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My New Life..Minus Dad...


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It's been quite a while since I posted...I just haven't had the heart to even put into words what's been happening. It's just all kind of ugly and sad, to be honest. I've finally reached a place where I have a little peace and can live my life and take care of my family without being at peak emotional stress. I finally realized that sometimes for your own mental and emotional well-being, you are better off without someone, whether temporary or long-term....

I had a few long posts about my dad and his new girlfriend, and how my sisters and I were so distraught over the thought he would move her into my mom's lake house for the summer. My dad never really liked the lake house, he went for the summer with my mom after he retired and made nice with all the relatives there, but he was always jealous of my mom's connections up there and her love for her home, quite frankly. But when as my mom was gone it became "his lake property" and he was anxious to bring someone else up there (of the female persuasion).

We never asked anything of my dad, we let the fact that he wasn't especially nice to my mom at the end of her life go, because we wanted a relationship with him...but we did ask that he not move someone else in to the lake house for the summer. The lake house is the very essence of my mom's spirit, her true love in life other than her family. My dad and the person he's dating have five properties between the two of them, one of them in Florida. And supposedly they love to travel and be on the road (something he complained my mom wouldn't do b/c of the lake house). However...after accusing us of not accepting his new relationship, my dad went around to each of us girls at a family event and announced that he and his girlfriend would be spending the entire summer at the lake, and that he hoped to see us there.

A lot of people looking at this from the outside think, it's your dad's life, you shouldn't tell him what to do, etc...but there is so much more water under the bridge than that. So much more. So much history leading up to this, most of it involving my mom.

Dad kept pushing the boundary and we were kind of moving with it, but then he sent an e-mail to my sisters and me and included our whole extended family that was just completely inappropriate, having to do with this situation. That was the last straw.

So, for the first time in 40+ years, I will not be going to our precious lake house. And my dad didn't receive a Father's Day card from his daughters. Or a phone call. And you know what, it's not about teaching him a lesson, it's about just not even having that feeling there. Not being a hypocrite. I'm just drained, emotionally and physically. I ended up in the ER a few weeks ago because of stress. I have a benign heart condition and it went into overdrive over this whole situation. It was at that point that I thought no more. I need to put myself and the rest of my family first.

So it is, for now it is a sad situation. But I am at peace...the pain and stress of dealing with my dad and his inability to empathize with anyone, his complete lack of regard for anyone's feelings but his own...it was all too much. But I have my sisters, and they are my lifeline. Maybe at some point my dad will come around, but for now I am done....

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(((Michele))) ... I remember reading your posts about the situation with your dad, the girlfriend and the lake house before - it struck a chord with me.

I can completely identify with your statement about needing peace and the only way to gain that peace and stability in your life sometimes is to back away. This separation may not last forever; however, it is plain and simple self-preservation and you will know when and if you are strong enough to let your dad and all the issues that go with him back into your life. We don't get to choose our families, but we do get to choose who benefits us emotionally and spiritually in this life and sometimes they don't meet that criteria. The fact that this is causing you health problems made it all the more critical that you walk away from this situation for now.

I truly don't believe that anyone here would judge what you feel or say - they are your feelings and it is you who has lived your entire life with this man as your father. All that matters in this scenario is you and what you need to enjoy your life.

There is no doubt about it - it is sad...and by that, I mean it is sad for you and your sisters. At a time in your life when you truly needed your dad, he failed to come through for you. Regardless of the relationship between your mom and your dad; he failed to support you, your sisters and your feelings after the loss of your mom.

Michele, I am so sorry you are having to go through these issues with your dad when you should just be having time to grieve the loss of your mom. I respect you immensely and I know the heartache of reaching the decision you did. It doesn't make it any less painful, but with time, the wound won't be so raw either.

Take care,


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Oh Michele....

First of all, I feel so bad. I never did get back with you. I'm so sorry.

Second of all, I'm just heartsick for you. I'm sorry that that relationship is gone too. I'm sorry that he was so disrespectful and uncaring for you and your sisters. I'm sorry that you have hurt upon hurt.

Please know that I support you--that we support you. You don't deserve to be treated this way. I'm glad you are taking care of yourself and that you are beginning to find some peace in all of this.



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I am so sorry that it has come down to this. I really do understand what you are going through with your dad. I won't assume to advise you but I will tell you a little about my dad after my mom's death.

