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  1. My dad was a perfectly healthy 69 year old. After a dinner party at a neighbour's house, where he consumed several glasses of wine, he went outside for his nightly solo hot tub soak. That was just before midnight on December 17th, 2017. When my mom woke in the night (3:30 am) she noticed that my dad had not come to bed. She knew something was wrong when she saw the lights were left on. I cannot imagine the horror she experienced when she saw my dad sitting in the hot tub at that hour. She said that he had a peaceful expression on his face, and that it looked like he was meditating or sleeping. She was unable to rouse him, since he had already passed away. She proceeded to call 9-1-1, and the operator insisted she haul him out of the water. We have since learned that hot water actually speeds up the process of rigor mortis-- his body was rigid in a reclined/seated position. She experienced great struggle in trying to pull his large, slippery frame from the water. She told me that once she had extracted him from the tub she was reluctant to drag his body into the house for fear of scraping his back on the sliding door frame base. It's hard to say what exactly I would have done in the same situation. As she waited for the paramedics to arrive (approximately 30 minutes, as the house is in a rural area) she tried to phone me. My phone is in airplane mode when I sleep. She did succeed in getting ahold of my younger brother. I know that he will need some trauma counseling to get over that frantic 30 minute phone call. He later told me that she was wailing, and he was completely at a loss as to what he could possibly do to make the situation better, since he lives a 5 hour drive away. (I live even farther away from my mom than my brother does.) My mom finally got through to my wife's cell after the paramedics left. [The coroner report after the autopsy -- a few days later -- said that my dad fainted due to low blood pressure combined with heat and alcohol consumption, then drowned. The death was ruled "accidental death by drowning."] I was awakened at 5:30 am on a Monday morning by my wife saying, "You need to talk to your mom." My mom's first words to me were, "Dad died last night." Those words can still be conjured in my memory like I am hearing them for the first time. That day I met up with my brother and we flew to comfort my mom. Since it was the week before Christmas, my wife and stepdaughter followed a few days later. After the "funeral home" details were all behind us (we actually followed my dad's wishes to be cremated, and held an open house 10 days after his death), and all the other relatives went back home after the holidays, I stayed on. My mom said she was glad to have me there. I ended up spending nearly 3 weeks there in total. I'm now back at work as a high school teacher. It feels like it's time to get back into routines; however, I have been overwhelmed by strong emotions and some anxiety since I returned to work. Most of the time I'm okay, but I wanted to share my story and reach out to others who have lost a parent suddenly. I am grateful to have found this online discussion group, and I welcome replies that offer practical advice, co-miseration, empathy, or supportive wishes. I'd also like to be clear that I am a "spiritual" person, but I am not a follower of any specific religious tradition. Therefore, I will be slightly wary of replies that try to explain "it's all part of God's plan", or that I should turn to church or scripture to find solace. I appreciate you taking the time to read my story, and as I gain wisdom in the process of grieving and healing I will offer my support to others who are navigating this pathway through grief to equanimity. FL
