When an estranged dad dies, or a deadbeat dad, dies, the children aren’t sure if they are to mourn or not. When my first ex died, my daughter’s half-sister called her and let her know. She called me and we talked about this.
First off, no one is crying at this point. We aren’t quite sure what to do. When people die, their presence or lack of, is felt like a huge void. A void when can actually feel but can’t quite see, although it seems so concrete, that we should be able to see it. Yet, in this case, we can’t really cry because there is no void. His dying and the lack of his physical presence has not changed our daily lives in any way.
How sad is that?
I decide that this is a good time to go over all the nice things he did when she was a baby and toddler. Things that she would have no memory of. I need her to know that he did care. Because now, with him dead, he will never come to his senses and tell her this himself.
- I talk about how when he was playing badminton with the other kids (aged 6, 7, and 9) he decided to hold onto little 1 year old Kelsey and keep playing. Of course he wasn’t running around with her, the birdie had to go to his direction, but still
- then there was the time Kelsey had colic, so he drove her around at midnight so the drive might put her to sleep
- another time, with colic again, he walked around the neighborhood, late at night again, to help her sleep
- I told her that if he had lost his union pay job, he would have two lower pay jobs to keep up with the expenses of a family of 6. That he had a very good work ethic
- that I had mentioned to him that I’d been saving up to get her a bunk bed, and presto, the local furniture store called for me to pick one up
- then when he visited the next time, he had a new bike – and he remembered the helmet!
At this point, we are now both crying, and talking about why we are crying. And I think it was for all the things that could have been in the future that definitely are not going to happen now. He will never say I love you, or I’m sorry for forgetting all those birthdays, or how proud I am of you.
So bad enough that any possible happy future was gone, he still had his bastard moments. For instance, he had cancer, and he told not one of his children. It does appear that he thought he was getting better, and presumable felt he had a future time. He had been in the hospital after a life-saving trip to Mexico, and they were just getting him ready to go home, thinking things were okay, when it seriously wasn’t, and he died about 12 hours later.
Problem is, a couple of his kids had called and left messages for him to call, just friendly calls, and he never called them back. Shocker! But you would think that if someone was dying, or seriously ill, that they would want to spend some time with their kids. Well, not him. Did he think he would be okay and talk later? I don’t know. But he certainly does have a history of not talking to, or returning calls and emails, to any of his children. So Kelsey did go to the service, probably more so to see and visit with her siblings, not to share grief. Again, that’s sad.
When a parent is dead, and not around to live up their previous negative behavior, nor continue in their negative ways, this is a great opportunity to pump up and exaggerate the positive. Telling Kelsey all the positive things I could think of will help her to see that at some time, although in the past, her dad did love her. This is definitely one advantage to a dead parent. Of course if he had died years earlier she would not have had the years of him ignoring her and I could get away with a list of lies. It won’t hurt you to say, or make up, nice things about the dead parent, because it’s not about them, it’s about your child needing to know that they were important and loved at one time.
Here’s an article about when an abusive mother dies, but the thoughts will relate to a father as well. And while I write and research this article, I can’t help thinking about my mother, and how she favors my sister. I realize now that she always did, thankfully in the past I thought she just treated like a baby, thank God for blinders? But it is way beyond that, and I have written more about that here.
And on the business side of things, here are some things to check on about inheritances and wills regarding deceased parents.
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