Thursday, November 1, 2007

An Estranged Parent's Journey in Life & Death: Part II - Reactions

There are five children who survive my natural father; my four brothers and me. We each had our own reaction to the news of his death and each will grieve in our own way. Facts are that he was raised in an apparently dysfunctional family unit as a child, and as it often happens he carried forward that legacy. My older brother and I were probably the most effected by his lack of parenting skills. Like older children we went before our younger siblings enabling them to avoid some of the pitfalls that lay before them. I am sure they too suffered their own challenges with our father, but my hope is that my older brother and I took the brunt of the physical abuse away from their life's journey.

Though we all seemed to adjust to the estrangement of our father, the distance between us and the manner in which he parented us would greatly determine our reactions at his death. My older brother appears to have resolved to live his life as though our father were someone he once knew but had no connection with, so the news of his death was received as such. Two of my three younger brothers and I shared a sorrowful sentiment for his passing and I've yet to talk with my youngest brother. What of my reaction then?

As the only daughter it was harder for me to give up hope that one day he would "get it." During my twenties and after having two children of my own, I accepted him for who he was, forgave him and simply kept track of where he was to avoid hearing about his death weeks, months, or even years after the fact. Even though I had prepared myself for this eventuality, my reaction to the details of his death was much different than I had anticipated. It was far more painful to imagine him being involved in an accident cause by a massive heart attack on an interstate than to imagine him passing peacefully in his sleep. So my initial reaction was shock tempered with sorrow, for this man who aided in my existence.

I believe that we will all agree that the passing of our natural father will inspire us to appreciate each other more, encourage us to communicate more frequently, and strengthen our lives as we share in our joys and sorrows as a family.

Related Posts: Part I - Notification, Part II - Reactions, Part III - Discovery, Part IV - A Full Military Honors Ceremony,
Part V - The Ceremony & Update from Biloxi, Part VI - Lessons Learned


Jan said...

thank you for taking the time to jot down what you went through. I lost an estranged father in january and was informed of his death in february. I was battling guilt but you comment on who their friends were...and how they rarely change really hit home. Thank you very much.

goldengoddess said...

Hello Jan, you're very welcome. Thank you for stopping by to read my blog and for your kind comment. This subject was important for me to write about, almost like therapy. My natural father's entire family seemed to be dysfunctional at best, and since our family ties had been estranged early on in our lives, their deaths each seemed so distant.

What it has taught me is that you need to keep those you love close to you, and make sure you tell them how much they mean to you. I'm sorry for your loss, and hope that you visit again. Stay true to yourself and you will have the success you seek in your life.