How should I communicate with my dad after my mother's death?
My dad and I weren't really close. We talked, got along, talked about sports, etc. But I was always closer to my mother. When my mother passed away last year, it left a noticeable gap there. I don't know what to say to my dad. I go and see him when he wants me to come over, but I don't know how to bridge that gap. Any suggestions?
My Dad went first (before Mom), but I can relate to your question. I could talk about anything under the sun. He couldn't; many of my favorite topics were either too far "out there" for him or directly threatened his core beliefs. So I had to learn to limit my conversation to subjects he could handle--which sounds similar to your situation.
I knew him very well; he misjudged me on a regular basis.
The only suggestion I have depends on how well you know him. Not how easily you can talk to each other (or not), but how much you understand what makes him tick. It was generally fairly easy (relatively speaking) to get my Dad to talking about things he knew. In his case, that amounted to ranching, rodeo, hunting, fighting, trucking, logging, and military service. Beyond that, we were in dangerous territory.
So, bottom line, my suggestion is to (maybe) see if you can get him to talking about himself, his own experiences, It could help. But if he's the avoidance type and won't go there, I'm clueless.
This is exactly my life situation, but to be honest I was close to Dad too... There were still some things I did, though..
1. Was the initiator of the discussion: I did not expect my dad to start a discussion, I would do it and more often revolved around the mundane about food, travel, market, anything and keenly listened so that I could build upon it.
2. Try to talk about the topics he likes: This is interesting because my Father likes to talk about politics and cricket (in India), so I can just start something around there and then he takes over....
3. Try to be casual and don't appear to put an effort to talk: This is the difficult part and easier said than done thingy..... What I suggest is while talking move around or appear to be looking at a painting on the wall, that way you don't put pressure on yourself to talk, at the same time not sending mixed signals to your Dad...
4. Drive him to the market: This is something not many of us are accustomed to, but it is good way of getting started on something and even if you don't talk much, you are at least giving him some time outside..
5. Watch something together: Go back to your mom days and just see if there was some movie he liked or some sports (like you said) he liked watching.. .Even rent an old video and watch together over a lemonade...
Just few suggestions and hope it helps...
Talk to him as you always have but leave the door open to expand to the topics you usually shared with your mother. Test the waters and you may be surprised by just how much he would like to she these things as well as things he talked to her about but now has nobody to share them with.
Give him a chance and he just might surprise you, if not you haven't lost anything.
First of all, so sorry for the loss of your mother. I would just go with the flow. Let him start the conversation and talk with him about what he wants to talk about. He could easily open a door for you to engage in a conversation. Such as, "How have you been lately?" I think your company is what he really will enjoy the most. Good luck my friend!
The short answer is, OFTEN!
First of all, I am so sorry for the loss of your mother.
This is one of the recurring topics in my bereavement group. I have written a Hub on this, but thanks to you, I see I need to fiddle with the title!
It might be good to set aside an hour or so as a special date, when you go out together and have coffee. Or some other special time that you share together. It would be nice if you would make that suggestion, rather than waiting for him to ask. If you think about it from his point of view, he knows you are busy with your own life, and probably doesn't want to interfere.
That way you will achieve closeness. Even if you don't talk much at first, just knowing he is important enough that you choose his company means more than any words could ever say.
If you set aside that time, it will be more important than anything else in his life. It is a priceless gift for a bereaved parent.
Trust me, I know.
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