  2. It’s Tuesday June 13th 2017. To anyone else it may be just another day. As for me, it’s another day and another week that goes by with the absence of my Derry. It’s one month, three weeks and one day that my heart took the hardest hit and it’s five days away from the first Father’s Day I will be celebrating in front of his tombstone. My name is Brenda and I am the middle child of three. Growing up I was daddy’s little girl and at 29 I still felt the same way. He was my world, the number one dad and I love him dearly. Derry is the endearment for my father. It’s my version of Spanglish for daddy. I always knew I was lucky, growing up in a pink bubble with both my parents, little sister and older brother. We did not grow up in a big home, expensive clothes or newest toys. However that modest home was full of love and we always had food on the table. My earliest memories are simply wonderful. My parents were the type to constantly remind us and show us their love. That bubble was soon broken. At age 17, my father was sentence to prison. The day he went to court he kissed me on the forehead and reassured me with confidence that everything would be okay. To my dismay he never returned home. He was sentence to serve time. This was the man who I knew was the kindest of hearts, the man who was always willing to help and was a hardworking family man. Until this day, I do not agree to his conviction. They took the best part of our lives. My family took the hardest blow. We cried for him as if he had passed. Every holiday turned into a painful event because we knew someone was missing. Our milestones became moments of grief. Every visit was full of joy to see him but it ended in heartbreak as I walked away knowing I could not take him back home. My heart found a little comfort as he began to find his faith. In 2017 after serving ten years in prison he was released but deported to Mexico. His release was a mixture of emotions knowing he was free but he would now be 700 miles away. Our fears didn’t go away, they simply transformed. I felt at ease knowing he was in his hometown and that he was content taking care of his parents. We visited him when we could, at times in a group and other time one person at a time. My favorite time, was when I went alone. I spent the days following him around, like when I was a little girl. Watching him as he completed his daily duties of running a farm and taking care of his aging parents. As I watched him, I imagined one day I would be in his shoes. One day I would take care of my old man. Fate had other plans. On April 22nd I received the call that would change my life once more. My father was missing. An hour later there was news of a body found in the old road that leads to the town. A short time after, it was confirmed that the body found was my Derry. He was murdered in cold blood and his truck burned. I thought I had already felt the worst of pains but this took the throne. I fell to the ground and simply screamed in anger, God why him. I cursed God as my mother tried to keep the words from coming out of my mouth. I was mad at God for not protecting him. My dad was at a point in his life where he was running on faith and believed in him. He wasn’t done with his work, to convert us to his faith. He couldn’t allow him to be gone because he wasn’t done. This broke my heart to pieces. My brother and I went on a mission, to bring him home. We flew to Mexico, arranged his farewell from the land where he was born and we brought him home. Home, where he spent forty years of his fifty nine years of life. Where he built his home and raised his family. Where his family waited to say goodbye for the last time. Watching how many people, here and in Mexico, showed up to say goodbye simply reestablished the good man he was. Two years, that’s all we had to enjoy his life out after surviving through ten years hoping for the day he would be released. Here we are again continuing life without him. This time we won't be getting a call or letter from him. This time we cannot visit him. This time we cannot hear his voice or hug him. I have made peace with this sudden lost. I am standing strong. I do not know how at times but I am still going. Maybe I am still in the shock face of grieving as some say. Maybe life has made me this tough and I am accustom to pain. Yet I think it is bigger than that, it’s God’s grace. After cursing him upon the news, I came to a realization. When I asked what else can be taken from me, Jobs story came to mind. You see, I am by no means the most religious person but I have studied his word. I cannot unlearned what I have learned. This time my Derry is in a better place. This time God’s grace is keeping me from plunging into depression. This time I know that's what he would have wanted. This time I will not fall.
