My father was diagnosed with IV terminal cancer a few years ago. He only lived three months after the diagnose was made. As a result of his weak condition, he had a stroke and lost the ability to talk and move by himself. He was incapacitated. At the time he was still doing chemo, but different doctors told us the same thing: that the most human thing to do was to stop the treatment and let him go naturally, as the other option would only prolong his pain in a degenerative state.
My mom and I decided to end the treatment, but my aunts were not happy at all about it. Their adverse reactions caused several arguments between the family at the hospital. They let me know I was a disgrace and a disappointment for “giving up” on my father and not trying harder to save his life.
One last argument took place right in front of my dad’s death bed. One of my aunts just kept repeating “that’s my brother and you let him die,” totally diminishing my role as a daughter, as if I was not losing the most precious person in my life too.
Ever since my dad passed away, I’ve been treated like an outsider on his side of the family, and it hurts even after all these years because I grew up surrounded by love in that family, I was very close to my aunts and my cousins, and after the funeral, they just disappeared from my life.
I’m still angry about the argument that took place right before my dad’s passing. I feel like it was a life-changing moment that should have been lived in peace, and I’m sure everything was so tense, that the experience was so negative for my dad, that his soul must have felt it.
I realize that my aunts were acting out of frustration, but they made me feel like garbage and is something that still haunts me. My dad had five sisters, only one of them contacted me a year later, to check up on me and tell me everyone was busy with their lives and to “not take it personally.”
My mother is also included in their little “ice treatment,” and unlike me, she cried the first few Christmases after not getting a message, or a call, from any of them. I honestly don’t think we did anything that deserves such treatment. We were looking out for my father’s best interest by making his passing the most organic one.
Thinking about it, I concluded that my aunts were overcompensating with my dad for the death of their mother. My grandma passed when she was 50 from cancer. At the time, her children left at the hospital to get treatment on her own and continued with their lives. When she passed, I think they realized they could have done much more for her, so, when my father was going through the same, they wanted to exhaust every possible alternative to spend more time with him.
I’m not sure if I’m looking for advice here, I know that, even though I’m hurt, and sometimes miss my family, I don’t want to be associated with them anymore after all these years of making me feel guilty. However, I would appreciate hearing from people that have gone through similar experiences and how you moved forward.
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