Grieving Someone You Didn’t Like (because it happens)

Let’s be honest, sometimes people die who you…well…hated. That sounds really harsh, but sometimes it’s true.  Or even if you didn’t hate the person, maybe you really didn’t like them…or you had a love/hate relationship…or you found them very difficult…or your relationship with them was difficult.  There are a number of ways this can play out, but the fact is that everyone dies, even people you weren’t very fond of. That can leave you grieving someone you didn’t like. 

The reasons why you may have had a difficult relationship are endless. Maybe they were mean or hurtful; perhaps they were violent or abusive; they could have been toxic or emotionally manipulative; maybe they betrayed you or someone you love.  I could go on and on and on.  No matter what the specific situation, grieving someone you didn’t like can leave you feeling isolated and confused.

People talk all the time about losing someone they deeply loved and cared for.  As for grieving someone you had negative feelings towards, people don’t talk as much about that.  We get it, it feels weird to sort through feelings about the death of someone you didn’t like and it can feel even weirder to talk about it.  So, today we’re going to talk about some of the circumstances that are unique to grieving someone you didn’t like.  Then we’re going to answer some of the questions that come up in those situations and talk about how to cope.  Ready?  Okay, good.

6 Reasons why the death of someone you didn’t like can cause complicated grief emotions:

You’re not sure if what you’re feeling is grief.  

If we understand grief as a natural reaction to loss, you may be thinking that it isn’t a “loss” that this person isn’t in your world anymore. You might think if you didn’t like or want them in your life, it can’t be grief.  This can leave you confused about how to categorize the feelings and isolated in discussing the emotions. Check out our definition of grief here for more. 

You are relieved and happy about the death.

Or, you’re at least not sad about it.  In circumstances when your physical or emotional safety (or that of someone you love) was at risk because of the person who died, you may be feeling an immense sense of relief that your safety is no longer in jeopardy.  At the same time, you may also be feeling some guilt that you’re relieved or happy or not sad. Like we said, it’s complicated. Luckily we have a whole post on feeling relief in grief

Other people are not relieved, happy, or not sad.

Sometimes you have a bad or complicated relationship with someone, but other people in your life don’t. After that person dies, you may be left to sort through complicated negative feelings, while others work through more traditional grief feelings. This disconnect can leave you feeling isolated and alone, and also ill-equipped to support your grieving family and friends. 

You thought your relationship with them might eventually get better.

This thought might have been conscious or it might have been subconscious.  Either way, when someone dies who you didn’t like it isn’t uncommon to suddenly feel the weight of the reality that you know will never get an apology, have a chance to apologize, or have a chance for the relationship to change and improve.  Even if those were things you never consciously wanted, knowing they are no longer even an option can be difficult.

Your grief isn’t validated by others.

If people in your life knew you didn’t get along with this person, that you had a strained relationship, or had a falling out, people may minimize the validity of your feelings.  That is a little thing known as disenfranchised grief. You may still be having intense grief feelings, despite that bitter divorce, painful custody battle, or even history of abuse.  People around you might be saying, what do you have to be upset about?!? You hated him and hadn’t talked to him for years!

Death doesn’t bring closure. 

You may have imagined that all those complicated feelings would somehow get resolved once the person died or was completely out of your life.  But there is a good chance the complicated emotions are still there, even though the person isn’t.  You wouldn’t be the first or the last.  The reality is the pain of a difficult relationship doesn’t die just because a person has died.

6 ways to understand and cope with these complicated feelings.

Remind yourself you have the right to grieve.  

When someone is removed physically from our lives there is an impact, no matter how we felt about them.  It changes the relationship, and it can impact our understanding of the past and the future.  Even if the hole left in your life is a hole you believed you always wanted, that doesn’t change its emotional impact. You can deeply miss someone you had a really complicated relationship with, so give yourself permission.  The human heart is funny that way.

Remember that it is okay to feel relief.

If you feel guilty that you’re relieved, happy, or not sad about a death, let’s think through the feelings.  What you are relieved or happy about is that you are now safe and no longer fearful.  This is different than being glad someone has died.  If there were another possible way for you to feel safe, you would likely have wished that to be the outcome.  For more on this, check out our post about relief.

For better or worse, relationships continue after someone dies.  

If you had a good relationship with someone, that can often continue through good memories and carrying on their legacy.  If you had a complicated relationship it often remains, well, complicated!  You may have imagined a person’s death would make you feel better or resolve some of the feelings you were having.  In some cases that’s true, but in some cases it isn’t.  You may find you still need to carry on efforts to explore your own feelings about the person or find ways to forgive (keeping in mind that foregiveness is not about saying someone’s behavior was okay!).  You can read more about forgiveness here.

Communicate about the entire relationship, the good and the bad.  

The old saying “don’t speak ill of the dead” can, unfortunately, make people feel like they have to keep their mouths shut about the problems in a relationship after the person has died.  We’re here to say, it’s okay to keep processing and talking about these issues if you need to, you may just want to choose your audience wisely.  Depending on your situation, friends or family may not be the best people to support these types of conversations.  If that is the case, a grief counselor or support group might be helpful.  What isn’t helpful is avoiding, stuffing, or ignoring the complicated emotions and memories.

Realize you may be grieving the relationship you wished you had.  

We all have ideas about what a mom or dad or friend or spouse or child is “supposed” to be.  Unfortunately, what we want a relationship to be is not always what it is.  Who we want a person to be is not always who they are.  If you are struggling to understand your own complicated emotions about the death, consider that you may be feeling grief around not having had the [mom/dad/husband/wife/friend/child] you wanted or needed.

It is still possible to finish ‘business’.  

When grieving someone you didn’t like, or with whom you had a complicated relationship, there can be a feeling that any “unfinished business” will now have to be left unfinished.  It may not get finished in the way you imagined when that person was alive (if you were planning for a direct conversation, obviously that just isn’t going to happen).  You can still find ways to say the things you wanted to say.  That could be in the form of a journal, letter to the person who died, artistic expression, or with a therapist.

Consider all the ways the relationship has impacted you.  

Though many of these may be negative and painful, you may also see ways you grew from the strains in the relationship.  It may be in your own commitment to not being like that person or it may be in your growth and avoidance of other negative or toxic relationships. It may even be in your ability to find forgiveness or empathy in an impossible situation.  Whatever it is, take some time to appreciate yourself and your own growth.  This is not being grateful to the person or for the hurt or problems they caused, but taking the time to give yourself credit for the growth that can come from adversity.

What are your thoughts on grieving someone you didn’t like, or who you had a difficult relationship with?  Leave a comment to let us know! 

August 20, 2019

113 responses on "Grieving Someone You Didn't Like (because it happens)"

  1. I just found out someone who I had strife with in the past died in 2016. I feel horrible. I even had words with her on a couple of occasions. The reason I couldn’t stand her is because she used to praise my former Pastor who is both a Republican who has demonstrated and expressed on various occasions that he DOES NOT care about the poor. I saw her as a phony and a hypocrite who could not see the forest for the trees because in my opinion she was probably a part of the Word of Faith deception her self. She seemed to be more worshipful of this con artist than she did of Jesus. I got to the point that I could not stomach or stand her or even listen to her sing anymore. My former Pastor is also a prosperity gospel pimp and a MAJOR part of the false Word of Faith movement. I have no doubt this man voted for Donald Trump. Her name is Shelly Penir. She used to be the praise and worship leader at my former church and came from Fred K. Price’s church. I knew she had health issues in the past but I had no idea she was that ill. I have struggled to walk in forgiveness toward her and the Word of Faith charlatans for a very long time. I am praying that God will deliver me and make it easier for me to forgive the seemingly unforgivable.

  2. I just found out someone who I had strife with in the past died in 2016. I feel horrible. I even had words with her on a couple of occasions. The reason I couldn’t stand her is because she used to praise my former Pastor is both a Republican who has demonstrated and expressed on various occasions that he DOES NOT care about the poor. I saw her as a phony and a hypocrite who could not see the forest for the trees because in my opinion she was probably a part of the Word of Faith deception her self. She seemed to be more worshipful of this con artist than she did of Jesus. I got to the point that I could not stomach or stand her or even listen to her sing anymore. My former Pastor is also a prosperity gospel pimp and a MAJOR part of the false Word of Faith movement. I have no doubt this man voted for Donald Trump. Her name is Shelly Penir. She used to be the praise and worship leader at my former church and came from Fred K. Price’s church. I knew she had health issues in the past but I had not idea she was that ill. I have struggled to walk in forgiveness toward her and the Word of Faith charatans for a very long time. I am praying that God will deliver me and make it easier for me to forgive the seemingly unforgivable.

  3. This article really helps. I got a degree in psichology in 2017. Earlier this year my abusive violent father died. I had chosen not to see him since my parents got a divorce/separated when I was 12 and he got married to another woman shortly after. I was very afraid of him. He continued to stalk and slander me for years making ourageous claims like I was severely mentally ill and that he supported me (he didn’t even pay the last year of child support and got away with the smallesst sum possible and never gave me a cent since then). He used to ask people for money for the medicines he told people I took, wrote messages to himself pretending it was me that had mistakenly sent them to my mom (from his own cell phone) which my mom sometimes received while with me. I was an only child and so was he, so when he died his widow (whom I’ve never met) didn’t notify me of his death and had a speedy 30 minute wake before buring him 24 hours after his death. I found out about his death by chance over a week later. For years nobody believed how cruel and abusive he had been with me nor that I did not have a relationship with him at all, until he was all over the news for death threats to a public authority and weapons possesion and went to jail and was sentenced. It was a bit ironic to me that he got away with atrocious child abuse and was sentenced for something else at the end of his life. I felt extremely lonely picking up his death certificate and medical death certificate. I only found out his cause of death today. I had assumed he was going to live a much longer life since his father had died in his nineties. So far it seems he left a massive debt and I have to do some paperwork to refuse it.

  4. My husband died a few days ago. We didn’t have something as beautiful. In fact my family hates him. There was no I’m sorry or I know at one time you cared for him. Instead they have said “good””hope your not doing anything to help with the funeral”. They question why I paid for his cremation and ask me why am I even going to the mortuary for the cremation. I see crulety in there reactions. Something I dont understand coming from my family. I haven’t had much contact with my husband, (he was difficult to find) I couldn’t divorce him, he was still my husband. He wasn’t a good one. War, injury, surgery, pills. PILLS. They took whatever decency he had and twisted it until there was nothing but a controlling bully. But he was my husband. I loved him. We’ve been seporated since 2012, spending maybe a month out of each year together. He took his own life. He died alone, very alone. Unwanted, ashamed, sad, guilty, and hopeless, ALONE. My hear aches for his pain. He was my husband and I gave up. My family asks Why did I pay for the cremation? Why am I on a bus at 5am for 4 hours to go 33 miles? I’m going just so I can stand in a building he is in one last time? Because he was my husband.

    • My husband was killed almost 2 years ago. The circumstances revolving his death are traumatic and will forever be ingrained in my memory. We have 3 young children together, 2 girls and my stepson, who really miss their daddy.. but here’s the thing. He was such an ass hole. We had been together 13yrs and had maybe 1, combined, good year out of those. he was extremely abusive in every sense of the way. He was a bully, manipulative, a habitual cheater and my abuser. I had to constantly walk on egg shells, never knowing what could trigger his temper. He loved our kids, spent time with them but he was a terrible role model. I feel relieved knowing our 2 daughters won’t grow up believing that is normal behavior, especially between their parents. I hear him in my head, still, putting me down and belittling my decisions. I think about the abuse often. And I have no one to talk to about it because I hid the abuse from my family for all those years and I definitely don’t speak ill of him to his family. And yet, he was still my husband and I mourne the good times we had. But im angry about the rest. I’m angry my children have to endure the heartache of missing their dad..I’m angry he was so horrible. I’m just angry.

  5. My Dad died this week. It was sudden. Septic shock. I hadn’t spoken to him in a while. He was a nightmare growing up…the drinking, the yelling, the foolishness. He never physically abused me or my brother…it was the verbal abuse. That never goes away, even after 45 years. I tried to have a relationship with him but it was always strained. My brother has too. A girlfriend and her brood only added insult to injury. He did more for them and never tried to mend what was broken between me and him and my brother and him. He was always great around other people’s children. It was his own he had an underlying problem with. We were never any trouble or gave him any reason to dislike us so we couldn’t understand why. At the funeral yesterday they were talking about how wonderful he was and everything he did for them, and I almost laughed out loud. The man they knew and the man I knew were two different people. I’m having a hard time. I don’t know what to feel. Hard to mourn someone you knew but didn’t. All in due time I guess.

    • Alane:

      I totally understand. Both my parents were tentatively diagnosed with NPD. My father was an alcoholic , who sometimes became violent, and the rest of the family was in total denial about it. No one could speak of it.

      My mother loved to triangulate all family members. She was also extremely verbally and emotionally abusive.

      My mother once called me at 2 a.m., claiming that my father was chasing her with a hammer and threatening her. I could hear the yelling and the hammer blows hitting something, over the phone. I lived two hours away, and did not own a car, so I called the police.

