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Home » Topics » Loss of a loved one » The added pain on top of deep grief... by insensitive others
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  • #15784

    I lost my dear Dad suddenly a couple of months ago. I was a complete wreck for a long time, and found it very hard to accept with it being so sudden.

    My Dad had been remarried for a long time. My step-mum had always been jealous of our relationship – she resented the fact that my Dad had had a life/family before she met him. The fact that I look like my Mum and was a constant reminder to my Dad probably didn’t help. I never lived with them (she made it clear she didn’t want another female in the house from the start) and I’d grown up with my Mum who was a beautiful person inside and out. However, over the years when visiting she was always within ear shot and never left my Dad and I alone for more than a minute or two before coming back into the room for ‘something’. My poor Dad was stuck in the middle trying to please us both as he loved us both dearly – he could see clearly what was happening. Once when we were away on holiday, I actually managed to get my Dad alone for a cuppa one evening whilst she’d gone to their room. I could tell quite clearly she was completely put out by it and there was major tension because of it.

    Despite the fact that this woman made my life difficult I’ve been texting her every 2 or 3 days as I know she’s utterly devastated as they did everything together. I’ve empathised with her, offered suggestions on how to get through this awful time and generally been there to support her, whilst also sharing my own sadness to some degree. However, every message she sends is focused on her and her ‘beloved husband’.​ On more than one occasion she’s said that “I know you miss your Dad but at least you have (my partner and son), but I have no-one now.” It hurts immensely​ as I feel she’s dismissing my relationship with my Dad and the deep grief that I feel. Yes, I have my partner and son but no-one can replace my Dad! I’ll miss him for the rest of my life. My 12-year-old read the message and even he commented that it wasn’t the right thing to say.

    Has anyone else experienced this? Does anyone have any suggestions on how to respond – without offending her but also to make it known that my feelings count too. It’s really eating away at me, I want to have my say, ‘voice’ my feelings but don’t want to cause offence either, and she’s someone who takes offence easily. To add, she’s always been self-centred, always interjecting conversations that weren’t about her and getting the attention back on her. It’s been exhausting and I miss my Dad so much 🙁

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  • #15991

    Thank you SO much for the message and words/perspective from David Kessler. In the end, I simply said to her (via text) that yes, I had my partner and son but no one could ever replace my wonderful Dad. She replied that she understood, which is something I guess. I just don’t think she can handle the fact that I loved him as much as I did and that he loved me. She always wanted to have his 100% undivided attention, which just screams insecurity. Poor woman.

    I’m able to laugh again now though and although I miss my Dad terribly, I feel more centered in knowing that the love between us will always be there and I have wonderful memories to treasure in my heart always, not matter what.


    Hi, @SadDaugther2021. Thank you for sharing your grief experience with us here on the forums. It sounds like you have a deep love for your Dad which was fully reciprocated by him, and you both worked hard at preserving that special bond despite the significant challenges you faced over the years just to stay in touch with him. We hope you have been able to find your own ways to hold on to the bond since his passing as this is something that can never be taken away from you.
    In your first post, you talked about feeling dismissed by your step-mum and described how she made comparisons between your grieving….comparing grief is something that comes up again and again with Griefline help-seekers. It might be helpful toohear what renowned grief expert David Kessler said about it in a recent seminar; “The worst grief is yours. What other people think of your grief is none of your business…the race is long and it’s only with yourself. Your business in your grief is your relationship with that person. What other people say is noise.” Perhaps this perspective helps in some way.
    We just wanted to check in to see how things are for you? It was clear from your last post that you felt an urgent need to speak your truth to your step-mum and we are wondering how you’ve progressed with this. No doubt it would be very challenging

    please know that we are here for you with support and understanding. Take care and keep in touch. 🌸


    Thanks Bugsy. I’m doing OK, have gotten through the worst of the initial grieving. Have spent my whole life though tip-toeing around this woman and I want to make it known to her how I feel. I just want to speak my truth to her, nothing more, whether she comprehends it or not is up to her.


    Their dismissiveness is still frustrating though. Especially when you want to help. Are you ok?


    Thanks Bugsy and sorry to hear that you’ve felt dismissed too in relation to your grieving experience. It’s so hard. Some people just don’t listen so there’s not a lot of point in saying anything to them.


    Hi SadDaugher2021, it sounds as though you had a very special relationship with your dad and it’s great that you are reaching out to his wife.

    I’m not sure how you solve your dilemma. I noticed, in my own family, a tendency for some to believe that there is some kind of hierarchy of hurt and that they are feeling the loss more than any one else – this made me feel a little dismissed. Grief affects us all in so many different ways. I understand the desire to discuss this with your dad’s wife, but I’m not sure it will help. Perhaps you will have to be a little selfish in your grieving and focus on yourself and your own loss.

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