Caring for a Dying Parent That I Don't Like!

in life •  last year

I Love My Dad but I Don’t Like Him.

Father Son Conflict Luke Skywalker Darth Vader Star Wars SteemTruth.jpg

He is a very difficult man to like. Not as difficult as Darth Vader but this image sums up our relationship pretty well.

Growing up he put food on the table and watched me play sports. He was good at both pursuits but little else. There are of course some valuable lessons that I learned along the way but I will save that for another day.

I am not ungrateful. Quite the opposite, in many respects I am more fortunate than billions of people. I always try to remember that but I too often forget.

We can’t choose our parents but we do chose how to interact with them - or not interact with them, as the case may be. I’m not going to say one method is right and the other wrong, it is far too personal, complex and nuanced for that.

I do not presume to walk in your shoes, but today I’m inviting you to take a quick walk in mine, as I muse about love, life, family, death and what comes next.

Dad has an abrasive nature, with some very unendearing qualities and an heir of entitlement thrown in. I believe that much of it stems from his childhood.

His father was a wealthy doctor - my Dad was literally waited on hand and foot. He had a full-time nanny and was driven around by Eric, the family chauffeur. My Dad never knew his mother, it troubled him for most of his life. The most plausible explanation seems to be that my grandfather (a bachelor) had a child out of wedlock with an unknown woman, my paternal grandmother, which led to me. It is family history that I know very little about, but am eternally grateful for nonetheless!

Dad was raised by Nanny Gibbons. She was his nurse, his nanny, and by all accounts a very dear, sweet woman - she was also his surrogate mother and she spoiled him rotten.

Dad believed that she was his mother until the day she died. He was 30 at the time. He went to the undertaker only to be told that he was not family and therefore didn’t have the authority to bury her. The day his mother died was the day that he learned that she wasn’t his mother. It must have come as quite a shock.

My grandfather died when Dad was just a young boy. Nanny Gibbons received a substantial inheritance (11 houses, jewellery, fine china etc). She lost most of it within a decade. What she didn’t lose she gave away. That was her nature. I have been told that she always placed others before herself. I like that, my Mum was much the same which probably explains why Dad married her. These two women were the antithesis of my Dad!

In fairness, seeing people maimed and killed as a young man fighting other mens wars wouldn’t have helped. There is so much that we will never know and I’m fine with that. Nanny Gibbons died suddenly and took many unanswered questions to the grave.

Decades later Dad was behind his desk at work. Sitting opposite him were the two men that he was having a meeting with. There was an explosion. Dad was knocked backwards and out of his chair. He checked himself for wounds and only found some shrapnel embedded into the hands that were seconds earlier resting on the desk. Dad stood up and looked over the mangled desk. One of the men had been decapitated. I’m not sure how one deals with talking to a man one second, and a few seconds later looking at him without his head? I haven’t experienced it and I hope that I never do.

As challenging as my Dad is this is where the love and compassion for him kicks in. He is still my Dad. I didn’t walk in his shoes. I strongly suspect that going to war mentally scarred him for life but he rarely spoke about it. One only has to look at the numerous instances of mental illnesses and suicides amongst returning veterans to see the impact that war has on people.

I want all war to end - there are always better options than killing our fellow human beings!

Dad on 19th November 2017


Dad was 6”2 (188 cm) and strong. He’s lost weight since this photo was taken.

When I was born my parents fed me, bathed me, changed my nappies and everything in-between. Over the last few years the roles have reversed. I don’t get much help from family and friends. Most of them don’t like Dad and for others there is the distance factor. Whatever the reasons - without me his next stop is a nursing home.

Despite not liking my Dad I’ve chosen to assist him to die at home (naturally). I helped my Mum die at home 2.5 years ago. Ever the opportunist and never wanting to miss out, my Dad feels entitled to the same treatment. He entered the world being waited on hand and foot and it seems that he will be leaving in similar fashion. Lately it feels as if my energy is being depleted and passed on to him. I rarely sleep more than 5-6 hours uninterrupted. Sometimes just 1 or 2.

