Heavy stuff below. TW for mental illness, death of a family member.

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I think I am really angry at my father.

As I have written here before, Dad died last spring. I wasn’t capable in that moment of feeling grief, because the last months of his life were so dreadful, so filled with pain, that it was almost a relief that he was at peace.

Now, over a year later, I am realizing that I have been deeply hurt by both his behavior when I was a child, his decisions when I was an adult, and by his death. He fought the cancer for a year and a half, even being cancer-free for some months, but when it came back he didn’t tell us until he was peeing blood and step mom found blood in the bathroom. By that point it was too late.

Dad was an active alcoholic for almost all of my life. I have no doubt that that contributed to his cancer. Dad also had me drinking heavily with him from the age of 14. He gave me my first glass of beer when I was seven or eight.

Now, in the aftermath of his passing - and in the horror of the situation with step bro - I am a wreck. Each time I come to the island I am almost sick after. I can’t get work done. The time I spend with my grandmother is stained by our shared grief and by anxiety. There is always a crisis situation with step bro; it turns out that he may be returning to the island after running away a second time. I fear for my step mom’s life on a daily basis, and my grandmother’s health is declining from the stress. I wish that I could maintain a healthy relationship with step mom, but it’s hard. I find myself incredibly angry.

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I don’t know what to do. I’m 31 years old and I feel ancient. I can’t share this experience with anyone because it feels so distasteful - my friends know what’s going on, but how can anyone understand what it feels like to be unable to mourn because of the severe mental illness of a relative I didn’t sign up for? And I had hoped to help him - everyone wanted to help him - but there is no chance of that. Yet again I am yoked to a very sick person who wishes me nothing but harm.

I’m sorry to ramble about this, and I’m not sure if I need advice or just comfort. My eating is fucked up again because food is the only thing I can control. I want to live my life instead of survive it. I want to finish my damn book. I want to sing in public. I want to go dancing. I want to make love to my husband in the brief snatches of time we get between his travel or mine. But I’m so angry and I am hopeless. I feel selfish. I just don’t know how to be happy anymore.

And I want my dad back so he can live up to all the promises he made - to be a father, a husband, a son. But he didn’t really do that while he was alive. And now he is gone.

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Thanks for letting me share, GT. I wish I had better shit to talk about.