Parenting decisions - rethinking the last year.

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Don't know whether this is a vent, asking for advice, or just dumping stuff out there that I've been mulling over for 12 months...12 months ago next weekend, everything turned to whoop. Daughter was performing down in Sydney at "School Spectacular", and my then partner (now wife) was down with her as a parent helper for three days...Son and I "bached it", I had a couple days off, so I could drop him off, do stuff and be home when he walked home from school...belt tennis balls up the back lane (lose them and discover advanced retrieval techniques), BBQ ribs over charcoal, watch old lost in space B&W videos. Saturday morning, 30th November, we hopped in the Nissan, and drove down to the big smoke to pick the women folk up...we would get there in time for a light dinner before their final performance, and drive them and a friend's kid home...Sunday was to be another big day, it was the rite of passage school camp where grade 5 kids all go to an island camp for a week...bus left at 6AM, 5 hours home and our daughter was to be off on another adventure. On the way down to get them, my phone was in and out of reception, but when we got down the mountains, and reception improved, multiple missed call, and multiple messages from my brother, frantic. Found a spot to park, phone message bank tag for about 5 minutes. Dad had taken his .22 out to the shed while my Mum was in the shower, and suicided...not quite successfully, as he was on life support, and fading...family wanted me there...would have had to dump partner and kids in Sydney, not going to happen (4 hours by car, 8 by other means), so suggested that he never wanted to be on life support, had intentionally gone down that path, and so to respect both of his wishes, let him go. Drove into Sydney, couldn't blurt out to all and sundry what was going down, especially when daughter comes up with a phone message Grandad had sent here telling her how great she was, and he was going to watch her on TV tonight...knees nearly buckled at that...found a quiet spot and explained to my partner what was going down. He passed around 18:30 that evening... Now's where the problems took root. Didn't tell the children. Daughter, we loaded onto her bus for her school camp, waved goodbye, then came home, explained to our son what was going on (just that Grandma found Grandad collapsed in the shed, and the doctors couldn't save him)...then drove down to be with family and help with arrangements. Drove home to pick up daughter from camp, cooked here her favourite welcome home dinner, then crushed her world with news that we were packing up and going to Grandma's for a funeral. Being a smart kid, she worked out that he'd died before she went to camp, and was royally peeved. Year on, another school camp, big one to nation's capital, and Mum wants to inter Dad's ashes on his birthday...last day of camp...camp is in same city as Parents', so we have to make arrangements to pick her up from camp rather than when bus gets back. Completed successfully, but apparently daughter, who knew the arrangements was quite upset day of the pick-up, as she knew we were travelling, mission required timing to be just right, and the British PM talked for too long while they were at Parliament House...not a melt down, just teachers noticed anxiety, and offered re-assurance, and rang to see that we were on track. That was last weekend, and we pulled it off. Next weekend is School spectacular again, and daughter and wife are going to be there. Son and I are baching again for a couple of days, and we'll drive down to pick them up after it. And, as it turns out, my children are scared silently witless that another boot is going to drop. Like I said, not sure whether this is a vent, a request for advice, or just dumping it there.
 

JC1

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Shannow, I feel your pain. I hope you are not feeling guilty about not telling your daughter right away. When she's ready to speak, explain to her why you didn't. Tell you that you know it's not 100% right, but you didn't want to tell her right away and ruin her weekend. It's sad that your Dad decided to end his life. My kids are teenagers and I tell them if they ever get in that frame to mind to call me and to never end things like that. It's not worth it. Look forward to time with your family more now that this has happened and show your kids how much they mean to you. Life is too short. Regards, JC.
 
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I believe you made the best decisions. I believe your kids will understand the decisions you made as they grow older. A year is just a period of time. There's nothing that will cause another "boot to drop", it's just a sorrowful sense of déjà vu.
 
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Feel your pain, Shannow. Hang in there and stay strong. You as the man (dad/husband) in the family can only be so strong, but inside every man feels weak and vulnerable (if not helpless at times). hand in there.... the pain will gradually subside.... Q.
 
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Hang in there. I remember how freaked out I was one morning when my parents wake me up to go with them to the hospital because grandpa was sick (late stage cancer), but eventually as time pass I got over it.
 
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Wow tough situation. Don't be hard on yourself. As parents we sometimes feel like the world is on our shoulders as we own every thing that happens. You have to make decisions sometimes, its better than being paralyzed by not being able to make a decision. You make the best decision you can with the info you have at the time. Hindsight is always 2020. Sometimes there is no good decision. If you told your daughter ahead she might have had an awful time at camp or not gone and missed out on a good memory at camp . You also needed time to process what happened. Kids might be mad for a bit , but over time they will know you loved them and tried to do the best you could and they will understand as they mature. Sometimes there is no right decision, and there will be unhappiness either way, you just have to make one and go with it. Thats a lot to deal with and i'm glad you are venting, just talking about it will make you feel better. I'm sorry about your father, and more so for your mom and family. Please don't beat yourself up over this, you are a parent in this situation but also you are a child. I hope you feel better by venting this. Take care of your self so you can be the parent and husband for your family. God Bless you. Bryan
 
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Considering everything going on, you did what you had to do. Makes sense to me. Kids are always going to be tough, no matter what you do, but they will understand...
 
