Grieving the loss of a disengaged parent
I found out the news from my brother. He told me my biological father died almost two weeks earlier and I was in disbelief. I cried, but for many different reasons. I cried because he was gone and I didn't get to say goodbye. I cried because I didn't know if he had spent the rest of his day reconciling that he wasn't the father that my siblings and I deserved. I cried because even at his deathbed, he still had the ability to make us all feel unimportant and unworthy of his love and affections.
My biological father was a Narcissist who spent his life believing that we his children were responsible for initiating and maintaining a relationship with him. And I get it, as an adult we are responsible for maintaining a healthy relationship with our parents. But as a child, all I wanted was for my dad to fight for me and show up to be a part of my life. I felt unworthy as I grew up and it took a lot of years and therapy to work through those feelings of abandonment. Now he was gone.
I still battle with feeling unworthy, but these days I understand that my father was not capable of being a health parent to any of my siblings because there was something broken inside of him. I live with his legacy of broken familial relationships, living with mental health issues, and knowing his was beloved and cherished by people who were not his children.
That's the kicker. When my brother posted about the funeral, people commented about how great of the guy he was and how much they learned from him. I can barely remember the times when I would visit with him as a child and as an adult couldn't be around someone who was always right and was unable to take responsibility for how his life choices impacted all of our lives. But now he's gone.
I mourned his death and the relationship that we never hand. But I also felt a sense of closure about who he was and that my worth was not dependent on his presence or affections. I can stop waiting for him to change, waiting for him to apologize, waiting for him to be something he couldn't. I was free to move forward challenging the legacy he left behind to create a healthier future with my siblings and a healing of the deep wounds of my life that complicated my mental health recovery. I am free to focus on the love and support from my husband, family, and friends who've been there from the beginning and love me for me. #grievingaparent #absenteefather #mentalhealthrecovery #breakingthecycle #creatinganewlegacy