I failed my father

A few weeks ago, my father was diagnosed with cancer. It was a devastating reminder that we should all live each day as if it were our last. Instead of having years to look forward to, daddy was given months. As quickly as his condition is deteriorating, his time will more likely be numbered in days.

Tonight my daddy received Last Rites. Instead of bringing me comfort and joy, I am filled with sadness and guilt. You see, daddy is not a Catholic. He never was. He never wanted to be. Mama was, and she prayed fervently for his conversion, but he never expressed a willingness to even consider the possibility. It would have been an affront to his own religious beliefs.

So why and how did Daddy receive Last Rites? My sister. Years ago, he had signed a Power of Attorney granting her control over everything. Over the years, he repeatedly mentioned the need to change that but never did. I would like to blame it on procrastination but it was more than that. This particular sister is a terror when she does not get her way. If people question her motives or actions, she gets very loud, very mean and very spiteful. Her tantrums are legendary. Daddy hated confrontation of any kind so he avoided doing anything that might upset her. It was fear and dread that kept him from acting, not laziness.

Last year, Daddy moved in with a nice lady named Bonny. He told me that he loved her and would have married her, but Bonny’s only source of income was her widow’s benefits. They could not survive on his disability alone. Daddy asked me to make sure that Bonny was always taken care of. That promise has been broken. My sister sent her husband to clear all of dad’s belongings out of their house; not just sentimental things that belonged solely to dad but things they accumulated together. Forget money, poor Bonny will not even have a memento to remember him by.

Daddy asked me to make sure that Bonny would never be excluded from his life. That promise has also been broken. My sister intercepts phone calls and tells daddy that Bonny never called. She hid his laptop so that he cannot go online. She told Bonny to leave because she was not welcome, then told daddy that she never came by. When my sister did finally relent and allow Bonny a brief visit, she made it clear that it would never happen again if daddy was upset in any way. In other words, if Bonny called my sister on her lies, she would not be allowed to visit him again. I want desperately to let my daddy know that he has not been abandoned, but I also see him at her mercy. If I upset him, I will not be allowed to visit him either. Bonny cries and begs me to honor daddy’s wishes but I am powerless.

Daddy asked me to make sure that my sister did not give him a Catholic burial or last rites or any of that “voodoo Catholic stuff.” That promise has also been broken. Tonight, when my sister’s priest showed up at the hospital, my heart broke. I am Catholic heart and soul, but I feel like daddy was betrayed. I gathered the nerve to ask, in front of the priest, if daddy was okay with it. She lied and said yes. How does one lie to a priest with a straight face?

I can’t stop crying. I promised my daddy that I would honor his wishes and I failed him every step of the way. I can rationalize it and tell myself that he should have put it in writing, but he didn’t. He couldn’t. He expected me to have the courage and conviction to stand up to my sister and do the right thing when the time came. I can’t. I am not strong enough.

I have prayed for a new heart so that I can forgive my sister, but the bile in my throat is a more honest testament of my feelings towards her. I hate her for what she is doing to my father. I hate her for what she is doing to Bonnie. I hate her for what she is doing to my siblings and me. I know that I cannot change anything so, for my soul and my sanity, I am asking for prayers to help me accept it and move on. Mourning my father is hard enough without all of his hate.


The ritual that was performed would have no effect on your Dad’s eternal destiny. If he believes in his heart that Jesus was the Christ, the son of the living God, hates his sinfulness and had a strong desire in his heart to live in obedience to all he commands, he is absolutely saved.

“The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame."For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:8-13)

Is dad’s faith demonstrated through good deeds? Is he kind to others? Does he love his neighbor as himself? James says that this is the evidence of a saving faith! Ritual cannot change anyone’s eternal destiny. And it’s more than just “head knowledge” about Jesus that saves. It is *true faith *in Christ that saves.

You absolutely did not fail your father!
I’ll put you on my prayer list.
Be at peace.

We will pray over the situation and ask God to help. And for the Holy Spirit to provide inspiration, direction and guidance.

