5 Things You Must Tell Your Parents Before They Die

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We all had a very different childhood experience.  For some it was incredible. Their parents were consistent, loving, and honest. For others, it was the opposite, they were absent, abusive, and broken.

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Wherever your story lands, we cannot deny that our parents, are still our parents. Our Mothers birthed us. Our Fathers (in most cases) supported us. They changed our diapers, listened to us cry, fed us, worried about us, and ultimately raised us.

If you're reading this post, there is a chance your parents are still alive. Now, I'm not sure if this list should be shared together, individually, or over some period of time. But as a man who studies the relationships between people, there is not a closer bond than the child parent relationship. It calls for a level of respect and honor that others don't. As both a parent and a child, I am convinced it's critical that at the right time, we share these 5 things with them before they die.

Disclaimer: These items will not pertain to every family. But they will for most. Don't be the person who leaves a comment saying, “this doesn't apply to me!” as if it couldn't for someone else. 

  1. The Truth: Let your parents know how you really feel. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Tell them where they succeeded, where they failed, what you loved about them and even what you didn't. It's a tough conversation. But we only have so much time… and in my experience, people regret it if they don't.
  2. That You Understand: Let them know you recognize their humanness. Take the opportunity to step back, look at each other eye to eye, adult to adult, human to human, and say, “I understand”. We all go through struggles. Divorce, abuse, failure, and pain. Your parents, just like us, were not immune to this. They too had broken parents, a rough past and likely a cause for the things they brought into your life. Let them know you “get it”. You may not approve of it. But you understand.
  3. That You Appreciate Them: Let your parents know you're thankful. At the bare minimum, we must admit that without them, you would not be here. Thank them for keeping you alive. There are many countries with many parents who cannot even provide life to their children. Tell them you're grateful for the good memories and their ability to continue to love you even when you weren't very lovable.
  4. That You're Sorry: We tend to view apologies as a sign of weak character. But in fact, they require great strength. We've all been harsh. We've all been mean. At the end of the day, let your parents know you're sorry. A genuine apology offered and accepted is one of the most profound interactions of civilized people. This will be hard, but you will not regret it.
  5. That You Forgive Them: One of my favorite quotes of all time is, “Forgive them even if they're not sorry.” We must remember they, like us, were doing the best they could at the time. Holding on to pain does nothing on your journey to creating a purposeful and happy life. To clarify, the act of forgiveness is by no means giving them permission to hurt you again. It's quite the contrary. It's giving you permission to let go and release both the pain and the anger – and hopefully, restore a relationship in the process.

 

Add something to the list? What would you want to share with your parents before they die? Let me know in the comments below.

143 COMMENTS

  1. What do you do about an apathetic bond? I have zero interest in maintaining or restoring a positive relationship with my parents.

    • That’s the way I feel about my father. No interest. Yes, I feel bad as a Christian that I do not have interest in that absent relationship, but I don’t.

    • I don’t see why anything is wrong with having no strings attached to healing a broken relationship. You probably have reasons that you find worthy of that. Every relationship is different. People are all so unpredictable and react in their own way.

    • That’s tough Dana. My thought is be the bigger person. Be sure they know you at least appreciate them for having you. But no need to maintain a relationship if you can’t find value in it.

  2. I had this discussion with my mother. It was a good experience in that I believe I’ve done all I can to heal a damaged relationship. It was not a good experience in that my mother chose only to hear / retain those parts of the conversation that she could twist, in her re-iteration to others, to show what an evil person I am. I believe that it was necessary for me to clear the air between us and make every effort to heal the relationship. Unfortunately, the tenuous relationship that existed before the conversation has been utterly destroyed and I don’t expect ever to see or speak to her again. I would suggest that your readers should understand the possible ramifications before they decide to have the conversation. It may be that a damaged relationship is better than none.

  3. Good list. 🙂 More and more I’m trying to let my parents know how much I appreciate them. I know I will have to be more direct sooner or later, intimidating as that is.

  4. Perhaps the Truth in Love! Its import to be honest but it you are telling your partents all the good bad and ugly and doing it so you feel better, that a bit selfish. If there is ugly and bad consider the situation. Is it going to be something your going to face again? Constructive criticism, or you just bringing up all their past faults so you can let them know you know they messed up?

  5. Sometimes those deep honest conversations work great, like it did when my father and I buried old problems. But sometimes forgiving them and letting go of the hope of a better relationship is all you can do, which is what I had to do with my mother. Confronting them leaves you feeling like that lonely child all over again when they don’t hear what you are saying. Reframe the relationship and move forward. It allowed me to care for my mother when she was suffering from Alzheimer’s and not be bitter towards her because I realized the person she had become was not the person who had raised me.

  6. Gosh, at first reading I thought ” wow, that’s great”, then when I started thinking about how that discussion would actually be rec’d, mmm not so much. While I can now appreciate and tell my mom I love her, there are things that occurred that even with hindsight & maturity I cannot understand about my brothers & I upbringing… So I have chosen to forgive which releases me without hashing over the good, bad , and ugly or trying to wrap my head around it to understand.

  7. My father committed suicide in December. We had been estranged for a little over a year. If I had it to do all over again, I would try harder to work things out. Tomorrow is not promised to any of us. Don’t wait.

  8. My mother died when I was 11. And my father and I have a hard relationship, he blames it on his father for not treating him like a son. But he needs to realize that forgiveness is real and we can move on. I can move on. And I am waiting for him to do the same.

  9. I know my mother must have loved me in some way – but I am very conscious of the fact that she did not like me at all. She just doesn’t like me and never has.

    • It’s sad to see broken people like her. It’s not your fault. Someone broke her and you can only give what you have yourself.

    • I agree with this…some small part of her must have loved me but she continually makes cutting and hurtful remarks, discounts all the good things I do for her on a daily basis, participates in “character assassination” at every opportunity…if she weren’t my mother, she is definitely not someone I would choose to have in my life. I know she is “broken” but I also had a very difficult and abusive childhood (physically and emotionally) and know as well as anyone that one must not use that as an excuse for unloving behavior. Still, I reply softly and with love to each and every comment.

  10. what if u started conversing with ur father but he wanted to reconcile only in his own term otherwise its no deal.he cuts the communication.

    • Hmmmm. I would go for it. Be the bigger person. If you submit and show him love it’s likely he will come around for the real deal down the road.

      • i just wanna ask..in what circumstances does the son father privilege communication lost when the father remarry? bec,as a father myself,no matter how many times i remarry this privilege comm with my kids wud never be lost.

  11. My heart breaks for each of these respondents – mostly because I am so similar to them. What do you do with a mother who returns the birthday cards you send and who is just as happy to hold you up for character asassination? Forgive and keep your distance. Just because she may have had a hard childhood does not give her permission to have made my childhood (and adulthood) more difficult than could normally be expected. At some point we need to mature enough to take responsibility for our own actions and quit whining about our miserable childhood. Then, proceed to NOT burden the next generation.

