Reflections After Father Dies – A Daughter’s Tale
When Father Dies
It doesn’t matter how old you are when a parent dies, the pain of not having them in your life is just as great regardless of age. That small child each of us carries within, cannot imagine a life without their parents. When one dies you get a glimpse of your new reality. This can bring about many fears and wonderment about how you will cope without them in your life.
With the death of our fathers, we do now have to grow up.
1. Fathers as role models for future men in our lives?
2. The beliefs we learn unconsciously from them
3. Fathers as the roots for the family
Our Role Models
Whatever the relationship with our fathers was, good, bad or darn right ugly, they were the first men in our lives. They were the ones who unconsciously would teach us about love. If like me your father was distant, you may spend your life attempting to be validated for who you are or to be noticed at least. When these needs are not fulfilled by our fathers, we later seek them to be met by our boyfriends. Then by our husbands. These males were our first role models whether we like it or not.
Roots & Beliefs
Fathers are the roots of the family, they keep their family safe and together. They were the breadwinners, the sole providers for their families (well in the 1950’s). These men are the ones we will forever model our future relationships after.
Now for the first time in our lives, we are without them. We now have to grow up and become the adult child our bodies show us to be. This takes time and we have to face all kinds of fears in the interim.
Relationship with Father
My relationship with my father was not a close one until near the end. At times he was silent, distant, or moody, making him quite difficult to read or get to really know. His dislikes were my boyfriends and spending money. I discovered many of my beliefs came from him, such as “hard work never hurt anyone and money certainly didn’t grow on trees”! Dad, however, had many loves. Art brought him joy, he’d spend hours drawing and painting. He even dabbled in photography. He was a drummer and could play classical guitar too. If I were to show an interest in any of these pursuits he would go off and return with a book or make an effort to show me how. Of course, I was never really that interested or just too busy raising my family to really get interested to learn what he wanted to teach me.
My Father, My Teacher
It wouldn’t be until the Christmas following his death when my husband bought me a full painting set did I really realize the error of my ways. For the moment I decided to paint, I realized I didn’t know how and of course I wished I had taken the time to learn from him. It may even have brought us closer sooner.
He did have a sense of humor when he wanted to and would entertain guests at many a New Year’s house parties at our home. He enjoyed those but hated dances, crowds or even to have fun well to me it seemed. However, he did have fun in his own solitary way, he enjoyed the simple things in life that’s all.
He had always been there for me I have to admit for advice and support. He was my oak tree but then his roots weakened and like all weakened trees they fall over. So sadly did he. Suddenly and really with no warning but if our eyes had of been wide open we would have seen the signs long before. Like everything unpleasant in life, we chose to ignore them and by doing so it would make it all go away.
I had to grow up that day. Something I didn’t want to do because at that moment he handed the reigns over to me, his eldest daughter. There was after all his wife, my mother to now look after.
Fortunately for me, we still have the heart of the family, our mother. Ever so slowly the large hole left by father has begun to fill in once more as we move on with our lives and onto a new one, one that doesn’t for the first time include him.
Not all Relationships are Loving
Of course, not everyone’s relationship with their Father is a loving one. Many women can fall into guilt if they feel thankful and relieved at news of their Father’s death or fall into despair over who will love them now? The loss of a parent can throw your life into disarray, you feel unable to cope, lack energy unable to make decisions even. That was me many years ago, I couldn’t find answers as to why or what was going on with me so I decided to go on my own journey. I sought the support of a coach who helped me get my life together again. I even wrote a book that I would have found helpful during my time with grief. This was my father’s legacy and now I guide other’s through their grief. You don’t have to suffer in silence or alone – reach out, please?