  3. Hi. I'm 24 years old, and I have gone through the biggest tragedy ever to fall on my family. My beloved father passed away unexpectedly of a massive cardiac arrest. He was a healthy man with no history of cardiac problems or any major health related illnesses. He was an exceptional dentist, loving husband, and a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful soul. He passed away on April 7, 2017. I was devastated. I grew up with three younger brothers, and naturally they bonded with each other while I was always an outsider. My father had always sheltered me and he befriended me at a very young age. I learned to depend on him as a friend and as a father, and later on as a mentor as I chose to pursue the same profession as him. Our bond was unique and it was much more than just a father daughter relationship. We were the best of friends, and he would always adjust his role according to what I needed...from being a fashion advisor to an older brother to my best critic...the list goes on. He was the center of my universe. After his death, I tried my best to cope with his sudden departure. I kept telling myself he's now at peace and no longer under the tremendous amounts of stress he was dealing with during the last year of his life. I found peace when I told myself I could have him live through me through our shared passion for life, nature, and dentistry. I aim to be the best dentist I can push myself to be to carry on my father's legacy. I managed to be progressive even after my dad's death. Ten days later, I was on a train to Boston to find a quiet place to work on my college applications, and I managed to write a very moving personal statement. I returned home feeling like I had done something my father would be proud of. My feelings of contentment were short lived. My younger brother wasn't doing well after my dad's death. He became very aggressive and mentally unstable. I had to send him to the hospital out of fear that he may hurt himself or someone around him. After returning from Boston, my brother returned home the next day after a two weeks stay in the behavioral sciences section of the hospital. I was really worried he would be angry with me because I was the reason why he was locked up in a room. He didn't want me visiting him at the hospital during those two weeks. Naturally, I decided not to be home when he returned as to not upset him. He came out looking for me. He was very weak and could barely gather enough strength to walk more than five mins. He was on heavy antipsychotics and was always tired and drowsy. He came to find me on his longboard and gave me the tightest hug and told me how much he loved me. He thanked me for sending him away and told me how it was important and someone had to do it for him. For a second there, during that moment.... time stood still and I almost forgot my father had passed away. Just for a few seconds, I felt like everything was okay and everything will continue to be okay because my brother was there, and I could always fall back for him to catch me. My brother killed himself three days later. No one saw it coming. We all thought he was getting better. He was twenty. It was the 29th of April, just three weeks after my father's death. I was devastated. Beyond heart broken. I was confused and angry. I didn't understand why he left the way he did. I felt guilty. I felt as if I wasn't a great enough sister to him...that I didn't try hard enough to understand him. My brother was a very conflicted young adult. I always tried my best to reach out to him, but he would never want to talk about himself. He was battling his own demons, and he didn't want to share anything about himself with anyone...not even his own parents. Even though I have lost two family members within 20 days, I am still able to function and perform my daily tasks and carry out my responsibilities. I am broken inside. The pain doesn't go. But I try my best to not fall into despair. The reason why I am writing here is because I am just so tired of not being understood by anyone. By being alienated and losing people who I thought were my friends. People have just stopped talking to me or reaching out to me, and they say things like "we don't know what to say". I don't like it when people say that or when people tell me to be strong for my mother and my remaining two younger brothers. I am strong enough as it is to be able to continue living my life and working hard for my dreams. I was in a long distance relationship for three years. We met every six months and spent hours over the phone daily. We were planning to end the distance once I graduated from graduate school. When my dad died, I asked my boyfriend to leave. I wanted to be alone and didn't have the energy in me to share my emotions or anything with anyone else. He refused to leave and told me he would be there for me as my comfort and support. He followed through for two days and then he got lousy. I wouldn't hear from him for two or three days and then he would resurface and talk to me. Sometimes I would have to call him out and ask him why he wasn't paying me any attention. I didn't expect or want long phone calls or Skype sessions. He couldn't visit me because his visa was still pending. I just felt better waking up every morning receiving a loving or encouraging text from him. Was that too much to ask for? He would blame his work or he would tell me he was busy with family. And whenever we did talk, he never really asked me how I felt or what I was going through and if I did express how I truly felt after my dad's death, he would never know what to say. That didn't bother me though because I don't really think there is anything that anyone can say to make me feel any better especially when my loss was so recent and so unexpected. He and I ended up discussing a trip to see him because he couldn't come visit me. I booked my flight to see him three weeks after. While waiting for my flight, I continued to feel that he wasn't really being there for me the way I would have liked him to be. I even told him what I wanted from him, he would do it for a day and then he would get lousy and disappear again. At this point, I had decided that I was going to see him and break up with him in person because I didn't need someone