    • Wow… This makes me sad. I would pray and keep trying. You’re very strong to keep it up. Remember, love is POWERFUL. Keep giving it to her. Hopefully you can offer her some healing in time. Keep it up.

  12. As a parent I have no desire to have my kids sit there telling me what I did wrong. There are plenty of things I regret when raising my children, There is absolutely no way to go back and change it, fix it, And I beat myself about it at times. I was a good Mom to my kids…I know it and they know it. No reason to pick that little scab and bleed….more,

    • This is one of my favorite quotes: “One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.”

  13. Dale, I enjoy your daily positives very much. However, I can tell you, as the daughter of two parents who died well over ten years ago, that I am so glad that I did not tell them what I think they did wrong. I was pretty angry with my mom for years after she died – I had some things I could have told her.

    But now, with some space from her death and, more to the point, sixteen years of motherhood behind me, I see things a little differently. She wasn’t perfect, but my goodness I’m glad I didn’t add to any guilt she may have had during her final days. She knew she wasn’t a perfect parent, she didn’t need me to remind her of that when there was no going back to fix anything.

    The thing I wish I had done was tell her thank you. Thank you for having me, for giving me a home that was filled with good people and good food and good memories, for seeing that I had a good education, for teaching me to be kind through your actions, for making sure I had a relationship with all my siblings.

    I regret not saying those things. But I would regret it even more if I’d have told her all the things she did wrong. Believe me, she knew. Just like I know now, only sixteen years into this parenting gig.

    • Amy, remember this article is for many people from many journeys. Each of the 5 items might not apply to your story but if you read the comments below it resonates with many. But I respect your story and your journey. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Great stuff…even if it cant be applied in some relationships. At least it’s provocative and starts them thinking. Love all that you do son.

  15. I have done this all my life with my parents. We have an open and honest relationship and I realize as I have grown older, how precious and rare this is. My parents, both in their 80s, have pulled my brother, me and my special needs sister through the loss of a sibling (passed at 5 months), and the entire one side of our family (due to disputes.) My mom and dad lived thru the Depression and over came some of the worst life has to offer and still managed to raise a special needs child to be a sweet loving individual, two siblings who would defend each other to the ends of the earth, and grand children who are all successful, sane and happy. So yes please, take a moment to give thanks and love to all your beloved family members and live each day to your fullest potential.

  16. Awesome heart-touching article it teared me down after i read it also i used to be a porn addict till my father he braked my computer my mom used to bust me everytime she comes to my room i ignored them then they deleted all porn videos on my computer i downloaded them agian last my father he warned me/took all my usb drives and told me if u keep on watching these things i you will never see electronics in your life so delete all of them and don’t do this agian in my home then i waked up and started to tell him so many things pasted my life in the car since he take to university and drop me to the home by his car but there are some very past things i cannot tell them because i know how he love me and treat me and i know how my mom is feeling at me and guide me just like God father/Jesus and Mary

    • That’s powerful John. Many many people share your story. Thanks for sharing and glad you’re on the road to healing.

  17. How about kids asking their parents for forgiveness for all the grief they put us though. yikes. This article comes off like the children have all the wisdom of the ages. One other thing…the children would do well to realize that once their parents are gone, they cant make up for the missed calls, missed letters, missed visits… regret can be a lot worse when it is yours for the rest of your life..forget about getting stuff off your chest…learn to cherish your parents…don’t go telling them you forgive them for all their screw ups..that would add insult to injury…you have plenty of bridges to cross yourself, you better learn not to burn those that you yourself must cross.

    • Some people have parents that need forgiving. My parents “loved” us and they put a roof over our heads but they also neglected our emotional needs, were selfish and physically abusive at times. As a parent myself now, I’m shocked and disgusted that my parents could treat us that way. Hopefully by talking to my parents about their shortcomings from a loving standpoint could help them manage some guilt from or feelings that caused the abuse. Everyone has to answer for their actions or lack thereof at some point. Relationships cannot grow without some pain.

    • …I feel as though your children do not speak to you enough from this. Missed calls and letters do not make you even or whatever. It doesn’t matter, there should be apologies on both ends. A parent should never tell their child to put away their years of feeling neglect, sadness and anger just because they forgot to call. Cherish your parents always for they created and taught you, but for god sake cherish your children too. Their feelings are just as important as yours and it is not their job to pamper you because you decided to have them nor is it a parents job to spoil and pamper their child. I know my parents know their faults and that they continually screw up with us. And I know before they die they want to know that I forgive them even if I don’t, and love them. And that I am sorry too. It is selfish to think otherwise.

  18. FOREMOST, I DO love you; SECOND-I DO respect you, THIRD-You ARE important Fourth-you WILL be missed BEFORE of any other low level things you listed. Seems your list is more survivor focused than departing focused.

    But perhaps more importantly, while they are dying, it is not important to TELL them but to LISTEN. Ask questions: Your best day? Your first love? Your biggest disappointment? How did you and the other parent meet? First date? When did you know they were the one? What have you always wanted to tell me but have hesitated to? What is my biggest weakness that I could change? Favorite song/book/poem/Bible verse?

    • I rather wish you had formulated your post in a more positive way. However, I do like your list, BackToMinistry, both the Foremost part and the Listen/Questions part. I will take note of your lists. And I really should jot down their answers to the questions so that I could share them with my children and grandchildren someday as part of family history. 🙂

      As for Dale, after reading the comments, I realised that you hadn’t meant all the 5 things to be necessarily applicable for everyone. I for one do not think I could or would talk to my Mom and Dad of their past mistakes. I would, and have, talked to them of things that I thought they could do better on the days to come, but not the unfixed ones. I am glad that one of my purposes in life seem to sooth them, as my older sister seems more bent on showing them their mistakes — past and present.

      Thanks for sharing the wisdom, guys…

      • LOL, Thanks, Elsa. I guess that’s the military in me. End-focused and straight ahead!

        I lost both my parents, preached both their funerals, and have helped countless through the loss/adjustment process. Biggest regret is what I don’t know and have no way to discover now. They talked and I didn’t listen. And when they quit talking, I wasn’t asking questions. GOODNESS, I wish I just had asked questions and recorded them. I scribbled a few family history notes in a journal.

        FINE, now I’M crying.

        Perhaps the answer isn’t a list of things to say or ask, but simply to love and be genuine.

  19. My mom passed away this morning after a four month battle with cancer. A link to this article appeared in my Twitter feed and so I was drawn in immediately. My mom’s illness progressed rapidly and within the course of the last two weeks she entered hospice and her condition deteriorated rapidly. My window to share things with my 64 year old mom was ever so small with her brief moments of lucidity; but, I was able to tell her how much I appreciated everything she did for me – pushing me in school, the sacrifices, her example of integrity and hard work. I thanked her for putting up with my mistakes. We wait too long to tell the ones we love the things we need to share with them.