He doesn’t have long to live but I’ve said that before and been proven wrong. I stopped Steemin five (5) months ago because I thought he only had a little time left. He’s been close to death more than a handful of times - astonishingly, he keeps coming back. He’s been wanting to die for almost a year. He’s not suffering or in any great pain, he’s simply dying and it’s just a matter of time before he passes! He is comfortable with death and so am I.

I’m reminded of the fact that we are all dying - with each setting sun we are one day closer to death. Life is to be cherished, we never know when it will be snatched from us, or from someone close to us. Some of us are fortunate enough to to be forewarned, while for others death comes like a thief in the night. I say fortunate but that’s just my opinion.

Given the choice, would you choose to be forewarned (no matter how painful) or would you prefer to die peacefully in your sleep? I’d prefer to know in advance but I would also be fine with dying suddenly.

Death doesn’t scare me but I’m yet to stare death in the face. I am however hoping to do so at least once in my life. Not because I have a death wish but because I have a pretty adventurous nature and I intend to explore this wonderful planet. Statistically it is quite likely that I will stare death in the face. If I’m not prepared for it I will probably die.

Training both physically and mentally increases your odds but you’ve got to always expect the unexpected. Fire-fighters, soldiers and innocent civilians in war-torn nations face death everyday. If they can do it why can’t I experience it just once or twice in my life? It is nothing compared to what some people are going through this minute.

To be clear, I won’t seek death, I will do my best to avoid it and I will NEVER commit suicide or willingly put my life at risk.

The key is to be prepared for death and to prepare family for it. Not in a depressing way, but in a very natural and pragmatic way. When a pet or someone close dies it may be a good opportunity to talk about it at the time or a little when things have settled down. We all know that we are going to die. I think that it’s strange not to talk about it. If you’re prepared for death it stands to reason that it should come as less of a shock. Still painful, but hopefully less so.

They say that time heals all wounds and while I don’t think that this applies to every person, in every circumstance, there is still a fair bit of truth in it. If you had foreknowledge you have time to prepare and process some of the experience in advance. Or do you go through just as much grieving with foreknowledge as you do without only more slowly and subtly? I’m not sure but I do know that we are all unique as our individual circumstances.

The Grieving Process

The Kübler-Ross model, otherwise known as the five (5) stages of grief, postulates a series of emotions experienced by terminally ill patients prior to death, or people presented by the loss of a loved one, wherein the five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Wikipedia

This illustration adds two more stages to the Kübler-Ross model - Shock & Testing.

Grieving Process 5 7 Stages Kübler-Ross SteemTruth.jpg

When my Mum died I went through the last three stages. She was an easy woman to like and love. In her case I had foreknowledge - she was given 4 months to live and lasted 10. The depression coincided with, and was compounded by the greed, corruption, evil and suffering that I saw in the world. I had been doing a lot of research in the preceding years and then Mum died and life seemed pretty dark for a while. I was never suicidal, just really down and asking myself deep and very big questions. When Dad dies I do not expect to go through any stages. I accepted his death a long time ago and I know what I am going to do afterwards.

I’ve been caring for at least one of my parents these past 4 years. I’ve had 4 weeks respite or 1 week per year. If my Dad was easy to like and love it would be a pleasant experience. Then again, when I look back at this with the benefit of hindsight I am sure that many lessons will have been learned. I have a habit of pushing myself to extremes. If I’m not pushing the boundaries I don’t feel like I’m living - but there is only so much one can take. I’m worn out, sleep-deprived and less tolerant than I used to be.

While I won’t have 7 stages of grieving to go through I will need some time to catch my breath. When I’ve got my second wind I’m going to embark on the rest of my life and I’m very much looking forward to it.

I want to spend the rest of my life helping other people. Especially the less fortunate but not exclusively so. I want to help as many people as I can and this is a huge reason for me being on Steemit. This platform and community allows me to care for my Dad and engage with wonderful people from all over the world. As a bonus I am able to read, write and make some money along the way.

What a blessing!

It’s brilliant, it’s life-changing and we are only at the beginning! The exodus from mainstream social media has begun. What an exciting time to be alive.