like him during my time of need and vulnerability. (Im a very self sufficient woman and I've learned to depend on myself only and I know exactly how to take care of myself. I left home to study in a foreign country at the age of 18 and that helped me grow in so many ways.). However, my brother passed away a week later and I was beyond shattered. When my boyfriend found out, he came back to being an affectionate and caring boyfriend. He said all the right things and paid attention to me. I forgot about dumping him and liked how he was being caring. He started counting down days and told me he had a surprise trip planned, and that I wouldn't know where we were traveling until I met him. I went along with it. I had a pleasant distraction, something to look forward to just for a short time. I went to see him. The first three days were pleasant. He was a doting and affectionate boyfriend. We did everything a normal couple would do. We were happy. I felt at peace. After three days, I found out the surprise was a six day trip to Portugal. I thought it was very sweet of him. We got to Portugal and the next day, we went to see Lisbon. We were sitting by the water when he chose to tell me that he felt happiest when he was alone and that he didn't want marriage or kids. He told me he no longer saw a future with me because I wanted to eventually get married and have kids. I was so shocked. It made no sense. He was always the one who would talk about kids with me. I would feel uncomfortable because it would make me feel pressured. I wasn't ready for kids or marriage and I told him that. And his reply was that I want it in a few years and he doesn't want either things at all. I honestly don't believe it. I also know he wasn't cheating on me. I feel like he was a coward and he chickened out when my life fell apart and he didn't know what to do. He was afraid of commitment and responsibility. I was the partner who was always the most giving, and when I stopped giving and became vulnerable and it was my time to take, he wasn't ready to give. He was selfish and immature that way. He told me how he thought I was perfect and how he knows no one will ever love him the way I do..but he has big plans on establishing a huge business and retiring by the age of 40 and that for him to make his plans a reality he needs to sacrifice certain things in order to live other dreams. I was really shocked. He told me that he loved me but not the way I loved him. He told me he loved himself too much. He told me that he wanted to continue knowing about me as a very good friend. I booked the first flight out and chose to leave him. He spent the last few hours holding on to me and asking me to keep in touch as a friend...telling me he didn't want to lose me. It wasn't fair to me, and it was confusing that he wanted that. He still texts me asking me how I am doing. I don't reply. All this is pretty recent. It happened just a week ago. On top of all this, a friend who Ive been friends with for ten years told me I was no longer welcomed at her place. I had stayed at her house for three days and one night we were talking about how I was feeling. I have a hard time crying, and don't reallyy cry much. I get frustrated. I ended up getting frustrated and was shouting about how I felt while being frustrated and she took it personally. I'm beyond disappointed and shocked that some people can be so ruthless and cruel even to people like me who have lost so much and it's all so recent. I am trying my best to keep it all together, but inside Im just really disappointed and hurt. I feel so lonely. I know I am better off without these two people in my life, but it still doesn't take away the hurt or disappointment. My ex showed no empathy or emotion as he sat there saying hurtful things, breaking my heart. And as I sat there crying, he listened to music on his phone using his headphones and ignored me. He never had the decency to drop me off at the airport. I had to take a cab on my own at four am in a country where I didn't even speak the language. I know I am better off without him. I will never reply to him or give him any satisfaction. I just don't understand why he won't stop texting me. I don't know why he behaved the way he did. The reason he gave me seems like bullshit to me. I don't buy it, and because I don't believe it, I don't really have closure. I know there's no point asking him because he won't give me any answers. Im just really lost and confused. I feel so alone. My life seems to be chore right now. I have some really pleasant days and then I have days where I don't want to talk to anyone and just want to be miserable. It's only been a month and three weeks since everything happened. Im tired of grieving and being sad. It exhausts me and then I feel guilty because I know both my father and brother wouldn't want to see me be miserable..but I can't help it. I am happy and then I wish I could share my happiness with them and when I realize I cant, I become sad. It's a cycle. I also don't know who is being kind to me because they actually want to be kind and they care or they're just being kind because they cant help but feel sorry for me. Everything just seems really confusing and overwhelming right now. On the outside, if someone were to meet me, they wouldn't know about what Ive been going through. I laugh and smile and make jokes and behave normal. But inside, I just feel this void and it gets bigger everytime someone hurts me. I feel alone and lonely. I feel like no one understands. I lost unconditional love when my father passed away. My father and brother's death destroyed my mother, and no one is really the same anymore. She's being strong just like me. We all seem to behave normally to anyone who meets us. I hate feeling alienated and alone. I wonder if I'll ever find love. I cant believe my boyfriend left me the way he did. He could have left when I told him to and when I was ready to let go. It was more painful that he played with me for three days before he told me what he really wanted. I know I am being redundant. I should stop now. I've been holding it all in for so long. I just dont understand how some people can be so cruel. Will I ever be loved? Will I ever be able to be happy without feeling sad about it later? K.