  20. I moved out, rather abruptly, at 18 and was disowned by my mother. There was a lot of ‘bad blood’ between us and I haven’t spoken with my parents in over 5 years. I would tell them that I’m sorry for the mistakes that I’ve made and the hurt that I caused them. I sincerely hope that they understand that I needed to go out into the world and have my own experiences. I’m honestly sorry that my mother has taken everything I’ve done so personally and I hope she knows that I am thankful for all of the sacrifices she made so that I could grow up in a stable environment. I am very thankful for the man that I called dad. He treated and raised me as his own daughter, even though he didn’t have to. I miss them everyday. I hope that they are well and I want them to know that I am okay.

    • That is really sweet. You should just tell them this. Despite previous misunderstandings it will mean a lot to them.

    • Hi Alice,
      Yeah at times it is rough to deal with family. Probably the best way is to start slow. Maybe get a card and sent it to them . Tell them that you love and miss them. That you will call soon. Time moves so fast the longer time the bigger the gap. You have to do this for yourself because God forbid if one of them passes and you haven’t fixed this situation it will haunt you till the end of your life. My Mom was great and we were very close. I had many years with her but I still feel I didn’t get enough time with her since she passed away. Do yourself and your parents a flavor fix this.
      Good luck.

  21. I suppose this should fall under “forgiveness” or “truth”, but I’d really like to tell my mom “I know what you did”. When I was too young to understand what an affair even was, my mom had one with her boss, left my dad, and took me with her. She destroyed two families (the boss was married, had kids), took me away from my dad, and made him pay child support, and constantly tried to make him look like the bad guy. And guess what, now she misses him. She LIED over and over again that she met my step-dad AFTER she and my dad supposedly agreed to divorce, but I found out that is not true. I do not want to get married, ever, now that I see how unfair society and the law is to some men, assuming they are the lesser parent. Even this author seems biased when he infers that some dads do not support their kids; well … some mothers (like mine) devastate dads, financially and emotionally. To my dad: “I love you” and I’m sorry what she put you through. To my mom (and my step-dad): “you’re not fooling anyone … not anymore”.

  22. I am not about to tell my dad the “truth” about what I know about him and what he was like to me and my Mother and all the abuse we suffered or that I forgive him or that I understand or forgive him or anything, if I get very lucky I won’t be around him at all and he can die alone and still as bitter now as ever. I have tried to talk to him about what he did to us and on each occasion I was lucky to get away from him without being beaten to a pulp or worse, so that is great for all the rest of you but that bastard is crazy and mean and selfish and hasn’t a hope of getting me to try anymore, I have tried and he loathes me and it has become mutual. I have created my own family form good kind people who I have no blood ties with and I am happy that way and refuse to give up hard won freedom from that man who wore my Mother out and into an early grave with negative bitterness and abuse and say gee it’s peachy keen you were great.

  23. I wish I could tell my dad that I love him and how much I needed him growing up. I lost him at only 5yrs old. Now as a mother I’m struggling with the fact that my 3 children lost their father 4 and a half years ago. I’m grateful they had much more time with him but it is the worst pain I’ve felt knowing they have to spend the rest of their lives without him. Graduations College weddings babies or just those simple moments when they need their daddy to erasure them that everything will be ok.

  24. If you were only talking about families with functional relationships, this would be a nice article. However, the fact that you specifically chose to include abusive, broken families turns this article into the same well-meaning but deluded rationalizations that relatives use to enable and cover up child abuse.

    • I totally agree. I come from a background of ritual abuse and this article really hit a nerve and upset me. As you pointed out, this advice is great for functional families. For families with a history like mine, I find it beyond awkward and even inappropriate. I refuse to continue the sickness and cover up the truth. Thank you for not staying silent.

  25. Dale, I cant agree with you here. As others have said, if there is abuse in a parent-child relationship, “telling the truth”, especially to an unrepentant abuser, can be disastrous. (I know, I’ve tried). In my case, the only way I have been able to reconcile with my father is to let him believe his own hype – that he’s been the best father in the world – instead of insisting that he see himself truthfully as an alcoholic, drugging, whoring, chaos-causing, emotionally-, verbally-, and physically-abusive nincompoop. He doesn’t believe he has anything to be forgiven for. Thus, any peace with him has only been achieved by my choice to unilaterally forgive (supernaturally, in my view, achieved only by the love of Jesus working itself out in me), not by the “truth-telling” you advocate. Sorry, like most of your website and your overall ethos, but you’re off base here.

    • Yes Excatly AND I CAN’T TELL THEM ALSO AS WELL FOR E.G A GIRL HAD SEX WITH HER BOYFRIEND OR SHE SPENED SOME MONEY LIKE CHOCOLATE OR ETC

  26. Yes true but don’t tell them everything what’s going on to ur life just balnce them to ur parents u said where u r and how was ur day? u just tell them i was in brooklyn street at my friends for example and if she asked u what did u do with ur friend? don’t just smiply tell her i spended all my money at him or i watched a porn with him but tell i just watched a tv with him and her spend money on me on food or we had a sex

  27. Well meaning but misguided. Nothing wrong with trying to inspire people. Those of us who were abused cannot always reconcile with our abusers. Especially with parents who refuse to acknowledge the damage they’ve done. Forgiveness hasn’t made my mum any better, she uses the fact that I still have contact with her as ‘proof’ that she never abused my sister and I. Thankfully, those who matter know she did so it doesn’t really matter what she says. I don’t love her and I don’t respect her. In fact, I have very little to do with her. She made her bed, she can lie in it.

  28. Can you write an article about parents being objective with feedback?

    I believe that you owe people the truth, good, bad and ugly. But not all parents will take this lightly ( culture, ego, mental disorder) and can cause the, to either die sooner, disown you or even kill you.

  29. Hi Dale, I really resonate with this one. I love that you just put it out there, so to speak. I had a father who, for about ten or so years, I did not want to know, neither cared if he was dead or alive. He was an abusive man who beat his wife and children. I was daddy’s little girl; I only remember having a taste of what my brother got. Neither of us were beaten as badly as my mother though, which was the ultimate reason for my anger. In hindsight, not only was his character ugly, but I also saw how ugly my hateful thoughts were, and in saying that, I also saw our humanness. After doing an empowerment course, and seeing how a creation of a story I made as a child when he literally abandoned my brother who was in his custody, and left the country to start anew elsewhere with his new wife, without saying goodbye to me, had affected my way of being towards him – and all men. This played out in many ways throughout the following years. Upon seeing the story and deciding to change it, that decision alone, presented me with the opportunity to reunite with him (by none other than my own mother!) and have an authentic conversation with him in person. The first conversation was when he came to NZ. In that conversation – which I think was a good 2-3 hours, I told him everything. I told him my feelings, all that he missed out on, how his abuse affected us, the fact that if he chooses to be in my life he will do so with respect and that he is wasting his time if he is still the same man that he was. It was raw and open and honest. Surprisingly, well received too. In the second, more powerful conversation I had with him when I visited him in Sydney, I forgave him and asked for his forgiveness too. He also forgave me and we have since re-established a beautiful relationship in which the most profound truth remains – we still love each other and always have. I believe that having done this, I have not only grown as a person, but also enabled him to have an incredible experience of personal development he may not have otherwise had. This is especially true because unfortunately, my brother still holds a lot of resentment towards him and it shows. We are all human and our opportunities for growth are everywhere, we only need to look to find them.