I will keep you and your family in my prayers.



Prayers for the repose of your father’s soul.

May your family be healed as well.

Deb, be assured of my prayers, for you, and for conversion of heart for your sister. God bless.

Deb, Your father put your sister as his voice when he signed power of atourney. Regardless of his procrastinations, she is doing just that. Your father is concerned about Bonnie and you’re sister is not. She has every right to be wary of a non-family memeber…espcally when they chose not to legally (or spiritually) combine assets.

I’ll definatly pray for the softening of your sister’s heart, but I don’t see how she’s being malicious in any way. She’s also stressed and loosing/has lost her father. Except she has a huge responsibility of making the decisions. And please understand the fact that he may have changed his mind…even if just to appease your sister.

Your father picked her to be in charge of himself, he did not want to face her tirades or what ever it was. It’s not your sister’s fault…she may be acting badly, but he’s the one who let things be this way. Perhaps it is in God’s provedence that it has unfolded as such.

Deb, you didn’t fail your father because HE didn’t give you the power over him. He gave it to your sister and she is trying to do her best for your father.

Your father had no business asking you to take care of his woman Bonnie. She is an adult and she is NOT A RELATIVE and she is not your responsibility. He should have married her but he never did. REMEMBER…Bonnie does still have her social security checks and pension plan of her own. She has to move on in her live because she also chose money over marrying your dad. They were sinning together and your sister is trying her best to make things right.

You are not at fault for your father’s sins or the choices he made in his life. He was an adult with full control of his life. If your dad had married Bonnie then Bonnie would have been able to keep her things and take full responsibility for your daddy.

NONE - RELATIVES have no rights over your daddy. Your daddy knew the minute he got ill with cancer that he should have married Bonnie so Bonnie could be in charge of him.
But instead he chose to have your sister be in charge of him. He didn’t give Bonnie the responsibility… he gave it to your sister. You can be upset all you want with your sister but remember that it was your daddy’s fault for giving your sister the power.

Your sister is doing the best that she can for your daddy. You may not like it because your daddy is saying, “Poor Bonnie and me”. Think about it… he is playing on your emotions and manipulating you so he doesn’t have to look bad for not marrying Bonnie.
He is making your sister the “BAD PERSON”. His body is ill with cancer but his brain is still there. I think he wants to make sure that when he dies that everybody will hate your sister and turn their backs on her. I don’t think you have a nice daddy.

Your daddy put a monkey on your back knowing that there is nothing you can do but feel sorry for him and Bonnie. You don’t have to keep the promise to take care of Bonnie who is not a relative. She should not be leaning on you either. She knows she has sinned with your daddy.
Your daddy is an ADULT MAN and is not so delicate that he can’t handle the truth and face what he has done in his life.

My advise to you is to see a counselor right away so you can have peace in your life.
There are free counselors if you don’t have any money. You are not a failer.
Any priest will also tell you that you have not failed your daddy. Please talk with your priest. You know the priest will tell you that you have not failed your daddy.
I can guarantee that right now. I used to be a counselor for many years. This is why I would like for you to see a counselor or priest so you can have peace of mind.

I have prayed for a new heart so that I can forgive my sister,

i think you need for a new heart to forgive yourself, too. and your father-- he asked you to move mountains for him but gave the shovel to someone else.

if your father was baptized and then received the sacrament of Anointing (last rites) then we have every reason to hope that (perhaps after the purging of attachment to sin and after having made reparation) your father will enjoy eternal life with God.

no matter what else your sister did or didnt do, she did that. this was not a betrayal. it was helping to put your father on the path to receive the gift of eternity.

if your sister cant prevent you from showing kindness and sharing grief with Bonnie, then do so.


Hey Eris, What does Discordian mean? I have never heard that word before.

Yes. YOur family failed in following your father’s wishes. ANd, he failed by making it possible for that to happen.

Let’s pray for everyone involved. Also it is very obvious that you loved your father immensely, and I am sure the he and God knows that well. Praying for you …

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