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Dad is questioning my choices; a year after the fact!!
When my Dad knew that Mom passed, he didn't even send me a card, no flowers, didn't really offer me much condolence on the phone even. Here we are, nearly a year after she died, and my Dad keeps bringing up different newspapers and funeral announcements that I put in two newspapers. He asks why I didn't put the announcement in her college newsletter, and keeps questioning that I put her obituary in her hometown newspaper. I did, I have 25 copies of that little newspaper!!
We live far away from one another and in different states, so we mostly talk on the phone or exchange emails. We see each other about once a year. What is going on with my Dad pestering me MORE FREQUENTLY about my Mom's death notices? Am I right to guess that he is actually concerned about his own mortality, and how I will handle his passing? How would I call him out and reassure him?
I feel like just screaming, " Yes, Dad!! I will make sure that when you pass away I will announce it widely and profusely!! Are you happy now and would you shut up about my Mom dying and backseat driving the situation an entire year !!? I don't want to become so annoyed by his line of questioning that I really blast him; he gets his digs in at the end of our conversations on the phone, and I am left with a bitter ending to our chats. I used to really look forward to talking with him on the phone...now, not so much!!
Thank you for reading and offering any advice on this one; I just don't want to say something rude and regret it, but I want to defend myself and keep a good relationship with my Dad.
Random thoughts here:
Is your Dad sick, physically, but hasn't told you? You'll have to visit or ask him.
He could be looking back on his life and regrets things that didn't work out- his marriage to your Mother.Very old spilt milk.
Doesn't feel he accomplished much in his life. What will his obit say, ask him if he wants to write it with you (if you would be the person to write it). http://www.legacy.com/news/culture-and-trends/article/funny-obituaries maybe use a funny obit as an ice breaker.
And finally, the petty, was he mentioned in your Mother's obit "Margaret was survived by her children Frank(Mary) and Betsy(Roger) and four grandchildren. She is also survived by her sister Ruth Jones and James Smith, the father of her children." He may be butt hurt if he wasn't mentioned, even though prior spouses rarely are. If so, ask him, say you are sorry and does he want your mom mentioned in HIS notice. Ha!
I just hate those "digs" my father always wanted to be top dog and wrecked so many nice times with them, for no result- just bad feelings. We'd all sit and go wtf, there goes alpha dog peeing on it again.
Hang in there.
"well dad I messed up, yup should have spent more money announcing her death, even though mom didn't want that, but yup, you are right..."
You know you are right, you did your best and you need to put that up some where when you talk to him...but at this point who care what he thinks, he has no power, just his words, and let him be "right"
Okay dad, if you want you can send in the notices to wherever, I'll email you the addresses. Send me a list of who you want to know about it, and if you could check the prices that would be really great...throw it back at him, just keep saying that over and over and over,...
Victoria and Gubblebumm,
Thank you very much for your responses. My Dad is on oxygen all the time, and he recently got an emergency button necklace. He also recently remodeled his bathroom with a special tub with a door, and a safe shower. He has lived by himself forever, and has three cats, and way too many guns.
I should ask him if he was upset that I did not mention him in her obituary. They were divorced for 46 years when she died, and they hardly communicated when I was growing up. I just think it would have been strange to mention him given the amount of time that had passed, and the divorce was bitter, and they never communicated with one another after I was about 18.
I think I will ask him if he would like to write his own; that's a great idea. I will also ask him to please provide me with a list of all the institutions, newspapers, dignitaries, and press that will need to be informed when he passes. (and about my Mom, too~thank you, Victoria, good one!!) .
(Dad, if there's any way you are reading this, you know I love you!) ~ Gretchen.
Gems, I agree with you to offer that he write his own obit and tell you what else he may have wishes for. I'd also guess he is indeed feeling his own mortality, and perhaps is lonely. Yours is a family dynamic I am not at all familiar with, so I'm blundering about in the dark here
The guns scare me as they do you. Somehow I never thought of a cat person having many guns. If you were able to visit, would he enjoy that? And, you know, is there any chance he himself might have a tad bit of impairment?
Thank you, Zauber, for the recommendations. I end up visiting him about once a year, I think he has given up on putting forth the effort to come to see me and my son. However, he will be able to drive across three states this summer for his high school reunion.
I have been paying for his cell phone for seven or eight years now. At first when I started paying, cell phones were not very expensive or free, and it was cheap to add a line. I would never be rude and demand him to pay for his own cell phone, but he can afford it and he lets me continue to pay, and he lets me continue to do all the work to see him.
I'm really feeling put-upon even more so now, with his whining about the obituary. I think I will need to get that out in the open before we see each other in August, because I would much rather talk to him about this and get it over with on the phone rather than ruining evenings in person. I rented out an air bnb, and we will meet about halfway in Durango to visit with my son in college.
Thank you again for all of your helpful comments and suggestions!!
GemsWinner- I can get why your father bringing this up NOW is confusing. I think it seems like he's concerned about his own mortality. I think writing his obit with him could be empowering- you could phrase it as "You know dad, famous people always have an obit ready to go" . . . .and add something like how you want to make sure you mention what is important to him in his obit. Also, does he want your mom mentioned in his? And not to mention, it must be kind of irritating that he didn't participate or send condolences when she died and is now complaining about how YOU handled it. (Also- LOL on informing "dignitaries" about his passing!)
Definitely talk to your dad about the cell phone- and state the truth, that when you added him on it was cheaper and now it isn't, and that you need him to chip in for his share. Shared plans are always cheaper than a single line, so maybe he could just pay his portion rather than setting up a separate service? Or just simply say, "I can't afford to continue paying for your phone".
Talk to him before you go out there- you don't want to let this fester until August! From your posts and responses, you are clearly such a strong and straightforward person, so put it all in practical terms (this works with my dad)- ie quoting exact dollar amounts for the phone. As for him not making an effort to visit you- do you want to see him more often? I don't really know your relationship with your pops, so hard to say- do you see him out of obligation/concern or genuine "Yay time with my dad?".
And I have to agree with Zauber- I also never think of cat people as the type who have lots of guns, but what do I know- I live in an area where gun culture isn't really a big thing.
Good luck and take care!
It sounds to me like it's all about him. Like many older folks who live alone, they have lots of free time to sit around rehashing things that happened months or years ago and how it affected them. There's usually not a lot of self-awareness about their own failings or what someone else's preferences might be. It sounds like a good idea to let him leave you his wishes and say "please stop criticizing how I handled mom's arrangements. I got no help from anyone and did what I thought was best and what mom would have wanted."
I work in a law office and am always amazed at the ways people try to manage their affairs after their death with no thought to how they're making it difficult for their loved ones. A long time ago we had a woman pas away who had stated in her will (a will we had not prepared) that she wanted to be buried in a white negligee. So bizarre!
Besides you know you are right, there is no point in arguing with him. You did it as you knew to be the correct way, but now who the heck cares what he thinks.
"Okay dad, everytime you bring this up I want to cry because it reminds me my mom died, and I guess I wasn't perfect at the time. So can we drop it? It hurts me. "
FOr years I would argue with my mom and I had to let go being right, even though I was, so not worth the stress it caused me.
You your dad is a stubborn "proud" man, and maybe someone mentioned it to him, whatever, but I would let this battle go, vent here, but just say dad, you write your own Obit or send me a list of what you want in it and who you want notified, I don't want to make a mistake. Next time he bring it up say, well send me the list, over and over