  30. This is very powerful. Number 5 is the hardest for me. The mental scarring still lingers at age 58 and I work with it daily. Thank you for this article!

  31. Only one other thing to add — this also applies to siblings, although they didn’t, in most cases, raise us (nor, obviously, birth us).

    • This idea resonates with me. I pray this can be a reality in my family of origin, as I am estranged from my brothers and sis in laws since my mother passed on, a year ago, and left me as her successor trustee, unbeknownst to my brothers who wanted things their way. I never dreamt they would say and do the most devious, hurtful things. But the most devastating thing is their total absence from my life, now that the estate is closed.

  32. Oh grow up.
    You don’t have to go telling your parent everywhere “you” feel they screwed up. That is about the most ignorant thing I ever heard.
    Forgive them even if they’re not sorry? What?

    This entire list does nothing but make you feel good about making yourself seam better than your parent.
    Yeah… That is exactly what I want to hear before I die is how my child thinks they’re better than me.

    Jesus Christ. Stop trying to analyze everything people and live. Life is not about figuring out how to look good or how to belittle others.
    Life is about loving others and being there for them. Being there for a dieing parent doesn’t mean be there to destroy them before they go.

  33. Thank you for this. You’ve given me a direction in which I can find some closure and change. These are often tough relationships. Looking for the good they have created in us is key. For me, it’s the way I parent. I wanted to be different and I have, that is the blessing.

  34. I’ve done all these things, but with a Narcissistic Mother it didn’t go so well. Any suggestions? However, I did tell my dear Daddy 3 of these things, we just understood one another on the other two. God rest his soul, he’s been gone almost 20 years now….Miss him so much, he was my rock.

  35. Every time I read an article like this I get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. My father is a psychopath. I don’t use that word lightly. His behaviour literally killed my mother, a good woman who worked herself so hard to keep our family together. Yes my father provided money, but it was always with strings and under so much control. He would buy anything for himself, but refuse to buy my mom a working stove as it still had a little bit of life in it. He did not call the ambulance when my mom had a heart attack and put her into bed to die. He wanted the money that she had in her bank account. I can forgive this. but I certainly will not thank him for his part in my life. I have had thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours in therapy to try to reach a place where I can go about my day without having him rent space in my head. There are cases where blanket treatments that you suggest are not advisable and when you post this you make people feel guilty. I had one brother commit suicide because of the treatment of my father. My other two siblings are in very bad states mentally because of our upbringing. I think you should preface anything like the post you made above with a caveat–you are not a clinical psychologist and this may not suit all situations. It is the first time that I have had doubts about your “positivity” blog.Tread lightly on the parent-child relationship. It is a minefield and never one size fits all

    • I am so sorry you had such pain as a child. My mother was very abusive while I was growing up and her verbal abuse continued into adulthood. Forgiveness was more for me than for her ( she is still alive) Forgiving is not condoning it is letting go of the pain.

  36. Jeez, reading the comments I guess I was incredibly lucky to have a strong, caring, intelligent mother. Although she brought us up, four girls, on her own divorcing a mentally ill husband when I was a baby. She certainly wasn’t a perfect Mother who inevitably made some errors in her parenting decisions.Who are these 5 things we should tell our Parents before they die helping……them or us?I don’t agree with 1 as I understand her hardships and I see no point in hurting her by highlighting her past mistakes. I would be very sad if she died thinking she did an awful job as a Mother. It doesn’t help her,me or my siblings.I only believe in relaying where she did good. As you said, We do the best we can, even if it’s not always good enough!
    That means 2 and 3 are important as a realistic conversation. Being open and honest.
    4 and 5 are wrong, because I’m not sorry for being her child. I’ve nothing to be sorry for. I’ve tried to be a good daughter, as she did a Mother! Forgiveness is within ourselves.

  37. My mother died 20 years ago from cerebral hemorrhage – it was sudden and without warning. Through therapy and on my own I had to say all those things, especially “I forgive you” in my own mind, using visualization. I know my mother loved me, but she was emotionally absent due to her own brokenness. We were just starting to heal through my raising of my own daughter, who was 4 when my mother died. I had to finish the healing myself.

    I am currently taking care of my Dad with end-stage COPD. I have been here (800 miles from home and my family) for 5 months. He entered Hospice last week, his lucid times are getting further and further apart, and he’s sleeping more. My father drank and was physically abusive. The last time he beat me was the night before he took me to college. It was for staying in the car parked in front of the house after 10 pm to say goodbye to my boyfriend of 18 months. The last time he emotionally abused me was in my own home in 2005 and it was about how he didn’t like how I kept my computer set up. We have not talked about these things directly, although we have alluded to them, and as he faced his own mortality since around 2007, he has mellowed a lot and let go of many of his control needs. I have no need to cause him further distress by bringing up things he may regret. Through my actions, as well as words, I have let him know that he matters to me, that he’s worth my time and effort, that I love him. I tell him every night that I love him – something we didn’t do when I was growing up, or even as adults on the phone or in letters (pre-internet) or emails. When he frets over me being away from my family, I remind him that he sunk 20 years into me, and that I am choosing to be with him. My sister is unable to make a similar choice, and that’s OK. It is what it is.

    For those who have parents with whom reconciliation is impossible for any reason, it can be done inside your own head and heart. And you will be the beneficiary – they need not be present for you to win. I love this quote by Catherine Ponder: “When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.”

  38. I love you very much, thank you for everything! B/c in one way, shape, or form it all(everything) molded my character into the beautiful person I am today!
    Thank you mom , dad and stepparents!

