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My wife passed just two months ago after going through several hospitalizations and nursing home stays. The past year her suffering was unimaginable. Now that she's gone I find it difficult to be alone in my home. I think I'm being active to get my mind off her death, but once I'm home the grief starts and to make things worse, I think about my daughter who disowned us about four years ago with no explanation as to why. Attempts to contact her have failed. Not once did she make an attempt to visit her mother. Even after my wife was cremated my daughter made no attempt to contact me or her brother to get details. Both my son and daughter live a few miles from my home. I have been attending grief counseling, but it's not enough. Can someone please help

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Help,

I am Catholic as well. I attended Catholic school. I burn candles before or after mass. Consider being added to my prayer requests.

I am so sorry that your wife suffered so much. It doesn’t feel fair at times or we feel that God is sleeping when we are praying. I think it’s natural to question God at times. Even the greatest of prophets questioned God. I do find comfort in my faith. Is my life perfect? Far from it.

Not all prayers are answered but I have to tell you that I have seen miracles that I never expected.

I really wish the very best for you. I’m a parent. I’ve had ups and downs with my kids. We all do! Anyone who says they have a perfect family is lying. You know that. Life isn’t that simple. Life is full of challenges. Somehow we manage in spite of it.

I will leave you with this. I spoke to a nun one day about feeling like I was a hypocrite and losing my faith. She asked me, “Who would you say suffered more than anyone who walked this earth?” I told her, “Jesus.” She said to me, “You’re not a hypocrite. You haven’t lost your faith. You’re depressed. God is collecting every one of your tears in a bottle.” I instantly knew she was referring to the Psalms, 56:8. I have always loved that Psalm.

David was an interesting writer. I often identify with his anguish but also his remorse, his deep passion, his thanksgiving and praise.

You’re Catholic so you know at every mass we have a reading from the Old Testament, Psalms, Gospel and New Testament. We say the Gloria in excelsis Deo which is a beautiful Latin prayer and the Apostles Creed.

They aren’t just words for believers. They mean something. I am glad your wife found comfort receiving communion.

I love the Psalms.
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Isthisrealyreal Nov 1, 2019
Need, I don't mean to contradict you, but ALL prayers from a believer are answered. They are however not always the answer we want. Sometimes we think we know how things should happen, but God knows the end as the beginning and HIS answers are always perfect. Learning to accept HIS will is not always easy.
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I would like to tell you about my husband and his dad. The entire family was close. When my MIL was dying with non Hodgkin’s lymphoma he hooked up with an old classmate. She was a widow. Just a couple of weeks after MIL died he moved her in. We didn’t even get the chance to grieve as a family. My husband was close to his mom right up until her death.

Just a horribly sad situation all around. It devastated all of us. I don’t know if my MIL knew about his behavior. He was never as attentive as you were to your wife when she was sick. He had everyone believing he was so in love with his wife. Fact or fiction? Who the hell knows? It’s too long and complicated to go into all the details. My husband who is a wonderful husband and father has no relationship with his dad.

I said to him that he may want to reconnect with him. He’s 96! I don’t want my husband to have regrets.

My husband has settled this in his head and heart and has no desire to reconnect. He forgives him but his dad and the woman were extremely nasty to us, he even abandoned our daughters, his own grandchildren. My daughters asked us why did grandpa forget about them. It was heartbreaking.

My daughters and I support my husband no matter what he would choose. It’s up to him. Unfortunately, it’s up to your daughter as well if she chooses to have you in her life. We can’t force anyone to do anything. We don’t have any magical powers.

I wish you the best no matter what happens.

When I said that my dad was worth working things out with to my husband his response was that my dad was worth it. He feels like his dad isn’t and what would be the point of reconciliation with a very selfish person. I get that. Plus he said that he didn’t want to reopen old wounds.
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Help,

I appreciate your response to my post and your honesty. If you feel that you can’t let go then I totally respect that. Who am I to tell you how to feel? I understand what you are saying. It’s unrequited love. We all respond differently to what hurts us. Also, none of us know until we are in the same situation how we would react to it.

You desire to feel her love and want a relationship with your daughter. That is totally natural. Why wouldn’t you want that? You love her unconditionally regardless of her actions that hurt you as well as her mother and brother. This isn’t just painful. It is agonizing for you. I feel it through your words. You have expressed your emotions very clearly.

You have acknowledged that we as parents are not perfect and I sincerely believe that you have asked for forgiveness for any harm that you possibly caused her and I don’t think you did anything intentionally to harm her emotionally. Just my guess because I feel your love for your wife, son and your daughter in your writing.

Some people die with unrequited love and possibly a person is simply not capable of feeling any other way. It is your choice.

