My older daughter withdrew first from me, then from most of the family, 10 years ago.
I saw a psychologist, eventually went through a grieving process. My younger daughter (34) and I are very close. She cut ties with her sister due to constant issues between them.
My second husband (30 years together) also couldn’t get along with her but was close to my younger daughter.
Daughter #1 kept contact with her father and grandmother, but there were many serious incidents.
It appeared she’d been using drugs. I heard that she also claimed to be bi-polar.
The last information I had (several years ago) was that she had a love-partner interest who showered her with everything she wanted. She apparently seemed happy.
She then cut herself off from her father as well, several years ago.
Last Monday evening, a police officer informed me that my older daughter had passed away that day. It was a shock.
The next day, I learned that she’d fallen in the bathtub. Her partner had found her later that day upon returning home.
He asked the officer to pass along his contact information so I could tell him any wishes I had regarding funeral arrangements.
The autopsy results revealed no conclusive evidence about why she’d lose consciousness and fall.
Her partner told me that she was on medication for anxiety and depression, but hadn’t seemed suicidal.
My younger daughter’s now worried about how her father will handle this. I’ve informed my immediate family.
There’ll be a small memorial service which my younger daughter and I will attend. Her partner knows we’ll be there.
I don’t wish to inform any friends of what’s happened, as it’s still deeply painful to think about and stirs long-suppressed feelings.
While they all know the history/circumstances, it’s a very long time since she’s been in my life. My “bereavement” occurred years ago.
I don’t presently feel the need to see a doctor.
Am I wrong to keep this confidential, possibly forever?
If the facts became known, how do I handle it if I’m asked why I didn’t say anything?
If/when I do decide to let others know, would an email be inappropriate? I don’t want to talk about it at all, beyond my immediate family.
Naturally, daughter #2 is upset about what happened as am I, because of the circumstances. She said, “No one deserves to have that happen to them.” We’re going through another period of grief.
Always a Mother
No one can tell a parent what reaction’s “right” or “wrong” in the tragic circumstance of a child’s death.
However, you, your younger daughter, and your ex-husband, would have to deal with the results of your sharing that story with friends.
It would re-open the wounds from a tough estrangement that you’ve worked so hard to heal.
Those people you’d contact personally (email’s too detached) would all insist on talking it through, discussing old stories about her and suggesting new theories. They’d undoubtedly “mean well.”
But this second bereavement is different. You’re a mother whose long-troubled adult child has died in mid-life, bringing you renewed grief.
Talk first to the man who loved her. It may ease some pain. And may also help you consider, if you change your mind, what you could say to your friends - such as, that her last years were happy.
Contact your psychologist or another grief counsellor to help you live with the finality of losing this daughter.
Separated for five-plus years, we shared our child, 10, prior to COVID-19. Now a mediator’s involved.
Originally, I had our child two weekdays and every other weekend.
Now, with a "new normal," my ex-wife who has glioblastoma (brain tumour) insists I only see our child at her location twice weekly, no sleepovers.
I can't hug my child, must stay distanced, wear a mask/ gloves. I alone can visit - not my parents, my new fiancé, the family pet.
Our child’s stressed about this plan. But the mediator/lawyers, aware of my ex-wife’s health condition, think the courts may not side with me.
The mediator doesn't want responsibility if anything happens to my ex.
If the pandemic lasts another year/two, how is this fair to my father-daughter relationship?
At 10, h/she can understand the mother’s condition requires protecting her from the virus. Between visits, FaceTime your child regularly, explain/observe the new rules. It’s tough but necessary, and will pass.
Tip of the day:
A child’s death is a parent’s worst nightmare, no matter the nature of their relationship.