  39. One size advice doesn’t fit all.. Sorry!!
    As a child I was raped by my alcoholic mother’s husband. Being very afraid that he would kill me like he said he would if I ever told, I don’t! Not until I was a teen & she’d gone through a few boyfriends & back to him. He was babysitting her new 1 yr old baby by someone else. I finally told because I knew he was changing her diapers. My mom cursed me out & said “you must have liked it (the rapes at 8yrs old) because you never told til now! Then she beat me & said I was only trying to get her baby taken away. Fast forward to my adulthood & ssssssso many more horror stories with her still being an alcoholic & evil even when sober.. She’s said she hates me & Doesn’t want to see my kids til I’m dead!…
    Now how do you forgive, love, and have a relationship with that??
    I have no plans to let her toxicity back into my life! My childhood through adulthood was nothing but constant drama & hate. Sometimes there’s NO room for reconciliation when one party refuses to change. You have to cut your losses & begin to live your life (parent or not)!!!!
    P.S…. Oh & my married to someone else father.. never took an interest in me at all. When I first met him in my teams all he ever wanted to know from me was who my mom was dating. He’s been told the stories of abuse & he could care less.

    • How does your anger and bitterness punish her and make things better for you? Your poison is toxic only to you.
      Everyone grows up with some kind of shit in their lives.
      As for me, it messed up relationships and affected how my kids were raised. The ripples continue.
      I had to let it go. A dead man couldn’t control or hurt me anymore. The hate and poison toward him didn’t affect him. It only messed up areas of my life.
      I suggest that you get some counselling, for you. Don’t let your mother have any more control, don’t let her mess up any more of your future.

  40. I recently received a check from a parent who had treated me with despise 15 yrs earlier, the last time I saw him. I wrote back a letter just as u described, being generous with positives. But was also honest. I then received the most angry dishonest letter back. I chose to respond with a completely honest angry letter back short and to the point. I let him know an explanation was due me, and an apology . I was very stressed having to deal with him again, and any stars about the positives were gone. He never wrote back to my relief. But I’m happy to have told him what I really thought, and to see him for what a dishonest person he is.

  41. Wow. This would be so inappropriate for me. I’ll add that I’ve expressed my gratitude and do so often. Maybe I am one of the few that had the childhood that we all deserve. There is nothing to forgive. No horrible wrongs they need to be aware of.
    Thankfully we didn’t all have the authors experience. To assume we did….it must have been pretty bad.

  42. While this article could help some with their relationship with their parents, it definitely does not apply to everyone. I have a wonderful relationship with my mom and my dad (who passed away in 2007). I was always open and honest with them. When writing blanket articles like this, the author should be careful. Not every relationship is salvageable and many are better left broken. Because sometimes distance is exactly what is needed. Only you know if this is appropriate for you. Never let anyone tell you to do something you are uncomfortable with; especially for all those who were abused as children. You owe that abusive parent nothing.

  43. Even though this may not be for everyone, it is very poignant. Not everyone has a great child hood, others have a terrific childhood. I think it is a good idea to tell your parents what was good during your childhood, if you appreciated them or not. If your parents are toxic to you, by no means have this conversation with them. You still need to forgive and let it go. Otherwise your heart will never heal. Don’t give a toxic mom or dad that kind of power over you by staying angry. Let go and let God.

  44. I had a very unstable childhood with a lot of abandonment issues from both my parents. My mom tried her best but battled depression among other things. My dad is no longer in my life and I don’t regret that at all, its for best. My mom, unlike my dad, has acknowledged her shortcomings and we are passed it. Now I try to focus on the positive times, so much so that I created a “memory jar” for her. I wrote out a whole bunch of positive memories on cards and put them in a jar with a letter. In the letter I told her that we all know she tried her best to raise us three girls on her own and that now its time to enjoy our lives. Its easy to focus on the negative and surround yourself with it but, it is so detrimental to relationships that we need to find the positive side also or risk damaging the relationships. The instructions were for her to take one card out everyday and read it then call me every week so we could reminisce. I got an amazing response from her, she loved it. I also was able to realize that while our childhoods were full of hurt they were also full of great memories

  45. Excellent suggestion, Amar. How about “parent to Child ” dialogue, when the children
    are grown up and may be have their own children? By the way, I don’t believe that your
    son would call you “stupid” You may be many other things, but you are not “stupid” !
    Keep up the good work,

    Chander

  46. Just came across this. I have been trying to speak honestly with my parents. When I speak honestly with my very sick old mother she becomes hysterical. I say it, then I drop it. It is a one way conversation but at least I say it.
    My father is another story. (They are divorced.) My Aunt (his sister) passed away recently and that was the most he has spoken to me in years. Other than that he does not speak to me at all and has a very low opinion of me. He is 85 years old.
    I am a wonderful person and have always done my best to help my family. They are a strange lot. I miss my Aunt who was also my Godmother. We were very close and she was an honest and deeply spiritual person.
    One day I just looked at myself in the mirror and told myself that it was masochistic to try and come to any type of understanding with my father. I hope deep down he loves me, but his expressions to me are often so hurtful I may as well take a hammer and hit myself on the hand as hard as possible. I have written him polite notes and that is the best I can do.
    I have given up on this exercise. I think it is out of my hands.

  47. To all those claiming that this isn’t for “even the most dysfunctional family” take a step back and realize that, yes, it is.
    By saying a lot of these things will make you more able to forgive your past. There are things beyond your control and in the end, we are all humans trying to do the best we can with what we’ve been given.

    • I could not or would not forgive my Mom for her hurtful ways until after she died. It was such a relief to get past all the hurtful times and know she could not hurt me or my brother anymore!

  48. I lost my dad on the 7th of September and I’m not coping very well. My mum, dad and sister were all very close (still are) this will be the longest I have ever gone without seeing my dad and it hurts so tremendously bad. None of us expected him to pass, he was battling with colon cancer but it had shrunk, it was an embolism that killed him (something that could have been prevented with anticoagulants.)

    I’m so mad at doctors for not picking something like that up, They did the same thing with his colon cancer at first they said it was a kidney stone and just sent him home, then his bowel ruptured and he had to be in intensive care for a week in a medical coma. They are so inept and I am so angry and just so sad. He was only 63 and because we all thought that he was getting better (even with all the idiot doctors screw ups) he was such a fighter, I thought I had time so I didn’t get to say all the things I wanted to.

    I wanted to tell him all the wonderful things he did for me, what a great person he was and how much I love him and mum for sacrificing everything for me. I hate that I didn’t just say it all even though I did think he was getting better, I wish I didn’t keep saying there would be more time. I miss him so much it hurts my insides, this has compounded my depression and I really think I am at my lowest point. I just wish I could talk to him one last time.

    • Luna, I am so sorry for your terrible loss. My brother died unexpectedly when he was only 19 years old. He had a lot of issues in his teen years and we fought a lot. A few years before he passed away got into a terrible argument and I screamed at him that if he died I wouldn’t care. Even though I apologized to him after I said it and I felt horrible about it, after he passed away I would’ve given anything to go back and never have said that to him. I wish I could’ve told him how much I loved him and how much he meant to me. After he died I experienced extreme depression also and felt like I would die because the loss was so extreme. Many nights I would dream that he was alive again like he never died. Then I would wake up and jump out of bed to go run into his room of the house we grew up in and give him a hug and tell him how much I loved him only to realize halfway out of bed that I was in a different house many years later and he was gone. It has been seven years since he’s been gone and I’ve come to realize that even though I didn’t get to tell him all those things, he already knew. Just like I know how much he loved me even though he never said it. I will always miss my brother but the pain does get better with time. My mom said to me shortly after he died that all of the good memories that would hurt so much to think about would some day make me happy again and she was right.