I sincerely hope that your daughter will make peace with you. I feel that you will always hold out hope and I would never tell you to give up that hope regardless of what realistically could happen. If a person gives up hope, what is left? Nothing. So hold onto your hope. No one has the right to take that away.

I think you feel that you must hold onto hope because otherwise the finalization of accepting the relationship is over would hurt worse. Am I right?

I don’t have any magical powers. None of us do. But if you would like me to remember you in my prayers I certainly will do that.

Please let us know how you are doing. I wish the very best for you today and in the future.

I can tell you that I loved my father very much. He and I didn’t always see eye to eye.

I felt like he didn’t understand me at times, but he did. I just didn’t know it. I finally told him from the depths of my heart how I felt and he asked me a very interesting question.

He asked me if I was ever happy at home? The question really took me aback in a way I did not expect I would feel. First of all his question showed me that he cared. It took my mind off of everything I perceived to be total misery and refocus on what was important. It wasn’t totally miserable. It was misunderstandings for the most part. It was purely ‘life’ with all of its frustration.

I answered his question honestly and told him that there were many happy times in spite of the troubled times. That day was a new beginning for both of us.

He apologized to me for certain things and for the first time he explained that his father never took his feelings into account so he honestly didn’t know how you act any differently. I saw my father in a totally different light. I apologized for hurting him too. None of it was intentional for either of us.

His dad was very much a ‘spare the rod, spoil the child’ kind of dad. My dad and I healed and resolved issues that day. By him opening up to me I began to understand him. I realized just how much he did love me and how much I wanted his love and to return that love.

Please just show her love if you get the chance. Only love.
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Helpthyneighbor Oct 20, 2019
Dear NHWM, I re-read your message to me and forgot about your offer to include me in your prayers. My answer is yes, such a wonderful thought coming from a person who cares about others. Let me add to my answer. I'm Catholic and never have been a good one. During my wife's stay at a nursing home she would receive communion, but not me. My wife's poor health started in 1995 and I would ask God to help her. My prayers continued and so did her poor health. Her last year was horrible. In one year she re-fractured her hip, had emergency intestinal surgery to free a blockage, fell and fractured her spine, had a pacemaker put in, was in ICU for almost three weeks because she had A-Fib which they had a hard time getting it under control and later she had an ablation of her heart to control the A-Fib, and during one hospitalization she had a stroke. Throw in that she suffered from RA, COPD, and frequent spells that left her speechless, slowed down her ability to think, and turned her legs into rubber. I stopped asking God for his help and actually told Him I don't believe in Him anymore. After my wife died I went back to God asking for His forgiveness
I have since gone back to attending church.

And last, what you and your dad did, getting back together is remarkable. In a way your saying if I can do it, you can do it. Maybe it will happen, who knows? My hope is that someday there will be peace in our family.

Thank you once again. You have been a great help.
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I am so sorry for your wife’s death. It will take time to get through this. I don’t believe we get over someone. We adjust in time as best as we can.

I have lost plenty of people in my life that I have loved but not my spouse. I will not insult you by saying that I know how you feel because I can’t imagine how painful it must be.

I have children and yes there are always challenges raising children. I have read the responses and you have received wonderful heartfelt advice. I feel the same.

As much as it hurts you can’t change your circumstances. Always keep the door open for her to communicate. Write a note if you wish. At some point in time, let go. These things are beyond our control and believe me all families have their issues. No one has a perfect family.

I wish you well and hope that in time you will find peace and joy again.
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Helpthyneighbor Oct 20, 2019
Thank you NHWM. As of right now, I'm experiencing grief for my loss, and being puzzled by my daughters actions. You suggest I leave the door open which I have done, hoping she would contact me. But now, with my wife's passing and our daughter showing no concern about her mothers illness and then her death, has brought me closer to giving up with trying to get her to communicate. I've held on for so long because I still love her, and yet I despise what she has done. Like all families, we have many wonderful memories of our children growing up. This is a reason why I'm having difficulty calling it quits. Other responses including yourself tell me to move on and I know you're right, but I just can't, not until she tells me why she left us and why she never visited her mother. Once this happens I know I'll finally remove her from my life.
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I am so sorry for both of your losses....your dear wife and your estranged daughter. It sounds like, based on what you've said in comments here, that she suffers from mental illness. You say she's written your wife many cards expressing her love and feelings that you were wonderful parents, yet hasn't seen you and didn't even visit her mother knowing she was dying? That really sounds like mental illness to me.....no other explanation makes sense. So, you can't blame a person for their behavior which comes about as a result of mental illness and as such, need to put your daughter out of your mind for the time being. Focus on dealing with your grief over your wife's passing, and getting support for that rather than the resentment and anger you're feeling towards your daughter. Resentment and anger PREVENTS healing, so it's best to put the daughter issues on the back burner for now.