      My parents never forgave me for that and would bring up the fact that I had called the police in that situation, all the time.

      My parents had one golden child whom they treated …well…. like gold. They gave him large sumps of money and took his entire family on vacation, as well as his in-laws, and paid for it.

      Conversely me and another brother were totally ignored. I was well behaved and other parents used to compliment me all the time. Still, my parents treated the golden child brother and strangers far better than they treated their other children.

      It is depressing to hear these people talk about what wonderful people they were. I am a writer, so my mother actually had the audacity to ask me to write and read a eulogy, when my father died.

      I declined of course because had I written and honest eulogy the place would have been in an uproar.

      When my mother died the golden child brother did not even write an obituary or comment on the page for her funeral notice, even though she treated him well.

      The really difficult, part is when relatives refused to understand why I was not grieving as some people do.

      • I HEAR YOU, I AM GOING THROUGH THE SAME THING AND COULD JUST SCREAM, I TOO WAS IGNORED WHILE THE GOLDEN CHILD COULD DO NO WRONG EVEN THOUGH THAT WAS ALL THEY DID WAS BAD OR WRONG, HANG IN THERE WE ARE NOT ALONE. SHAME ON THEM THEY MISSED OUT ON A LOT BY NOT APPRECIATING US TOO.

    • You just described my situation to a T! Mine died August 10th & I’m having major mixed feelings for the lack of him ever trying to mend things.

  6. My mother-in-law and my husband teamed up after y son was born. She was manipulative and selfish . She hated me and I knew it. She would act in front of people as if she was an angel and I was the demon. Now she is suffering from pancreatic cancer. She is in her last dies and I am eagerly waiting for her to pass away. She raised my husband as a boy and not as a man. My husband is grieving and I do not feel like comforting him at all. If someone things here I am an evil person so be it. I have gone through 12 years of torture with both of them. I am really relieved that after she is gone she will let my son and me live in peace. This article is really what I wanted to hear. I believe a lot in karma…. what goes around comes back around. I have not done anything to my mil to make me hate. It’s just that I come from a different community. She was staying with me for the first 3 yrs of my marriage. she was evil towards me while I was pregnant. She would act in front of my husband one way and the moment he was out of the house her evilness started. When I told my husband he wouldn’t believe me. While I was pregnant again after 7 yrs…. I told my husband to send his mom away as she gave me hard time during my first pregnancy. He wouldn’t let her go and she will not leave my home either. I was all afraid and I went for abortion. My husband came with me too. Now I am too old to have a second child. But I am happy and relieved that she will be gone out my life soon.

    • My ex mil died five years ago.She didn’t take care of herself.Balloning to three hundred pounds letting her diabetes go.My ex loved her but was disgusted to the point he privately called her java the hut.She wasn’t happy and their marriage[fil] wasn’t either, even to the bitter end.The difference is my ex met me when he was young and rebellious.His mother soon learned that coming between us wasn’t going to happen.It would be useless to try.Oddly enough she ended up loving me.I sort of looked to her as a somewhat surrogate mother.[mine died when I was in my teens]I was disenheartened when he would call her java even if it was only to me.Everyone attended her funeral.My fil no one but us.We even had to dig the grave.He was gruff and mean when he was young but had mellowed.Most of my exes family can be cold and cruel to the point you can’t believe that they are even real.Not one word from them ,not a call ,card, not anything. I have never met a more distant family than them. Strangers on the street have more compassion than they do for each other especially their deceased father.To quote the doors strange days indeed. This just happened a month ago.I am angry at them for their cold indifference. He raised them ,even if he wasn’t the best father, he was there every day and paid the bills.All I want to know is how the hell do you do this to your own father. Just how? Maybe I can’t get it.I had a wonderful set of parents they weren’t’ perfect and they made mistakes yet they were wonderful.My fil was 94

  7. My dad died 11 days ago. He was a bastard, and also kind, sort of. I believe he was afraid of showing his emotions and hid behind a wall of assholeness which he couldn’t break through.
    I said all these nice things to him the weeks before he died, to try and make his final days here peaceful. But the night before he died it dawned on me I would never get the chance to tell him how much of a selfish asshole he had been.
    It’s selfish of me to hang on to this regret, and I intend to let it go.
    Perhaps i can be more generous to those in need knowing what it feels like to wonder why the man I thought was supposed to be my hero, who seemed to have everything, would disappoint me. I don’t think I expected too much. I need to let all this go. Life can be hard and unforgiving. I’ll forgive him.
    I forgive you dad.

    • My father died on June 7 2019 and I relate to your situation exactly. It’s comforting to read your story. Thank you for sharing.

    • Sorry but your letter reminded me of times long ago .When I was young I was a handful but I had straightened out by the time I was 16.I not only told my father what I thought of him a few times he returned the favor. Yet there was so much love and laughter peace and forgiveness between us.I had that chance in all respects. I realize he raised one hell of a tough strong daughter. I only wish he could be here to see it.God how I miss my parents.Thank you for your post it makes me realize just how lucky I really was

  8. I’m going to just say Thank You All! I hated feeling alone in these feelings. And knowing I am not brings me solace and appreciation for my own discontent I feel towards my father who is physically dying from cancer . But also with the man that has been dead to me for several years already. His abusive behavior has caused me to separate myself from 85% of my family.( the part that refuses to acknowledge that his behavior is /was extremely painful and unacceptable) . My sister and I are his only biological children and we are the ones he has always treated the worst. Anyone/Everyone was always better than we were. And no matter what we accomplished it was not good enough to ever please him. Therefore she and I made the decision to remove ourselves from that life completely. Now that he is truly dying my emotions are so mixed and I can’t help but wonder if he even cares that neither of us are around. But that won’t change the fact both of our children love him and his death will certainly impact their lives . Leaving even more mixed emotions!! I needed to read this article and your comments more
    than anything !! So THANK YOU ALL!!!!

  9. I am so thankful to have read this article and the comments. Not really sure how I will feel when my father-in-law passes. He has been almost completely absent in my children’s lives and even when we are together, it’s very awkward and has nothing much to say but either something sarcastic or mean. I hate the way he has treated my husband when he was growing up. Right now, I will be thankful when he is gone, but that makes me somewhat sad for my husband. He is such a good man and is so much better of a Christian that I am with his loving response to a man who is just not nice. I’m sure that I will be sad for any heartbreak that my husband feels when the time comes.

  10. Good to find something on effects of the death of someone close who one did not like overall.
    My experience relates to my mother. Rest of family assume because I do not like her that her death should not have negativity in it for me!
    For starters that means there is no suitable person to talk about it and actually although she was overwhelmingly evil; we did share some small, short bonded moments. I am her daughter and have no sister only a brother. Furthermore she stole my children from me; something that is impossible to recover from.

  11. I’m having a hard time being there for my husband who is dealing with the complicated grieving process for a father who was never there. He only met his father less than a handful of times in his life but he had to live with knowing that his father had two other children with two other women as the years went by. Only one of his half-siblings was raised by his father and got to have that relationship. His father passed away this week and the family requested my husband and our family to be at the celebration of life memorial. I have my own frustrations with the fact that they included my husband, myself, and our children in the obituary as if we had a relationship with his family. Now, I’m left with a mix of emotions about attending the memorial. While I think it may be good for my husband to attend as a way of finding closure and perhaps some reconciliation – I also do not want to attend nor bring my children along to show them off to a family of strangers who never had the nerve to reconcile while my husband’s father was alive. To be brutally honest, if we attended – it would be more for the selfish reason of showing off that we take the higher road and have more decency to pay respects for even those we may have a distaste for.
    Regardless – how can I be there for my husband who I’m sure is so internally conflicted – when he has only ever voiced and showed nonchalance when it came to the issue of his father not ever being there for him? I can listen but he’s not a man of many words. I can’t offer advice as I’ve never dealt with this issue myself and I have my own opinions of the situation. I don’t want to seem insensitive, and I would be there for my husband regardless of what he decides to do or how to grieve… but should I take a more proactive approach?

    • I feel like I can speak to this from the other perspective. That is, of one with a spouse that seems unsupportive, even possibly vindictive during my time of grief and family need. Even if that family has not always been there for us the way we would expect.

      It seems that while I don’t have much control over the circumstances of my or family members’ grief and the need to be able to process what I know is a *temporary* circumstance that will be moved on from (in relatively short time, actually), my spouse seems unable to make a *temporary* sacrifice of their time and continues to act according to some sort of principle based on score-keeping for whether my family should be granted our time or support while going through this Granted, my family dynamic is not as distant as the one you portray, but it is very strained and complicated, trust me.

      Perhaps it would be helpful to take the perspective that this is a momentary, difficult time, and just be there for him. Even if it doesn’t make complete sense to you. But when else will you even need to make this kind of consideration for him? Heaven forbid that you may need the same unconditional love and support from them at some point… But the compassionate approach still seems like the greater principle to uphold… and to teach your children, in the “life’s lessons” sort of way that they’ll surely look back on this (either knowingly or not).

    • I think it’s a good idea to show up for the funeral.
      Have you been to many funerals? I have. Some of them I have had very heartfelt sorrow for the deceased and their family. Others, I went out of respect for my surviving friends.
      Neither of my parents are dead, but I really don’t want to attend their funerals and I don’t think any of my siblings really care either. However, it is just one afternoon. All you have to do is SHOW UP. You do not have to “bury the hatchet” or make a big show or hash out your differences. I have seen those types of displays at funerals and it is not appropriate. Just wear a conservative outfit, show up and leave when it is polite to do so.
      If you do not think you can keep your mouth shut, then don’t go. But my suggestion is just show up for appearances and leave it at that.
      I REALLY don’t care if my parents die, but I will go their funerals just because they are my parents. If I had a partner I would hope they would come with me to give my moral support.
      Don’t over think it. It is clear your husband is not happy that he hasn’t had the greatest family relations. This is not the moment to “make a statement”. It’s a FUNERAL. Just show up, act in the most civilized manner possible and don’t stay for a long time. You do not have to “express your feelings” at all.
      I have been to funerals where the people have no tribute to make because the person was so dreadful. That’s why their is a member of the clergy or a funeral director. Having negative or mixed feelings at a funeral is extremely common.
      Hope this is helpful. Good luck.

  12. Wow! And here I am feeling sorry for mysrlf, but you have to deal witj the liss if someone your mom cares about, yet he abused her, and then the pain and antimosity that you feel because he did, in every sense of the word molest you, and now deal with the “afterburth” if yoy will, of his dying, without any kind of closure! Thats so incredibky heartbreaking.
    My boyfriend of 13 years has stage 4 lung cancer, hes been incredinly abusive to me cheats in, me and when I catch him is nice and calm as if nothing happened, hes narcassistic as fuck! He didnt care abiut hurting me before he knew he had cancer and hes even more pompous and self pretentious than ever!
    I’m angry, bitter, hateful, wanting revenge, find myself saying I wish You’d die it’d ne better rhan the abuse and guniliation that Ive tolerated for,13 yeatmrs.ive been waiting on my disability to try to get the money to move back home to CA but here i am 15 months still waiting!i have no one here in AR and every reason to wanna leave!I’ve been feeling guilty because I want to be away from him and living in this small town only 3 miles apart its impossible!
    But you have 2 people that tou have had to deal with and that really sucks!I wish you peace, and hopefully some closure someday, I dont have the answers for you, nor myself we just have to reach out and realize there ARE other people strugging just as we are, and we all understand your confusion and pain!
    Best wishes to you and GOD BLESS!

  13. I know it reads, “your grief isn’t validated by others,” but after reading the main article, then all the shared stories here, it makes me feel validated, in the sense that I am not alone with these complicated emotions. Thank you everybody, for sharing, and for being so brave!

    I’m having a hard time to forgive my biological father, who was kicked out of the house by my (pregnant) mother. I was barely a year old when this happened. I think it’s brave of mom to exit from an abusive relationship.

    My biological dad never came to our place to see us, despite my mom having no rules about keeping us away from his side of the family. It was his decision not to visit. As our grandmother, his mother, said, “He was too ashamed to show up.” We never knew his side of the family until he died in 2016.

    When we, my mom, brother, and I, received news that this man died, I’ll admit, I danced upon hearing it! But of course, I was civil during the wake. My step siblings were grieving, but I couldn’t even afford to feel sad/ sorry that he died? Only after 20 years, I meet the man who verbally abused my mother, lying in a coffin. How could I feel joy, nor grief, nor pain? It was like looking at a stranger, as if my “father” was as ordinary as any person I passed by the streets. I didn’t even know this was his face, or that he was balding.

    I guess, to add an indirect reason why I’m having a hard time to not hate this man… it’s because of my brother. Now, my brother, is acting… sort of like our biological dad…? My brother impregnated his (ex) girlfriend. He is also abusive to her, hitting her and yelling profanities at her. He is also currently unemployed. It is exactly like our father. Disgusting. It’s like the cycle that our father started is simply being passed down or something. His gf is venting out to me, and while I appreciate the trust, it’s stressing the fuck out of me and my mental health is not even 50% good.