My first memories of my dad are hearing him cussing at night keeping my mom awake all night when she would be getting up at 4:30am to fix breakfast for all of us then leave to be at work in the canery by 6:30. My dad was, to use a nice word, an alcoholic. To put it bluntly he was a wino.

Almost all of us kids at one time or another begged Mama to divorce him but she just wouldn't do it. Despite everything she loved him. In the end he was the one who took care of her when she was dying of LC. Not one of us could have done as good a job, myself encluded. I am telling you this for a reason.

After Mama died, Daddy was totaly lost. He had quit drinking years before with only a beer once in a while. For the last 10 years of Mama's life he took care of her. He also took care of my brother who had had a massive heartattack. His whole life was caring for them. He had already suffered with Mama the loss of his baby girl and two sons who died at an early age. Then in 1985 he lost first my brother in March and then Mama in October. They had been married for over 55 years. It was just too much :!:

His loss was so deep that even crawling into a bottle wouldn't help. Then when he started some things I had no idea what he was going through. He started living in a fantasy world. The county sent a young woman to clean house and do a few things for him. He began to fantasize about her. He would tell us all that she was his girlfriend then later that she was his wife. He took out a loan on his house that Mama had worked so hard to pay off. He loaned the money to her so she could put a down payment on a house for her and her husband and children.

Daddy couldn't make the connection. He still talked about her all of the time. He nearly lost the house before he told my brother and he stepped in and helped save it. Still he would call me and when I would try to tell him things about my children or grandchildren he wouldn't even hear me. All he would do was talk about Her and Her family. I would listen for a while then give up and make excuses to hang up.

After those phone calls I would carry so much guilt. I had moved away when I married and wasn't there for Mama or Daddy when they needed someone. I still loved my Daddy but it just got to be so hard. I talked to him less and less and those times were when hr would call me.

Then one day while sitting in the mall on my lunch hour I saw a man who reminded me of Daddy for some reason. I have no idea why but he did. After that I got the feeling that I had to see my Daddy again soon. My husband and I planned a trip from Louisiana to California in the Fall of 1993.

When I saw my once 300 pound dad so thin and feeble and the dark hair that had stayed with him into his late 70s turned to white my heart went out to him. No matter what he had done over the years he was still my Daddy and I loved him. When he died just a few months later in January 1994 I knew I had made the right decision for me. I had seen him one last time. I doubt if I could have lived with myself had I not gone to see him again.

Afrer my divorce and then Johnny's death and the death of my ex husband I began to realize just how much my Daddy had lost. I could understand why he had needed something to live for. Didn't matter if it was a fantasy or the real thing.

I had felt like he had betrayed my Mama's memory. Now I know better. He just had to find a way to live in a world that he no longer felt that he belonged in. Men seem to have fewer coping skills. They just don't know how to make it for long on their own. Some can but they are the exception to the rule.

I forgave my dad and now I teasure the few precious memories that I have of him that are untainted by the wine or those last few years. I am so thankful that I did forgive him. Not so much for his sake but for mine and for my wonderful mom who never gave up on him no matter how bad things got.

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Thanks you guys, for your support and for sharing your stories. This wasn't an easy decision, but my sisters and I made it together and I can't tell you how much our mutual support for each other means. There was no big announcement to my dad, just an end of communications. Well, I lied...after he sent out the e-mail embarrassing us to the family, two of us responded with e-mails to him (I know, the worst way to communicate, but he doesn't listen when you are face to face), and my other sister called him. She told him that he is putting this lake house, which is doesn't even care about, squarely between him and his beloved daughters. So he got it from three sources - I must confess my e-mail was written when I had hit the wall of anger - it was not pretty. Strangely, I don't regret it! It all had to be said, or I was going to implode.

What's most infuriating, is that my dad is not some monstrous acting, unfeeling bear of a man. He on the surface is this very sentimental, loving, innocent old guy. But we have learned, BOY have we learned, that he can play the game and WELL. His M.O. is shrugging the shoulders, playing dumb, pretending like he doesn't get it (which I think is partially true), playing the victim and pointing the finger at everyone else. No accountability whatsover. THAT'S what makes me crazy. Mom put up with a lot of garbage for many years, for the sake of us (but boy was she feisty - she bucked him at every turn and made her own life!)...but it 's so interesting. Without her here to do a little of the shielding, we are starting to go beneath surface and realize what she really put up with all these years. Good lord, I don't know how you stay married to someone who is NEVER wrong, will not have a conversation with you when are angry, wants everything his way or the highway, and then punishes you when you rebel. But all in a very passive/aggressive way. Her sainthood grows every day in my eyes.