Get involved in some good group grief sessions where you won't feel so alone. When the time feels right, look into a retirement community for yourself and start a new life.

Your daughter may or may not come around, who knows? As much as it hurts, you can feel good knowing your conscience is clear. At some point, let her know you'll always be there to talk things through with her, but that you are NOT going to grovel or beg. Then stop contacting her....the ball is in HER court and you've done all you could possibly have done.
Ccontinuing to contact her and getting no response just keeps the wound fresh and open, preventing you from healing. Enough is enough. You've done nothing to deserve such treatment, so don't go back for more.

Best of luck, my friend.
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Helpthyneighbor Oct 20, 2019
I'm so impressed by your note. Everything you wrote is exactly the way things are. I know that if my daughters actions were caused by mental illness, then this is forgivable. But, I've already sent her an email saying if the cause is MI, then we have a possibility of putting our family back together. Once again, no response.

I have joined grief meetings that meets once a month. I'm planning on joining another one also.

I presently live in a retirement community but it's not enough. I'm thinking about moving into a retirement home, which I think will help with the loneliness.

Once again, thank you for your response, It's very helpful.
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HTN: (deep breath)... you have to come to the understanding that you may never know/understand/admit/ what part the family dynamic in earlier years may have caused a rift. Or maybe she decided to take a different path, with no particular reason at all.
I can tell you...my parents were not kind while I was growing up, and I remember every mean word, every ugly comment, every lie, every NO. It affected me all my life, and I”m now 57. NOW they want me to be around to help them in their old age because there is nobody else (sister died/brother doesn’t care). They of course have selective memory and dont remember a single ugly thing about my early years so I am the crazy one. I expect no better as they showed me a long time ago what I could expect. I have still tried to help, but stubbornness and denial has derailed any efforts..not to mention my anger at feeling stuck with some people that I feel never really cared about me. I have since taken back full control of my life - after reading a lot of the postings from people here. (Thank you smart people).
I am so sad for you, your loneliness and sadness is coming through very clearly in your postings. I think it might be a good thing to look into a retirement community with people who are around your age, and you may find some very good companions to spend some time with there, as many are in the same type situation as you. You know, sometimes friends become your family...it is not unusual, and I have some very close friends that have become my family because mine can’t be counted on. I hope your soul begins to heal, and you can find a way to move forward. Best wishes.
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Helpthyneighbor Oct 20, 2019
I feel so sorry for what you've been through in your young life. The way you described it makes me think, "Did this happen to my daughter"? It's possible, our relationship during her high school years was not good. As she got older our relationship improved greatly. We were always there for her and she showed her appreciation by the letters she wrote to us.

I am presently living in a retirement community but it's not enough. Still have a empty home and need a couple of surgery's. Afterwards moving to a retirement home I think will help a lot.

Thank you so much for your kindness. I hope your life is filled with happiness.
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HTN, One of the things that you've said you wrote in a letter that you had not sent was, "despite breaking the family up, (you) still love (your daughter)." I'd like to make a suggestion from the other side. You see, my mthr was mentally ill in the worst way, and I had to learn how to talk her way in order to communicate. She denied any responsiblity for the problems she caused and, ill or not, I expect your daughter would deny any responsibility for the rift between her and the rest of the family. Instead of saying "despite breaking up the family" or anything that *could* suggest she had anything to do with the rift, skip that. My mthr would see that as an accusation and you'd be cut off before you even started.

If you reach out, I would simply state, "I love you and I'd like to have a relationship. What can I do?" Then you work with a therapist (hers most likely) to grovel to have any relationship, positive or negative.

I decided I had to protect my family from my mthr who was certifiable
(and arrestable). What I looked at was that I had been the best daughter that I could under the circumstances. What you can do is to see that you have been the best dad and granddad under the circumstances. If you can pay to leave letters with your attorney to be delivered to your grandchildren on their 25th birthdays (when parental influence wanes), that might be a way to let them know that their granddad cared about them, wondered about them, and hoped/prayed for the best for them. If I had received something like that from my grandmother (who hoped to keep me away from mthr when I was little) that would have been priceless. As it was, anything my Grammy gave me was destroyed by mthr because of mthr's rage and jealousy. Do what you can as that is all you can do.
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Helpthyneighbor Oct 20, 2019
It's interesting that you suggest being careful not to criticize my daughter in any way because I have my last email that hasn't been sent and it's full of criticism. Your suggestion makes a lot of sense, but I have to think about it. Keep in mind that I'm not looking for us getting back together, too much damage has been done. I just want answers.

