Skip to content


    Attention All WebMD Community Members:

    These message boards are closed to posting. Please head on over to our new WebMD Message Boards to check out and participate in the great conversations taking place:

    Your new WebMD Message Boards are now open!

    Making the move is as easy as 1-2-3.

    1.Head over to this page:

    2.Choose the tag from the drop-down menu that clicks most with you (and add it to any posts you create so others can easily find and sort through posts)

    3. Start posting

    Have questions? Email us anytime at [email protected]

    Please take some time to click through these links to find out more about our community.

    What is a Trigger and When to Trigger a Post
    How and Why to Report a Post
    Visit our Crisis Assistance Link for resources. For immediate help, call 911 or get to the ER.

    My Father Died
    oliveronions posted:
    My father recently died. He was in his eighties. I am 52 years old. He and I had a love/hate relationship. I often did not communicate with him because he had a habit of criticizing me & I rarely received good advice from him. However, he often helped me financially when I was going through hard times and was forgiving to me when I made bad decisions. Now I need do make sense of our relationship. Also, I have to write a letter -not long, short is ok, some sort of condolence - to his sister - my aunt - about his death. I don't know what to say. I don't want to sound like a complainer. She and I were not that close. I need to say something appropriate. I can't spend my time feeling helpless because I don't know what to say. I'm sorry about posting this twice. I posted before I quiet understood how to do it properly. Thanks for your help.
    susiemargaret responded:
    hello, all --

    the original of this message, with several responses, is at . you can post additional responses there or here.

    to O --

    i'll send a separate response in a few minutes. don't worry about posting this twice; it's not a big deal!

    -- susie margaret
    what good is gold, or silver too, if your heart's not good and true -- hank williams, sr.
    susiemargaret responded:
    hello, O --

    it could have been me writing your message. after an extremely difficult relationship with my father while i was growing up, colored in every conceivable way by his insistence that i be perfect in everything i did (under the never-spoken but ever-present threat of his no longer loving me if i wasn't perfect), in my 40s we finally reached what i considered to be a "working relationship." i don't know how he characterized it.

    essentially, we didn't talk about emotionally serious things -- nothing about his relationship with my mother or any other woman, nothing about his relationship with his parents and/or siblings, nothing about my relationship with either him or my mother, nothing about my relationship with any of my three (!) husbands. we pretended that this was the way every father and daughter interacted.

    but he remarried a truly wonderful woman to whom i became close and who was the best thing that ever happened to him. she had a remarkable mellowing influence on him and often served as a kind of buffer between him and me when his and my raw nerves started grating on each other (this was usually about four hrs into a visit!).

    in addition, he was extremely supportive during my two crackups and called often to see how i was doing and if i needed anything (in contrast to my mother, who -- to my astonishment -- managed to make my hospitalizations about her rather than about me!). in other words, despite the friction between my father and me that was always present but never overtly acknowledged, we managed to sustain enough of a relationship that i could say that things were at peace between us when he died.

    would you say that you and your father had come to a sort of peace with each other when he died? that is no small achievement, considering where you started from. when you think about him, can you set aside enough of your resentment of his criticism to give him the benefit of the doubt by assuming that his motives were well-intended even tho his actions usually made things worse between you?

    if that's the most you can do, that's still enough, in my opinion. there is no rule that two people have to be in perfect harmony in order for one to accept without guilt the state of their relationship when the other one dies.

    as for the letter to your aunt, why are you worried about sounding "like a complainer"? letters of condolence are just that -- expressions "of sympathy with a person who is suffering sorrow, misfortune, or grief"
    ( ), not balance sheets summarizing the relative virtues of the one who died versus the letter-writer.

    were your father and his sister close? if so, you can say how sorry you are that she has lost a relationship of such long standing, or that you were always moved by the affection with which your father talked about how much he loved his sister, or that you always enjoyed seeing your father and his sister joke around with each other about when they were children. your emphasis should be on your aunt's loss, not your evaluation of whether or not he was a good father.

    even if your father and his sister were not close, or if you don't know whether or not they were close, you can still say something about how sorry you are that she has lost a relationship of such long standing (sound familiar? look in the previous paragraph!). get a box of small folded note cards, start writing, and you'll be amazed at how quickly you can fill up one or both of the inside pages.

    i know you are ambivalent in your feelings for your father. that's OK; it doesn't make you a bad person, it just makes you a person who is ambivalent in his feelings for his father. that is no sin.

    does this help?

    i send you caring thoughts and hope you will keep us posted on how you are doing.

    -- susie margaret
    what good is gold, or silver too, if your heart's not good and true -- hank williams, sr.

    Helpful Tips

    Sexual Problems from Meds..What to do!Expert
    Serotonin type antidepressants can cause 5-30% of the time- sexual problems such as no orgasm, impotence, no libido. Consider that ... More
    Was this Helpful?
    30 of 41 found this helpful

    Related Drug Reviews

    • Drug Name User Reviews

    Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

    FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.