  4. I lost my father about a month ago. My dad is my best friend and I deeply miss him. I just recently started going back to work but asked to work part time. Before my fathers death, when I knew I'd have half days, I never worried about work or felt anxious. Now, with even the most simple tasks I feel overwhelmed. When I need to go to the store, I feel anxious, indecisive, and can't get myself to get up and go but eventually I do. I just feel like every SINGLE THING I DO IS A DRAG. I used to like be very productive and start my days early. But now, when I know I have work at say 1pm, I will not do anything productive before 1pm because I'm stressed. However back then, i'd get up early, clean the house, go to the gym, read a book, just anything to stay productive. Will things ever normalize again? Will this overwhelming feeling and anxiety ever go away? I want to go back to work and know that I can take on the day but every day just feels challenging for me.. FEELING HOPELESS.
  5. Can someone please help me!!!!? I met the love of my life last year, Jan 2015. We talked marriage and forever. He father passed July of that year. The dynamic of the relationship changed but I tried to do everything I could to help her in any way. I loved her more than anything. She started becoming distant but then we would have moments where she seemed back to her old self. She broke up with me Feb of this year saying she couldn't do it anymore, however we were still in each other's lives as she said she had hope she would come back to herself. In June she was telling me she loved me again. In August she said she has to focus on her and she doesn't care about me or anything really. I am devastated. Can grief do this to a person???? Can the girl I met who wanted to marry me be really gone. It's like her dad's death changed her and it seemed to be ok then got worse then was ok and now she told me she is gone and not coming back i am devastated, please help me understand this. Len 0
  6. Okay so on July 3rd my girlfriend Amanda just ended our relationship of 7 months because I was "adding to much stress" onto her already stressful life, she just found out her dad has stage 4 stomach cancer and has 2 months to live, and has now ended our amazing relationship, we literally did everything together, we were so in love, she told me how much she loved me every single day and how she wanted to be together forever and wanted to get married and have kids, move in together, ect, ever since her dad got sick she hasn't been the same and we fought all the time just because I wanted to see her more, you see I went from seeing her every single day to maybe once a week and this was a hard adjustment for me, our relationship was incredible before all of this, we spent everyday together we loved all the same things, we were best friends and everything was heaven sent, we lost our virginities to eachother and that just made us feel 10x more connected and she used to say the sweetest things to me daily about how she wanted to be with me forever and how she loved me so much and how there's no one else she'd rather be with. so on July 2nd we got in a really bad fight and she was saying that she wanted to take a break and I was having a hard time accepting it and I told her just to think about it and she said she was going to watch a movie with her parents I get a text from her about 30 mins later saying basically that she still wanted to be with me forever and that she still loved me and that she wants this to work but it's not going to if I don't stop fighting with her.. so the next morning I ask her if she wanted to hangout before we work (we work together by the way) and she said no so I imeedatly felt bad and asked why and she said she wanted to take her time getting ready but she had already promised me previously that she would spend time with me that day, so I was hurt and I confronted her on it, then she said she was right about taking the break and broke up with me, I tried to beg for her back after work that night and she wouldn't budge, she then said she'd figure out what's best for her and she'd see if she wants to get back together when in the past she said if we ever took a break she promised we'd get back together... im just extremely heartbroken and sick from all of this, I don't understand why this is happening and how she can go from being head over heels in love with me to leaving me like I'm nothing.. ill explain the story in better detail if people can help
  7. Hello again. I was on here a 2 months ago, talking about the recent death of my Father. 2 weeks ago, I had a heart attack (which was incredibly surprising, given that I'd played tennis six times that week). Then, last week, my favorite cousin died suddenly from kidney disease. Bad things might come in threes, but this is ridiculous!!! The hardest thing is grasping what I'm feeling, when and why. I thought the heart attack symptoms were grief and now It seems that grief might be another heart attack. While I'm on all the right medications, in therapy (both mental and physical) and trying to take care of myself--this is extremely difficult. I keep telling myself that fully experiencing the pain will make me a deeper person. Any other suggestions?
