When Your Kind Parent Dies First


I am devastated.  My kind sweet mother died two months ago and I miss her hugely.  Although she could't stand up to my father or even protect me properly from his tempestuous tempers and manipulative behaviour, she did her best.  She also made being at home bearable. 

In a way her passing was a relief.  She had been ill for some time and eventually gave up on life.  I visited her as much as I could despite living some 30 miles away and having three children and a busy job to manage.  The problem is, since her passing, my father has become even more of a nightmare.  I understand that he cared about her in his rather strange way, and that he doesn’t want to appear vulnerable.  But I can’t cope with his domineering behaviour.   He tells me I have to do his shopping and cooking now my mother has gone and will not accept any excuses. When I explain about my own demands he criticises me for being ungrateful for all he’s done for me, like sending me to a decent school.

A small part of me feels sorry for him because I know he hates being alone, but I feel I am crumbling under the pressure he is putting on me and my own grief.  My husband has suggested that I cut contact with him because we have never got on and it was only my mother that held things together, but my conscience won’t let me.  Please help.  

How sad that you have lost the mother you loved and however much a parent’s passing has been anticipated their death still comes as a shock.  Do allow yourself time to grieve and begin to come to terms with her no longer being in your life.   

Your sympathy for your father shows you have a good heart.  As your loss is so recent, it might be too early to decide to cut him out of your life.  It is a decision for the future. Meanwhile we recommend that you   put your family at the top of your priority list.  Discuss with your husband how much time and support t's reasonable for you to give your father now, and try to explain this to your father.   If he responds badly you could write to him instead. He needs to start to think about how he will manage his own life without your mother, but it is his responsibility not yours. If he makes you feels guilty this is even more reason for you to establish boundaries from the beginning.