Try to love someone that you don’t like. It’s not easy but you may be surprised what happens when you do!

Thank you for taking a quick walk in my shoes. I enjoyed sharing some of my experiences, thoughts, feelings and dreams with you today. It has been a therapeutic exercise for me and if it helps someone even better!

Stay True!

Till next time!
Yours in Peace, Love & Truth

P.S. Chuck Feeney spent much of his life giving away his $8 Billion. I’ll never have $8 Billion but I intend to follow his lead and give what I have away. If you haven’t heard his story click the link below.

Billionaire Secretly Gives Away His Entire $8 Billion Fortune in 34 Years – True Story!

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Interesting ideas, let me know next time you post so I can hit you back for all the support, "TheFatKat" on discord. Hope things are going well.

A truly moving post.
I don't really have any words.
You know where I am if you ever need a friend to talk to mate.


You're one of the best TP. I greatly appreciate you on so many levels. Thank you!


I read your very touching story yesterday and would love to share some random thoughts with you, hoping its ok to put a link.
I decided to care for my mother, gave up my "life" for now and moved from Bali back to Vienna.

Tears fall into my coffee and I drink them.......


I moved from Hong Kong back to Australia. Why do we do it? Caring for a parent can be very challenging, more so if there is friction and underlying issues that cannot be resolved (in my case) as it's too late and I've spent decades trying. My mother spent most of her married life trying and she told me that it was impossible for him to change or see his shortcomings. Very frustrating but I'm at peace with it for the most part.

You will be blessed in other ways I am sure, that's what I believe.

I'm so pleased that my post touched you and thank you for sharing the link and mentioning me in your random rant.

I read it and it moved me in a very real way. I encourage others to read it.

Thank you @mammasitta

Death is simply the necessary partner to birth. Self-manufactured fears regarding "spirit" and "soul" judgment/outcome makes that time very stressful for those of that mindset, particularly when there is a life expectancy given.

My personal view for family is that it is criticial that I hold the same moral guidelines when it comes to respect and love. Doing anything else is certainly at risk for biases that lead to the erosion of your personal morality to support someone with a morality you don't respect.

I am thankful for this platform as well. Here I am able to share information about how much healthier our society could be if people only ensured that their own personal needs were secured before throwing essential pieces to others. If we all cared for ourselves first and then shared our excess, "givers" wouldn't fall through the cracks.


I like what you wrote. The last paragraph rings particularly true. If we can't help ourselves it is much more difficult to effectively help others. Thanks for sharing your insights @thedreamsteem

A lot of hard questions and a good thing you put them in writing. As you say, it's a good therapeutic exercise - facing your own demons is hard, but staring them in the face is better than hiding from them. Not admitting to your true feelings takes a greater toll than saying it out loud - you don't actually like your father. It happens, so might as well be honest about it.
I have a friend who spent years caring for her father and still referes to him in wonderful terms, yet the guy was a complete asshole. I've always found this attitude damaging and yet there's no way of politely pointing the obvious truth out.


That's some very sage words and insights that you've shared @ladyrebecca

I have a friend who spent years caring for her father and still refers to him in wonderful terms, yet the guy was a complete asshole. I've always found this attitude damaging and yet there's no way of politely pointing the obvious truth out.

I can't answer for your friend or anyone else but I think that there can be many reasons for this type of behavior. For example, some people may find it too difficult to admit their parents shortcomings. Parents are human and fallible and even the best parents are not perfect so why pretend that they are?

I see others within my own family privately talking to me about my Dad's failings as a father but they would never admit this in public, not even to other members of their spouses family (in-laws) because they would feel embarrassed to admit that Dad has been be an asshole to his family for most of our lives.

Whatever the reasons I choose to take a different path. I feel better for having put this story on the blockchain. My Dad still has a lot of good qualities but he tends to show that side of himself to friends and strangers while those closest to him tend to get the rough end of the stick.

