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Ask Judy, July 2011
Friends of mine, a married couple, originally from Oregon, moved to Arizona after he got a job with my company. They had two children after moving to AZ and seemed very happy. The wife was always close to her dad and after her dad retired her parents moved to AZ. All was going well and good until her dad was diagnosed with cancer, and given a year to live. After her dad’s symptoms became more severe he moved back to Portland because it is a “Right to Die” state. Once her dad was back in Portland she visited him one or two times. Her dad signed the paperwork, and had her sign the paper work to take the pills to end his life. My friend took his wife to the airport to take the last trip to see her dad.
Well my friend shows up at my house, and it’s been a year since this happened. My friend’s wife is a wreck and has been driving him crazy for a year. She has moral issues around her dad ending his life. She is so conflicted that the last time she saw him he took life ending drugs. She is totally wigged out. What should the husband do? He is a computer guy and she is a psychotherapist by profession.
Alarmed Friend in AZ
Wow, this is pretty complicated. A loyal daughter assisting her dad in his right to die decision, and now obviously having second thoughts, or even questioning the “right to die.” It sounds like she was between a rock and hard place when it came to being a loyal daughter (helping him obtain the pills) and following through on his wishes (allowing him, and even being present as he took his life). What else was she to do even if she didn’t believe in her heart of hearts it was the right thing to do? Compound that with survivor’s guilt and you’ve got a pretty “wigged out” person.
It sounds like she’s really having a tough time coming to terms with her dad’s decision, and living with hers. Most people wonder if they did everything they could to sustain a loved one’s life, in this case it’s reversed. She was asked to do everything she could to help him end his life. It’s likely that isn’t what she really wanted. Her husband is probably trying to approach this situation with logic, being an engineer. That may not be the best approach in this emotionally loaded situation. You mentioned the wife is a therapist. She probably is resistant to counseling because she thinks she should be able to heal herself.
Dr’s and therapists are notoriously averse to seeking help, as they believe they can self diagnose. There is weakness and vulnerability associated with needing help. She clearly does need help . Perhaps the husband could suggest marriage counseling. This might take the onus off the wife being the “wigged out” one, and be a more supportive approach. It may not have started out as a marital issue, but if the husband is being “driven crazy” it is now. Good luck with the advice.
I am recently widowed and have been grieving for about a year now. I was getting better until this latest development. I have 4 children. Three daughters and one son, all grown. They are all married with children except my thirty five year old daughter. She is a career woman, and reserved, but not anti-social. I have been worried about her not having a boyfriend for awhile.
Well, a week ago I got my answer. She told me she was gay. She said she had waited to tell me because she didn’t want me to get more depressed since I was grieving. All her siblings are Ok with it and already know. I was devastated. I don’t know what I did that she would be gay. I was thinking that it was the time she fell out of her high chair flat on her head when she was a baby. Could that cause gayness? I know my deceased husband has a sister who never married. Could she be gay? I don’t know what to do. I still love my daughter, and I will support her, but is there a chance she’s mistaken?
Suffering in Southington
I am sorry for your losses, first the loss of your husband, but also the loss of your dreams and expectations for your daughter. No one ever wishes for a child to be gay. Not because it’s a bad thing, but because it’s just more difficult, and life is already difficult as it is. I don’t think it’s anything that you did at all.
A child falling on their head out of a high chair would not cause homosexuality. Having an aunt that’s possibly gay may indicate a tendency or predeterminite factor. There is some evidence that homosexuality is more prevalent in some families. I don’t think most people choose to be homosexual. It’s just the way they’re oriented, period. It is a good thing your daughter feels comfortable enough to come out to you and her siblings.
Not all gay individuals have this option, or freedom. As far as your daughter being mistaken, I doubt it. She is a mature woman and has probably been struggling with herself for awhile. Her identity confusion would more likely take place in her adolescence or early 20’s. Many people who are confused, may experiment around this time. I think loving and accepting your daughter as she is, a gay woman, is the best thing you can do. She’s still your daughter and she needs your blessing. Good luck!