When my daughter walked out of our home, her family went with her which included my granddaughter. She like her mother has made no attempt to communicate with me. I suspect her mother has something to do with it even thinking her mom has lied to her. That's why the cards and letters are so important for her to read.

All of this couldn't come at a worse time. It's so distracting. I strongly believe in family being a strength not a weakness.My wife could have used my daughters presence. It would have given her so much happiness, instead she died without my daughters love.
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You’ve been through hell. I’m no expert but I will do my best:
Just for now, don’t focus on your daughter; you can’t control her choices, even if they’re hurtful and baffling from your standpoint.

Try and concentrate on what you CAN improve: your own peace of mind. I would ask the grief counselor for advice, and be frank about needing more than he or she can provide. Some counsellors are more helpful than others. They just click with us better.
Take it easy, and don’t make too many demands on yourself. What you “should” be doing and what you “used” to do, you may not have the emotional energy for at this time in your life. That doesn’t mean that you will always feel this way.
I’ll include you in my prayers.
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Helpthyneighbor Oct 20, 2019
DB, I'm trying to do what you say, but it's difficult. Too many bad memories are preventing me from moving on. I just can't get rid of them, not now.

It's difficult not to keep my daughter in my thoughts, especially since my wife has left us. Many times since her death I've been asked how is my family doing. Innocent questions but with horrible answers. For about the first three years after my daughter left us and asked the same type of question, I would avoid telling what she had done. Now I tell the truth, shocking those into total disbelief. I'm not doing it to get even, it's because it gives me relief, I feel better getting it out.

And I will include you in mine, thank you.
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My ex-husband's dad just died (early this morning). One of his other sons (my ex's youngest brother) had not visited the parents in several years. He did talk on the phone with his dad regularly, and he plans to attend the funeral, but it was clear that the relationship had gone bad a long time ago. I can understand my former brother-in-law's emotional distancing, but I do think it's unfortunate that he didn't see his dad in dad's final days.
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Glad, good points that the daughter may be having her own difficult time adjusting to her mother's death.   We each handle loss of someone in our own way.  

And we don't know who else in the daughter's circle may be dealing with similar tragedies.
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Sometimes, there are religious differences that one party cannot accept about the other.
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I was thinking exactly what GA suggested "No one can possibly know what's in her thoughts, even perhaps if she's had major challenges and issues of her own that she doesn't want to share with you or her brother. And that may have absolutely nothing to do with you or your wife."

There have been times in my life where things were going on that made me distance myself from my family. A divorce that nobody understood, was one. I can understand that there are many people that do not want to share, intimately, what is very difficult for them in the present. It could be that daughter is having a very difficult time, emotionally, with her mother's death or just about anything. Some people are just very private that way and do not need or want the emotional support.
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Helpthyneighbor Oct 19, 2019
My daughters behavior started way before she walked out of our home. Not visiting, hardly ever calling, etc. We did get together for holidays and birthdays, but there was always something missing. When our granddaughter started playing sports, our daughter would distance herself from us. Something started happening many years before she walked out of our home and her mothers death. I never questioned her because she would become very emotional making a conversation impossible. I agree that something has happened to my daughter, but I know her mothers death is not the cause. In one of my emails to her I said I can only think of two things to make her leave us. The first is blaming us for being poor parents, but numerous cards and letters I found in my wife's closet, written by our daughter, mostly when she was an adult, telling us how much she loves us and telling us she has the best parents a daughter could hope for. My second guess is my daughter inherited her mothers mental illness. This could explain what she did, but without responding I don't know.

I have been given advice to let it go, to stop trying to figure out why my daughter did this and concentrate on myself. It's good advice, but I can't leave it be. Strangely with all the damage she has done I still love her and miss her, but we will never be a family again.
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So very sorry for the loss of your wife. It is almost unbearable at times I know as I lost my husband and felt as you do. Allow yourself to grieve. This world thinks you should be over grieving in a short time unfortunately, so wrong. As to your daughter, my own brother did this to our family for no known reason. As much as we wanted to find out why he did this in the end there was no reason, he didn't care to be around us anymore and I accept this now as we did so much for him and it was never enough. My advice is to move on from her. Remember, this is her choice to do this and she has to live with it.
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Helpthyneighbor Oct 19, 2019
We share the same experiences so I think we understand each other a little more. The most difficult thing for me right now is my inability to understand my daughter not making any attempt to visit her mother during her long illness. This is so heartbreaking. I'm trying to let this go, but not visiting her mother? I need more time to remove my daughter from my life.