  8. Two months after the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, my Dad died on March 5th of this year. During those two months, I cried, yelled, hugged him and and let him know it was ok to go. I thought the early grieving would make it easier, but the heartfelt pain is intense. Some days seem foggy, detached from life, alien. Other days, I feel pain more clearly and want to hide away like a wounded dog. Even though everyone experiences death at some point, it seems like no one understands my pain. This is especially hard as it brings up memories of my Brother's death years ago. i've heard that, to the extent that we experience the pain defines our capacity for joy after. My question is, how and when does the pain start to subside? I know it's a natural process, different for everyone, but what is acceptance like? Is it the slow process of filling our lives around the hole that is left or does there come a day when we know we've fully accepted what happened or both? Would like to hear from others going through this process or have made it to a peaceful place...
  9. Almost a year after my father's death, I find myself here. While I am doing better in many ways, I find that my support systems aren't great. I'm 20, married and in college (an uncommon occurrence, I know). While my husband is trying his best and can be very supportive, he still has trouble understanding that grief has no distinct timeline. He wants me to get on antidepressants, and while I agree it might be the better option, he is telling me to do it for the wrong reasons. "How long do you want to feel this way?" is a common thing he tells me. Other than my husband, I have few or no support systems. My brother would rather not talk about it with me, despite enduring the same loss. My father's side of the family has never quite been "there" for me, even before my father died. This may be because I look like my mother, who is an alcoholic. While she is taking steps to recover, my relationship with her is not good because of her actions. I have few friends, and because I'm in college (and have a diabetic cat), I can't often travel to see a friend who might make the process a little easier. My father died due to complications of diabetes (which he had since he was 20-something years old) and alcoholism (which he took up in the last few years of his life). Someone told me my father was turning to alcohol in the early part of my first year of college. He had to go back to rehab due to a relapse, and I asked my aunt to to tell me when he got out. In April, I didn't visit during Easter because I hadn't heard anything about my father's release yet. It was on Easter day that he died, due to low blood sugar and not attending to it, in his home. They found him two days later. My own family did not notify me of my own father's death; rather, it was my father-in-law, who worked on the police department and saw the forensic photos. Since this time, my anxiety has peaked considerably. When I think of my future, I become scared. I fear that my anxiety will keep me from obtaining or doing well at a job (ironically). I've also had some major depression. My counselor seems to think I'm doing well because my grades haven't dropped, but I feel she fails to see through the mask. I'm doing well simply because I'm afraid to faulter and not be as good as I can be. I feel crushed under the weight of expectations and having to live up to them, yet I do it anyway. I think my own mental health has suffered as a result, because I have failed to grieve properly. I wanted, so badly, to ignore the issue. My father was the first person I've ever lost that I had a close connection to. I knew he was going to die, but he died too soon. He was only 47. I'd like to hear about the roughest times in your grief, and the strange, strange mental state that grief put you in. I feel very alone in this, and it's hard to talk to my husband about it when he hasn't experienced grief or a loss. He says he understands, but when I talk to him about what I feel, he sometimes looks at me like I'm an alien with foreign emotions. I don't know. Please share your experiences, and any useful advice. Have any of you experienced something similar? Anxiety? Depression? Trying to live up to what you're "supposed" to do? An unexpected death? How has it affected you? Have you felt like no one understood what you were going through (as cheesy as that sounds, it's true!)? Share anything and everything.