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Don't feel guilty....you did what you though was best at the time to save them the anguish and immediate pain and suffering. We don't get to choose when our loved ones depart this world. We only get to pick up the pieces and carry on. When my Dad was on his death bed I had to travel out of town for two days. I tried to cancel it but sadly could not. 8 hours after I arrived at my destination....he passed. I felt guilty for a while until my stepmother told me it was Ok because I had seen him for weeks before he left. Life is what it is. One thing for sure some moments are never easy. It was good for you to rant. My sincere condolences for your loss.
 

JHZR2

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I can't imagine how hard it would be to let someone go, even if it were their wishes, which given his action, seems to be (though I guess he was mentally ill somehow, so who knows if he knew what he really wanted). But he made his intent known, so what else could you do? I think my parents did pretty good. Ive been given lots, but had to earn lots, been given ideas but able to come to my own decisions. Guided, but free to learn, etc. I think they did a pretty good job. And I know that through my time, there were some instances where things happened (not this severe, thats for sure), where if I was doing something they wanted me to enjoy, or that would interrupt something important, they didn't tell me until later. I was usually mad after. In recent memory though, my grandfather passed... of natural causes. I was there when it happened. It was graceful and he was calm, my wife said it was beautiful in a way, maybe... but it has haunted me a bit, watching the heart monitor, hearing breathing stop. So she certainly didn't miss anything. Maybe a chance to hold a hand one last time, but it isn't necessarily a memory she wants. She was mad? I probably would have been at the time. But in the end all, perhaps it is for the best. Better memories replace sad memories. Temporary shock replaces long-lasting images. There is no good call, no good choice. Id take comfort in that more than anything... You would never be able to make the right choice, because often anger and confused and conflicting emotions is part of it. So you did it all right, and when she is older, likely she will understand. But sorry you have to go through all this and the emotions and thoughts still linger...
 
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You were in a difficult situation and you did what you thought was right. I suggest you just have a completely open conversation with your kids about it. Sounds like your daughter was upset because she was left out of the loop. If you talk to her as an equal about her feelings and your reasons, and are apologetic about not telling her / hurting her feelings, she will be more likely to lose the mistrust that was created.
 
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You made a tough call. And I think the right one. When a man carries the load for many there are times he must make choices that feel right at the time but hindsight is always 20/20. I am sorry for your loss.
 
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Originally Posted By: Clevy
You made a tough call. And I think the right one. When a man carries the load for many there are times he must make choices that feel right at the time but hindsight is always 20/20. I am sorry for your loss.
Very well put, and I totally agree. I sympathize with Shannon because I've had to make decisions regarding my kids concerning family members on both sides of the family (similar though not quite so extreme circumstances). It's obviously never easy, and you do or did what you thought was best for your kids. Nobody could ask for anything more.
 
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One thing about yesterday, last week, last month, last year etc - it is in the book. Today's events, actions, or revelations cannot be entered into yesterday's book. Tomorrow's events can not be done today. You and I and all of us are able to affect only the now. Only in the now can we do anything. Right now I pray your anguish be soothed. Recriminations and emotions overtake me from time to time. Mindful that I can never go back and make different/better decisions, I focus on my breath. On each breath I note and release each painful memory. This has helped me have a long and happy life. A doctor taught me breathing in 1974. Today the internet is filled with excellent tutorials on mindful breathing. On this side of the pond, NIH and Mayo Clinic come to mind.
 

Shannow

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Originally Posted By: spasm3
You have to make decisions sometimes, its better than being paralyzed by not being able to make a decision. You make the best decision you can with the info you have at the time. God Bless you. Bryan
That's it...the lock that needed unlocking, and I thank you...Was stuck, not wanting to break something further. We were going shopping together for sausages and bread for a BBQ and bike ride for her and her brother at a kid/bike friendly spot near work...hand in hand like always. Talked about her fears about the next week, and that she was worried about the same thing happening. Explained why that was so sudden and abrupt (she saw her maternal Grandmother succumb to cancer 7 years years ago or thereabout)...why we did what we did, and found that she'd worked most of it out, but was struggling with why would someone suicide...that bit we could agree on, but agreed also to talk rather than bottling it in. Again, thanks Steve.
 

Shannow

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Thanks all of you for the support... I realise now that I was fishing for something to break my mental stalemate. I always learn something on BITOG.
 
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