I'm not holding back my grieving. I have joined a support group and will probably go to a second group. It helps a little. I've been to two meetings so far and all I've done is cry while telling my story.
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HelpthyNeighbor, I'm sorry, and saddened to learn of the grief you're experiencing.    It's always difficult to lose a spouse, but compounded when a member of the family doesn't interact or support the other family members.   I had/have a similar experience.   

I'm going to suggest something perhaps more drastic, not to be harmful, but to place the current situation in context.   Let your daughter go.    Don't continue to attempt contact; it hasn't been successful, probably won't be at this time, and is only causing you more grief and stress.

No one can possibly know what's in her thoughts, even perhaps if she's had major challenges and issues of her own that she doesn't want to share with you or her brother.  And that may have absolutely nothing to do with you or your wife.

I know of someone who was adamant that relatives attend family gatherings at her house, chastising and condemning those who presumably wanted to spend holidays at their own homes.   This criticism was unfortunate, especially when one of the members who wouldn't come died of lung cancer.   

For whatever reasons the relative did not want to share his terminal issues with anyone in the family except his wife.    When he died, his relative still blamed him for not advising her, but w/o realizing that he had his own reasons for not sharing his health challenges.

This is not to infer that any blame is appropriate for you; it's merely to suggest that your daughter may have challenges that she doesn't want to share, whether it's from embarrassment, or as a protective measure.  

And, I don't think you can change anything at this point.   I think it's better to focus on your own healing, and through that, you may reach a point that her absence isn't causing the grief it is now.

One of the side effects of losing my father, after my mother and sister died, was the sense of isolation, of being alone in the world.    I had to reach out to others, starting online, and gradually incorporating events, with the goal of eventually starting a woodworking home business and becoming involved in a charity like one of our other members, who volunteers at a hospital.

Let your grief be released, cherish your wife and cry whenever you feel the need.  There's scientific evidence that crying does address and release stress; there's something in the tears that attests to this.   (Someplace I have links to articles on this).  

Did your wife have specific charities she supported, or was she involved in activities?   One thing I've decided to do is become involved in the local Senior Centers, and in Veteran activities.     I've done volunteer work periodically throughout my adult life and always benefited from it.    Even if you don't volunteer, just getting out and meeting others can be beneficial, for both you and them.

But don't repress your grief; let it out.  

I wish you peace, solace, learning, and personal growth as you approach this challenging aspect of your life.
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Helpthyneighbor Oct 20, 2019
Dear GA, Another suggestion advising me to let my daughter go. I know all of you are giving good advise and I believe that I will at some point do what you suggest. When I read a note such as yours, I have to stop and think why haven't I done this? But I continue to make more grief for myself and I should be paying more attention to my wife's death. I think losing a daughter and then my wife is part of it. And it's not just losing a daughter, it's not knowing how I lost her. As I said in another advise sent to me, I believe once I get my answer I will be able to move on.

Thank you for your saying goodbye, I wish you the same.
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So sorry for your loss. I have not lost a spouse but I know people who have and at a young age, in their 60s, I grieved right along with them.

My oldest was not easy to raise, very independent. Even so, she was the one who needed more attention. She had been an only child, only niece, only grandchild till she was about 7. Then her favorite uncle had a child of his own, then her favorite Aunt. And I had another child. She no longer was the center of attention and never had been with her real father. It caused problems in her early teens. Do you think this could be where ur daughter is coming from. She needed more than u gave. Not that you weren't loving parents but she need a little more.

Now I am not saying this is you...but I had a friend who never saw where her actions are what caused the riff between her and her 2 sons. It was always them, their wives. Its hard but look inside urself. Did u maybe favor the son a little more. Did you "constructively criticize" her. (Thats what my DH calls it and I kept telling him u cannot do that with girls. He was raised with 2 brothers)The day she walked out, think, what was going on at the time she left. Where u paying more attn to another grandchild? Didn't hug and kiss her when she walked in the door? Was something said that she took a little too personally? It could be something really small as interrupting ur conversation with her to speak to someone else. Did u slight her daughter in any way. Its could be something u wouldn't take offense to, but she does.

Emails are very impersonable. I would get a nice card and tell her you miss her. That you have no idea why she walked out and hasn't spoken to you or her mother. That you can't fix the problem unless you know what it is. You would love to have lunch or dinner together to talk things out. If you are able to this remember, you may find how she feels unfounded but that is how SHE feels and you need to except that. Never say "thats not true, we never did that" In her mind that is how she thinks. No matter how you perceived the incident, her mind perceives it differently. Say you never realized she felt this way and where donu go from here. No matter how much it hurts, u both are going to have to leave it behind and go on from there.

My BIL will tell you his Dad was never around. DHs Dad liked to play baseball and basketball and spend time at a local mens type club. My DH told his brother that Dad asked us all if we wanted to go to his games, you always said no. DH never felt his Dad was never around. Two boys raised by the same parents with way different memories.