The saddest part of all of this is my kids. Their Pop-Pop is the only grandparent they have left, and they love him. And he loves them dearly. However, I feel that he has made a clear choice in taking the chance that we would not come up to the lake and stay for a week with another woman in 900-square foot cabin with paper walls...that's about the opposite of a vacation to me. We called his bluff and I guess he's okay with that, so I need to have no regrets.

Lilyjohn, I continue to ask myself that if my dad gets sick, etc. - would I have regrets about this time lost with him. And you know what...no. He's not the man I thought he was, he's not someone I can respect right now (or maybe ever again). However, I know where you are coming from, and who's to say that one day he will see the light. This isn't as much about his betrayal of my mom as it is his inability to empathize and see our point of view. His refusal to believe it's okay if we are not as far along in this process as he is, and he takes it as a personal attack on him. I've just reached my limit, and I had to draw a line in the sand. Having said that, part of the stress of all this is that it made losing my mom feel like yesterday. It opened up that old wound and it was like she died yesterday. And the thoughts that we are letting our mom down. Possibly pushing our dad to the point where he will sell the lake house or leave it to his girlfriend. That would be soul-destroying. But my sisters and I discussed all that, and we figured it was worth it to have our sanity. My mom would utterly apalled at my dad and devastated at the circumstances. I have to chuckle at his fear should she appear in front of him one night and let him have it with both barrels. She was a pistol, God bless her. I miss her so....

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(( Michelle))

I remember your earlier posts when you were going through all the problems with the lake house and I feel so bad for you that all this is still an issue for you.

Unfortunately, families are not always what we would like them to be - its seems like on TV whenever there is a crisis everyone comes together - so not true in real like. My family has its own set of issues that sometimes just makes me sad and shake my head.

One thing I think is that you need to first heal within yourself over the loss of your mother before you can go out and accept a new woman in your families lives, and you know what, thats OK!!! You need to be good to yourself and your immediate family. If this is the way your dad is dealing with all of this, thats OK for him, but you need to find what helps you the best. Everyone deals with grief differently.

I wish for you peace, strength and the hope that you can work through all this. Please be good to yourself.

Hugs - Patti B.

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I also well remember your discussions about the lake house and your Dad. Lily is right, men don't have the same coping skills as a woman, but that doesn't mean they have to start acting like total jackasses either. :shock: Grief doesn't give you a pass on rudeness, but it does have a tendency toward acting in ways that are contrary to your normal personality.

You do what you need to do to find that place of peace and I'm glad that you aren't having a lot of guilt over it. I must say that I always felt like I lost my Dad when my Mom passed. He was never the same. By the same token, I never really understood the loneliness that he went through until I lost my husband.

Maybe someday things will work out better when more time has passed. I hope so for all of your sakes.

God bless you and thanks for giving us an update.


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I rememebr the posts too.

My mother did not speak to her father.

When I was younger (teen/early 20s) I would ask how come you don't try to get along.

My mother would say "Nick, some things don't have to get resolved."

True or not, that was my mother's stance. And so I understand. Because I knew what my mother felt, I can understand you feeling the way you do. And my mother was happier resigning to her reality.

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Ok time for the grieving widower to chime in but NOT DEFEND!!!!!

In short there are 2 types of people

Women The caretakers and


Without each other we can not survive and I think Dad is opening an emotional can of worms that he does not know about yet. I COULD BE WRONG

I am still lonely to this day will not lie. Some days I think about moving on and other days just SLAM THE DOOR SHUT!!! I think your Dad is chosing the wrong way to deal with this whole thing and is trying to hide his fear of loneliness at his age. HE is scared of never finding someone and grabbed the first caregiver that came along. THe guilt will probably set in when he gets to that lake house though.....

Its hard to let a woman into your castle just like that when there are so many memories involoving a certain place like a vacation home with another woman. He does not realize this yet but will find out soon enough I think.

I do not defend your dad by any means. Just trying to explain a little of the general male population on a weird Sunday morning. I am very scared most days to take that next step in starting over I know its gonna be a *&^%$# to do. Some day though.

I think you did the right thing but I hope he will come around and apologize and change his ways. I doubt it though IT s hard to teach and old dog new tricks :wink:

LOVE PEACE AND HUGS This sunday morning for everyone today been a bad week here it seems

Maybe you and your sisters can start a new tribute or get together in memory of mom!! Just a thought..

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