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Hello,


My family and I take care of my dad (91, HF stage 2, kidney failure stage3/4). My dad is much older than my mum and had my sibling and me when he was in his sixties.


My father was never an easy man. I don't want to type out everything he did. But he did abuse my mother physically and verbally and basically left us (especially my mum) penniless (no retirement when he told my mum he had). He stole the money my mother saved up for my sibling and me. He had a successful business, but due to mismanagement and econocimal crisis it eventually failed. He worked until he was in his late 80s and he enjoyed it.


He didn't live with us for about three years but after he closed his business a few years ago, he moved back in with us. It was honestly horrible. A lot of times I wished him gone. Everything he did to us in the past just balled up. For example my mum told me that he would spit on our food. Or that he wanted to put my sibling and me into foster care and send my mother away. Once he threatened my mother with a knife in front of us. Once he told me he would shoot us all. There is so much more to tell but I think you understand what I'm trying to say.


At some point my father started to show symptoms of heart failure like swollen feet. I googled it and it should heart failure as one plausible cause, but I dismissed it. I don't know why I did that. It would get better when we elevated his legs. We once went to his general doctor for another issue and he asked his doctor about it, but the doctor didn't say much about it. I remember being mad at my dad for asking his doctor about his legs, as we were there for another issue (we were trying to get him health insurance, he never took care of it himself). I feel so guilty about that.


2017 my father suffered two heart attacks. Turns out it was heart failure. He came back from the hospital and was doing great on meds. He even was back to his demanding and aggressive self. A few months later he suffered an intestinal obstruction which was diagnosed very late. He survived the surgery but since then its been going downhill. Especially his kidneys. He also has been depressed. Sleeps a lot and drinks little. He only eats when my mum feeds him.


Seeing him like that hurts me a lot. Because I never expected that for him. I always thought he would live till 100. I feel very much guilty for his current condition. If I had taken him to another doctor or pressed the issue with the one we were at, if I only hadn't been so dismissive.... maybe he would have been treated and his kidneys would work better. I feel like I caused his illness. I should not have let our bad relationship clouded my judgement. Thats not what good people do. If I could I would give him my kidneys.


I also feel like I never knew my dad because he is a very closed off person. He had a difficult upbringing himself. He lost his parents young, after he was forced to leave the family home because his parents could not provide for him. He was also used by a lot of people over the years. I feel like thats why he is the way he is. And I should have taken it into consideration when I was mad at him. But I didn't. Why didn't I do that? I mean there were also good times. He provided for all of us. At least he tried his best. Even my uncle told me once: Your father tried a lot and very hard.


I wished I would have spent more time with him. Tried to get to know him. But even my mum agreed with this: Before he got sick he was a hard man. It would have been no use. And now it's to late. Because asking him about his painful past only upsets him.


How do I deal with this feelings?

You will not have caused his death or illness.

I had a dad much like yours - he died last year. There were many times I tried to have a good relationship with him - but we didn't. It was because he was a hard man and remote and didn't want to respond to my overtures. You cannot change who he chose to be. He chose to be the way he was.

Please forgive yourself.
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Reply to Kimber166
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Hanna get some therapy. It sounds as though what you are grieving is a fantasy of the relationship you could have had if only YOU had been different, but NOTHING you could have said or done would have turned this cold, abusive man into that perfect father you so desperately want.
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Reply to cwillie
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anonymous123913 Nov 20, 2019
Such wise counsel, CW!
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So, after Googling "swollen feet", you were expecting yourself to play doctor and diagnose your father with heart failure, is that what you're saying here? If so, re-read what I just typed to see how absurd it sounds! Your father went to the doctor.........it was the DOCTOR'S shortcoming in not correctly diagnosing him, not yours.

It sounds like your dad led a very long life and for that you should be glad. You did nothing to 'kill' your father, in fact, I think you went above and beyond the call of duty taking care of him. In spite of his abuse, in spite of everything that was said and done to you, and everything you'd witnessed, you STILL stuck by him and cared for him. What more could you have done? Ask yourself that question, realistically. Stop thinking with your heart now and start thinking with your head.

