- 2 weeks ago
- Wedding: October 2015
Background, my parents separated nearly 20 years ago, divorced almost 10 years ago. Mum stayed with my Dad until my youngest sibling finished education, as the eldest I was aware for some time that she wasn’t happy in the marriage. After moving out, Mum met my Stepdad, who is great. They married 5 years ago, were together for around 15 years. My Dad could never let go of Mum, he’d trash talk her for leaving at first until I told him I didn’t want to hear it. Then it moved onto ‘poor me, I’m so alone and sad’.
Mum would tolerate his nonsense but she was always too polite to tell him to do one, she’d take his calls and even go for lunch with him, with my Stepdad in tow. 6 years ago, Dad was adamant on attending the funeral of Mum’s brother in Scotland (we live elsewhere in UK) so I went along as a buffer on this incredibly awkward road trip.
4 years ago, Mum started to show signs of dementia and this sporadic contact with my Dad stopped. It was like she could at last be honest about her feelings, if he sent her birthday cards (always with cringey stuff written inside) she would bin them instead of putting on the mantel. As her dementia progressed, Dad would badger me about her condition and how she was, and ask why she didn’t want to see him anymore. I just couldn’t get the message through, about the fact dementia is progressive or that she just didn’t want to know, or wouldn’t recognise him. It’s all he wanted to talk about, I tore him a new one eventually as it seemed he didn’t care about anyone else. He was also not showing any awareness or compassion of the impact on my siblings and I having a parent with dementia. Nothing could detract from his epic pity party.
Mum got quite ill this summer, she had a suspected stroke and was in hospital. We didn’t tell Dad at first, as we all knew he would turn into more of a nightmare. After a week, SIL in Scotland let slip over the phone that Mum was in hospital, Dad absolutely blew up my phone. I didn’t answer because I was visiting and then talking to Mum’s doctor, then I just couldn’t deal with him. I had to block his number for a couple of days. Before I spoke to him, I had to warn the ward staff he might try and phone to get into and we put a password in place for updates. I also told them that if he visited it would likely distress Mum.
Once Dad and I were talking, I gave him the bare minimum of info, mindful that Mum (if she had capacity) wouldn’t want him knowing much. He kept pestering every day for updates, I would frequently not respond. It was a lot to deal with, supporting my Stepdad and siblings, juggling this with a new job I’d been in for a month.
Once it became apparent Mum had had a series of strokes and needed palliative care, I kept Dad in the loop in respect of basis. When she was close to the end, he asked to be informed when it happened. On the evening she died, my Stepdad, siblings and I had spent a lovely last day with Mum. It was like she came back and was herself again, she could understand everything we were saying. After she had gone, we spent time in her room and said our goodbyes. I phoned Dad with everyone’s agreement, they were married for a long time and they did have 3 kids together after all. I told him it had just happened and we cried, I didn’t think to mention that my Stepdad would tell the rest of the family in the morning.
By the time I got home from the hospital, he had posted a load of photos on Facebook and told his entire friends list (including her nieces!) that Mum had passed. I was incandescent with rage, I messaged him saying not everyone knew! His response, oh well it’s out there now, didn’t mean to make waves, sorry. I told him to take it down and he wouldn’t – or couldn’t! Side note, he doesn’t really understand FB – if he sees something, he assumes it’s been sent to him personally. He wrote shitty, angry comments on the photos of Mum and Stepdads wedding I posted for distant family to see.
I couldn’t deal with him, I told him he’d badly messed up and to give me space for a few days. He then bombarded me with calls and messages, which was annoying because he Just. Won’t. Listen. We’d already discussed funeral arrangements with Stepdad, he wanted a very small, private funeral. I communicated this to my Dad, his response was he’d be ‘very pissed off’ to be excluded. I responded that it didn’t matter, these were Mum’s wishes and feelings she’d managed to communicate to Stepdad.
He put pressure on me to tell him the details, I told him so he’d know when she was being laid to rest but iterated that it was private and he wasn’t invited. I then had to phone the funeral director to alert them he might try to crash. I had to make him promise not to come, which he did reluctantly. I vowed to myself to never speak to him again if he ruined Mum’s funeral. Meanwhile, I’m trying to shield grieving Stepdad from all of this nonsense.
He didn’t turn up, and apologised for Facebook, but I’m really struggling still with how Dad made Mum’s last days about him, even more stressful and cast a longer shadow over her funeral. I may never be able to forgive him, we’ve hardly spoken and I’ve only seen him once these 3 months. I honestly don’t want to see or speak to him, for fear it will all come spilling out. This makes me feel guilty, as he’s my only remaining bio parent. But I can’t help feeling like his behaviour towards Mum, then me, was overbearing and borderline abusive. I may need to seek individual counselling, but it still feels so raw and painful. At a loss how to move on.