      • My brother died when he was 18. It was 8 years ago. It still kills me and I can’t think about it without crying but it’s getting better… slowly.

  49. Sorry but this is too unrealistic. I’ve tried to forgive my parents too many times because I thought it would change or improve the situation, instead they just saw it as an easy way out of admitting their faults. They refuse to admit any accountability because doing so would force them to do something about it. It’s almost like a game for them. Some people have dealt with an abusive parent, but not many have dealt with 2 abusive parents. I would go to bed crying almost every night. Even though I was a loner and sometimes bullied at school, I still preferred being there than coming home. At home, I felt like a prisoner. I left home after high school because I couldn’t deal with the continued abuse. I felt like they were just waiting for me to die, and I thought I was going to but I didn’t want them to win so I just lived my own life even if it was more difficult. I lived out of suitcases for the next 20 years until this year when I bought a home. I’m still single partly because of my past and because I still don’t have the confidence in relationships.

    The reason why some people express regret over not talking or doing things with their parents is because they suddenly see how old, weak or sick they’ve gotten and they can’t do anything anymore. They’ve gotten too used to having the arguments, the conflicts, the indifference, that not having them anymore seemed like a kind of emptiness. It’s even worst if you’re still single and have no one else that you can have close to you in your life.

    I tried so desperately to stay close to my parents despite who they were and what they’ve done, but they never change. I decided that I was done trying to change anything and decided that I would completely close them off from me for good. I didn’t care if they died tomorrow, I would already accept that nothing I could do would make anything better, and there is nothing I can do. My pain is that I never got to have caring parents like everybody else, but I do have older friends who are somewhat surrogate “parents” to me which helps me accept the reality a bit easier. I’m sure when I’m fortunate enough to marry and have parents-in-law they’ll see and appreciate a kind man who they can feel lucky to have in their lives.

    • I may be feeling the same as you are. Do you mind if I ask…Are you male or female? Do you ever feel like you reach out to people, but then reject them? Be cause I’m thinking that is what I do : /

      • I’m a guy. I do find myself moving on from friends to friends because 1. I don’t know what they want out of friendships other than for superficial needs, 2. Because I moved so much some people didn’t want to waste time on long distance friendships. I’m at the age where my friends are too busy with their own families or people think I’m too old to hang out with.

        So no, I’m not in a position to be rejecting people after having reached out to them, but because I don’t know what people want and trying to make them happy makes me feel like a streetlight in people’s lives, I don’t really make much effort reaching out in the first place.

        You may be rejecting people because there was something that scared you off and because maybe you’re being protective. I can understand that from a girl’s perspective.

      • I do that, I reach out to people, create pretty solid friendships and then one day they are just too close for comfort and I switch and push them away. I can’t handle the closeness. My parents are alcoholics and drug users and my dad molested me for 13 years. I googled and ended up here because my mom wants to move in with me. Our relationship is strained to the say the least. We talk only at holidays and that stresses me out as she has hurt me over and over. I was looking to see perspectives on if I should put my needs first and not let her move in or, as she is my mom, let her move in although I think it would ruin me. I live in a tiny one bedroom apartment so there would be no privacy or escaping her.

    • Baki I feel almost all of what you expressed. My mother is a grand manipulator and has hurt everyone in her path and I have recognized it since I was 4 years old (which made me the main target for my growing years). I have tried the suggestions mentioned by the author and have only met with more negativity from my siblings. There is a time to say goodbye to those that would only hurt us. There are people that damaged. And I, like you, do not need to keep trying to heal the wound or have them further damage me. There is dignity in letting go. I’m 55, she is growing in dementia (or is she manipulating others still?) and I don’t feel badly if she goes now. I have tried my best and don’t wish her harm. If she goes now, others will be better off without her games.

    • This is probably too late of a response but I definitely know how you feel. I’ve been through similar experiences with my mom. I was able to make a life by myself since my dad petitioned me overseas (they are divorced) Now her days are now very limited being diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. when I learned about her diagnosis a few months ago, I was obligated by my siblings to help out with medical and all other expenses. Out of all the guilting and stressing they put me through, I helped out even though I feel like I shouldn’t. they even convinced me to fly home and visit her but I had a loot if excuses. Never got an update from her unless they ask for money until my birthday my aunt told me that my mom wanted to talk to me. I ignored it for a while. Then the latest update was that my mom was really in pain and ask everyone to pray for her because she wants to die and end her suffering. I finally got the chance to talk to her today, and although she had difficulty talking, with all her energy and just whispering over the phone she asked me for forgiveness. hearing those words just made me forget about everything she’s done. Just like that. Then I told her I love her and I miss her and said sorry that I want able to see her. That was all the conversation and when she gave the phone back to my aunt, my aunt told me that my call was all she’s been waiting for… Now I wish I could’ve said more.

      • You can’t blame yourself for any of that, all you can do is BE BETTER as a parent. Be there, be supportive, be loving, be worth it, be remembered.

  50. Wow – this is huge and a truly great article. I’ve long wanted to comment on your articles, Dale, and this is the first time that I’ve had the courage to do so. The content of this particular article prompted me to get over myself and leave a comment! I remember being in my late twenties/early thirties when I first started seeing my parents in a different light: Yes, I saw them as my parents but that shift had started to occur where I began to see them as not just my parents but also as adults. Adults who tried their best, adults who are human, make mistakes and have regrets of their own. I really saw how they tried to do their best for me & my younger brother as they raised us to become responsible adults and I gained an even deeper appreciation of their efforts.

    I also think that the content of this article can also be transferred (in some respects) to other members of the family or to friends. I can relate to having tried and tried to do my best for a family member only to have things thrown in my face because it wasn’t right for the other person. Frustrating and maddening at times, I internalized it and allowed it to steadily build up inside me until it became this living, breathing, toxic part of me. It has taken a great deal of energy, strength and resolve to work through it, see things for what they are and to move forward. Said individual (and her husband & children) are not a part of our lives any longer. In many ways, it is a relief to not have her toxicity in our lives and to not have to feel like we’re walking on thin ice every time we’re around her. And yet, there is incredible sadness that is present in the void, too, particularly around the holidays.

    Do what you can to work through the situation and give it your all to make peace with whatever happened. Don’t allow things to fester inside and don’t allow the anger & frustration to continually grow into this monstrous beast inside of you. If you can walk away knowing that you have done truly everything you could to remedy the situation, that is what matters.

