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I've been on this forum for about 5 years and I appreciate the support. I have been on a long journey with my parents. They became late-in-life alcoholics and ended up having a miserable and isolated retirement: they spent most of it drinking and bickering instead of enjoying life and the money they had saved. They also squandered good health in the process. Dad ended up with dementia and mom was very verbally abusive. This all unfolded three houses away from mine. I ended up moving dad to a care home in 2017 under the threat of suicide by my mom if I didn't get him out of "her" house. Mom's verbal abuse and drinking continued while my dad was in the care home. Dad declined rapidly and went under Hospice care in August.


Dad died yesterday. Because my parents were very isolated and really had no family or friends, there are very few people to inform of his passing, to care, to even remember him. It's so sad. I am an only child and I feel like to a large extent I am dealing with this in a vacuum. Mom is using it as an excuse to dive off the drinking deep-end so now I've got her getting even worse. We are going to the funeral home in an hour to sign some papers but dad is being cremated, there will be no gathering of any sort, no obituary in the paper, just, life goes on....


I came here to post this because I know its a safe space for my feelings. I am trying to be tough because I am relieved in so many ways that his suffering is over. I just find it so sad that his life is over and there are so few people to care that he existed.

Upstream,

I am very sorry for the loss of your father. I wish you peace and strength as you deal with the arrangements.

When my aunt passed, there was no one but me to mourn. I remember feeling overwhelmingly sad that no one seemed to care. She was a difficult person in her later years and an alcoholic through much of her adult life, but she was a decent person who tried to do nice things for people. She didn’t deserve to be ignored. I recalled how much she enjoyed feeding the birds and planting flowers and decided to memorialize her that way, planting a small butterfly garden with a bird feeder and bird bath. So every day I watch the birds and think of her, remembering one of the good things in her life. I’m hoping there’s something your dad enjoyed in his better days that you can carry forward to memorialize him in your own way.

Sending you hugs.
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Upstream Nov 20, 2019
Canoe63, what a sweet response this morning. It makes me feel a little better.
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Upstream, I'm terribly sorry for your loss and for the accompanying sadness about, not only dad's death, but his sad decline and anonymity at the end of his life.

Take care of yourself. Think, in the coming weeks, about a gesture or donation you could make to his care home, or to a charitable organization that meant something to dad in his good years.

But for right now (((((((hugs))))))).
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Upstream, I am so sorry for the loss of your dad. Take care of you and hope that all goes as well as it can. Now you have more than your hands full with mom, and she lives so close.

Get things settled with your dad first. Take time that you need to grieve him. Then, I almost hate to say it, get things figured out for mom. This is too much to deal with alone, find services that can help you.
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You might want to scatter his ashes in a special place that he liked, or that you think he would have liked. Might help you get to closure.
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Canoe63 Nov 20, 2019
That’s a lovely idea. I would encourage you, though, to ask your funeral director/crematorium director for your state’s laws regarding scattering ashes. Each state is a little different and spreading over water may even involve federal law. The funeral professional should be able to best advise.
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I'm sorry Upstream, unfortunately the very old and those with small families often have few left to mourn. Perhaps even without a formal funeral you can find a way to make that statement for your father in your own way - write a eulogy, make a donation, plant a tree, have a special prayer said at your place of worship.... I think that the rituals of a funeral were put in place as an attempt to allow us to make the statement that we were here and our lives mattered.
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I'm sorry to hear of your loss. It sounds like you have a triple dose of grief. 1. Loosing your dad to alcoholism. 2. Loosing your dad to dementia. 3. Loosing your dad to death. Yes, his suffering is over, but be kind to yourself without the burden trying to be tough. Give yourself the freedom to grieve "that his life is over and there are so few people to care that he existed."
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Reply to NoTryDoYoda
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Upstream, truly sorry for the loss of your dad.Thoughts and prayers are with you during this most difficult time. Sending you a big hug!
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Reply to earlybird
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So very sorry for your loss . Lots of good suggestions here. I too am an only one with no close family . It’s hard as nobody can really empathise and understand who knows your Dad like you do. Good friends are a godsend though. Maybe a friend could help you decide best way to say goodbye and support you through this sad time.
Maybe volunteer at care facility when you feel better in memory of Dad. Can even just be visiting someone in care who has no relatives . As mentioned above you need help to deal with Mum now. Find out what’s there to help and support you to make this journey with Mum more manageable. Stay strong and use this site to offload
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I just received a call from the funeral home. My dad was cremated today and the funeral director, who is the brother of one of my friends, will be calling us when he takes the urn/ashes to the cemetery to place them in the monument that is already in place. My mom, my husband and myself will go there at that time and at least make our own little service out of it. It still seems weird that my parents lived in this small town for over 40 years and there really are no friends or anything, but that was their choice to live very isolated all of these years.
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Upstream: I am so sorry to see that you're going through this. I read your post & I could very much relate. And I know how awful it feels. My journey with my parents has also been a long and difficult one.

My dad passed at the end of September after almost 20 years of being ill. Before his health declined, my mom had always been the one who was sick in my family. She has had chronic health problems her whole life, and she's isolated herself as a result of that.

While my dad had friends, they are scattered around the world, and we are planning a service at Arlington National Cemetery (which could take a year to schedule). In the meantime, his ashes are with us.

Aside from me posting on his Facebook wall & letting some of his closer friends know, there has been no fanfare. Friends I was sure would react strongly have been silent. It is so easy for everyone to just make a sad-face emoji and move onto the next post.

When my mom goes, even fewer people will notice. And that breaks my heart.

In the meantime, I'm now left to care for my mom as an only child. I am living with her in Texas, even though I have a job, a significant other and a life in Chicago. I came down here in May for my dad to have a simple surgery, and I never left. I have spent the better part of my life (I'm 43) dropping everything to help them, and I often felt it was the least I could do for the opportunities and things they gave me. I am worn out though, and I don't know the right thing to do anymore.

I feel for you, and I hope that you can spend time with the good memories you have of your dad, and really both of your parents. Try to think back to a time when things were good, even if only in fleeting moments. Perhaps the quantity of people who care isn't as important as the quality of those precious few relationships.

I also think that it's ok to acknowledge their flaws even after they are gone. It doesn't mean you don't love them or they didn't love you. Parents do the best they can, and so often they're hoping not to repeat the mistakes of their own parents. I don't believe that most people intentionally hurt their loved ones, they just don't know how else to be.

As an only child, I often think my friends with siblings or extended families have a lighter load. But it's not the case. We are fortunate to not have internal strife, people making poor decisions or self-serving ones (I've heard some horror stories from friends that would drop your jaw). It comes at a price of the responsibility being all on us, but as hard as it is, at least I know I'm making the best decisions for my mom and don't have to worry someone is trying to take advantage of her or neglect her.

While I know I should take my own advice, I hope you're able to try to take care of yourself during this really hard time. Finding ways to grieve, finding ways to laugh, finding ways to escape, even little things help.
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