I pray that you can get your family back. I would write that one last note and tell her its now up to her.
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Helpthyneighbor Oct 20, 2019
To JoAnn29, you bring up some interesting points about favoring one child over another. I don't think this is the cause, but there's examples of what we went through as a family, typical and very common things that all families go through. I think my daughters troubles started when she entered high school. Strangely enough my wife said she hated high school. But as I said in another note, my daughters life improved tremendously after high school. That'a when we began getting cards and letters from her expressing her love for us.

And what's supposed to be my last email to be sent at any time does say something like it's up to her, not for reconciliation, but for answering me so this can be finally be put to bed.
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HTN: Your reply to PandaBear about your daughter's vanishing from your lives, "Not knowing why hurts so much," brings back my mother's anguish after my brother disappeared from her life.

Mom would weep over it. Her wails of "What have I done?" ripped us girls' hearts out. Her pain lasted for years. Thankfully, deep into her dementia caused her to forget. One day, surprisingly, she brought him up. I gently told her that after her husband, our stepdad, passed away 18 years earlier, my brother "borrowed" $6,000 from the life insurance. Brother never came back. It was his cowardice and selfishness to not own up to what he did. Mom considered it and nodded her head. She was gone a week later.

You have much to mourn, HelpThyNeighbor. You've been through an ordeal, and it's not over. There are many reasons (or excuses like my brother) why your daughter chose to distance herself.

Please seek grief counseling, I recommend a group session. Why a group session? That's because of this forum right here. There are people here who are or were in the same boat and have the same issues. Finding you're not alone is immeasurable help. People in that group will have also suffered the loss of a beloved spouse. They may also have a child who chose to distance themselves.

Be good to you. Be gentle with yourself. Try not to focus on your daughter. Focus on the support and love of your son and build that bond between you.
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Helpthyneighbor Oct 19, 2019
Dear MM, Your response is so full of what I have been experiencing. My son gave my daughter updates on her mothers conditions which kept getting worse. And yet knowing how ill her mother was, she never visited her or showed any interest. How can a child do this?

I am going through grief counseling that meets monthly and going to attend a different group once I get the info.

It's difficult not to think about what my daughter has done, it's with me all the time. My wife's passing at this time makes things so much worse.

My son has helped me so much over this past year. I told him some good came from my wife's poor health and her death, it brought he and I much closer.
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I sometimes think that there is no answer for our grief but time. It does ease and change with time I think, with more happy memories remaining and fewer tough memories. I am so sorry for your loss. Those who have gone through what you are going through might help better. Captain? He's my down to earth realistic. He has been through a lot. He still can find humor in life. And many others here. I know the feeling of "running from depression " fast as you can. But you have sometimes to stop and let it catch you. What works for me in tough times is just to allow myself to feel it, to crumble a while, to curl into a fetal ball of depression. Eventually you do get back up and go on. I am not much a believer in "take a pill for it" but some must in order to build a bridge. I think our grieving is as individual as our thumbprint or a bad back. Unique to us, and unique is the thing that will help you.
As to your daughter, it is surprising that someone cuts off family without giving a clue as to why. And I think that could indicate that this person may not be worth getting back in touch with.
Right now you are desperate for family. If there is a center near you, take some classes, play some games, connect with others so you can share your feelings. You have tried to connect with your daughter. If you continue pursuing this grown woman, she may respond, and the sad truth is that you may be sorry when she does. You have reached out. Now it is in her court.
There seems to be something deep-seated, angry, unforgiving, uncaring going on for her that would not be good to have visited on YOU now. It would divert your attention, but perhaps to disasterous outcome. I am thankful you have your son.
I hope things get better. I hope if you find things that help you will let us know.
I hope things get better.
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Helpthyneighbor Oct 19, 2019
Thank you AlvaDeer for your advise. The things you have brought up about my daughter is so magnified now that my wife is gone. At a time when a family member is ill, that's where the help comes from. This past year I hoped that my daughter would show up and help me by just being there, but it never happened.

Over the course of the last four years my feelings for my daughter has changed numerous times. I would want her back then later I would get so angry at what she did. This back and forth finally stopped this summer. Because there was no hope for my wife, and my daughter knowing it, she still did nothing. At this time I decided to give up trying to get our family back together. I can't except what she has done even though I still love her and miss her. You are right, there's something deep seeded that's affecting my daughter, and that alone is reason to stay away.