    Keep up the great work, Dale! I enjoy your posts so very much and really appreciate your honesty & candor. You are a light in my life and in the lives of so many others.

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  52. My parents are great I have a ipad a ps vita though when they take them of me that’s a diffrent story

    Still love them though

  53. There are some of the 5 I have already done. My parents are the BEST. I would not want any other parents & family that I already have. Every family is not perfect by far then life would be to easy. I want to thank you for sharing this with me (us)! I even saved this on my phone. Thanks again

  54. I appreciate this article so much. I am 28 years old and my daddy is dying from pancreatic cancer. This coming Christmas will be his last. At the same time, this Christmas is my son’s first. I have had such a difficult time knowing what to say to my dad. We have always had a great relationship, but what do you talk about when you KNOW that time is limited? This helped so much. Thank you, truly.

  55. I’m 22, and I’ve already lost both of my parents, but I can proudly say I stated most of what this article has written before stumbling upon it. Life is incredibly difficult, and without parents or grandparents it becomes a little harder; everyone makes mistakes, just remember: our parents were essentially children raising children, they did all they knew how to at the time.

  56. Thank you for this. I am a 35 year old female. I’m struggling with bitter anger against both my parents right now. I pretty much raised myself and my 2 younger brothers. My dad worked 18 hour days and my mother battled severe depression our whole childhood. I was allowed to be with someone much older than me (11 years) when I was a tender 13 years old because he took care of all my basic needs as well as some of theirs. Although I know they “love” me, I never have felt it from them. I got married as soon as it was legal (18) and was already pregnant. I had 2 more children very quickly and after discovering my husband was already married with 2 other kids and had a tremendous drug and alcohol problem, I left the marriage (I was ULTRA naive).

    Now my dad is disabled at 56 (gets decent SSI) and my mother refuses to work. They guilted me into us all of living together and my boyfriend and I pay most of everything, including their food. We have 5 children between us and are struggling ourselves and now have my parents. My mother also has an alcohol and prescription drug problem. She steals from my dad as well as myself, as I have several chronic conditions that include terrible pain and am on disability as well. I have to hide my meds and she still finds them, steals and lies and has even went as far as accusing my kids. They travel around the country and ask us for “spending money” as my dad calls it. It seems un-fair as ever since I can remember during my adult life, when I have went on the extremely rare and extremely well earned weekend away, I was screamed and yelled at by my mother and told “it’s not the right time” by my dad. Bottom line it hurts.

    I want this to end but see no end in sight. I’m so mad at them for not being responsible for themselves as I have had to be my whole life. They depend so very much on us I wish I could get over this horrible feeling and learn how to deal with so much anger and resentment I have for them.

    I have tried most of these things even the bitter truth about how I felt growing up. My mom told me screaming that she wished I “would die, go to hell” and how she wishes she “could watch me burn”. This happened less than a year ago. When I tried to ask her to calm down in calm voice, she just made fun of me. (This has been my while life).

    Now I can’t even “go home” to get away from the insults and negative hateful energy.I meditate EVERY DAY and pray life will get better. I know they won’t always be here and I don’t want to end up hating them.

    • That’s tough I would admit because it seems you’ve tried hard to get away for a better life only to come back or be reminded of the place you were trying to leave. They are selfish and completely reliant on you to solve their problems, for that you need to get someone else like a councillor to help them and you need another one or even the same one to help you.

      Your kids are your pride and joy, you need to make them proud as much as they need to make you proud, which is why it is always better to be on good terms with them!

  57. My Mother’s husband, (I never had a father,) wanted me dead from day one and even put contracts out on me. He almost was successful and him and my ex-brother raped me at 15. I was insulted put down, wore rags because I didn’t deserve nice clothes. When I hit the road I found out that my Mother’s parents hated me and I overheard that the wrong girl (me,) died. So I told the yutz my Mother married, My ex-family members, and my Mother’s parents to rot and burn in hell. And I’m happy that I did that and it taught me that God hates my guts!!! I will NEVER let go so I’ll never get hurt Ever again!!!

      • Thank you for your compassion! And my life wasn’t hard…it was hell on earth! If you went what I went through, then okay. But it seems like(and don’t take this the wrong way, people are cruel.) And I did go to church after my husband died in my arms and slammed the door in my face because I was poor. Not one, but 10. There’s the compassion I received all my life. I never had good luck then, and I’m not sure if you were being mean or not. If you’re not being mean, then I’ll accept your good luck. But it shows that nobody cares.

        • I care…and the church doing that to you sounds like something right out of scripture..it wasn’t right what they did to you…god knows it.. im praying for you with all my heart and people like you everyday..i am that person who lays in bed at night and cant be satisfied with the world and reads his bible because I know how much is going on in peoples lives.. jesus changed my life and he can change yours to.

          • Thank you! We Need more people who care like that! It reminds me of something I read, “What so ever you do to the least of my brothers, you do until me.” And a Lot of church goers forget about this scripture. I’m happy that you didn’t.

          • I care too. You are a precious gem. You have endured so much. Your strength is incredible and I admire you for being so strong. Your name will be on my lips when I say my nightly and daily prayers. I would love for you to become the success you have always wanted to become. It’s not too late. As I said you have the strength; you are mentally strong and I believe you can accomplish anything you put your mind too. God Bless you.

          • Thank you, and that is very sweet that you pray for me. However it Is too late for me. People have underestimated me for years. One place I went to I had tested and gotten university and college scores. They wanted me to wash dishes or work in a fast-food restaurant! And I Did put my mind to things, but only got heartaches and hassles! I don’t care for homilies. I’m Not strong, it’s after my husband died cruelty and indignities started piling up and I became very Mean and cruel 10 times more than they could ever be. I would have been grateful for any kindness or compassion, (including churches,) but I Never received any. I live in Massachusetts in the most backwater town there is. But I appreciate people who do care and don’t say, “You’re life is going to be a hard one, and I hope you will be very happy.”

          • Terry,
            I’m so sorry for your heartaches and losses. I cannot even begin to know how deeply you hurt. I’m even more grieved that there are people out there who call themselves Christians that would treat you as they did. Please know that we live in a fallen world. The Lord Jesus came to rescue us and to love us and heal us. Please don’t turn on God because of what people have done. That is just Satan’s lie to keep you from having joy and happiness. Jesus died for you. And He rose in power that we can have victory deep inside. Jesus changed me 18 years ago. And has brought me lasting peace deep inside. I will be praying for you that God will send loving, patient people your way to encourage you. Open your Bible to John and ask the true and living God to speak to your heart. He waits patiently to forgive each one of us and will patiently heal all the broken pieces.

  58. No, this is what YOU must tell your parents before they die. You have no way of knowing what other peoples’ situation is. I think the article is a little arrogant.

