Losing Control


It seems that since we had my 13 year old cat put down in July, things have been constantly going wrong, and will continue to go wrong.

My only sibling - My big brother Joel died in August - He had a motorcycle accident. My Dad was in Calgary visiting Joel - they had a pig roast, a bunch of people over, and were drinking. My Dad offered Joel to take his motorbike for a ride earlier in the day when Joel was sober, but Joel declined saying that he wasn't comfortable he could manage it as he hadn't been on a bike in a long time. That night, when Joel was more drunk than any of his friends had ever seen him, my Dad let him get on the motorbike and told him not to wear a helmet. He was just doing a "quick" loop around the block. He was going 70 miles an hour. He lost control going around a corner, hit the curb, bounced off a tree, and took off 1/2 of his head on a trailer hitch. (Sorry for being graphic - I can't get the image out of my head).

Since the accident happened, I haven't spoken with my father. Our relationship was strained at the best of times, and now I really feel that he is so incredibly irrisponsible and thoughtless. He never made an effort to spend time with Joel and I as kids. Our Step-grandfather did more things with us than my father ever did. Dad has sent me a few e-mails, obviously seeking absolution. He just wants me to tell him that everything is okay and it's not his fault - But nothing is okay, and I do blame Dad a lot, because he's the only person alive who I can blame. He has said that "Joel was a grown man, and (he) couldn't have stopped him if (he) wanted to". But, the fact of the mater is that all Dad would have had to say was, "No Joel, I don't think you should take the bike right now", and it wouldn't have happened. Joel was one of the most respecful men I have ever known, and if Dad had said no, Joel would have listened.

Now, in addition to dealing with the loss of my big brother and my estranged father, my Mom now has an ovarian cyst. I am trying to stay logical and not over-react. We don't know anything about it yet. We don't know if it's cancerous or not. I am just sitting, waiting to see what's going to happen with that.

I'm just terrified that if I lose my Mum, too, then I'm going to be all alone. I never wanted to be an only child, and I now am. . I don't think I could handle losing my mother. She's my best friend.

I'm okay a bit of the time, but sometimes when I start to think about everything that has happened and everything that is going on. . I feel like I'm losing my marbles.

Sorry it's so long. . I just needed to vent, yet again.

Comments (8)
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Joel's sister: I'm so sorry for the loss of your dear brother. I lost my dad in August too and haven't spoken with my siblings due to things they said and did during his final days. I hope for you that eventually you will come to think about everything in a way that is easier to tolerate. Does that make since? I know you are angry and full of what ifs. Give yourself more time. You don't owe anbody anything. It's only been three months. Things will become more clear as time goes on. At least that's what I tell myself.
I hope your mom will be okay. It must be scary. Don't jump to conclusions just wait and see what the Dr.s say. My niece had many ovarian cysts. They NEVER developed into cancer and were treated with medication.
Hang in there and keep writing on this forum.

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I'm so sorry for what you are going through not only having lost your brother, but the situation with your dad and also worrying about your mom. Life is so hard.
Your dad is probably going through agony himself. Whether he will admit it or not, he probably feels much to blame for your brother's death. I know from experience with other parents who have lost their children that this is a very, very heavy burden to carry. He probably also fears losing his daughter forever. I know that you are filled with anger and we all have to find some blame when something like this happens, but I hope that in time, your heart will soften and realize that your dad is probably going through his own hell. If he was with your brother that day, he must care for him and miss him terribly also.
If something happens to your dad before you are able to forgive him, then you will have even more on your heart.
I hope I don't make you angry and I certainly don't know the anguish that you are going through.
I do know that after my 19 year old daughter was killed by a foolish young man who we feel was drugged and never apologized, we could have spent the last 6 1/2 years of our lives with anger and resentment in our hearts for him. But by doing that, it would have only made our hearts hurt worse. Sometimes you have try your best to soften your heart and try to understand, forgive, and move on.
Maybe you could try to go ahead and tell him how you feel, let him express his feelings to you and then maybe you can forgive him in time. If you keep him shut out of your life you will always harbor this hurt and always have unresolved anger and resentment for what you feel caused your brother's death. Your dad probably didn't realize that your brother would go 70 miles an hour on the cycle. He had no way of knowing that he would do that and lose control.
That's how I try to look at our situation also. It eases my heart. I try to remind myself that Christin, my daughter, also had a part in the accident. Although the man driving who hit her was being careless, fighting with his girlfriend, not watching the road, was drinking, was probably drugged, she also had a part in the accident. She was in the middle of the road at night trying to save our injured dog.
I hope I don't anger you, but I'm just trying to give you food for thought. I know that during extreme emotional times, we tend to get tunnel vision and sometimes it takes other's to help us see a different perspective in certain issues.
I will keep your mom in my prayers and also for the healing of your dad and your relationship. I do care and I would love to hear from you some more in the future. I'm so sorry for all you are going through. I hope I haven't hurt you more. It certainly was not my intention.

Here is a link that might be useful: Christin Cosby Memorial Web Site

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Lu i think your post is very good analysis of the emotions going on here. we hurt and do and say things due to anger and then that anger becomes normal and if left unresolved, it grows and will impact the rest of your life.
Joels sister, I am so sorry for your loss and the difficulties with your dad and all you are going thru. I hope and pray that you are able to make peace with your father before too much time passes.


