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Hi Everyone -

My Dad passed away one week ago today. He had liver cirrhosis which lead to liver failure. I have known for 3+ years that this would eventually kill him. It was a very slow, painful, and difficult process to watch my Dad - the strongest man I've ever known, end up in the state he did. My step-mom and I took care of him the last 6 days before his passed and were doing in-home hospice care. My Dad and I were extremely close. I've spent nearly every weekend with him since he first got sick, talked to him on the phone every other day, and now that he is gone it doesn't feel real.

I was concerned my Dad was holding on so long because he didn't want me to see him die. So last Thursday I talked to him and told him I'd be back in 6 hours and that if he wanted to let go, that was OK, but if he wanted me there I'd be back. He ended up passing an hour later even though the hospice nurse said he wasn't showing the immediate signs when I left. So I didn't see him die and I never saw the body. In my mind, it's like he's still alive.

The week I spent caring for him is all a blur - it feels like a bad dream that I just can't wrap my head around. I cry occasionally, but only when I'm alone and really think about what has happened. I cried hysterically when he passed but only for a few minutes then sobbed on and off that day. I started back to work on Tuesday - 4 days after he passed and everyone looks at me like I'm an alien. They all say they are shocked at how well I'm handling it, but it's just because it doesn't seem real. No one knows what to say to me and it makes me feel like I'm some sort of heartless person. My Dad was my world and the pain of knowing he isn't here any longer will hit me harder than anything before, but it's like my brain won't let me figure that out. It's just like any other day and I think I'm freaking people out by not showing my devastation.

I'm getting married in two months and I had everything planned out with my Dad - how we'd walk down the isle, the song we'd dance to, a photo montage to play in case he couldn't dance, he even had his outfit picked out - this should be completely devastating to me, but for some reason I can't wrap my head around it.

I feel sort of dead inside and like I'm just a robot going through the motions of life - burying my Dad's death deep within me so it doesn't actually hurt.

It's so confusing.

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My dear, first of all, you most definitely are NOT a weirdo! What you're describing is a common and normal reaction in grief. Your mind is trying to adjust to something your heart doesn't want to believe. Shock and numbness at this point is part of Nature's way of cushioning the blow, so that you can function in your daily life, even though it feels as if you're on auto-pilot and your behavior feels robotic. This loss will hit you like a ton of bricks at some point, and it will happen more than once ~ but that too is normal. I think you may feel less "crazy" if you know more about what is normal in grief, so you'll have a better idea of what to expect and what you might try to cope with and manage your reactions. I invite you to read these articles:

Grief: Understanding The Process

Common Myths and Misconceptions about Grief

Tips for Coping with Disbelief and Denial in Grief

Since you're getting married two months from now, I also encourage you to think about how you might some ways you might include your dad in your wedding. See, for example, A Wedding Guide for Grievers: Tips for Remembering and Coping 

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@NoLastDance  I'm sorry for your loss.  I was just 29 when my dad died, already married and with a baby on the way.  What made it hard for me was that my kids wouldn't get to know him, he loved children!  I told my kids all about him as they were growing up and when they did something special I told them how their grandpa would be proud of them.  I think it helped them feel they knew him a little.  Marty's article "A Wedding Guide for Grievers" is a good one, I hope it'll help you.  

You aren't weird at all, sometimes we're in shock and disbelief at first, kind of our body's way of protecting us, it ekes out little by little rather than all at once as we couldn't handle that.  It's okay to tell people it hasn't fully hit you yet.  You helped take care of your dad just as I did my MIL when she was dying, it was a special time and I'm glad I had that privilege, even though it was hard to watch her suffering.  Your dad was considering you even in his death, that is very special.

Congratulations on your impending marriage, I hope your wedding day is very special and you feel your dad is still with you even as you say your vows.  So much we don't know about the afterlife, but those kind of thoughts can be a comfort.  (((hugs)))

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So sorry for what you are going through! I understand because my dad passed away in December. I know that surreal feeling to which you are referring .  I can only imagine the additional facet you have with your upcoming marriage.  I am so sorry.

What has helped me are my faith and recognition of the quality time I had with my dad. Since his death, I have been reading books like Randy Alcorn’s Heaven which have helped me understand my faith even more.  Also, I often think about holidays, vacations, playing cards, eating out, and doctor appointments with my dad. We were so blessed and privileged to have that time!!

It sounds like you had quality time with your dad, too! Praying for you today!

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I'm so sorry for your loss. It's been about a month since you posted so I'm not sure if you're still on the forum and if you'll see this, but I hope you know you aren't alone in what you're going through. My mom passed very suddenly back in November. It seemed like she was fine one second and then she was gone. Like you, I cried hysterically when it first happened but afterwards went completely numb. I went back to work a few days later and everyone thought it was strange "how well I was dealing with it" as well. I'm not an expert at grief or its stages, but I can say I shared a similar experience. It didn't seem real that she was gone so in order to protect my own emotional well-being, I think I numbed myself and didn't feel anything at all. I do think that's a normal reaction to grief. 