I don't know what I would have done without my son's help.He was there so much either at the hospital or nursing home. He and his family is all I have left.
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Sometimes the grief is too much to handle all at once, so we tend to want to experience it in short stretches. That helped me when my father and sister died the same year. While teaching or with friends I could control my own feelings to be with others, then driving home from the college or from a gathering I would cry all the way home. It always hit me when alone. I believe it is fine to let the crying happen as often as it does. It just plain ol' hurts and that's how it has to be because we love. You certainly wouldn't want yourself to feel nothing after such a loss. But breaking up the evenings alone somehow with an activity or a visit with a friend or neighbor might help. I suspect having taken care of your wife for so long distanced you from other people, so now is the time to get them back in your life. The grief will never go away completely, but it really does get easier to be with it.

As for the daughter, could you contact the son-in-law to get some answers? Actually knowing why can't change whatever it was, but maybe it would give you some ideas on how to heal whatever the wound is.
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Helpthyneighbor Oct 20, 2019
Dear AD, Like you, driving my car brings on the tears. Driving alone and with the radio off, we find time to let out the sadness that's inside us.

It wasn't taking care of my wife the past year, it was being with her every single day, regardless where she was, either a hospital or a nursing home. She was home only about 5% of her last year. You are right, because I was with her so much, I never saw most of my friends and neighbors except for one close friend of my wife. I would keep her advised and she would pass it on throughout the neighborhood. I have started getting them back into my life which helps so much.

Your suggestion pertaining to my son-in-law. I've never considered it because all three of them left our home. None of them have tried to make any contact with me. I'm assuming he's on the same page as my daughter or he's just staying clear for fear of starting something.

So what do I do now? I have grief coming from two directions. I could try and rid myself of my daughter, but I might regret it later. I need to concentrate on my wife no longer being a part of my life, I have to, but there's always a but! I don't know what I'll do.

Thanks for trying to help me. You take care.
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Thank you Emma1817 for your response. Every day I try and find a reason that would make my daughter do what she did. The last time we spoke was on Christmas day,2015. She, my granddaughter, and son in law walked out of our home abruptly giving no explanation. And to this day I still don't know why. I have sent her numerous emails asking for a response and particularly giving a reason as to why she left us. Not once has she responded.

Our relationship when she was young was not the best, but there was never any abuse, drugs, swearing, alcohol. After high school we were there so much for her, helping her in so many ways. After she moved away from home we got countless letters from her telling us how much she loved us and thanking us for always being there for her. The letters continued after her marriage and having a child. The letters told us how happy she was to have the best parents she could ask for. This is why I'm left with not being able to get past it. Our family no longer exists because of what she's done.

Our son stayed neutral, on occasion trying to find out why his sister left us. Her responses were always vague, nothing concrete. He stayed in touch with her up until this May when he noticed she was no longer calling or text messaging him. He hasn't spoken to her since. Growing up and into adult life the two of them were close.

So, there's much more, but it just adds to the puzzle. If you have more ideas please send them to me, I would appreciate it. Once again, thank you.
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AlvaDeer Oct 19, 2019
A better question than "Why did YOU leave us" would be "Can you tell us what WE did?" Because you see, one puts it on her, and one says, you must have done something. What is it. You are not accusing. You are assuming you failed her. I am not close to one of my daughters. And I know EXACTLY why. I know EXACTLY what I did. She TOLD me what I did. I failed her quite miserably. We have both tried. We have both worked, but the past seems always to insert itself and we are down to loving updates a few times a year. It is OK. It is the best resolve we can come to. We have both had rich good lives. It's all I can hope for. But I DO know why. And it was on ME. There is nothing we have done in lives so painful as where we have failed those who depended completely on us. Nothing whatsoever.
Send her a loving personal non-email note asking her "How did I fail you? Can you tell me so I can examine my fault, and attempt to make apology to you? It would bring me some peace to know, and I would honor your wishes not to be in my life if that is your wish."
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Help..
You are actually grieving 2 losses. The loss of your wife and the loss of your daughter.
The fact that she broke contact with you is immaterial it is still a loss and one you may not have processed while dealing with your wife's illness.
Do you know the reason she broke off contact? If so is it "fixable" If not does your son have contact with her? Could he find a way to mediate this or can the counselor you are seeing? Keep in mind she is also grieving the loss of her mother. (even though she did not have contact it is still a great loos to loose your mother. )
Keep communication open.
If you are going to host holiday gatherings this year..invite her. If you get an invitation to go somewhere where she will be ..go. If she knows you will be there is is on her then to accept or decline invitations to family gatherings.

