Coping With The Death of a Distant Parent

I never thought at the age of 32 I would be writing about the unexpected death of a parent. Close to three months ago, I received a call that my father had passed. He wasn’t sick. There weren’t any warning signs. He was just gone one early Friday morning. I’m sure that most of you are already feeling sad for me and I appreciate it. However, my father and I had quite a unique and tragic relationship.

I hadn’t actually seen his face in almost a year and a half. I don’t remember the last phone call. The last text said, “don’t text me again.” It’s heartbreaking to know that our relationship will never be fixed.

Why were we so distant? Why was our relationship so broken? Simple answer: I fell in love. I fell in love with a wonderful, hard-working, loving man that happens to be of a different race. I’m not sure if it would have been different had he been Hispanic or Asian, but when my father found out that my now husband is Black, he effectively disowned me.

My father and I never had an amazing relationship, but we would see each other on holidays, send random funny emails or texts and do the occasional phone call check-in. I knew how my father felt about African Americans, so I hid my relationship for as long as I could {about 5ish years}. As soon as he found out, our relationship died. I don’t remember all the negative things that were said. I don’t remember all the times the n” word was screamed at me. I do remember my father not coming to either of my college graduations. I do remember him sitting across from me at family get-togethers, saying nothing.

loss of a parent

Photo by Kristina Tripkovic on Unsplash

When my daughter was born, I thought she would fix him. He saw her twice. He adored this beautiful, innocent baby. I remember seeing him hold her and the light shine in his eyes. However, when Nya was six-months-old, that would be the last time he saw her. Not by my choice, but his. I’m sad to think that she will never know her grandfather, but I’m happy that she’ll never know the hate that he held inside.

This blog has taken a turn. It was not meant to bash my father. He lived his life the way that he wanted to. I hope when he passed, he was content with the choices he had made. After his death, the task of taking care of his things was brought up. His girlfriend announced at his funeral that he left her everything. When we finally saw his will, what stood out the most was highlighted in yellow.

He disinherited me.

At first, I was devastated. It’s not like he had a lot of money or belongings. I wasn’t planning to retire in the Bahamas from his estate. I was heartbroken to know that he hated me so much, that he wrote it in his will. I think the part that pushed the knife deeper in my heart, was when I noticed the day he wrote it. Two weeks before my daughter was born. It took about a week for me to accept the fact that I have no say in anything. All of the family heirlooms will be given away. I will have nothing of his. When I accepted it, I thought do I really want his hate-filled belongings in my love-filled home? No.

I just recently realized that I went into a bit of a depression after he passed. I think it hurt more after I saw that he had disinherited me. Now that some time has passed, I am getting back to myself.

I can’t give advice to those that lose a parent that they had a great relationship with, but to those that had a strained relationship…it’s okay. It’s okay to grieve. It’s okay to regret that things were never fixed. It’s okay to be furious. You will go through every part of the grieving process. However, it will look different from everyone else.

If you attempted to fix your relationship, be content in knowing that you tried. It is too late to fix it now, but you did your best. If you haven’t tried to fix your relationship, try now. I don’t want anyone to look back and regret not trying. It may not be successful, but you can still be satisfied with the fact that you gave it your all.

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