That's just how it is and I've tried to explain this to my Dad numerous times but he just never gets it. My Mum told me that she tried her whole married life to get through to him but that he just can't comprehend it. I've come to terms with that now and I am at peace. I've given it my best attempts and now I'm trying to focus on making his last days as comfortable as I can.

Thanks for reading and commenting. I really appreciate it!

Man that is too close for comfort - my dad died five months ago and that leg looks so frigging familiar...

This shit is hard, and again you have just nailed it in a Steemit post


Sorry to hear about your loss @sift666. Does the painting have a significant meaning to you?


It's actually a photo that I played around with. It's a wharf at Lake Taupo that I've sat on contemplating things - like how small and temporary we are.


wow, you've got some talent. I love spending time in nature and you live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. It sounds like a great place to ponder the big questions.



Yes it is...

THANK YOU @steemtruth! I very timely post for me.

As my father goes through his Chemo treatment, I am also going through what you have so aptly described in this post.

My relationship with Dad has many downs and ups, but today I count my blessings for every little moment I have with him. Steps towards greater acceptance and reconciliation - every single day!

You can see from this picture that I am so glad to see him walk about again. (Pic is our first evening walk together after his surgery).



You guys look great together @coachmelleow. Your smile is infectious and you have a great attitude. Every moment is precious but you already know that!

I wish you and your father all the very best and hope that you will many years together. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story with me.


It's my pleasure @steemtruth. I believe the Truth will set all of us free.

Continue your wonderful inspiring posts. I'm definitely following you. :)

Blessings to you and family.

@steemtruth I have been thinking of you my brother. I know I can speak openly to you, for like yourself death holds neither taboo nor fear for me.

For good and bad, we are all products of our past and our childhood. Some of us can transcend this and others remain held by it, but this is not who we really are. Because you know, when you hold his hand and you feel him pass .. when his soul rises he will once again be free from the chains life has placed upon him, free to be the love you hold in your heart for him. A love that will bind you all for eternity.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and if you ever want to speak, well you know where I am.


You have such a way with words @perceptualflaws and your insights are typically wise and succinct and this is no exception.

I'd been working on this article on and off for over a week and today felt like a good time to finish it. I wanted to get it off my chest before moving on to other topics.

when his soul rises he will once again be free from the chains life has placed upon him, free to be the love you hold in your heart for him. A love that will bind you all for eternity.

So true, life binds us all in chains to varying degrees and death releases us. Hopefully we can loosen some of those chains while we are alive. If we don't we never see things as clearly as we should and we have little chance of reaching our true potential and living a truly fulfilling life.

Thanks for being an awesome friend!

If an able child cant help its needy parents, worry not, he will too become old .. karma is a bitch..


Helping parents in need is still commonplace in third world countries. There is a lot that first world countries can learn from third world countries.


third world countries? whats that?


it's a name that many people use to label countries with developing economies i.e. poorer nations. That's the most used and well known definition.

Thank you for your honesty! The division between liking and loving a parent is a hard one to make. For most, family-life is chaotic from the beginning to the end. I admire and appreciate your straightforwardness about it. Your story is a lesson in accepting life as it comes our way. I too (like everyone who still has parents they're in contact with) think sometimes about the inevitable things that will come – losing, or taking care for loved ones. And I admire your efforts to give your father a worthy ending, carrying and helping him in his last days, how hard this may be for the both of you. I'm sure that this experience will make you a more complete person, even more so: an example for others (don't underestimate yourself in that sense). I wish you the very best in this period of your life!

Dude. I am dealing with about 5% of what you are dealing/have dealt with.

And it's really hard.

My dad has a form of dementia now, and he is like a child, and is far more pleasant now than he has ever been. Which I suppose should be a bonus, but in some ways it is worse.

I know - I absolutely know - that I could not do what you are doing, and when I read about someone with your strength, I feel a mixture of awe and inadequacy.

I am not sure how you have processed all this so philosophically. I will return to this article and read it again, the next time I am feeling sorry for myself for having to deal with my dad's shit.

Best of luck with all of it.