    Anyway, I’m reading up related articles, and it all seems to point out to forgiveness. I guess I have no choice. I really have to learn to let it go. But, one step at a time. I want to heal, and I know, healing is a long work-in-progress. I’ll struggle to work this out. Thank you for writing this!

  14. Thank you for this article. I am going through a complicated grief. My Pastor/ husband was very abusive. i had about 30 good days out of the last 14 years with him. I am glad the abuse is gone and will never return. I hated to watch him die from cancer, but I honored him with dignity and respect. I did not have to become him. I was so glad to have my feelings put into this article, It helps me learn how to grieve, and how to handle my feelings toward him.

    • I can totally relate to you, Bette. I was married to a physically and emotionally abusive man for almost 22 years. However, exactly a year before he died he was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer. That diagnosis changed him. In his final year of life, he was actually pretty nice to me. I cried a lot when he passed away (very strange, but true nevertheless), but now, I’m immensely relieved and feel that his death was like winning the lottery. Yay! I can finally do what I want and be the person I want to be. I can be my authentic self and am no longer ‘imprisoned’. Through all our married life, you would think we had it all, but I came home each night to a horrible, horrible man and lived in a House of Horrors.

  15. I just found out my biological father died. We didn’t ever get along he was mean and always starting some arguement. I hated him. Now I cry then get pissed off I am crying over a man that was trash literally. I am so confused I don’t know how I feel or should feel.

  16. This was very helpful. My mom was not the best mom. I tried to forgive and forget all of her faults, but she was a difficult and tough person to live with. We haven’t spoken for Twenty years over something cruel she did, and she just died yesterday. I thought of he being gone for that long, but I am sad. Your term of disenfranchised grief fits the bill. And feeling bad needs to be validated. I really appreciate the ‘kindness’ factor in this article. It made me feel better.
    I think all anyone really needs is to be able to put that sadness into perspective to feel better.

    • What many don’t realize is that you can deeply love someone and still not like them or their ways.Sounds like you aren’t sure why she ditched you. It could be that she was being abused in a way that threatened your life. She may not have been strong enough to tell you. I know as I went through that with what I once thought was my daughter. I was strong enough it just wasn’t enough. She had been told lies all her life about me.Then to find out I wasn’t the nightmare they claimed was disconcerting to her. I went out of my way to find her. She never even called me after six long months [even though she told me they thought she may have cancer and was scheduled for testing] Finally I had to accept certain things I had seen from her as well.This was even more disconcerting to me than most know. I came to accept, that I not only felt like a human incubator but in reality ,that was all I ever was. This was on top of multiple people both in my and my exes life[friends and family]dyeing with in a few years.

  17. i just lost my brother this weekend. he put me through hell growing up, and no one really understood that it was far worse than ‘siblings being siblings.’ ive said some harsh and unkind things in return out of my anger and frustration. i wanted distance. but not like this. i can’t say whether i do or don’t miss him, since i’ve spent the last 2 or 3 years wishing he’d just leave me alone. how do you grieve someone you’ve wished you wouldn’t see anymore? I just hope he’s found peace. He believed in God, and while i’m agnostic, I hope he’s gone with Him.

    • I can totally relate. My brother just passed and he put me and my mom through so much over the years. Visiting prisons, sending him $ all for him to finally get out and become a drug addict. He stopped calling/visiting unless he needed something. I stopped allowing him in my life about a year ago and now he’s gone for good. I don’t actually even know the last time I saw him but I was still mad at him when I did see him. I wanted to just have a normal brother but I knew it would never happen. I feel like I made the right decision when I set healthy boundaries but I also wish I could have helped him because he was severely mentally Ill. I have a lot of mixed emotions about everything and am also still in shock. I hope you find some peace because no matter what he’ll always be your brother. But your feelings are your feelings. I think we all can grow from these situations I’m some way.

  18. I was married for 10 years to a horribly abusive man who oh I won’t say got me hooked on smoking cocaine but he introduced me to it. My fault that I did it my fault that I introduce my children to such a horrible stepfather they actually named him Satan. Anyway I haven’t seen him since 2000 when I left him he followed me home choked me till I passed out and then fled back to California our home state. Before that he had separated my shoulder in one of the domestic violence incidences that we had had. I hated him probably 2 years into the marriage or less but I loved the cocaine that we did together and I could not get over the addiction while I was with him. Anyway once he left went back to California I carried on got straight got forgiveness from my daughters for everything I put them through I am now 63 my daughters are grown with their own kids and everything is pretty good between us all. My older daughter kept in touch with my ex’s daughter and told her about a year ago how he was suffering from cancer and she was taking care of him. Didn’t really know how to respond to that but I’ve already forgiven him because I know that forgiveness is more for me than for the person who wronged me. He he died two nights ago in California. I’ve not talked to him once since he left here after the last time he tried to kill me. I didn’t know how to react to the news. I went on his sister and his daughters pages on Facebook and said I’m sorry for the loss of your brother / father and I am truly sorry that they are sad of the loss of him. I truly hope that he made some kind of peace with his maker or God or whatever before he left this planet. He never ever asked for my forgiveness because I truly think that he was sociopath and didn’t think that he did anything wrong. This page right here and all of the responses I’ve seen and the article itself have been a great help to me because I am feeling like I’m grieving but I’m not and it’s a very strange feeling I don’t know how to react. But like I said this article has helped a lot because it laid some stuff out and it really hit home that this is how I feel. Kind of guilty that I’m not sad, but I am sad maybe just because he was a husband of mine and why couldn’t we have had a great life together? Another great thing about this article is it says how an abusive person abuse can extend to so many parts of a person’s life and it’s so true because my daughter’s been dealing lately with her teenage son and she and I were talking about the fact that none of my daughter’s kids have had to deal with what my daughters had to deal with with Satan as a stepfather. So hopefully some good has come from the relationship that I had with him. It was horrible and he was not a nice person I’m sorry to say. I will not step on his family’s grief by posting anything horrible about him or anything else and let them grieve him in their own way but I was very confused about how I was supposed to be feeling and why I was sad because this man that treated me so horribly has died. So yeah this is a really good article to read it helped me a lot

    • Well, I’ve been married for 37 years in June to a good man, but have wanted out for years. Divorce is not an option. I would lose too much if I walked away. I thought he might die a couple of years ago, but he didn’t. I know this sounds horrible, but I don’t know how much longer this will go on. I know no one does but God. I am just trying to figure out how to cope for however much longer I live or he lives. I am 67, and like I said before, I don’t feel like my options are what they would have been if I were younger. Who knows, I might go before him, but it has been a long hard slog. This is a subject that I can talk to no one about, not even a counselor probably. He would find out if I did that, or the counselor would probably tell me to leave. There are things I won’t to do before I pass on and he’s not a bit interested in doing anything. I wonder if I’ll ever be able to do some of my bucket list things. At the rate I’m going I’ll probably won’t if I outlive him. I’ll be too old I am not the poor woman who has lost her husband in war, or will get a lot of sympathy.

    • Omg I’m went though the same day 10 years my child father abused me mentally he just died I don’t no how to feel he was a sociopath.. I feel bad for my son cause that was his dad. I wish I could talk to you…

  19. I knew this girl and she passed today. She had left my friend alone and I yelled at her. It turned out she couldn’t stay because she was sick I didnt know. Now I feel like it was my fault and I just want her to know I didnt hate her I actually kinda liked her she was good to my friend and I’m sorry. But I cant because it’s too late.

  20. A friend and I use this term loosely, as terminal cancer, we have had an on off relationship, her husband and my husband are brothers, she as always been overweight and dieting and depression have ruled her life, she as always been spiteful and manipulative and for some reason not sure why maybe because I am slim ,I don’t know!!! her controlling and manipulative ways are always vented at me, I had stopped being around her for the last 5 years, but for some reason she wanted me to see her again, and have been seeing her for the last few months, things started out ok, but now she talks to me with contempt, messes me about when its ok to visit, contradicts anything I say. I am not going again but why do I feel guilty??

  21. This is so helpful. I have lost my mom, dad, all grandparents and of 2 of 5 siblings, as well as 2 close friends. None of this has prepared me for the recent news that my ex husband (about 37 yrs together & 6 apart) and dad of my 3 adult kids has aggressive cancer.

    We were very good parents together but not good mates for each other and the divorce has been extremely difficult, as both of us value family. He was extremely selfish in the divorce and I now realize the extent of my own money issues and yet he is a generous dad so others do not understand.

    To now have him back in this way, and to understand exactly what my daughters will go through, is all of the things this article touches on. Thank you so much for validating all my feelings and confusion.

  22. My Mom died last September after battling Leukemia for over a year. I was the one who did everything for her, both while she was healthy and when she became sick. In 2012 on Christmas Day, there was an explosive episode that led me to try and figure out why my Mother was so horrible and cruel. As I researched, it became clear to me that she has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I’ve been researching it for years, and trying to heal those wounds from a lifetime of dealing with how horribly she treated me, and everyone really. When she died, even though there was relief, there was also sadness. The relief came first though because in the last months of her life she got worse and worse. She told me that I just wanted her to die, and other horrible things. What I wanted was the chance to have a loving mother daughter relationship with her, but that was never going to happen. I know that people with NPD have extreme self image issues, and a lot of their behaviors comes from being miserable inside themselves, but when they are pointing their nastiness at you, it’s hard not to feel the multitudes of hurt and anger that comes from hearing a parent tell you those things. I had a hard time with the approaching of her death, because we all knew it would come, and I was raised to be the good girl who did the right thing. But I was also hurt, and angry, and part of me wanted to tell the world the truth about her. What did help me was that I had time, to sit and reflect before she passed, to write her eulogy, and though I knew it’d be hard to do when she did pass, I planned to read it myself. I chronicled the facts of her life, and I did do her right by focusing on the positives that were there about her. But, I also wrote it in such a way as to be honest. I found ways to write creatively that made me feel like I was also honoring my truth in the situations I had experienced with her. I mentioned how daring and strong she was, and talked about how spirited she could be. I talked about how she stood up for what she believed in, and how that did cause us to sometimes butt heads. It was a gentle truth, that took the negatives and made them honest, but not unkind. Because while she was spirited, it was often in a way that made her rage at me for minute things like putting a fork in the dishwasher the wrong way, or when she and I butted heads because she was standing up for what she believed in, sometimes that meant she would believe that I was a horrible person who never did anything right or if I felt differently about ANYTHING than she did, I was wrong and horrible for it. So in a way, I was able to speak my truth, and hers as well. It helped me to ensure that I did right by her, for MY minds peace, and for my conscience, but to also honor her for those that didn’t see that side of her when her mask was up. It wasn’t just me that lost her, and while I don’t forgive all the years of horrible things she did to so many people, there were a lot of people she had presented a false self to, who did love her, and felt close to her, and they had lost that person. I would have felt horrible for taking away who she was to them, because if she had been someone positive to me, I think I would have been crushed to find that she wasn’t, especially at the time of her death. I’ve read some comments here, and all I can say is do what is right for you. But if you can, if it is possible at all, honor them as much as you can, because you will be able to in time, look back and say, I did the best I could for them. It might not feel like that right away, because I know I struggled a LOT with guilt over my relief. But eventually, you will be able to look past the guilt, and remember how hard you worked to give them a decent end of life, and a decent memory, which speaks volumes about who YOU are, and not so much about who they are or were. You’ll be able to eventually give yourself a break over any anger or guilt or crappy negative feelings toward them, if you remain a kind and gentle person, for you. Just do what you can to find help, and support for yourself through the hard times too, so you don’t fall into the pit of despair that negative people can bring. I wish you luck, and healing.

    • Jewel, you are a better person than me. I do not expect to deliver a eulogy at either of my parents funeral. Fortunately I have 5 siblings and I am hoping they will have the spirit to do it.
      I had other deceased friends and relatives that I was able to eulogize. They were not all perfect people, but they were so kind and loving to me that is what my takeaway was.
      My parents divorced when I was young. To this day neither one has ever apologized for the hurtful things they have said and done.
      I do not know how I will feel when they die, but I am quite certain I cannot deliver a eulogy.
      I am glad you have found a way to do it. God bless you.

    • “honor them as much as you can, because you will be able to in time, look back and say, I did the best I could for them. ” Well stated and a well written response to this article Jewel. I’m sure your eulogy was equally as well said. Thanks for sharing you journey for others who are still finding their way. 🙂

    • Jewel, I totally relate to your comments. My mother (who is still alive at 87) is a cruel narcissist who made fun of me and never let me have an opinion which was different than hers. Everything had to be all about her. My brother–who was just like her–died one month ago. He was also cruel and angry. He loved to order people around and talk down to you. I am struggling with my emotions. I am sad that he died. He he was so mean to me and everyone. He didn’t talk to me for the last 15 years, my mother for 30 years, my aunt for 10 years. He apologized when he got the news that he had cancer–but his anger was still present, albeit on his last few days on earth, it disappeared. I rushed to his bedside and did as much as I could for him. He accused me of visiting him for his inheritance–and I’m pretty sure that he changed his will. I know that I did everything that I could for him–and much more than he deserved–but nothing was ever good enough. Struggling with his death.

