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Brave Talk Bulletin

My Dad Died, But We Never Told His Other Children

My dad died of Heart Failure in November 2019. He first became ill ten years earlier but had enjoyed a long time without symptoms. This changed in 2019 when the familiar symptoms of breathlessness, coughing, feeling sick, and general weakness started to come over him.

He hated hospitals and wouldn’t go unless he was at death's door. That door nearly opened on several occasions. He had endured demeaning hospital visits where they ignored him, left him on the floor after he fell over trying to get to the bathroom and didn’t notice for ten hours that he had checked himself out in disgust.

The treatments which had worked before were not so miraculous this time, and tests showed he was deteriorating.

My mum and I expected the worst but remained hopeful. One day she came home and found him dead in his chair. He was an avid writer and was desperately trying to finish a book. He died in the middle of a writing session.

My dad had two children from a previous marriage. We haven’t told them about his death. You may be shocked and appalled by that decision, but we have good reasons.

Introducing the cast.

Neither of his children had spoken to him in years. My half-brother stopped talking to him at the time of his first struggle with heart problems. He had wanted my dad to home-school his own children, but due to my dad's condition, he didn’t have the energy.

As a result, my stepbrother and his family never spoke to us again. He even got his children to call someone else grandad (my dad despised this term anyway, and eventually, it became unclear who was being punished).

Seriously, that’s all it took.

My half-sister is more complicated. She suffers from cerebral palsy and has been in mental health institutions for much of her life.

She’s also ridiculously cunning and so badly behaved that she has been kicked out of every institution she has been in.

Most recently, she accused a member of staff of theft. An unfounded allegation to a nurse who had shown kindness to her, taken her on many outings, and always offered a listening ear.

My dad refused to back up my half-sister’s claims. Over the years, she has driven my dad to a nervous breakdown, and he knew this was just her latest scam.

Eventually, the money was found. It had never been stolen. Yet, because my dad refused to condemn the innocent nurse, he was cut off. Again, he had wished my half-sister would leave him alone for years, but he couldn’t bring himself to be the one to end contact.

For the second time, it became unclear who was punishing who.

Reasons for rejection.

Before my dad died, my mum asked him if he wanted my half-brother and sister to be told of his demise. He replied that they didn’t care about him when he was alive, so they had no business caring when he died. He specifically said he didn’t want them told.

Throughout the lows of my dad's declining health, which included a bleed on the brain from collapsing, it was my mum and I doing all the hard work.

We were the ones who couldn’t sleep at night through fear

We were the ones walking around feeling sick in the pit of our stomachs.

We were the ones persuading him to go to the hospital.

We were the ones trying to keep his spirits up.

They rejected him years prior. If we had told them of my dad's death, they would have had the chance to reject him one more time. I’m not prepared to give them that satisfaction.


Neither my half-brother nor half-sister deserves to know about my dad. If they found out, they would either pretend to mourn or not care; both are equally disgusting.

I would be interested to know what you think. Do you agree that some actions are enough to justify my response, or does family obligation trump individual circumstances?

Brave Talk Bulletin

Former police officer 🚔 | Suicide hotline volunteer 📞 | PTSD survivor 💪 | Helping others navigate tough conversations with empathy and clarity 💬

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