My dad died several weeks ago. The death was quick, and he was elderly. My challenges are that I have several difficult memories of him. I am unable to share these memories with my loved ones. These were moments-in-time, and not a repetitive pattern. But, these moments-in-time made me distrust him. As a result, I was not close to him. During the funeral, I heard many people talk warmly about my dad. I'm sure he deserved that. But that made me feel even more emotionally removed.
Going backwards in time, I saw him wack my 2 yr old baby brother during one visit (I am significantly older). As a result, I never left my own children alone with him. At the funeral, my sisters spoke of his special role as a grandfather.
He took me out to dinner when I was 16 yrs old, and made some inappropriate comments. He talked about artichokes, which he had ordered, as aphrodisiacs. This was so weird, I felt that I could never turn to him for fatherly advice. This was in the 1970s, so maybe he was feeling like he was being open with me or whatever. I needed him to be more of a dad.
In the years leading up to my parents' divorce, I heard him hitting my mother during a fight. They were in the next bedroom. This only happened once. I was about 13 yrs old, and it made me feel sick to my stomach.
This memory includes my mother. When I was in the early stages of puberty, my mother stood me in front of my father with my shirt off and asked him to touch my budding breasts. And, he did. I had a vague sense that she was wondering if my changing body was "normal" and that she was asking for his input on that. But, wow, that was weird.
This collection of memories is really messed up, but I think most of my loved ones would be shocked. These events would be seen as out-of-character for the man that my dad became in later years. In my head, I've created excuses (he was raised in a time when parents hit their kids, he was probably stressed out or made bad judgment calls in these particular circumstances, much of this happened in the 1970s when codes of conduct were changing, etc etc etc)
I am posting here because I cannot imagine talking with my family about this. I don't want to dwell on these particular memories, but... as I stated in the beginning, these events did cause me to create emotional distance to protect myself. As a result, I am not grieving in the same way as my siblings (I am the oldest.)
Thank you for reading this.
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