  59. My mother abused me my whole life. Somehow I felt that I owed her something so I have let it continue into my adulthood; it seems to give her a great deal of joy. My brother and I have always called our mother “The Ramonster”. Her actual name is Ramona. She’s about 87 YO and still insists in treating us like *&^%. I hope she dies alone soon.

    • Forgiveness is not for your mother its to release u and help u move on. U owe her nothing but respect (even if it’s from a distance)

  60. My mother is dying, she has kidney failure,meaning her kidneys is working very poorly at 100 percent…I don’t know what to do. I love her and she’s my only parent left. She turned 47 and I’m 30. I feel really sad. I don’t want to lose her. I feel their isn’t much I can do. What can I do so I won’t feel too depressed after she’s gone and feel peace. My son and her are also REALLY REALLY close to her. ANY IDEAS THAT’LL HELP COPE WITH LOSING SOMEONE WHO IS PASSING AWAY?? Please,help my son and I. Please, no rude comments. Thanks!

    • Make sure to enjoy very minute and have no regrets. Find someone who you can trust to talk to about it. When she does pass, cut yourself some slack. The grieving process takes one to two years.
      There’s a book series called Journeying Through Grief by Kenneth C. Haugk. It didn’t heal me but it provided some good insight. My sister passed away a year and a half ago. So while I can’t fathom how much it hurts, I get that it DOES hurt.
      Condolences.

  61. U are such a Blessing. Everthing U said somes ip my entire situation and I feel that after I do these things I would be a better daughter, mother and wife. Thank You so much and I truely thank God for letting me ACCIDENTALLY run across this.

  62. I grew up wondering “is this the way it is supposed to be”. As a little child my mother would go into fits of rage at me because I was an “oops” baby and she didn’t want me and she told me very regularly that fact . She was a glamour queen buying diamonds and furs and to care for me cost money that was now spent on me. She learned to ask people for their hand-me-downs so they were free, They didn’t plan me nor want me and in fits of rage my mother would scream it in my face. In fact my father would have nothing to do with me because my mother cheated on him regularly and he didn’t think I was even his. This sounds like a story I am making up but unfortunately it is all true. My sisters are evidence of it even still to this day. My oldest sister is a “basket” case in a bad marriage, totally frazzled look with no life other then baby sitting her grandchildren and being verbally abused do that too. My middle sister is suicidal and lives in the middle of a woods far from everything and everybody. My mother is about 87 yrs old and just stopped driving and she has been driving nearly blind for about 6 yrs. She was in many accidents and she would be sent in for an eye test and she went to a doctor that would just sign the papers because he didn’t want her grief either. She would go into fits of rage and it scared people. I became a pastor later in life and could not even tell her because I could not trust her. When she did find out she showed up at one of my churches and told a pastor there that day in front of other church people that I should not be trusted that I steal from others, which is not at all true, in fact I mush of my wages back to the church. But still it was juicy gossip and it destroyed me. After all would a mother lie? She has turned all of our extended family against me because I had the nerve to become a pastor in a different denomination other then what I grew up in. I am now unemployed, destroyed and with no family that will even talk to me. This sounds very crazy, but very true.

    • I am sure you know that there are is no such thing as “accidents” when it comes to children. I pray that your purpose will be fulfilled.

      • Thank you so very much for your comment. It is the nicest anyone has been to me in a while. To catch you up, ever since my mother pulled her stunt and got me quietly let go despite it not being true at all, from being a pastor of 3 churches in a very tough area of town the churches whom were thriving while I was there have now dwindled down in attendance from 330 people total to about 40 people total and the churches are closing this next month after the new year. They need our prayers because that is a lot of hurting people that have lost there places of worship because of one hurtful woman. This sounds like a crazy story but sorry to say very true. Now it is God whom needs to forgive her. And wouldn’t you know it she denies doing anything at all. As she puts it “oh yeah blame me for everything!!! We no longer attend church either because ex pastors are seen as a threat by the current pastor.

  63. When I was leaving the nursing home knowing that I would not see my Mother again (and she knew it, too), I ran back to her room to tell her “That she did a good job as a mother and was a good Mother.” I felt like she needed to hear those words. She wasn’t always the best, but she did the best she could with what she knew to do. She died 9 days later. I would like to believe that those words helped her have peace…

  64. That you love them, and that they were ‘good enough’, that they were all you wanted and needed, and you love them unconditionally. This is the opposite of what I last said to my Dad – I will regret it to the day I die.

  65. 6. I love you, no matter what.

    As an only child dealing with the weight of the life and death decisions regarding my father, I have to say my biggest wish is that I could go back and tell him I loved him.

  66. I would. Tell them that I love them and I’m gong to keep learning from my mistakes. Thank you for all you did bye.

  67. If you want to tell them how hurt you are; you have to enter into the conversation with NO Expectations. They may care that you’re hurt; but expecting or anticipating any type of change in someone else’s’ behavior is unrealistic and toxic for the both of you. Heal your hurt inside yourself. Accept it, Feel it, Own it…. Then forgive them even if they are not sorry and move on. Forgive, Love, and Live your life without regrets. This baggage changes your life not theirs. Don’t let your baggage punish you from being the healthy happy human you were meant to be!

  68. I was brought up into an abusive family. My dad was a control freak, my mum was the instigator, telling off us children for “being naughty”, whilst my dad would crack the whip using his belt on our bare bottoms infront of the rest of the family. We would cringe and cry…15,16,17,18 and more whips of the belt…not just 1 or 2. Then there is the treatment throughout childhood and into adulthood. The berating, the belittling. The taking sides from only one daughter against the other 4 of us. None of my sibblings could ever speak up…but me? Being the oldest and having children myself made me realise that the upbringing I received is not to be repeated, ever! It was so wrong, and still is. My parents have not been parents…they were monsters! The problem was that I always just wanted to be loved and accepted by them…until last week. I have decided for the last time that I am not taking any more and not being a part of a cult that hurts my soul any further. I have told them what for! I have told them that funnily enough that I love them but that this relationship does not work any longer and that for me to heal that they are dead to me!! This may seem extreme to those who don’t understand, but within, I feel a sense of peace now at last and i’m 42 years old, so 42 years of badness…I have forgiven them all from within and with this I have managed to let go of the lot of the hurt, however, I have no relationship and this enables me to self heal…after all you can’t communicate with the dead!

  69. This is so beautiful. I’m glad I was able to have these conversations with my mom before passing. I can’t think of anything to add to the list. Thanks for sharing this with everyone.

  70. Apologize:
    If there is anything that you have done to hurt one or both of your parents let them know how sorry that you are. Perhaps it was something you did as a teenager, as in my case and did not realize it at the time? Maybe after your first child was born you could completely understand how it must of been for them? Whatever the case may be if you have not already done it Apologize! I am so glad that I do not carry the burden of not apologizing to my mother before she passed. I did so as my teen years were coming to an end and several times after. she loved us all unconditionally and forgave me with all of her heart

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