It's been almost five months since she passed and I can say it does get less difficult. Everyone kept telling me "it gets easier with time" but I noticed that they were people who had never experienced the loss of a parent they were close to. Time definitely does its work in lessening the weight of grief, but I won't say it gets easier living without your mom or dad. It gets less difficult. What helped me through the most difficult periods was allowing myself to feel however I felt and not judging my emotional reactions. If I was numb, I was numb. If I felt devastated, I would cry. If I was angry, I would let it out. Every emotion possible will sweep through you and that's okay. Just work through it at your own pace. 

I assume you'll be getting married next month and I hope the best for you! I had my 24th birthday only days after my mom passed so I know it isn't easy going through major life events without a parent. But I hope you do find joy in the day with loving people around you. Your dad is in some form still with you, whether spiritually if you are that sort of person or in your memories and in the memories of the people who love you and who loved him. 

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Thank you so much for your reply! You summed up exactly how I've been feeling and you're right - as time has gone on it has become less difficult, but not easier. That is a great way to describe it. When I think about him now, I'm able to think of good times and smile, usually followed by a few tears, but I'm not feeling as lost as I was. I actually had a rough day yesterday just realizing how close the wedding is and that he won't be there. That thought always gets me, plus I had a stressful day at work and he is the person I call when that happens. I hate not being able to call. So I just let myself be sad last night, I cried pretty hard before bed, but my fiance was amazing and just held me. It's so up and down, but I'm trying to just go with the flow of my emotions.

I'm so sorry to hear you lost your Mom, especially at only 23! I'm sure that's completely devastating, but it sounds like you are handling it really well and embracing it.  You've given me invaluable advice. Letting it be and feeling whatever I'm feeling without needing to justify it is really helpful.

I have gone to a couple grief counseling sessions to help work through it and my counselor gave me a great suggestion. It may help you as well. It was my Dad's birthday a few weeks ago so on that day, I planted a dwarf lemon tree for him (in a big pot so I can take it if I move). She said that having something to care for that represents your loved one can be really positive. It has been a HUGE help to me. I take my coffee in the morning and sit next to my tree (I named her Roberta - my Dad's name was Robert). The bit of humor in that feels good. I talk to her, water her, play my Dad's favorite music for her (Willie Nelson mainly) and it helps me to feel connected. You might want to give it a try. I can't tell you how much more positive it feels to talk to him in that form and care for something living that represents him. 

I wish you all the best and thank you again for such a kind message. Much love <3

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22 hours ago, NoLastDance said:

Thank you so much for your reply! You summed up exactly how I've been feeling and you're right - as time has gone on it has become less difficult, but not easier. That is a great way to describe it. When I think about him now, I'm able to think of good times and smile, usually followed by a few tears, but I'm not feeling as lost as I was. I actually had a rough day yesterday just realizing how close the wedding is and that he won't be there. That thought always gets me, plus I had a stressful day at work and he is the person I call when that happens. I hate not being able to call. So I just let myself be sad last night, I cried pretty hard before bed, but my fiance was amazing and just held me. It's so up and down, but I'm trying to just go with the flow of my emotions.

I'm so sorry to hear you lost your Mom, especially at only 23! I'm sure that's completely devastating, but it sounds like you are handling it really well and embracing it.  You've given me invaluable advice. Letting it be and feeling whatever I'm feeling without needing to justify it is really helpful.

I have gone to a couple grief counseling sessions to help work through it and my counselor gave me a great suggestion. It may help you as well. It was my Dad's birthday a few weeks ago so on that day, I planted a dwarf lemon tree for him (in a big pot so I can take it if I move). She said that having something to care for that represents your loved one can be really positive. It has been a HUGE help to me. I take my coffee in the morning and sit next to my tree (I named her Roberta - my Dad's name was Robert). The bit of humor in that feels good. I talk to her, water her, play my Dad's favorite music for her (Willie Nelson mainly) and it helps me to feel connected. You might want to give it a try. I can't tell you how much more positive it feels to talk to him in that form and care for something living that represents him. 

I wish you all the best and thank you again for such a kind message. Much love <3

 

I'm so glad my message helped in some way! I will definitely try what you suggested as well. I only recently started writing letters to my mom after my grief counselor suggested it and it has made me feel a lot better to be able to tell her all the new things going on in my life, in some way. Planting something in her name and taking care of it seems like a great idea as well. Thank you! 

Sending love and best wishes your way. Good luck with the wedding planning 

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*hugs* you're not weird.....I lost Mom last Friday and in a way still expect her to walk into the room. Ive lived in the folks home for three years so everything here reminds of Mom. I cry terribly at times and ive never really been one to cry. Ive lost many friends and other family but this has crushed me. As ive been reading it will come out, and you will cry rivers, and you will eventually start to heal. There will be a huge scar and many fond memories. What has happened has happened and we cant change it. But your Dad would want the best for you. Have a Happy Wedding knowing he is with you and very proud of you. name your firstborn son after him. Tell them how wonderfull he was. You will probably fall apart but pull your husband close and your family, be there for each other and rebuild. God bless you and be good to yourself.

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