When it is our time to die, nothing and nobody can stop the process. Your father is at peace now and your family should allow that peace to penetrate your hearts and souls as well. He is out of pain and so are you. It's time to move on with your own lives now and to stop blaming yourself for something that wasn't your fault to begin with.

Wishing you the best of luck moving forward, and sending you a big fat HUG today, my friend.
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Reply to lealonnie1
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Hanna; You are so NOT a monster! You clearly care about your dad who has been a pretty terrible father.

Are you getting any therapy or counseling at this time? It sounds as though you need some guidance about what is called your "locus of control"; you are neither omniscient nor omnipotent. But you seem to think that you are, which is concerning.

I lost a friend recently to a stroke; his wife and two of his adult children are physicians. NONE of them feels like they are responsible for his death. You think YOU should? On what grounds?

I would say "forgive yourself" except that there is nothing to forgive. You don't have control over this stuff. You did what you thought was best at the time; that's all any of us can do.
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Reply to anonymous123913
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I think you are experiencing a couple of things right now. Survivor guilt and maybe anticipatory grief. It's so hard to see your dad going through all this, and also to know that you will never have the chance to have the relationship that you wanted with him. Please know that you're not alone in this. When my sister died, I went through a long period of pain and regret that our relationship was so conflicted right up to her death, and that I might have missed something while she was sick that could maybe have brought about a better outcome. I know her husband felt a lot of the same feelings and we both agonized over it for a long time (this was 3 years ago). It is so hard to accept seeing a loved one suffer so much that we cling to the idea that we should be able to do something about it, even though we can't. Accepting our helplessness in the face of tragedy may be even harder than living with remorse and regret.

If these feelings continue to plague you, please seek counseling. You're going through a very traumatic thing and counseling can really help. Wishing you all the best!
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Reply to CarlaCB
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I honestly do not see any valid reason for feeling guilty.  As a grown competent adult your father was the person primarily responsible for his health.  Not you. Why didn't he talk honestly to the doctor? Take reasonable care of his medical problems?  The responsibility to do this was on  him.  On him, not you.  It sounds like you feel very conflicted over your father, but please keep in mind, your feelings were not and are not ACTS THAT CAUSED his medical problems.  Guilt should be based on reason, not feelings.
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Reply to rovana
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Hanna, my gosh, what a lot to digest. First off let me begin by saying you have nothing to feel guilty about. Berating yourself for things you wish you had done, wish you had said, wish you had felt is a sign right there that you are a good, kind person. If you weren't you wouldn't have a second thought about any of what you've just related.

There are things in life that are out of our control. So you noticed your Dad's legs were swollen and didn't say anything. From how you've described your Dad's nature would he have listened to you and done anything about it if you had? Possibly not right? And if he did that still doesn't mean he would have sailed on with excellent health.

As for feeling bad for not getting to know your Dad. Well, he didn't make that easy on you did he? You can't get blood out of a stone.

I know how guilt feelings can tear you up inside but take it easy on yourself. You are human. Some people make it hard to love them properly. If you have to climb a wall to get to somewhere sometimes it's easier to just go around the wall instead. You did what was natural.

I have had similar feelings about family members and the prevailing sentiment that I try to hold within myself is do better moving forward. When you know better, you do better. Living in regret just hurts you. You don't sound like a bad person to me at all. Take it easy on yourself.
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Reply to Gershun
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It sounds to me like you are truly a good person. You have done more than most given that your upbringing had its share of difficult times. I think a lot of us can look back and wonder if we could have done something differently or what if we had tried harder etc. All you can do is your best in these moments of decision and I do feel that you have been a caring daughter. It sounds like he has lived a long life. You have not caused any of these issues but rather the body will eventually fail us all. Don’t be too hard on yourself you have gone above and beyond.
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Reply to Swise02
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Another thing I feel guilty about. He used to have a lady friend. I think she was his one true love. And he tried to call her once from home two years ago but I took the phone away because at the time he was calling so much people and asking them from money because he wanted to go back to his home country (where he had no one to take care of him and no funds at all). He later was able so see her once in person and talk to her. Shortly after that she passed away suddenly (she was in her sixties). He found out after he googled her name and found her obituary online. I wish I just would have let him talk. Maybe he just wanted to check in with her. I feel like a monster.
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