    • Jewel, thank you, thank you, thank you. You said SO many things that hit me, but this one in particular really got to me. ” there were a lot of people she had presented a false self to, who did love her, and felt close to her, and they had lost that person. I would have felt horrible for taking away who she was to them, because if she had been someone positive to me, I think I would have been crushed to find that she wasn’t, especially at the time of her death.”

      Thank you for saying this and reminding me of the people who know my mother as someone entirely different than I do. I have struggled all my life with people that came up to me and said how sweet/precious/lovely, etc. my mother was. I would just smile and sometimes say thank you, since I didn’t know that person…. I don’t want to burst their bubble when my mother passes soon. And it’s not like I was going to say anything negative, I’m not. But in reminding me that there are people who will truly grieve her loss in a way I can’t, I am on alert to be particularly careful in my exchanges with them. I don’t want to give anything away. I don’t want to spoil their image of her.

      And I too am doing everything to give her a loving (as much as possible) thoughtful send off. I don’t want any more regrets than I know I will already have.

      Thank you, and God bless you for your candor and wisdom.

  23. My husband of 17 years is dying of cancer. He is just 58. He HS beome so verbally and emotionally abusive to me and our two children over the past year.
    The first year he wasn’t too bad. We were helping him fight the cancer with daily chemo trips and radiation. However, a year later, when he was diagnosed as terminal, his anger overcame him and it hasn’t left!
    I’m not sure if it’s because if the severe pain he’s in. Or, it might be all the narcotics he is taking or not taking as the case may be. He’s on 4 different pain meds. From Oxys to Morphine and everything in between. He was in recovery for 11 years prior to this.
    I know he doesn’t want to die. He has said as much. Our children are young, just 12 and 15. He wanted to see our daughter married.
    The cancer is in his face, neck and throat now. It has travelled by blood into his hips and lungs.
    But he’s become so violent. Always threatening to leave. Packing bags and yelling. Balling his fists, grabbing at me or my belongings. I’ve called 911 but hung up. My daughter is scared and wonders what has happened to him. She meets with me secretary in my room at 1am to tell me how it’s affecting her or how scared she is.
    My son is intellectually disabled and is acting out at school.
    I don’t know what to do.
    I feel like I can’t leave a dying man. That wouldn’t be right.
    Besides, when we married, I became the “Stay at Hime Mommy.” He handles all the finances, pays the bills etc. I hardly have money to cover us. We’re living in a home rent free that his father owns. I feel stuck!
    He’s supposed to be showing me the finances and turning over all this stuff to me for the sake of the future for me and our children but all he can do is aggravate everyone all the time.

  24. My mother passed away 2 weeks ago but I lost her many years ago. She was on & off drugs my whole life, had anger issues, would beat me, and half the time my father wasn’t there because he couldn’t handle her either. Eventually I went to live with my grandma. Most of my family assumed it was because I was a difficult teen. This is the same family that denied my mom had problems. I put myself through school & have a successful career. Over the years I built a wall to keep out toxic people, including my mom. In my 20s and 30s I’d make attempts to try to have a relationship with my mom but something would always happen. Over the years she vilified me (but I guess she probably started that in my teens). She even turned my own daughter against me. I didn’t make it to the hospital to say good bye, but I did travel there. Planned and paid for her funeral. My brother and daughter all accusing me of doing this for myself. No one ever stepped up. She’d probably still be in the morgue if it wasn’t for me. My father finally said thank you. My sister who also had a strained relationship stood by my side.

    After reading these posts, I wish I would have asked her “why”. I always wanted her to acknowledge the things she did but she lied throughout her whole life.

    Thus far the most therapeutic thing has been going through pictures of us when I was a toddler. I looked happy & so did she. Why did that have to change? Somehow I plan to ask my own daughter why she hates me. What my mother did to poison her.

    • Shaun
      Good on you for paying for the funeral and doing the right thing all those years ago – leaving!
      I am sure you would not have accomplished the things you did if you had your mom trash talking you in your adult life. I wish I was so fortunate.
      As for your mother poisoning your daughter against you – it seems to me that since you escaped your mother had to substantiate herself as a great mom by telling your daughter how “horrible” you were. Otherwise, why would you leave a perfectly good mother?
      I have a mother who doesn’t even bother to hide her negative opinions of me in any way at all. It is very hurtful to me. I have no children. She talks trash to me about my grandmother who was very kind to me.
      Honestly, any grandmother who speaks disparagingly to their own granddaughter about their mother is basically telling the child that their mother is not a good person. Why did your mother not let your daughter make up her own mind about that? In addition to my mother I had many relatives say untrue, mean and negative things about me. It was very hurtful. And I was a nearby target. So your mother was only able to hurt you by alienating you from your own daughter because you got out.
      Your mother sounds like she is guilty of manipulating your daughter. She may have acted like a saint towards your daughter.
      My father acts like a saint towards my nieces and nephews. They think he is great. The only time he acts in a reasonable manner towards me is when they are around. He likes to “look good” around them. I have no idea what he says to my siblings about me, but I am sure it is not a lot of nice things.
      Shaun, good luck in the future. I honestly do not think you should make disparaging remarks to your daughter about your mother. Your mother may have treated your daughter in a very kind manner, even though she did not do that for you. However I do think you have the right to correct any negative remarks or facts your mother may have told her about you. It is only right.
      Some mean mothers destroy everything and everyone around them. It is a sickness – toxicity as you so correctly put it.
      I am glad you had your grandparents there to help you and turned out to be a normal woman. Perhaps someday your daughter will know your truth – maybe from your father or your sister. Sounds like you were the only one who made it out of there.
      God bless you.

  25. My step father recently got diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. He and my mum married about 35 years ago. He abused me. Neither of them ever really wanted me or had time for me. We didn’t have a nice or loving home ever. I always felt in the way and pretty miserable and really lonely and isolated. I’m an only child too which makes it worse. I told my mum what had happened but he accused me of lying and she sided with him. The impact of the whole thing has affected my whole life. I wanted him to hurry up and die so I could finally get counselling and talk about it all and make my life better without the risk of causing him or my mum any stress by bringing it up but now he’s actually dying I’m relieved that I won’t have to constantly be worried about him doing anything to anyone else and that he will obviously stop with his lies about me and control of my mother but I’ve found that I’m really sad for my mother because she adores him and is devastated. I also kind of dislike her more than I dislike him because I’m her only daughter and she didn’t believe me, in fact she totally went along with his hate towards me after I said what happened and caused me no end of pain and tears as a result, pretty much because she loved him more and he was more important to her. I also feel bad for him because he has this cancer and he’s going to die soon and he is terrified. I don’t like seeing my parents suffering like this and in pain. Im doing my best to help out with shopping etc… For them but my feelings are all over the place and I now I need counselling to help me make sense of it all.

    • Keep your voice recorder on when you go see him or around him. See if you can get him to open up to things without others around. Being this close to death, he may want to clear his conscience or ask forgiveness. Then you can play it back for your mother, so she has to know the truth.

  26. My father died yesterday . Father I haven’t spoken to in 8 years ,an absent grandfather in my child’s life , he hasn’t been well last two years and I thought I was ready for him to go … I’ve cried before …I’ve already mourned …but actually I’m doing it again . Can’t cope ,suddenly wish that I called him at Christmas,suddenly long to call him Dad again even though he never was a Dad .He was a monster , a selfish person with twisted mind but I never said that to him , never asked why he can’t appreciate things life has given him . I don’t even know why I’m crying,I’m so confused .

  27. My dad is 98 right now and we think he is passing. He has always been very cruel and abusuve to our entire family. My mother who should have protected us from this abuse fawns over him right now. He is just as mean as he always was. Has no interest or care in his children’s lives and literally said to my mom yesterday “I’m glad you are here and appreciate the company and this sentiment is for you and no one else in this room” MEANING ME! I never did anything to him. He abused and mentally tortured me for years of my life and I suffer tremendous anxiety and depression as an adult from this. People say to forgive and I can, I don’t suffer from those things because I am holding onto some grudge, I’ve been to enough therapy to understand why I have this. People say “oh you just have to move on.” The best way of explaining this is that sure, I can move on but if he hit me with a car and I couldn’t walk I would still have to live with those injuries. I have to live forever with how his abuse has damaged the way I cope with life.

    Anyway he is just as mean but doesn’t have any real power over me.

    My question is what do I tell people when they express sorrow at my father dying and when he does pass? Should I be honest and say “he was always cruel.” No one will be singing his praises but can I tell the truth?

    • Sarah.
      It’s like you are talking about my father.
      He was mentally abusive, amongst other things, while growing up.
      I separated at a young age.
      When he got sick I became his caregiver, there was no one else.
      I was there for his final and agonizing death.
      He passed away and we had his funeral yesterday…

      YESTERDAY. 1/12/19. So when I read your post. It struck a nerve.
      Respond back if you wish to talk.

    • You can tell the truth. I’ve seen it happen with others and it is much healthier to tell the truth. Much. For myself, I regret not confronting people before they died and not saying anything after. Do it. It is not wrong of you. Forgive yes, but you don’t have to withhold your story or lie.

  28. This was helpful. My mom is dying, she has pancreatic cancer and won’t live much longer. I will rejoice when she dies! For all the people out there that are just chomping at the bit to say she’s your mother! STFU! You don’t anything. If I feel this way that you better believe that I a life time of reasons and a severely damaged mind that I will have to live with for the rest of my life even after she dies. Let me give some advice to mothers out there. DONT EVER USE GUILT TRIPS AND MANIPULATION TO GET AFFECTION FROM YOUR KIDS!!! EVER!!!! My mother did this to me for years and even now 26 years later since she kicked me out she is still trying her hardest to unload guilt and every kind of emotional manipulation she can think of to try to extract some sort of emotion from me! This is why I hope she dies soon. I’m convinced that she will set up some system that will send me random cards with no return address on them dumping some sort of emotional guilt trips on me! I have blatantly told her and showed her by my actions that I don’t want anything to do with her and in doing that it has made me feel terrible! It didn’t work. She just keeps on heaping more guilt and emotional drama on me!!! If she wasn’t dying I would cuss her out and say every mean thing I could think of not to be mean but to try to get it through her thick skull that I was not put on this earth to fill her black hole of emotional neediness!!! I didn’t deserve this mess!

    • Being angry is normal. What I would like to know is why after 26 years are you still holding a grudge over her kicking you out. This is a normal reaction from a parent to a child especially if they think it would help them become an adult.If she can still rile you up, then you still have a emotional bond ,you may not want, but still have.If you didn’t, then you would have just ignored her and her demands. But, I must admit, it makes me happy ,I have a unique non relationship with the tissue I incubated. I protected her and ended up feeling like a human incubator. I made contact once and she let me know, that I was in reality ,nothing more than an incubator. Its going to make funerals and lack of grief very easy.Neither of us will know when the other dies and wont be there for the other. And at this point I am sure neither of us care either

  29. One more question about my dad dying the other day. His funeral is on Saturday. How do I handle that? How do I deal with family when all I feel is pain and anger towards my dad? I was thinking about possibly not attending, so I can save myself from more hurt or pain even from the family members. My aunt thinks I shouldn’t go until the summer so that she can be there to be my support and also so I can possibly mend some. I also dont know how to be sympathetic or speak to people in this situation. So do I go and possibly blow up and let them know how / he and step mom hurt me or do I wait until summer? Also I dont now how to mend when I didnt get the closure I need and deserve. I blame my dad and my step mom and the family because they let it happen and didnt stand up for me and didnt tell him to be a father to me. He died probably thinking he was perfect and a good dad to his his kids.. (the other kids). My aunt on his side says she think it was my step mom and the religion that kept him away. I am atheist. But for his religious background all I can say is I hope and pray that he dont go to the pearly gates in the place people call heaven. He dont deserve it.

