So i lost my father a little over two years ago. It really has been an up and down process for sure. His passing was sudden, he had a heart failure in his sleep, from heart disease. I had the news broken to me while riding my bike in the middle of nowhere. I felt my phone ring or thought I did, and realized I had 8 missed calls. Something was extremely wrong. I remember answering the phone and my mother was hysterical. It was the worst ride back to my car I endured. Not to mention, I couldn't ride hard at all even though I wanted to get there as soon as possible, just physically was not possible. Not to mention, the sky opened up and it dumped rain. Nothing seemed real in that moment. This also meant that our family insurance business now was essentially getting a large portion dumped into my lap.

Along with losing my dad, my mother pretty much disappeared from the picture and immediately got into an abusive relationship and is still fighting to get out of it. As things came along the portion of guilt really hit home for me. I felt responsible for my dad's death and felt like I couldn't be there to save him. That maybe if I had done something, he still would be there. Now on top of things my mother was out of the picture refusing to deal with things.

The guilt really drove me into some self destructive behavior and six months down the road things really seemed to spiral out of control. I created pretty much an online life to cope with things, trying to feel wanted and good enough for someone, since I didnt feel that way about myself. I pretty much was addicted to online ads for casual encounters. It was jeopardizing a lot of things, especially my engagement with my Fiance. I started to see a therapist and we worked on a lot of the issued tied into it all, and we found there was a lot more than the death of my father along the way.

It was amazing to see how one event could bring up so many different emotions along the way.

I am now three months into my marriage and was able to move to a new state and a new career and put some distance in between myself and my family business. It was a relief to not have that stress and to be in a place that didn't constantly remind me of my dad.

After the move, my wife became depressed over the change from Florida to new surroundings in Colorado. She begin to throw daggers out along the way that really made me feel the same guilt again. She seemed so unhappy about life and moving that I felt guilty for making her move and ruining her life. I felt like I couldn't communicate these feelings to her since, men are supposed to be the rocks in the relationship.

This ultimately lead to a relapse of my online searching for a few isolated incidents, which has become pretty detrimental to our marriage. We are seeing a counselor right now and I am working with my own therapist through these things.

I am not sure if anyone can relate or has any words of wisdom or even has been in my same shoes...

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Hello Garrett, 

Im sorry for your loss of you father. My father passed away Nov 23rd 2012, just a little over 2 months ago. It was one of the most difficult things I ever faced and still facing in my 38yrs of living. Im not sure as to what kind of advice I would offer. but the one thing that popped in my head while I was doing my duty as oldest son (doing the obitutary and picking out caskets...etc) was the one word LEGACY. That word now means the most to me.

What did my father leave behind?

What am I going to leave behind for others to remember me by?

I find now I have lost interest in alot of things that I use to love doing like gaming,  playing cards etc. And I'm on a War path to better myself and Family. Its almost like I grew up instantly, Its like I had to step up and fill my fathers boots. I have to be that Rock my Dad was to my mother, brothers and sister. And help them grow up and to teach them how to be Independent. 

Im not sure if this is any help to you Garrett but maybe it might give you some incite as to what happened. There isn't any real right or wrong in this area. Its all about how strong you are and how well you adapt and in the end how much of your fathers legacy you learned from. Ask yourself " How proud would your father be of you right now?" and you just might get the answer your looking for. 

Cheers man. 

Garret,

I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your father.  I too lost my father unexpectedly about two years ago.  Like you, I've had a difficult time the last couple of years.  And like you, I've gotten married in the last two years.  So I can relate and empathize with your situation.

I'm sorry to hear that you had to handle a lot of responsibility after your father's death.  And I'm sorry to hear that you got into some destructive behaviors.  But I commend you for seeking help. I too sought help and it has made a large difference.  I continue to ask for help in many aspects of my life.  And I could only do that by learning that it is perfectly ok for a man to ask for help.  We are not self made and we are not an island.

For me, after my father's death, I was seeking something, but I did not know exactly what.  After struggling, I mean really struggling through strong self reflection, therapy, trying different (lets call it) self help things, and finally through prayer/meditation (what ever you want to call it) I figured out what I was looking for.  I wanted to know what "being a man" truly meant?  Don't get me wrong, my Dad was a wonderful father to me and I learned many, many things from him.  I love him very, very much.  He provided a strong foundation for me on how to be a man.  However, I couldn't express it.  I couldn't put my finger on it.  I couldn't say "A man is this, this, and this".  Or I could say it is "this", but it didn't not make sense to me.  Much in the way you say "men are supposed to be the rocks in the relationship".  I asked myself what does that mean?  And like the reply from Danny Dort "Its all about how strong you are".  What does it mean to be strong as a man?  Does it mean to put your head down and work your butt off for your family like my grandfather's generation?  Does it mean to  be steadfast and stubborn like my father?  I needed to know.

A funny thing, the minister (I didn't know him from Adam) who married my wife and I, introduced me to this...mensfraternity.com and authenticmanhood.com.  Yes it's somewhat religious and yes, it is built on faith.  But, I tell you I had a major crisis of faith (any and all faith, not just God) when my father died.  Mostly a crisis of faith for myself.  I needed to understand why this was.  I listened to some of these audios here...

http://www.gcchoco.org/MenAliveMediaResources/tabid/107/Default.aspx

and it became clear to me, what a man should be.  It has helped me tremendously.  Full disclosure: I have "come to god" in the last two years.  It has made all the difference.  But you do not need to be a religious man or a man of faith to get something out of the audios.

I'd just like to say to you this...you're doing well.  You are doing something...you are asking for help.  You are NOT being passive.  Many, many, many men refuse to address their issues.  Most of the time it's because they are scared.  But I see courage from you.  Continue to have it and continue to struggle.  Life will get better my friend.  I promise.

Best Regards,

Mike

i offer my sympathy to you . thank you for replying to my post. i would like to offer you somegreat words of wisdom but i have none. it is hard for the son who is expected tohandle everything., however i offer your good wishes as for every obsticale you met youhave found a solution and hope that this email finds u and your family coping with life.

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