I'm sorry to hear about your dad's dementia. That's really tough. All that you can do is our best and nothing more. I'm far from perfect. We all have different strengths and weaknesses. Focus on your strengths and work on your weaknesses. That's what I try to do. I hope that this is helpful and that you find comfort.


Actually, it isn't so bad as it stands. He is easier to be around, and doesn't seem to be suffering. He has never been a very nice man, and this version of him is less unpleasant than the real him.

You're right about the strength/weakness thing. Too many of us lack the ability to deal with our weaknesses - they are buried and constantly trip us up, often with collateral damage.

Thanks for the kind words.

Thank you for this insight into your life brother! I keep you in my prayers daily!


You're a good man @nobutsd. Thank you for your prayers and support brother.

Woow friend, what good writing you have left us here, I think you are right about the way you have to face death. I also hope to accept it when the time came. Thank you very much for sharing, and I hope you have luck in what you have proposed. Full Upvote.


Thank you for your kind words and understanding @vieira - I really appreciate it!

Thanks for sharing your story. I wish I had my Father back, but he is not longer with me, I would love him unconditionally, perhaps the only love he would seen was mine, but it to late to lament about it. When we love ourselves it comes easy to love the unlovable. “Honor your father and mother” (which is the first commandment with a promise), 3“that it may go well with you and that you may be long-lived on the earth.”… Proverbs 23:22 “Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.”27 With all your heart honor your father,
and do not forget the birth pangs of your mother.
28 Remember that it was of your parents you were born;

how can you repay what they have given to you?


Loving unconditionally is the benchmark that we should all be striving to achieve. I wish that I was better at it but I fall short more often that I would like. I'm sorry to hear of your loss.

how can you repay what they have given to you?

I'm not sure that I can but trying to be a good son and take care of them is how I try to repay them. Paying it forward by helping others is another way that we can honor their memories and legacy.

Thank you for reading my post and commenting @rhema2017

What a beautiful story, my father died when I was 5, my mother says he never talked abut his second world war army days, he too was scarred for life. I also helped my mother when my step father had cancer and died at home, I am the youngest of four, and the only one that was willing to be there, or could be there. I feel what you are going through, I have been there also. Stay strong my friend, you will come out the other side, with a knowledge you could only imagine to comprehend before. I wish I could upvote you more than my 0.03 cents, though I am afraid it is all I am worth on here. I give it all the same with love, stay strong, and may peace be with you.


Thank you for sharing part of your story and personal experience with me. Your words mean far more to me that the amount of money they generate. You gave all that you were able to give and that is very generous of you.

I just checked out your page and you've only been a here for a few weeks. Your account will grow in time I am sure. I'm following you now so please keep in touch @deliberator (cool name btw).

That's a touching personal story. Uncanny considering my father who I had a similarly bad (nay, awful) relationship died just after new year's this year.
He died overseas in a very alcohol soaked manner and last month was a blur. Having to travel 15,000 km and deal with utterly vulturous distant family AT HIS FUNERAL killed a part of my altruism. Hopefully it will resurrect with time. I'm still processing it all I guess. Was steeming like a mofo to take my attention away from the personal gloom but it's now time to process it all. Slowly.


I've been a bit surprised over the last few weeks as to how many people have had a difficult relationship with one or more or their parents. Just yesterday a guy who does some work for me told me that he'd read this post and that it reminded of his challenges with his own Dad and now I read this from you.

It is important to process the loss of a parent (or anyone) in your own way and when it's right for you. I wish you all the very best in this regard. If you ever want to chat you know where to find me.

Thank you for reading my post and for sharing part of your story with me @aagabriel - you're a good man!


We will get there :-)

Thank you for sharing this touching and honest personal story. It takes a special kind of person to be so open and honest about themselves and their loved ones!


That's very sweet of you to say @naydenova - thank you so much!

Thank you for sharing your story. It has helped me too. It's a difficult thing to express and you did it with love and compassion and not anger or malice which is an easy trap to fall into.


I'm so pleased to hear that. Thank you for letting me know.

My parents and I are in nearly the same boat. I'm adopted. Buying a child cannot make you love him the same as your flesh and blood.