    • I am really having a hard time. My moms boyfriend of 21 years died 2 years ago. For the first half of that time, he was physically abusive to my mom. He finally stopped that after he went to jail. It still wasnt a healthy relationship because he was an alcoholic but he was better than he was before. So the years after that, I kind of developed a love/hate relationship with him. My own father is alive but had a stroke and is paralyzed on one side and cant talk, so it was nice to have somewhat of a father figure, since my dad couldnt be there for me. I started to actually think of him as my stepdad. Just months before he died, he tried to make a move on me while drunk. He said some disgusting things and even grabbed my boob. My mom was napping in the other room and i had been staying with them that week to help my mom out. I honestly was in shock and hurt and angry. I dont think I have ever felt so violated. I called my sister to come get me and woke my mom up and told her i had to go but didnt tell her what happened. I went home and I was so depressed and just devestated and I couldnt get it out of my head. I told my boyfriend at the time, I wish he would die already. The next day, he had a stroke. I felt so bad and guilty for what i had said but I still didnt want to go to my moms if at all possible, because he was there. He had also found out he had lung cancer. This only made my guilt worse. I did end up telling my mom about what happened but she pretty much tried to make excuses and ignored it. I felt bad telling her, It just came out because she kept saying how he was like a dad to me and loved me so much. I left it at that because i knew she would not confront it anyway. It was another few months and I got a phone call from my daughter, he had been in an accident and most likely would only live 48 hours. Im like what? So I rush to the hospital because I know my mom is going to be devastated. I spent the next 4 days at the hospital with her and him. I even comforted him and held his hand. I felt like I had to for my mom, for my own guilt and also because i wouldnt wish the suffering he had on anyone. It did help my guilt some. So here we are 2 years later. My mom lives with me now because she is in the beginning stages of dementia and cant live alone. She has spiraled since his death. She drinks all of the time and is just so negative about everything. Sometimes I just want to scream, he treated you like crap and tried to molest me, why are you destroying yourself over him!? But I dont. Its just hard to deal with sometimes. On top of all of this, i am the only one who had to see his last horrible breathes and i cant get that and the vision of him opening his eyes the last time when i said his name, a few days before out of my head. I blocked my moms view to spare her that. A few seconds before he died, i told him im sorry, i wish we could take this away from you and that was it. I dont know how im sposed to feel anymore. I try to support my moms grief and be patient and understanding with her. Inside though, i am in turmoil. I just want to forget what he did and forget his death but i am constantly reminded.

  30. My dad just died December 10, 2018. When I was younger he was a part of my life for two years. Then he remarried and had kids with the step mom. Then he made less of an attempt to be in my life. We were so close then to. I started to feel abandonment. But I was ok because I had my mom. She is the greatest and was always there for me. She became my mom and dad. I know she hurt too to have to watch me hurt. Especially when he told me he was coming to get me then a little bit later call and say he didnt have food to feed me and I looked at my mom and told her I dont need to eat. I just want to see my dad. Or he wasn’t going to be in the area only to find out he was visiting family that was near me. I was 8 or 9 then. When I was 13 I asked if I could go live with him and him and step mom told me no. He already had 3 other kids by then. I saw him for an hour after my daughter was 4. Then it was awhile again that I would talk to him again. Then I got sick , depressed and severely suicidal. I had to call and medical records from him. Come to find out its hereditary and he just didnt tell me anything. Then it was another some odd years we talked. I was 27 and it was my birthday and we went to a family reunion. So my family got on the mic and said everyone let’s wish Ashia happy birthday. My dad stood up and embarrassingly said, “IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY? I DIDN’T KNOW” that tore me to pieces. I knew then I didnt matter. They are jehovah witnesses so they dont even celebrate. But that’s no excuse. We ended up leaving because it hurt me for one and for two we didnt follow there Mexican traditions. So everybody was getting rude. I’m Mexican and white. Had he been a part of my life I would of learned that and learned to speak and understand them. So I was even more hurt and he hardly talked to me that day , after all those years. Another time 5 years later, I was in a bad way and wanted to kill myself. Asked if me and my girls could go there for awhile. Him and his wife told me no they didnt need the negativity around. I drank and got alcohol poisoning. After that I was a raging alcohol and a drug user. Once some of the family found out, then they wanted nothing to do with me. They didnt care that I was hurting. That’s when I needed everyone the most. I got into trouble. I got remarried and was happy as ever. My mom had my girls and then me and my husband ended up on the streets. Then he got in trouble and was looking at prison time. After court he only got probation. Then we decided we better straighten up. So we moved to my aunts and things are better. The last time I talked to my dad was in 2011. There was a tornado in Windsor Colorado where he lives. I was scared and tried reaching him for 3 days. I was scared he was gone. I dont even know why. He dont care obviously if I died. But still I talked to him. By then he was an alcoholic, diabetic , severely depressed and agoraphobic. Anyways so ending our conversation I told him I loved him. He acted like he didnt hear me or he was thrown off guard. So I was hurt and repeating myself. “I LOVE YOU DAD.!” All he said is ” OH, OK”. Crushed for the rest of my life. I needed closure. I’ve wrote him so many times asking why he did all this to me , why he never reached out to me. Why didnt I matter? But now get this, I never sent them because i was worried I’d hurt him. Now 8snt that sick. I should never had to feel or think that way. He could of reached out at anytime in my 40 years. And gave me closure. Now once again I’m still severely depressed on tons of meds. Got other medical things going on now that make it so I can’t work right now or lead a normal life. And bipolar . The only thing that keeps me going is my mom, my brother, my husband , my girls and my precious therapy dog. When my aunt called and said he died that day I was sad but I was also happy. I was glad that pos sob was gone. He didnt deserve me. He didnt deserve anything. I couldnt cry because my emotions are out of whack and I dont know how to feel compassion. It’s always hard when someone passes away because I can’t be supportive and I dont know how to reply or comfort I dont like to cry because it’s a sign if weakness so I never cry. So how was I really supposed to feel at that moment. Then the next day all the emotions hit. I couldnt stop crying. It hit me that that pos always gets away with everything and now he has gotten away with hurting me all these years, never apologizing or giving me the closure I need to live. I was so hurt. I wanted to kill myself. Which it would of happened that day most definitely, knowing also that’s all I want to do is die. I’ve been waiting my whole life for that moment. Now the moment is here cuz I’m so hurt and instead I stopped myself and called my husband at work and had him come home because I dont feel it’s safe for me to be home alone. He took two days off for me and today I went to my moms. I slept all day. I couldnt be around them, just wanted to be alone. But at least I’m still alive and I will keep doing so until I get over this. But my question is how do I move on without that closure and the love that he wouldn’t return. I also realized all the stuff I’m going through in my life was because of him. How do I get over that and be happy finally in my life and how do I live? How do I learn to feel the emotions that i never really had. I dont even hug my kids cuz I’m not that kind if person. My whole life and mind is in a bubble and I dont want anyone in my bubble. I’ve become withdrawn. All i know is pain aloneness and to how to hurt others. I dont want to feel all this. I want to be normal and a great mom, wife, sister and daughter. I also wanted to add, it’s been 4 days now and my step mom has not even tried to reach out to me. Only my aunt and my cousin on his side. All my family on my mom’s side have been very supportive. Especially my husband because he went through the same thing with his dad before his dad died. So he knows what I’m feeling and how messed up I am . Sorry I put my life story out there. I needed to get out and I need help to get over it and to forgive and love him fully instead of the love/hate I’m feeling toland that I’m happy he is gone. Thank u.

    • Listen to yourself. She’s dead. She is not there anymore to ruin your life by saying mean things to you or your surviving family members.
      I can’t wait until my parents die. They made so many family holidays miserable for me I simply stopped attending.
      Enjoy your own Thanksgiving. Make it for you and your family. Your mother is dead and buried. Be grateful she is not there in person to ruin one more day for you. You cannot rewrite the past.
      Is is now YOUR Thanksgiving to create in a manner you wish.
      Your mother is dead and it is unfortunate that she acted so badly when she was alive. As you can tell by this blog you are not the only person who had really bad parents.
      She is now dead. Give thanks that she can do no more harm to you or any of your family. It’s over.

  31. Today is Thanksgiving. Both my mom, my dad and my sister are gone. Really, all of my family except my son and a few cousins. I find myself thinking about my mom and how she hated me. I was the second sibling and a mistake, an oops. Thanksgiving always reminds me of her dislike of me, no matter how I tried to provide a beautiful meal and pretty table just to please her. I know that her ways were from her mother who left her to raise her brothers at an early age. I have tried to understand her feelings for her disdain for me and understand that her mother abandoning her hurt her so very much. I really believe that she acted out because of that. I have always known from a small child that she wishes I had not been born. Fortunately, my dad’s mom was wonderful and loved me to the core, and I knew it. My mom didn’t like her either. I think because everyone loved my grandmother and my grandmother was a wonderful mom to her five children and all the grand kids. She was loving, sweet and charitable. I think my mother was jealous that she didn’t have that from her mother. I wasn’t close to her mother not fully understanding why until I got to be a teenager and saw the impact her missing as a mother had left my own mother. She was an alcoholic and only came around when she was drunk. I hated it and swore it would never be part of my life, and I never allowed it in my own home. I don’t know how to cope with these feelings of being unloved my my own mother, and they always come up every Thanksgiving as I remember the cruel and nasty things she said that were so unnecessary. Just don’w know how to deal with it.

  32. This article really helped me.
    My Grandma died yesterday and I feel so strange about it. Growing up I was exceptionally close to her mainly because I was her favourite.. but then I had children and my children were not her favourite great-children. She left them out.. forgot their birthdays and just generally made us all feel like rubbish. It was only then that I realised how my siblings and cousins must have felt growing up!

    I explained a number of times how I was feeling and although she would admit I was right.. nothing changed. I cut her off 3 years ago and didn’t look back… only now she’s dead and everyone is messaging me saying how sorry they are.. I’m off work struggling to cope with my emotions and all I really want to do is hide away until it’s all passed!

    One thing not mentioned in this article is what to do about the funeral.. do I go and risk the family attacking me or do I not attend and risk the family attacking me…
    I’m just at a loss…
    Those closest to me keep saying ‘do what is right for you’ but the trouble is I’m not thinking clearly enough right now to know what that is…

  33. I found out recently that someone I cared about, Joe, died on June 19, 2017. The girl who dated him didn’t know who he was, and I doubt anyone really did. Joe had a lot of mental problems and then one afternoon took a handful of drugs including coke and alcohol and sexually assaulted me. He manipulated me into thinking it was love, and left me with permanent nerve damage. He almost killed me. I went through about two years of trauma counseling to get past it, and then the other day I found out that he died. Now 10 years later, I don’t feel like I’ve gotten closure. I keep wondering if he isn’t really alive, maybe staging his death somehow, because he isn’t listed anywhere but on the funeral home website. And then I think maybe that’s what I want. I’m not sure. I know I feel angry and sad but I’m not angry at myself and I’m not sad that he’s dead, if he’s really dead). He did some really horrible things, and was in contact with some really bad people, and I can’t seem to find any information other than on the funeral home website. Not a single comment, not a single person upset that he’s gone, and I have to wonder if he didn’t plan all of this somehow, that he might know someone at the funeral home who quickly threw together a webpage so it would look like he’s dead. I have a number of unreconciled feelings about all of this, and in many ways I do hope he’s gone, because he was a pretty messed-up person. He had mental health issues, he had substance abuse issues, and while I knew him he was a manipulator. I doubt that ever changed. But the complete lack of information about him, no record of his death, no record of him dying, and no one even saddened by his death alludes me. So I do hope he’s gone, if for no other reason than he was a very unhappy person. And I do hope he’s gone because he would have destroyed everyone around him like he did me. But I can’t help but wonder. Thanks for reading.

  34. Thayer White suggests you talk to the person who hurt you. But not in person. You just go into a room by yourself and tell the person how angry you are at them, how terribly you’ve been affected by what they did. Be emotional and honest and really feel those emotions without judging yourself. You have a right to say what you were never allowed to say and they will hear it, even if they are dead. They have to listen, they are not allowed to defend themselves and you shouldn’t give them excuses.
    I did this to my dad after he died and it really helped.

  35. This helped me understand mush of what I’m feeling. I believe I should go see a grief counselor. My husband’s Grandma just died and it brought out a lot of relief and anger in me. We have had a seriously damaged relationship for the last 7 years. She has tried everything to get my husband to divorce me because she hates me, but unfortunately my husband loves his grandma so much he doesn’t defend me. I was relieved to here of her passing but also heartbroken because I never did anything to cause her to hate me. When our relationship started we were only 24 so my husband constantly lied to his grandmother when we moved in together he told her he was still living at home because she not does approve before marriage. She use to scream at me for working all the time and missing family events because I had a job. I always wanted my husband to tell her he caused all the lies not me but he never did so she still died hating me. I never got to talk through it I never got an apology for never hurting her and now she’s gone and the family wants me to just get over it but they causes her to hate me. So a grief counselor might be best because I dont have anyone in my life to explain this too.

  36. It feels better to know that I’m not alone. My father died 3 days ago. I didn’t cry the first day. The second day I didn’t stop crying and today I find myself confused. I’m feeling all the negative words towards him. We haven’t spoken in a few years. He was the best man he could be. I’m a great person for the wrongs he committed against me. I loved him but I didn’t like him. He won’t be missed but the idea of a daddy will be. Wishing everyone on this blog peace and love ❤️

  37. My father sexually abused my daughter. We were lucky in that he went to prison for several yrs and she did not have to testify in court. I have had no contact with him since the abuse occured, years. He passed away today and while I do not feel sad my eyes keep leaking. I am planning to attend the funeral, mostly because of my leaking eyes. I don’t know if I need the closure. I am worried about other family members due to circumstances. This term, complicated grelief, really makes sense to me. I am glad I came across this. It helps. Thank you.

  38. I wrote this song text after I lost someone I loved:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQjB9NkmGvY

    I am happy for every humans heart I am able to touch with this song. I hope you enjoy the song.
    Regards, Gerd Steeger

  39. You’re not alone, I have not spoken with my father in over 5 years and over the last 40 years of my life, he has dipped in and out of my life with no consistent relationship. We both tired and we both gave up. I lost my mom 13 years ago and now on August 31st 2018 my 78 year old father passed away and I am a roller coaster of emotions. I am angry, sad, hurt, stressed and confused. He’s never been a part of my life so I can’t understand why I feel this way..