It has been almost 3 years since I lost my Husband and you are right..when you get home after a busy day the quiet house can get to you. Luckily I have a few 4 legged critters that greet me, need me and make an evening not so quiet!
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Helpthyneighbor Oct 19, 2019
Thank you for responding. Yes, I realize my grief is X2. It is so bothering that my daughter took no interest in my wife's poor health. My son would keep her informed. Once after being told of her mothers declining health, her response was, "sounds like mom needs to be in a nursing home". She showed no concern. My son stayed neutral. At times he would ask why she left us. Her answers were vague and didn't make sense. This May, my son noticed he was no longer getting phone calls or text messages from his sister. He hasn't spoken to her since.

I truly believe my daughter is not grieving her mothers death. There's been too many examples of why I believe this. In a recent email that I haven't sent to my daughter yet, I told her in spite of breaking our family apart and not visiting her mother, I still have love for her and miss her so much, but our family will never be the same. It just doesn't exist anymore.
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Some people like to keep things the same following a LO's death. Others like to change everything. I'm a bit of both. While most of the house remained the same, I removed every photo and reminder of the past from the den, even got some new furniture. For a while I needed one retreat with no reminders of what was missing. A pet to interact with can make the house feel less empty too.

Then I focused on having less time alone in the evenings. I invited friends and extended family over once a week for a meal and an evening of movies/cards/chat. I started attending community events like ballgames, outdoor concerts, festivals, and genealogy club gatherings - anything where I had a remote interest.

In time it gets better, one day you will walk through a room and feel only loving reminders. Some days there will still be sadness and the pain of what's missing, but that will come less frequently. As you build your "after" life, one day you will find yourself moving a lamp your LO chose into your den because your don't need a retreat anymore.
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Your daughter is the one with the problem not you. Are you on good terms with your son? Does your son speak to his sister? If you truly look in your heart and past and say you or your wife did no wrong then it sounds like your daughter has a guilty conscious. It’s hard but that’s how it goes sometimes. You have been grieving for a short time. Perhaps a new home and different surroundings would help
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Helpthyneighbor Oct 19, 2019
My son and I are very close. At first he tried to stay neutral, occasionally trying to find out why she did this. All he got were very vague answers. Now he hasn't spoken to her since May. She's made no attempt to contact him. Not knowing why hurts so much. Every single day I think about the way our family used to be. When my wife was close to death I kept hoping my daughter would visit which didn't happen. Another thing that I can't get out of my head. I have considered moving to a retirement home just like you suggest, but I have to take care of some health issue first. Thank you for your responding. It helps.
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So very sorry to hear this. I lost my husband 12 years ago, there are times that I still have some sadness creep in.

For me, staying busy has helped, volunteering, joining clubs, going to the gym.

As for your daughter, this is quite common place today, not saying I understand or that it is right to cut you out of their lives, but it happens. Most of my friends have one child that does not talk to them, the family unit is very broken today. Have you considered writing her a email or sending her a snail mail card?

I wish you the very best in this difficult time, be patient with yourself, we all grieve differently and there is no time limit.
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Helpthyneighbor Oct 19, 2019
Thank you for responding. I also am trying to get out of the house to find things to do, but when I return home the loneliness starts again. I find myself standing in front of one of her photographs holding our grandson and talking to her which quite often brings on tears. Over the past four years I have sent many emails to my daughter with not one response. Our family is broken, never to be what it once was.
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Help, two months is a very short time. You are very early in your grief journey and I think it's just not possible to be "over" such a huge loss in so short a period of time.

Be patient with yourself. Be kind to yourself. Maybe developing a new "coming home" habit would help.

After my mom died, I hung a very happy picture of her right by my front door. It allowed me to say hello and goodbye each day.

((((((Hugs))))))). And welcome.
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Goodness, HTN, that is a profoundly sad story! I am sorry for your grief. I’m glad you sought counseling; give it time.

You gave no backstory about your daughter, so it is impossible for anyone to speculate on her reasons for establishing distance from you. What was her relationship like with you and her mother growing up? With her brother?

I have a first cousin who did the same thing—just absented himself permanently for no discernible reason. Just—quit communicating. To this day we have no idea what made him do that. Our house was a block from theirs, we saw them all the time when I was growing up, and there was no abuse, no trauma, no dysfunction. But I suppose one never really knows. In your daughter’s case, can you think of anything at all that might have made her decide that life was better without you all, than with you (the old Ann Landers litmus test for a marriage, that works for other relationships, too.)

Try writing her a letter, maybe? Sometimes it’s easier than an awkward face-to-face dialogue. Perhaps get your therapist to help you word it. Don’t use accusatory language, don’t sound too pitiful, don’t try to “guilt” her (I hate that word used as a verb, but it kind of works here...). Just try and ask calmly, adult to adult, what her side of the strange story is, and what, if anything, she thinks can or should be done. Can’t hurt, may help.

Meanwhile, I hope your spirits begin to improve, and that your son is helpful at this time.
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