I hurt my dad before he died

by Sucheta

Hi. Thanks for this space. Looking for a neutral mind to process my most possibly irredeemable situation.

I lost my father on March 28 this year to chronic kidney disease. He was 78. He was a doctor, a gardener, a teacher, a communist and my sage. I fought with him in a bid to spiritually better myself. But when the time came for me to share myself with him and share him with my world, he died. My struggle had been so hard and intense that I had forgotten its purpose towards the end. Though I had always thought it was intellectual rapprochement when actually it was the regaining of his trust which I lost when I discontinued my studies and taking care of him. I am from West Bengal, India, by the way, aged 44 years. I don't even have a child.

My dad, my baba was very lonely and had neglected his own health even though he had known of his kidney condition since 2015. When we finally came to know and acted, it was too late. He loved me intensely, perhaps the most in the world. But the evening before he died, I told him I would not publish the entire collection of stories and pieces I had written and which he had given me money to publish as they had been for him and if I had to give them to him it would mean their non-publication. He was intubated at that time and could not speak or open his eyes but was so hurt and angry it showed on his face. But I was slow to process and I said to him, I would do this the way you said I wouldn't and I still did. His face had flashed in hurt but I said my I love you and I left. Because he was in the ICU and I could not stay. He died in the morning.

For the last 21 years, I lived away from him, going home only once every two years or less. I did not discuss our emotional issues or tell him about my resolutions and the progress I had made in achieving them. I never told him how proud I was of him. And all the while he was sick, until he got intubated and we came to know he was dying, I lived apart from him in a different city and did not take care of him.

But in the period he was in hospital and before that last evening, he had forgiven me, told me he loved me and that I would be okay. Eventhough he was so loath to go and had his moments of doubting me. Because I had never given him any info or clue as to my own struggles, that I had never let him down once during my most difficult journeys, that he has been and will be the only rishi in my life. It was a different matter that he wasn't afraid, atheist that he was, as am I.

Still, I messed it all up again for him. I was reckless and cruel that last time.

He gave me 21 years to prove myself to him. I almost made it. What do I do now? My tribute he rejected. And in paying my dues to society, I could not pay my dues to him.

Comments for I hurt my dad before he died

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Jun 25, 2018
Being true to yourself in grief.
by: Betty from Grief and Sympathy

Dear Sucheta

Thank you for writing to us. Grief can be a difficult time.

Your name is lovely and the meaning - beautiful mind - gives me hope that you will find peace.

When we have children, we wish them a happy independent life, free to follow their own dreams. We do not own them and we cannot have our own unrealistic plans for them. You loved your father and he loved you. In the great scheme of things, that is the most important issue. You kept in touch over the years, visited him when he was sick and he must have been very proud of you. There are many parents who do not have that contact and love. Giving support, guidance and love is a parent's role.

It is so common after losing a loved one to have regrets and guilt over events that happened between you over the years. However you know he loved you, he knew you loved him. Hang on to that thought and let the negative feelings float away. They serve no useful purpose at all.

He would love you to continue your life as a happy, fulfilled person and whether you publish your writing is entirely your choice and any decision you make is only yours and always was.

Many ladies your age do not have children, that again is their choice in many cases - choosing a career pathway instead. There is nothing unusual in that.

Freedom and choice of how we spend our lifetime is ours alone.

You can say to yourself I am going to get on with my life in a positive way for my father.

He would not have wanted to be the focus of any unhappiness in the life of the daughter he loved.

Let yourself be that free independent person, let yourself enjoy this life you have.

Our very best wishes.

The GriefandSympathy Team.

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