  40. I was married to an emotionally and physically abusive man for 29 years before we separated. I was no angel in the relationshsip as I could be very provocative sometimes. He suffered from bi-polar and was an alcoholic and made mine and our 2 children’s lives hell sometimes. He died 6 years ago and although I always felt sorry for him while he was alive, I was kind of relieved when he died as he was not suffering anymore. I briefly cried once and then blocked out my feelings. I think I grieved through many years of my relationship because I had lost the man I married due to him changing so much. I am having health problems now and my daughter reckons it’s partly due to the fact that I bottled everything up instead of seeing a counsellor.

  41. Thanks for this article and many thanks to the people above who I resonate well with.
    It is a strange comfort to know that others are going through the same sort of things. It’s painful and yet – releasing.
    I am typing from my father’s computer… forgiveness caused reconciliation 5 weeks before he passed away mid July after 5 years of no contact. It was horrible, what he did. The effect he has had over my life is criminal and at 51, a single mother, broke and broken, I feel angry and hurt. Nowhere to go with it. People don’t want to know really.
    I will process it and then, if there is any money left after the family home has been taken by the loan shark he sold it to…. we will at least be able to pay a few bills, the rent and possibly even not worry so much about buying good school shoes.
    It just goes to show that you can’t take it with you…. I want to leave a legacy of love.
    It stops with me.
    I love my daughter and my friends and I intend to show more of the love I never got.
    I’ve even had to google how to do this because I have never been taught how to just love. How stupid is that?
    I am learning how to be less selfish and if, at the end of the day, the pain, the abuse, the mockery and the lies from him cause me to become a better person and not like him, then perhaps I can endure? Perhaps it will be worth all the pain.
    As for the grieving… I have been hugely angry this week and don’t like the feeling.
    I have not spoken kindly of him in private because he was such a $£8% and I have felt quite sorry for myself. (yuk)
    I have not been good and feeling this stuff and just want to change it.
    Usually I am a very positive type. Resilient but this has hit me. I feel like running away.
    Here’s to a better future.

  42. So glad I read this article. Thank you so much for the insight, wisdom, tact and understanding; especially for me when it was stated that everyone in the family may not have had the same experience/relationship. And might not be the best thing to talk about, with others, within same family. My oldest sister and I get it. And I’m thankful for that, but after reading this, it’s time for a therapist. He’s dead and the opportunity for bonding, questions and answers… well, he gone. Good.

  43. I lost 2 people in my family this summer. One was the light of my childhood/adulthood and the other was not even a night light in my life. I find doodling helps me deal with grief best. I can celebrate love in art and also I don’t say regretful words this way. In my grief and reading about loss- two things have stood out no matter if we are remembering a kind or an unkind person…. resilience —- and that the purpose of life is love.

  44. This article has helped me so much. My father died a week ago and I’m having a hard time processing my emotions. We hadn’t spoken in over a year and I saw him as being a toxic individual who was abusive to my mother and was also a terrible father to me and my sister.

    He suffered in later years with severe clinical depression and I also suspect bipolar episodes which made him even more difficult to be around. Watching him be absolutely vole to my mother who cared for him and looked after him up until the day he passed away fills me with anger.

    In his last few weeks, I made an effort to resolve things with him but his health had deteriorated (physically and mentally) to a point where I’m not even sure if he knew what I was saying.

    In the days following his death, I’m trying to play the role of a devoted, grieving and dutiful son as this seems to be what everyone wants from me. My sister is eulogising him to the point of canonisation and I feel angry that everyone seems to have forgotten what a nasty man he actually was.

    I have some happier memories of him but have to really search hard to bring them to front of mind.

    I’m sad, but happy. Angry and relieved.

    I don’t want to remain negative and need to co e to terms with the reality of our relationship. My issue is that everyone around me including my long-suffering mother and sister are not respecting my need to talk about how this man treated us cruelly.

    It’s early days so I expect we will all experience further emotions and thoughts but I feel like I don’t want to grieve him or the relationship we could have had as it will drag me back to a place I need to leave in my past.

  45. We need to coin a new term…. complicated grelief.
    I have had way too much of it. Can’t even begin this story.
    Abuse sucks and leads to more abuse and then complicated grelief when they pass. Had it before, during & after my abusive dad died and then again when my abusive husband died. I had realized some of the abuse both times and they didn’t want others to find out. Lies and abuse. Even the Christian counselor had called it quits on marriage counseling when he did something so mean during counseling. He thought he had her around his baby finger but he didn’t. She told me to go to the trauma counselor in the same practice and told him we were thru. He told everyone I had to go to the other counselor since all the problems were mine. Things like this happened all the time and then more while he was in disability. And when someone is dying they really wrap the flying monkeys around their baby finger. It was awful. But that was then. I sold the house, got all the money and moved. I still have 2 kids in college. Still having counseling. But moving forward in life in much wiser ways.

  46. Love your poem. it helped. thank you.

  47. Wow! A very, very strange thing happened today!

    My ex-mother-in-law passed away a few days ago, and I attended her funeral today. I have been divorced from her daughter for about 16 years, and during that time I spoke with my now-deceased mother-in-law only ONCE. The point I am emphasizing is that I have not had a relationship at all with my ex-MIL, in any form whatsoever, since my divorce. I decided to attend the funeral only because I knew I would be setting a good example for my (our) children, who are grown (college age), NOT because I had any compulsion to mourn her loss. Indeed, I have always blamed my divorce in large part on my parents-in-law, and while I do not hate them, I have long since had a pretty keen dislike for them. It must also be said that my divorce was not like some that I hear about, where the divorcing couple is nice and kind to one another. Rather, it was a really messy divorce, with arguments and ill feelings continuing for many years after the papers were signed, and at times the post-divorce situation has been downright ugly.

    In any case, when I attended the funeral today, I could not stop crying! Every time I began to speak with someone prior to the services beginning, I began to bawl. I do not understand why. With a lot of effort, I was able to quell my tears throughout most of the service, but throughout it all I was fighting my tears, sometimes unsuccessfully. I did not expect this, and I do not understand it. Why was I so emotional attending a funeral for someone I did not care for?

    Consider this: I have attended funerals for four grandparents, two of whom I was extremely close to; I have attended the funeral of an uncle with whom I was very close, speaking the eulogy; I have presented a eulogy at the funeral of a close friend, and have attended other funerals, and have never been even close to as emotional as I was today… at a funeral for someone I did not like very much!!!! How does that make sense? I’ve never seen irony like this–I was clearly the MOST outwardly emotional person there (including my ex-father-in-law, my ex-wife, the deceased’s siblings, my children, who are of course the deceased’s grandchildren–none of whom so much as shed a tear), yet I was certainly the person at the funeral who cared for her the LEAST. Furthermore, as I pointed out, why have I been well-contained at the funerals of people who were very dear to me? So strange!

    How did this happen? I cannot explain it. As I’ve said, I certainly did not expect it. What sort of psychological complex can account for that experience?

    • you are probably associating your mil with the end of your marriage You say she was a prime reason for your divorce Her death was probably some sort of trigger for you You were also close to you grandparents which probably also has something to do with it.

  48. Thank you so much for this article. My sister’s breadth cancer recently mets to brain and lungs with poor prognosis. I have previously been supportive as poss through email and occasional visits. But latest news was so hard to deal with. She gphas bullied me all my life, more so in my adulthood.. physically, verbally abusive, had me arrested ( one and only time for me) that prevented me from applying/getting certain types of jobs in my profession for 5 years. We were then estranged fro about 10 years – she wouldn’t let me see my niece if I didn’t do as she said or said what she wanted to hear. I’ve waited for niece to become an adult to build relationship but she is aloof at best, understandably.. more recently with inherited money she insisted on witnessing my partner of 11 years sign a sort of pre- nuptial agreement. I got out of that by pointing out that i’ve Let her and her husband have most of the money and not interfered with their financial affairs…. it’s endless the depth and breadth of her previous nastiness. And yet now feeling guilty that she is so ill with not long to live. She also the favourite of my uneducated evil mother and abusive fathers (deceased). I’n
    I am the black sheep and no-one is allowed to talk about the elephant in the room.
    I am opposite to Sis and if it were “normal “ I would be visiting regularly, offering to help as much as poss, trying to make her laugh, buying gifts to cheer her up. But as it is, experience with her has taught me that it will just be thrown back at me . Useful bible quote “ don’t throw pearls to pigs”. But now with brain mets I felt so confused and guilty. This article has helped me sort out some of my emotions. I’ve decided and have started to be as akind as poss. Without going overboard. Offered date to visit but rejected and not offered date that I have since found out rest of family will be visiting…. etc. Etc. Trying to do right thing one day at a time, but know in my head and heart it the abuse still happened/ happens, that their responses will be negative if not hateful.
    It’s helped me be more at peace with myself at the end of each day, able to at least be happy during each day and able to sleep at night.
    So big thank you …. I was’t able to find help elsewhere and not in position to speak to family nor speak to ( well meaning) but not private strangers . .. ( gps, Macmillan, etc. ) . Thank you.

    • Rada, I could have written your post word for word. I’m sorry I can’t offer you any helpful words. Just know that you are not alone. x

  49. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS WONDERFUL ARTICLE! I have been going to a grief councillor and your article helped me way more than counselling. My husband of 50 years was killed in a horrific accident, 6 months ago. All I felt was relief—and freedom! I had been saved by the Good Lord! – if I believe in that, not sure. I do not share my relief with my supportive loved ones because they were not left behind closed doors with him. He was MR PERSONALITY when the door bell rang. Few knew who he really was. Still I am dumbfounded. How do I pick up and carry on? My support people are in a different grief than I am. I guess I will learn to love my own company! So, off to Vegas alone I go! Wish me luck! (sounds good but I feel like I could throw up)

    • We had been 40+ crappy years when he was diagnosed with cancer. He lived three years more. He actually hated me I believe. He would not listen to anything I researched.. Fine so I quit. When the end was chiming he then asked me what to do. I told him I have no idea and you never wanted my opinion before. I don’t have one now. He was planning to go into a nursing home… Never mind his son and I had to live. When he passed I felt nothing but relief. I grieved before and now I was safe from his emotional abuse. I don’t want my she’s anywhere near his when I go.

  50. I just need to shout this into the void.
    I just found out a couple days ago that my abusive ex-boyfriend killed himself recently. At first all I felt was shock, and nothing beyond that. And then I was sad *because* I didn’t feel anything. I felt bad for his family, who I had always liked, but I had had such intense feelings about him for so long – I loved him so much and then I hated him so much – that it was like they all collapsed in together and cancelled each other out. And then in the last couple days since I heard the news… Things have gotten more complicated. I’ve actually cried over it a couple times. I don’t miss him, and I haven’t forgotten what he did to me, but it’s like his death has softened and even sweetened some of my bitter memories of him. I feel like this makes me a bad abuse victim or something, and I don’t know how to sort through all of this. In a weird way I feel sad for him that he was in such a dark place that he decided to end it. This article was helpful, but I still feel a bit lost in all this.

  51. My sister in law who wore white to my wedding, who bought her dress too small when she was a brides maid, who took my flowers of my mother in laws grave and gave them back to me, who told me the neighbor girl was going to take my fiancé away, who told me my nose was too big, who told me my house smelled like cat pee, who told my husband he was functionally illiterate, who took the pie plate from me after I cared for her dad in his final days (I sure didn’t do it for her!!!), died from lung cancer a few weeks ago. It has bothered me more than I can say. BUT her obit is comprised of what I would call lies I guess that suits her because that what she did her whole life. (Brother in law is a “salesman” and considers himself a “writer”) He writes fiction pretty well… It makes me sad she was ill but man was she mean. I have to keep it to myself as best as I can because she was my husbands sister and I have to respect that…

  52. My mother in law died last week. I literally jumped for joy, singing Ding Dong the witch is dead. She has been a trouble maker in my marriage from the start. Pure toxic person if there ever was one. My husband was always caught in the middle and insisted that she and her whipped husband have a relationship with out children.

    Well 2 1/2 years ago, my 15 year old daughter, her only granddaughter was over her house and telling her grandmother about her college plans. My stupid MIL told her that she didn’t need college and that she…the MIL, who has never held down a job for one second, could go out and make 6 figures babysitting. Stupid conversation.

    Well, when my daughter insisted that she did need college because she wanted to be a doctor, my MIL saw that she wasn’t going to win this argument for once, my daughter stood by her convictions. So, my MIL called her an insulant little bitch. Nice huh? She then cornered my daughter and told her she wasn’t going to allow her to call for help until she was told that her views were right.

    My daughter was forced to hit her own grandmother in order to get away and call for help.
    A lot of other horrible things were uttered by that horrible woman toward my daughter before my son showed up to get her. That relationship was over.
    My MIL had so much negative influence on her husband that my FIL has not had anything to do with this grandchildren over the last 2 1/2 years.