Simply moving! Thanks for sharing :)


Thank you for reading it and taking the time to comment @mstaxidrv - I really appreciate it and I'm touched that it moved you!


I went thru this for the last 5 yrs. I have to avoid the subject. I apologize, I do not have the words to express my feelings. Saw the headline and had to read it. It help with some healing. You are a better person then I am. Thank you for your post. God bless


It's not easy as you well know. God bless you and thanks for reading and commenting.

The first part of your post rang so true and if you asked my son what he thought of his father I'm sure the answer would be word for word like yours. @kiwideb and I lost our father in September and like @sift666 says that leg is very familiar. :)


I hope that your son can forgive his father. Sometimes, when it all gets a bit too much I struggle to forgive. Old memories, programs and triggers rear their ugly heads and take control of my thoughts and actions. It's not healthy which is why I needed to write this post and get it off my chest. I feel much better already.

I'm very sorry to hear of your loss.


Thank you - it was a difficult time. Yes I find the same thing - if I talk about it enough it loses some of it's sting - I'm glad you're feeling better :)

Feb the 5th will be one year to the day my dad passed. I stayed with him at home until the end. He passed of colon cancer and it was not easy to watch him fade away. I'm sorry you have this cup to drink from my friend. It's never an easy thing to swallow. I'll pray for you and your father, and Gods mercy for both of you.


I'm sorry to hear about your Dad. I hope that Monday is a peaceful day for you. I remember talking about him with you last year. Coincidentally, I was only thinking of you yesterday. Good to hear from you. Thank you buzzard.

What a moving story you got there! Best of all for you!

The second picture ooh i dont know what to say

What a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing. Many prayers for you and your father. I look your clarity and honesty. We don't always like our loved ones, but they are ours. I have been in a similar situation, but I didn't have the clarity. It haunted me for years after. This post was enlightening. I put my heart and faith in the good Lord and know we have angels. May you find comfort and peace in these rough times. Blessings


I'm so pleased that you got something from reading it. I got a lot from writing it. I've since found new energy. Amen to the Lord and angels looking over us. This is a huge reason for the death of my Dad not concerning me or even my own death. As flawed as both of us are we know exactly where we are going. Blessings.

It brings tears to my eyes :(
Father is the only one who worked all his life to give us happiness and full our dreams :( but we don't care for him and when we realize it, it too late :(

You are an example for many and for me! Friend, be strong! He is heavier than you. When he leaves you two will become easier because you have already passed your 7 steps.


Thank for the encouragement !


You made a great impression on me. I hope you will forgive me for finding the courage to say this:


Thank you for writing this touching article @nsbachurin

You have a good heart and you understand that to be human means to love and care for others and to place the interests of others before our own.

I was moved when I read this. Thank you so much!


I wish you wisdom, courage, health and strength to go this ordeal

Hi @steemtruth, Truly a Father is a great hero from ever existed.

So pathetic but I believe parent are blessing to us

Congratulations! You were nominated for a TROPHY TOKEN award HERE Please comment your Bitshares address to receive your reward! You can also contact us on Discord @Trophy-Token. Thank you for being a great Steemian!

You write in such an immediately accessible way that I felt instantly drawn into your post. Or maybe I was just MKUltra'd by the Star Wars pic!!😊

Either way I can relate, completely. My 91year old father has Althzeimers, needs full time monitoring, he is also Type 1 diabetic (amazing he has lasted this long actually!) also 6'2 ex army with OCD...with that combo you can just imagine what a joy he is to care for!! And I toggle between caring for him and my own children like the proverbial jam in a sandwich forever being flattened by other peoples needs!

Most often he doesn't even know who I am, most of the time he probably mistakes me for the cleaning lady. But, the thing is, I know who HE is, or more accurately, was! And for all his faults he always did what he could for me, so in this circle of life, frustrating, flawed and other F words that is it, I, like you, just keep going, doing what we can and staying strong.

Sending you a solidarity hug and wishing both you and your father peace ⭐️

This was beautiful to read. Very real. Thanks for sharing such a personal story.