the negative things about it.

    Over the years I was always curious but, things weren't as they are now. No internet, no easy way to find anyone. Once they internet came about I tried to find him but he has a very common first and last name so it was nearly impossible.

    Then last October, out of some weird fluke, I stumbled upon his obituary on the interent. He had died November 2012 and I found out about two years later. I felt devastated. Mostly because it was just "unfinished" business in my life that I thought I would always get closure to.

    I was not listed in the obituary. He was on his third wife (who was listed), had two children, and my aunt and grandmother were listed. I wrote a letter to his widow. She contacted me and wanted to me and tell me everything but then just dropped contact.

    My mother ended up contacting his sister (my aunt) and they had a nice conversation and I got all the details. It's very, very sad. I did find out that my grandmother is still alive and is 94 years old (and doing well). This aunt seemed to be happy to hear from my mother and want contact, but then, we haven't heard more. So maybe it makes people uneasy.

    Who knows. But it seems odd that I am so shaken by this. I can't explain it. But it's good to hear that I"m not the only one who feels odd about it. But you seem to be taking it a little better than I am. I'm pretty sad for not reconnecting with him.
    The similarities are pretty amazing.... because mine were young too. I was born when they were 20 and 19 and they also divorced when I was quite young - I believe when I was around 2 or 3. My mother remarried when I was 9. You are fortunate that you have a wonderful stepfather. Mine has always left a lot to be desired.

    I'm sorry you're struggling. It seems that you had much more exposure to your father than I did with mine, so I understand how you can be feeling a little wistful and sad. I was so young when he dropped out of my life that I don't feel the sadness as much as a sense of finality.

    I hope you're able to find peace about your father. And thanks for reaching out to share your story. :hug:
     

    danny1649

    <font color=green>Will be wearing some lime green<
    Moderator
    Joined
    Aug 18, 1999
    No matter what you say and you did a beautiful post on the matter. Sincerely Danny
     

    arminnie

    <font color=blue>Tossed the butter kept the gin<br
    Joined
    Aug 22, 2003
    My father was the 3rd of 4 children. His father, an unemployed coal miner, abandoned all of them after the 4th child was born. As this was almost 100 years ago his mother (living in rural Appalachia with no support systems) also abandoned the children. My father did meet his mother in his 20s - but his father was dead by then.

    I honestly don't think it bothered him that much. Although he would NEVER have left my mother under any circumstances. I think I was always very important to him as I was his first "real" relative that did not abandon him.
     
  • Pea-n-Me

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 18, 2004
    Hugs to both of you. :grouphug: You guys are grieving not only the loss of the person, but maybe more so, the loss of what never was and never will be - at least with them. Neesy, it sounds like you have some half-siblings, maybe some day one or more of them might want to connect with you. And Christine, maybe you should just initiate/follow through yourself and go over there and spend some time with your grandmother and/or aunt. She's probably got a lot of stories to tell and would enjoy getting re-acquainted with you. Don't wait! Best wishes to you both.
     

    Liberty Belle

    <font color=green>I was going to reply, but I see
    Joined
    Aug 23, 2006
    I was in a similar situation. My parents divorced when I was 2 and I did see my dad off and on until we moved to a different state when I was 12. There was no contact after that until college when we wrote back and forth a few times. By that time, he had moved to Florida and things just petered out. Over the years I kept thinking I should contact him, etc, but I never did and neither did he. I believe he didn't because he was embarrassed and felt like he hadn't been a good dad. At least, that's what I choose to believe. The slight relationship we had was always positive. He was fun and loving enough when I saw him.

    My mom was reading the paper one night when I was 9 months pregnant with my second child and she saw my dad's obituary. She called me and I did have time to send flowers from my brother and I, but I was not able to travel to the funeral being so pregnant. My brother didn't go, either.

    Mostly I feel regret. That's really an awful feeling when there's no way to fix things. My kids would have liked to at least have met their biological grandfather and I left many things unsaid that I wanted him to know (I understood, it was ok, I enjoyed our times together, he gave me what he could, etc). I don't think that feeling will ever go away.

    I'm sorry for your loss, though it may be a different kind of loss than most people encounter when they lose their father, it's still a sad time. I understand.
     

    Jhwk

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Aug 3, 2019
    Neesy228, Christine,Mommasita, and Liberty Bell:
    Thank you for sharing. I too can relate and there is comfort in knowing you are not the only one who has experienced these feelings.
    My parents wed in college, had me and divorced within the same year.
    My mother never spoke of my dad and never remarried. Somewhere I heard that my dad stopped visitation when he remarried. I grew up in same community and he had a public job so occasionally saw him in paper. I knew through media that I had a half brother and sister.
    Not wanting to hurt my mother, I didn’t try to contact till college but never heard back. When I had my first child much later and lived out of state I tried again via his work email but never received a response. Unfortunately, I accidentally sent one email to he and my mother. She was hurt and told me I was an accident who should have never been born. This has strained my relationship with her too. She has always been very guarded with showing her emotions so not very demonstrative.
    Fast forward to this year and I found out in May that my father passed in February. My mother didn’t even tell me. I live out if state.
    And I find he died from a progressive genetic condition that also killed his siblings.
    I had kind of gone on with life until I received a copy of his will in the mail as a matter of law as a potential heir. He named his 2nd wife and children heirs and excluded “any other potential progeny (so me).
    Thanks for listening. My dilemma is I would like to reach out to my step mother and siblings and I’d like to gather medical info for myself and my children. Not sure the best way to approach.
     
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