    Now that she is dead, me and my kids are overjoyed. My husband is torn and doesn’t want to hear the negative things said about her even though he agrees he will not miss her.

    Now if only the FIL would go away for good.

  53. My parents kicked me out of the house for being 20 minutes late, because my car had been vandalized, when I was 17. Since that day, 40 years ago, I’ve had very little contact with them, and any I did have , turned out painful. Neither of them wanted me. My Mom made it clear she hated me. No, it wasn’t a feeling, she TOLD me over and over and over, starting when I was 4. I wasn’t informed of my father’s death until years after. My Mom made contact with me about six months before she died, she had brain cancer. I’m not sure why she did, but I think it was just more of the headgames she always played. I wasn’t told for weeks about her death, since her two wanted children decided I didn’t need to know. I don’t know that I grieve their passing, but I do grieve not having a loving family. My Dad just never cared, while my Mom made my childhood a living hell. And on top of dealing with those feelings, I have to deal with the anger of being blacklisted from the memorial service by my siblings. Not sure if that’s what she was after, to make sure I was aware I wasn’t invited, again? Did she tell me she wanted me there, then left instructions for them to not tell me? Yes, this isn’t normal grief. I buried a son and am still grieving his lose. This is something much different and much more confusing. Something therapists don’t even seem to understand, after all mothers love their kids, right?…well, no, …no they don’t.

  54. My mom passed in August last year. The months leading up to it were traumatic. The years before that were filled with hardship and stress, which I tried and tried to help her with. I tried to get her to get help, emotional help, mental help, financial help. She was not a happy woman, I don’t ever remember her being happy, or even having a lot of friends. Some of her mean-ness was justified, my step-father was an abusive jerk and he left her in late 2008 for as he said, “the woman he was going to spend the rest of his life with.” Little did he know how true that statement would be in the end. That woman he left for…..he was murdered by, sometime in early 2009, his body found buried in her back yard in August 2010). The chick who killed him, she cleaned out bank account, CD’s, savings, and for some reason, unknown to me and never explained, the money was in an account with his name only and not hers, even though it was both of theirs. For several years, I deposited money in her bank account every month, until my husband and I began to struggle financially and could not longer support her. It’s a very very long story, but there’s no reason she couldn’t have lived on her social security. Growing up, she was always telling me how anything that ever happened was all my fault. I was constantly reminded that I wasn’t good enough, smart enough, skinny enough for anyone to like me. When my stepfather came into the picture and tried to molest me, she gave me up to the state where I live in a group home until I aged out. The months leading up to her death, I traveled weekly to Daytona Beach, tried again to get her help. I even told the hospital staff that she wanted to die, she told me she wanted to die and it was clear she meant it. The hospital staff did a suicide evaluation and she lied to them. Towards the end, the last weeks she was even worse and I know it was unrealistic, but that little girl inside me, the one who needed her mom hoped that she’d say she was sorry, hoped she’d say she always loved me, hoped she would say that my stepfather was a dirtbag and she was wrong for doing what she did and throwing me away. But….she didn’t and her last words to me were “You’ve been a pain in my ass all my life.” This was in the nursing home, where she was sent after her last hospital visit because they said she could not be alone. I left the nursing home in tears and told the staff I wasn’t coming back. I drove the 5 hours home crying the whole time. I was forced to make an end of life decision by phone, when she clearly had a DNR on file with the hospital. All these months later and I am filled with confusion and guilt. It didn’t help that she had a reverse mortgage on the house (she and my stepfather took a lump sum and the girl who killed him stole that money too) and the reverse mortgage company has gone out of their way to make it difficult for me to do anything with her house, to the point where I just want to say f**k it and walk away. I’ve thought about finding a therapist to talk about all this, but I haven’t found anyone I have any kind of connection with.

  55. My Mother in law is towards the end of her life,. She made my life very difficult in the twenty years I knew her (I cut her off 4 years ago). She never accepted me. She never even spoke a mutual language (English) in front of me so that I could understand and feel welcome. It was her manipulative way of reminding me that I was an outsider. She competed with me for my husband’s loyalty – interfered with our marriage, tried to get my husband to side with her on decisions for our family that were contrary to what I wanted and was just a very negative presence in my life. Just before I cut her off she revealed that she predicted my husband and I would divorce and she resented my place in my husband’s life. Her husband, kids and extended family are devastated she will be gone soon, but I share none of these feelings. I will be relieved, and not much will change for me as I already cut her out of my life. In many ways she is already dead to me. The one thing I plan to do is not tell anyone I know when she dies as I don’t want any sympathy. I will not be sad!

  56. My husband’s son’s mother died recently, and I do not feel bad about it. Not at all. But I don’t feel happy either. I am indifferent. We had no contact with each other for the past several years, so nothing has changed in my world in that regard, and, hence, I do not feel any sense of loss—or relief, even. I really just feel nothing. She tortured us for years. YEARS. She did a lot of irreparable damage to our marriage. Left me traumatized. And she drove a wedge between her son and I which has made it difficult for us to ever really bond, even now that he’s grown. And that’s exactly what she wanted. But somehow I’m the one with the problem right now for NOT feeling bad that she’s gone? Nope. It doesn’t work that way. I had nothing to do with her & my husband’s breakup (we met a year after they were done), but despite that, she always treated me like I did. I put my best foot forward with her son from day 1 because I knew what it was like to be a stepchild, but she sabotaged it all. Fast forward many years, I finally got smart and, after a nasty argument with her, I decided she was a cancer I needed to cut out of my life. And so I refused to deal with her from that day forward and left it all to my husband—which I should’ve done from day 1. I swear the stress she caused me took 10 years off my life. Now that she’s gone, everyone is singing her praises, everyone (many of whom talked so badly about her for years) is so sad, etc. Including my husband. It’s surreal. My motto is if you didn’t love someone in life, don’t pretend to love them in death. And he didn’t love her. But he has issues with death in general, so I’m trying to be understanding and just let it run its course with him (not that he is able to reciprocate this to me, however). But I think people do a lot of what they think they’re “supposed” to do in these situations, like “oh, someone died, I’m SUPPOSED to feel sad—or at least act the part.” Yeah, NO. It is totally unrealistic to expect people to grieve the death of someone who hurt them, tortured them, disrespected them, and the list goes on. I think THOSE people are the ones with problems, NOT the person who is being real and honest and saying what they feel (or the fact that they DON’T “feel” anything, if that’s the case). Don’t ever let anyone make you think you’re wrong for “feeling” a certain way, especially about death. Only YOU went through whatever it is you went through with that person. When my husband’s ex was dying in the hospital, I did go to church and pray for her. Did I tell anyone that? Nope. I didn’t feel the need to have to defend myself or justify or rationalize my feelings by saying “see, I went and prayed for her, so I’m not some horrible person just because I don’t feel bad she’s gone.” That’s private and nobody needs to know that. Just because I didn’t want her in my life doesn’t mean I wanted her dead or in pain. There’s a huge difference. And even people who MAY want someone dead—hey, maybe they have their reasons. Maybe the person was physically or sexually abusive. Maybe the person permanently and adversely altered their life in some way, shape, or form. People need to stop judging and start putting themselves in others’ shoes.

  57. Thank you for this, my cousin died a few days ago and I’ve been struggling with the guilt that I’m relieved he’s gone. He’s never liked me because he thinks I’ve been spoiled by everyone, something he never got himself. We never talked except for one word yes or no. And he was always a dark cloud looming over me whenever we were in proximity.

    It just saddens me because we’re family, and he thought so terribly of me. When we could’ve had a good relationship.

  58. I just lost my father yesterday and have chosen not to speak to him since Sept 2017. I always felt that he was displeased with me for not being the son ge wanted. I am the youngest of theee daughters. He loved me but his way of showing that love was through being verbally abusive. I had started feeling indifferent towards him and then he passed. As long as I focus on the adult me (I am 55), I am ok. The wounded child in me wants to create havoc and I know I need to journal and write about those feelings. I chose to not see him while he was in hospice for less than 5 days but I am going out for the funeral. Wish me luck as part of me feels I am entering the lion’s den in dealing with the rest of my family.

  59. When I started going out with my first boyfriend 3 years ago we were both virgins and I thought he really liked me, unfortunately after a mere 8 days in our new relationship he had gotten drunk at a party with his ex girlfriend and had sex with her that night. Whats even more crazy was earlier that day I was on my way to my job when I passed them up the street from my house talking with her and her sister, I didn’t think nothing of it at first because I trusted him, but I was wrong. I was too late at my chance because after I left my cousin said that my boyfriend and another girl showed up at my house looking for me and he introduced her as his ‘homegirl’ I I never found that he cheated on me until after 5 months when I had already gotten feelings and it was heartbreaking.
    She committed suicide last year and I didn’t feel sad for her, honestly. I felt that she wasn’t a problem anymore because my boyfriend tried running after her saying he missed her and she was his first.
    It just messed with my confidence and made me feel so ugly and worthless and second best at everything. Still does, even though she’s gone. She was younger than me, still in highschool after him and I both graduated. I still get mad and curse her name.
    I’m not with him anymore but we do have one child together.

  60. My alcoholic, narcissistic, hoarder mother recently died of end-stage liver disease and complications. She was a pathological liar who lied about anything and everything, but also told big, nasty whoppers about me to a lot of other people (including her priest and the healthcare staff at the hospital where she died). She spent most of her adult life heavily abusing opioids and alcohol, yet insisted she’d never had a drink. She was certainly mentally ill as well.
    Any contact with her stressed me out, and she ruined any family events she attended. She spent years threatening to sue me and have me thrown in jail over my handling of her mother’s estate, even though I hired an expert law firm to make sure we got things right. No one, other than her equally toxic cousin, is sorry she passed.
    I just feel relief and a kind of freedom that she can’t wreak havoc on my life anymore. I’m having a hard time finding any support resources online for this kind of situation, though.

  61. Thank you for this ! most notably the section on relief. I just found out the woman my husband cheated on me with over half a decade ago has died of breast cancer actually going on one year ago.

    The first feeling i experienced was total shock and the second was pure happiness. It’s not that i wanted her to die, i could never be that selfish or creepy. I am just so RELIEVED that i no longer have to worry about running into her or her contacting my husband anymore.

    Six years ago her husband reached out to me that he found some horrible emails between her and my husband. Little did he know i was in the middle of taking care of my father in hospice & eventually did lose him to terminal liver cancer. This ripped my life into pieces , i went insane for a bit . I had not one ounce of positivity or optimism for 3 years afterward.

    I eventually dug up her email address by searching endlessly through our computers and his phone for an unhealthy 48 hrs so i could confront her. I hoped to gain closure but she put the entire affair on my head and said that i obviously couldn’t truly please him and that it was on me. I have never been able to fully reach closure until just now and im still very guilty about it .

    I feel like its bad karma to be so cheerful at someone’s passing and she was truely in pain if cancer took her life, so i know she suffered which isn’t something i would ever wish . Also i do feel terrible about her young son & all of the family she left behind. Her husbands facebook is filled with lamenting and prayers. Its really interesting to find out that she was a super christian woman seeing as how the email i contacted her by was [email protected]… (smh) . One FB commenter told a heart warming story of her reading bible passages to her sick aunt everyday . Its weird to see this woman 3 dimensionally for the first time and i feel like i do fully forgive her and my husband for all that transpired against me.

    lastly her husband posted her last written words that she wanted to share with the world. Ironically / Eerily one of the comments that she made was forgive all that have done you wrong . Letting anger stew can manifest in physical ailment. Not sure if i subscribe but i feel like it has officially marked a place of renewal and growth for me and I’m just so thankful to have this off my shoulders now.

  62. Thanks for the article, my dad, who I had a bad relationship with, died a month ago and I needed to read this.

    For Debbie or anyone who is in a similar situation, I hope what happend to my may be usefull for you. I had a bad relationship with my father we only talked to eachother from time to time. He spent a week in a hospital before I came to visit him without knowing that he only had a few hours to live, I stood about 10 feet away from him but I did not talk to him at all, I turned around and left. I think he didnt even saw me. A few hours later I got the call that he had just died.

    Now I wish I talked to him. I often wonder what he wouldve said. He said goodbye to a lot of people. I wish I had that chance, even if he said something bad I could deal with it now but I like to think he woudve said something nice but now I´ll never know.

    Had he said something mean like he did most of the times, I´d probably feel the same as I do now, since I´m already angry at him. But maybe just maybe he wouldve say goodbye to me or that he loved me or that he was sorry.

    I wish that you came to your father and talked to him, if he is still alive I hope you go and talk to him one last time.