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I appreciate your well wishes and comments. I am not angry with your opinions regarding my dad - Believe me, I have heard them all before. . . But all of those statements have come from people who don't know the nitty gritty of my relationship with my father.

In regards to the one statement, "Your dad probably didn't realize that your brother would go 70 miles an hour on the cycle. He had no way of knowing that he would do that and lose control". You are correct. The thought of Joel going that fast on the bike wouldn't have crossed my fathers mind. BUT, with Joel being as drunk as he was, and Joel's friend and roommate trying to stop him from getting on the bike (the only responsible person at the house that night), what could he have thought would happen? Accidents happen when drunk people get behind the wheel of bikes / cars / snowmobiles / boats / etc regardless. It's just common sense. And Dad thought enough to tell Joel not to wear a helmet. And thought enough to let Joel get on the bike. He did think to a certain extent, but he didn't USE HIS HEAD. That is my problem. Any parent who was really concerned about his child would never have let his only boy get on a motorcycle in that condition. Any parent who was somewhat responsible would have said "No" and that's all it would have taken. All I am thankful for is that Joel didn't hurt or kill anyone but himself in that accident.

And as far as my personal relationship with my father, you cannot patch a relationship if the relationship didn't exist in the first place. My father has never been a big part of my life, has never made any sort of effort to do anything with me or Joel, & has rebuffed any sort of effort I made to spend with him. My father only ever wanted us in his life when it was convenient for him - When he got something out of the deal. To this day, he cannot tell me the name of any one of my friends, tell me the name of where I have worked for almost a year, or tell me the name of my boyfriend that I've been dating for 14 months. He doesn't get it, he never did get it, and he will continue to not get it. My life will be better without him in it.

My father is a walking contradiction. In one e-mail he said, "I blame myself so much for Joel's death", and the very next e-mail he wrote, "It's not my fault, I couldn't have stopped him from getting on that bike - He was a grown man - He's responsible for his own actions". My father is programmed to say what he THINKS is the right thing to say. He doesn't feel 3/4 of the things he says. The last statement I quoted is typical dad. The first was a programmed statement.

He said to my mother that he wished that he could have had the kind of relationship with Joel and I that my mother had. Mum didn't do anything overly special to have a good relationship with us. She just made an effort to know who we are, and to know what's important to us.

And the fact remains that I am incapable of forgiving my father. I know that if I make an attempt to be the "bigger" person in this situation that I will ALWAYS harbour a lot of resentment towards my father. I will never be able to look at him without thinking about the loss of my brother. I will never want my children to be around him for fear of their safety. I will never trust him with anyone that I love. I wouldn't even trust him to care for a goldfish.

The fact of the matter is that the problems with my father are seeded much deeper than just Joel's death. There have been serious problems between my father and I since I was a kid. If it was just Joel's death that was affecting our relationship, I probably could get over it and forgive him for making a huge mistake. Joel's death has only compounded every other issue I have ever had with my father. And my biggest reason for not forgiving him and welcoming him back into my life is that I KNOW nothing will change. It's not going to make him give a damn, it's not going to make him make an effort. He's going to get that forgiveness, and run with it, and things will be as they always have been. And I am not willing to deal with that.

So, there's my rant for the day.


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Dear Joel's sister,
I can see that you are sooooooo hurt and angry. I just wanted to say please give yourself time. I think that most people do the best that they can do, and that they make the best decisions they can with the information they have at the time. Sometimes the decisions are horrible, with horrible ramifications. But most people don't set out to hurt others on purpose. I'm beginning to realize that the people in my life that have hurt me have just been ignorant. They have been so wrapped up in themselves that they haven't made the effort to think of others. And they are judgmental and intolerant of differences in others. And you know what I'm learning? It's their loss. I am really trying to surround myself with people worthy of my time and love and sometimes family does not fit into that category ----- and that is okay. I'm not so angry with my siblings anymore but will I set myself up to be hurt by them again? NO WAY. And will I harbor resentment and anger that will spoo out of me like venom to the people that I love the most? NO WAY. Sometimes making peace with someone is just about the understanding them part and dropping all expectations for YOUR benefit, not theirs. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself, not them. You said it yourself, this is not just about Joel's death but a lifetime of disappointments. You don't have to welcome him back into your life with open arms to find peace in this situation. Please just be still and don't make any decisions, and let everything absorb in. Then you will know how to feel about him and where to set the boundaries. I sound like I've got this all figured out but believe me, I don't. I'm just trying to give you my perspective and I work through my own stuff. Good luck to you.

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Thank you very much, Joanie.

I decided a few days after Joel's death to not do anything rash. I certainly am not ready to talk with my dad, but I also don't want to write him off completely, just in case it does end up being something I'll regret. So here I sit, doing nothing, and I really do feel like I should be pro-active and get it out of the way and move on, but because of all the emotions involved, I can't logically do that.

Thanks for your input.

I find it amazing how sometimes when a family member dies, it brings the family closer together, and sometimes it tears the family apart.

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Nell Jean

Well, Phoe, you're starting to have more insight.
We all have some old baggage we're carrying around.
A death just magnifies some of that same old stuff.
You can't change another person, you can change yourself and your reaction to them.
Life's about choices. The best choices are well thought out before you act.


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Joel's Sister;
One thing you can do is get grief counseling for YOU ... don't let this sit there and fester.

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