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Jude's avatar

It has been 5 years since my Mom died and my Dad still won't talk about her. Why?

Asked by Jude (32144points) December 9th, 2011

He never brings her up.

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15 Answers

bkcunningham's avatar

Does he talk about her with you when you bring her up in a conversation, @Jude, or does he shut down?

Jude's avatar

He acts as though it is uncomfortable for him. She was the love of his life.

bkcunningham's avatar

Maybe it is as simple as that. She was the love of his life and it is uncomfortable to bring up her name and her memory and it reminds him of his loss and his pain. I’m sorry for you because I suppose you want to talk about her and it makes you feel good. Right?

marinelife's avatar

It may still be painful for him. Each person expresses grief differently. If I were you, I would find others to talk about my Mom with.

wundayatta's avatar

Has your father ever really been forthcoming with his emotions? Has he ever cried in front of you? If he’s like most men, he won’t want to express his weakness. He won’t want to talk about his emotions, and he is afraid he is going to cry and if he cries, he doesn’t know what will happen. Maybe his world will fall apart.

Or maybe he thinks it won’t do any good to dwell on it. It will only bring up bad feelings and he’s having a hard enough time to cope as it is. What’s the point? We all know it sucks. End of story.

I don’t know if women can appreciate how hard it is to express emotions for many men. It is downright dangerous. We can be afraid to let ourselves feel things because we know we can’t handle it and we’ll end up in the insane asylum, or useless, because the emotions, one released, will never, ever end. Not that most guys would articulate it that way.

But there are some good reasons why we won’t or don’t. For some of us, crying does no good. We do not feel relief. It makes it worse. Opposite of what happens for women, in general.

You can be sure he is utterly miserable. He may feel like he’s barely holding it together. He may be afraid (unconsciously) that if he opens up about it, his grief will never end.

I think you can sit with him and not say anything or ask him anything. Just be there. Think about your own grief. Feel it. Maybe even let it come out—nonverbally. A father can not let his daughter cry. It’s genetically impossible ;-) He has to express something. But you don’t have to explain. Or you can just say, “Mom,” if necessary.

What you want is to have him hold you. That’s all. Just to touch. He knows you’re thinking about your mother. He doesn’t have to say anything, but you will feel his feelings in his arms. Or so I imagine.

This is just one idea I am making up. It’s your Dad and you and I don’t know how you work together or what your history is. However the principle is the same. This is something that must be spoken about nonverbally at first. Maybe later you can talk, but what is needed now is a chance to feel. A chance to shut up and feel. Even if it’s only you feeling what you feel in the presence of your father.

For all I know, you’ve been doing this all along. Even so, I think it is a reasonable way to proceed. Talking is too much to expect…. still.

Jude's avatar

@wundayatta GA. You’re right.

wundayatta's avatar

I am? Which part?

john65pennington's avatar

This is the same as my mother never moving or getting rid of my dad clothing. They are still in the closet, just the way he left them.

Some people are so close that when one dies, it takes half of the other person. too. Just leave your dad alone.

He is still in loss depression and may never get over losing his wife..your mother.

Just abide by his wishes. Whe he is ready, he will talk to you about your mother.

It just takes a lot of time with some people.


Bellatrix's avatar

You answered your own question. She was the love of his life and she is gone and it probably still hurts him like hell. It may always hurt him like hell.

My dad was a stoic man. He never spoke about my mother either. Years later. I mean like 15 years later, I caught him quietly crying in the kitchen. The thought of that moment still makes me tear up. He had remarried by this point but I knew why he was crying. He loved my mother but he just couldn’t talk about her. I don’t know how I knew what was hurting him, but I did. It was one of those silent, but knowing moments.

Give your dad a hug. Let him grieve and have her memory inside. I know you want to talk about your mum. I absolutely get that. I feel I don’t know my mother because the males in my family all followed my dad’s example and never talked about her. She was his wife though and I don’t feel that my needs outweighed his. He had to deal with her death in his own way.

Sunny2's avatar

If he’s like my dad, he doesn’t want anyone to see him cry. Mine wouldn’t let us kids come when she died. We have no idea what he did with her body. My brother thought my father had her cremated and threw the ashes out with the trash. None of us had the nerve to ask. Sad.

SmashTheState's avatar

Repression gets a bad rap. There’s nothing wrong with suppressing unpleasant emotions. The self-indulgent modern fad for regurgitating emotions all over the place and weeping in public is repugnant and shows discourtesy to others. No one wants to see that shit. If he’s chosen to bear his burden of pain with pride and dignity, I say good job. You should be proud of him.

rojo's avatar

@john65pennington Mine too. And we can’t bring ourselves to hurt her more by clearing things out a bit.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Jude I was at least five years before I could talk about my father dying.

blueiiznh's avatar

Get this book and read it. Pass it on to him if you can.
On Death and Dying

AnonymousWoman's avatar

He is probably a private person who would prefer to keep things like his feelings for your mother inside. From what you say, I would not be surprised if he thinks about her constantly and misses her deeply. To talk about her might just remind him even more that she is no longer alive and that may be quite painful for him. Feelings that strong can be difficult to talk about and may even make him feel weak if he does give in and talk about them, especially since he is a man. Men aren’t always encouraged to talk about their emotions and they are quite known for keeping a lot inside. It may be best to focus on making sure your father feels appreciated, cared about, and loved instead of wondering why he won’t talk about your mother.

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