  63. I just found out that a woman died who cheated with my now ex boyfriend. It was a little shocking but I must say she was not as nice to me as she could have been. She got my number 5 mos ago from my ex’s phone and called to tell me she was the other woman.
    We ran into one another and this woman called me all kinds of b-i-t-c-h-es, and laughed at me. I cried so much that night she called me again to continue to harass me because my boyfriend was trying to reconcile with me. Five months later she is dead of cancer. I did ray for her and have asked god to forgive me for any thoughts I had that were not good. To be honest, I was shocked that she died. She knew completely about me and my ex and still decided to be the side chick. I told her she could have him, then she got mad that he didn’t want her, this must have made her extremely angry; therefore I got the cussing out of my life. I have never experienced such vial hatred. She was on my mind all week and I asked God to take her off my mind and send His ministering spirits so her for salvation. Then I find out she past just days after I asked God to take her off my mind and help her. I want not bother. I pray she accepted Jesus,
    she was not as kind as she seemed on her facebook pictures. I experienced that first hand. God bless her soul

  64. I haven’t had someone who has died whom I’ve had a negative relationship with but my partner has and although I am now beginning to understand her grief I am still sure that if I were in a similar position I would be stubborn enough to have let it go and said that they are not going to upset my life again and therefore wouldn’t allow they passing to affect my life. Would this be a valid coping method for some or is it just my ignorance on the whole thing because I won’t ever experience it?

  65. My father that I haven’t spoke to for almost 25 years has two weeks to live. He is full of cancer. His siblings reached out to my brother to tell him about what is going on. I am not sure how I feel about all of this. He was a horrible husband and a horrible father. He has yet to meet my children which my oldest is 22. Not sure if i should go and see him before he passes or just continue on with my life like nothing.

  66. I had a very toxic friend who passed away just recently.we knew each other for overv25 year,we also work together just as long.she made my life unbearable.very demanding,manipulative,used threat tactics,belittled me,it goes on and on.i made it to retirement,and told myself that this would put space between us to help me end this frienship,but we still would talk on the phone,but not as much,because I felt I no longer had to check in.well one day she called and screamed in the phone and said”oh,u can’t call,well don’t come to my motherfucking funeral either”abd hung up on me as I was trying to explain that I’ve been working at another job,but she hung up before I could get the words out.after that I told myself I’m tired of this,I never called her back,and she never called me back.i remember one time we got into a conversation about one time I had called her out her name,because she was being mean,underhanded and plain rude.i apologized to her after it had happened, but she kept bringing it up months and years later,and I told her.i apologized for that and will not continue to do so”,she said but u hurt me,we was friends,that’s when I told her,yes we were friends,I was a friend,but for 25 years you’ve treated me very unkindly,you belittled me,make rude underhanded remarks,everything i did i say was always wrong.and u know what she said”i made u stronger didn’t it”,never apologizing,never saying I’m sorry.that hurt me because if I could apologize for 1 mistake,she wouldn’t for 25 years of making me hurt,cry and wanting to quit my job.i don’t know how to feel.im sad for her,her family,but I just don’t know about attending her funeral and she may have instructed the family to not let me attend(She was like that)PLEASE HELP

  67. I got one who was emotionally abusive towards me from the time I was 5. He was the father of a friend I made in 1st grade . He thought it was funny to, among other things, scare me by chasing me whenever I came to her house. He did it for years. The family always made sure to tell me that he was “only joking.” It was my fault, of course, because I would run when he tried to chase after me. If only I would stop running. Right. After I was in my teens he would find other ways to harass me verbally. In my 30’s I made the decision to avoid his presence, thereby avoiding all family functions at my friend’s house. I have never said anything, because it would hurt my friend tremendously and she was also 5 when this started and there was nothing she could have done either.

    My issue is that this man will die soon and I will not be the least bit sorry. That’s not the problem. The problem is the funeral, which I think I can handle without having to say anything good about this creep, but am at a loss as to how to handle it when, inevitably because it always does, the issue of his “joking” behavior towards me will come up. This all started happening in the ’60’s, but times have changed and just exactly how egregious this behavior is has now become obvious (as it should have been then, who gets their kicks scaring a skinny little 5 year old). I don’t want to start something, god knows especially at a funeral, but I am not inclined to completely wave this off much longer when the subject is raised in order to elicit my ongoing understanding that it was all a big joke. Maybe the best response is, “Look, the less said about that history the better. I’m willing to let it go if you are.” Which is pretty much the way I feel.

  68. Great to read this as my father died just two weeks ago we hadn’t spoke for 6yrs after he sided with my abuser who happens to be my brother in law, I still don’t know just what it is that I feel, due to the brother in law still being alive and still refusing to take responsibility for his actions. I did go to the police with this but as it is my word against his they can’t do anything. He say’s “I don’t really know”?

  69. I was estranged from my older brother for nearly 20 years. I had cut ties with my abusive mother, and he saw this as a personal rejection and would have nothing to do with me. I never got to see his kids grow up, and I don’t know his grandchildren. Likewise, he never got to know my kids or shared in my life.

    My memories of him are good and bad. I remember him being the protective big brother who would never let anyone do anything harmful to me. I remember his generosity. But he also hurt me physically a couple of times in my youth. One time, he shot me with a BB gun and another time, when I was 13, he punched me in the face.

    Now, he’s in a nursing home in the late stage of death. I went to see him two days ago. He wasn’t conscious, and I don’t know if he could hear me, but I told him I love him and that I was sorry for all he has gone through. It may sound silly, but I felt some “excited” energy from him. It seemed like he wanted to communicate with me, but I’m not sure that what he had to say would be positive or negative.

    And despite everything that has come between us, I’m grieving. It’s a very confusing grief. I guess, more than anything, I grieve for what could have been, and I grieve for him for all of the suffering he has experienced.

  70. I’m finding it difficult what to write on the card that will get attached to the family flowers to a dad I did not have a good relationship with and had not spoken to in the last 2 years , any suggestions

  71. I really want to thank you for this article. I really never feel like I’m “supposed” to feel when it comes to the death of my step mom who abused me throughout my childhood and adulthood. My father is great man; inside and out. This fact made it harder to hold his hand as he grieved the wife he loved so much and the woman who treated me so terrible when he wasn’t around. I felt guilty, angry, relieved, and sad for my father all at once. This article has helped TREMENDOUSLY with dealing with her death, my father’s grief, and my grief for the relationship I will never be able to have with her. I cannot tell you enough how this clear, precise, and well written article has helped me.

  72. This article was good to read. My brother died last night after a dragged out battle with cancer. We weren’t close. He was 17 years older than me and already left home when I was born. I have lovely memories of him from my childhood, but in later years I found I didn’t really like him much. He was a very generous person, and there was nothing bad about him particularly. He was bad-tempered and impatient and often embarrassingly rude to people (he called it straight-speaking!!), but he wasn’t abusive or mean or toxic. His politics led him to believe a lot of things that I found quite abhorrent, but he lived thousands of miles away for most of my adult life so it wasn’t much of a problem. My husband and I visited him last year, all paid for by him, which was fantastic, but we found his company difficult – mind you, he was suffering a lot of pain. I expected to be sad for my Mum and for my brother’s wife and son when he died, but I’m floored by how upset I am myself. I can’t stop crying today. It’s not like his dying is going to leave a hole in my life, as I hadn’t expected to see him more than a handful of times over the coming years anyway, he lived so far away. I guess the bond formed when I was little and he was my exciting big brother off on adventures and bringing me gifts and stories was stronger than I thought.

  73. Thankyou for this article.
    My mother in law has just passed away . My relationship with her was very difficult. She suffered depression and mental illness. I was never able to be close to her and I struggled with her manipulation of her family.The hardest thing for me was her inability to be a grandmother to my three children. She would miss birthdays and make little effort. I do understand she was sick and these were my expectations but that didn’t make it any easier. Strange thing is now she is gone I feel so sad.

  74. Thank you for writing this article, it has really helped me to be kind on myself regards my Dad’s death.

  75. This helped. Right now I have a father in law passing of cancer. He has 2 – 4 mo to live. My husband’s side is in chaos and tears. And I’m just going about life as normal. I have perfected the frowny, concerned face. Honestly, I struggle to find sympathy for a man who never took time to get to know me, dislikes all of my husband and I’s hobbies, is down right rude and crabby 24/7, and makes little remarks under his breath about me. Fyi, he also has no friends. I told my mom he has the personality of a wet dish rag. At least my work pays me 3 days Bereavement when he passes. And, I will buy a new, cute outfit for the funeral. But emotionally?? I don’t care.

  76. I have been in an abusive marriage in every sense of the word for 43 years. Spare me the sanctimonious platitudes about the choice I made for myself and my daughters to stay. They are grown and have scars but are also well functioning adults due to my parenting in large part but also his few good points: steadfast provider; he did not cheat or lie. But he was cruel in the extreme. I am still with him and I struggle with internal rage I try hard to swallow. He is in poor health at 63. I stopped liking him at the beginning and hating him for good in 2009 after a terrible event concerning my own health in which he was seriously neglectful and abusive. My being very ill makes him angry I surmise because if I am, I become inefficient in my duty to care for him in any and all respects. So to the point: I hope you may see why I fervently look forward to widowhood. That is an awful statement that is a burden in the extreme to live with. This has been a particurly bad week with my heart stabbed once again with his cruel statements. I no longer cry, but I rage inside. Not being able to suppress it, which is unusual, I let him have it. I can’t be a rug 365 days a year it seems. Anyhow, thanks for these words of wisdom. It helped me to make a new goal: while there is no way to change him, like him, or refind love: I can try to act towards him what I was raised to be: kind and competent to him in his certain to come frail demise.

  77. This article was just what I needed to read. Thank you.

    My dad passed away earlier this year. He had been mentally abusive to my mum for years and I seriously hated him. When I first found out he has passed I was completely relieved!! Finally my mum would be free of him. However since his death my anger towards him has fadded away and now I’m definitely grieving… For the relationship I wish we had mostly I think. It’s very confusing to feel this way about him.
    Today would have been his 70th birthday.

  78. Thank you for the article, with interesting aspects of different grief. I can relate to much of this. My Mother passed away last month and I had had an enormously close relationship with her as a child as she was a single parent and fought to keep me, having to work for a living to do so (in those days), as a nanny, and later nursing. I was her constant companion, with interludes of being ‘farmed out’ with strange people to help care for me whilst she was working, I even spent many of my Christmas Days on a medical ward with her when she was nursing. Then along came other relationships, she chose, unstable needy men, with mental health problems it seemed and I was rejected in favour of her partners, left to my own devices for long periods and they became her significant ‘other’. this happened over and over and when her adult relationships failed I was there to pick up the pieces for her as she turned to me. I have such mixed feelings, struggled with self worth and now she is gone I don’t seem to know my role or identity in life any more. Was supporting her perhaps partly my purpose? Now it seems I can grieve for all the hurt she caused me, which I dared not acknowledge previously, just because she was my Mother and I was not allowed to blame or criticise her in any way. I still don’t want to find any fault in her, but know the truth of how she treated me in making a succession of step-fathers and their children, more important than me. Complicated grief indeed.
    Karen

  79. My brother died in November. We had a distant relationship, could tolerate each other in social environments, but no we were not close. I cried when I found out he died and a little at the service. But I grieve more for the dog I had euthanized 2 weeks before my brother died. I worked in Hospice for 5 years and the experiences I had made me realize that it was ok to be estranged or to not like someone or to grieve differently. I do feel bad for my other siblings, though. They were so distraught and are so angry at our nephew – he himself had a tense relationship with his dad – and I just don’t feel that way. They say they understand but I don’t think they do.

  80. I really don’t get this bloody nonsense about “closure” – must be more rubbish we’ve imported from the U.S.

  81. Thank you so much for this article. I’ve never read info on something like this. It really validates what I’ve experienced.

  82. Thanks again so much ladies, for all your hard work and for always putting things in ways that are easy to read and understand. I am working with someone right now who had a death in her family that fits this whole post. She found endearing and tender moments with this family member but also found this person to be abusive, manipulative, embarrassing at times, and made life very hard for everyone. I am going to be sharing this with her soon (as I do with many of your posts and materials we’ve ordered at my work :)). This was really timely and I appreciate all you do so much!

  83. Thank you for this. I lost a family member almost 6 years ago, and it was a complicated relationship. We were semi-estranged (due to the person’s mental illness). I feel different from other grievers because of the circumstances of the death (sudden death). I know mine is a complicated grief.

  84. a poem I found quite some time ago and have shared often…
    Today I Talked to the Urn
    It sat on my dresser for over a year,
    A symbol of a relationship that is no more.
    I could barely acknowledge its existence,
    The ashes within were a symbol of things
    I wanted to forget.
    I tried to bury pain, frustration and anger in my heart,
    Telling myself, “It’s over now; time to forget,”
    Forcing the truth deep down,
    So it wouldn’t hurt me anymore.
    But the truth refused to stay buried.
    Pain, frustration and anger
    Kept surfacing in odd ways,
    And I wondered why I couldn’t heal.
    Little by little, bits of insight
    Have made themselves known.
    Bit by bit, I’ve learned about myself.
    Fragments of truth shed light in my darkness.
    Today, I talked to the urn,
    So long ignored.
    As I faced the truth about my anger,
    And about my part in the misery past.
    Acceptance and affection for the one now gone
    Washed over me
    And I asked for forgiveness
    When today, I talked to the urn.
    By Margie Casteel, Littleton, Colorado

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