  10. My father was a very unique person. He was practically a child in a 49 year old mans body. He was from The Bronx, New York. He was in Alcoholics Anonymous, 3 years clean. He possessed all kinds of knick knacks that you could think. Vending machines, pinball machines, all types of movie props. Our house was almost like a carnival. And as his only son, he decided to name me after him. My parents got divorced 8 years prior to his death. I have a half brother on my mom's side, and my sister who is currently 19 and lives with me now. I was used to having one parent along my side the majority of the time. I had many ordeals with my step-dad and mother. She was not mentally stable and my sister was causing many hardships as a teen. All of these events in my short 10 year life provoked me to leave Jupiter, Florida and reside in fabulous Boca Raton, Florida. My father was a wealthy man, he had a high variety of vehicles, including a Ferrari, which he cherished. For a year, it was just my dad and I. It was the best year of my life. We always went on vacation together, football games, and had a blast. He did indeed spoil me, but that's not the reason why I loved him. All of my friends were so jealous of my father because of his personality. Many of them told me that he was almost like a second dad. In late 2011, my sister moved in after my step-dad went to prison for 3 years. My mom lost everything and moved to Miami with my Grandma. Up until my dad passed away, she lived there. My dad and my sister didn't have as close of a relationship as I did with him most likely because she saw more of the abuse that happened to my mom during the years heading into the divorce. But as the months went on, she moved on from it. My dad began to date a girl that he knew for over 25 years. She had a daughter that was a year older than me. I really enjoyed when they came over, which was very often because I was able to hang out with someone. In August 2012, school was starting. I was starting 8th grade. Little be known that my father would die in a car accident a month later. My birthday was August 24th. My dad died September 24th. So here's where the actual story starts. My dad wanted me to go to a Dolphins vs Jets game with his friends on Sunday, September 23rd. I was going to go, but then I overslept and ended up not going. The rest of the day went normal. The next day, the day that changed my life forever, started off pretty ordinary. Woke up for school, brushed my teeth and went to school. My dad was very angry that morning because one of the dogs managed to get out of his crate and defecated in the living room. I told my dad I love you and see you later. The day went on and my dad texted me about an hour before he crashed telling me about my new schedule that I'll have Tuesday at school. This was at around 2:00 P.M. He crashed at 3:09 P.M. I know this because the watch he was wearing was impacted so severely, that the time essentially froze. When the day was over, my sister picked me up. It wasn't unusual for my sister to pick me up because my dad was very busy. I came home and the internet wasn't working. I called up our service provider and they told me I had to get my dad on the line. I proceeded to call him three times with no answer. I presumed he was still working or whatever he normally was doing. My sister left the house to go to her friends and I was alone at the house. I was watching the Monday Night Football game between the Seahawks and Packers. I lived one house down from the guard gate in my neighborhood, so I can see all of the cars that come in. Except this was very odd. There were six or seven cop cars that were lined up at the gate. I just stared out my window watching what was going on for five minutes or so, when they started rolling into my neighborhood. They all parked right in my driveway and along the road. My heart instantly sank. All sorts of thoughts were rolling through my head. Is my dad in jail? Did he get shot? Did my sister do something? I immediately called my dad. Of course, no answer. I called him 10 times before I called his girlfriend. She lived about 20 minutes away and got to my house within 10. I went downstairs into the living room waiting for her to come, when my mom calls me. I despised my mom at the time so I didn't answer the first two times she called me. But when I finally answered, she kept telling me to open the door. By my defiance towards her I kept telling her no and asking why. My dad would never let her in his house so I refused until a police officer ordered me to open the door. I finally complied and a horde of policemen raided my home and went in every sector of the house. She then sat me down on the couch and told me what happened. I instantaneously broke into tears. I couldn't believe it. The strongest man I knew died in a car accident. In a f***ing car accident. Of all things? I would've believed he had a heart attack, or even got shot before I ever thought he crashed a car. I went upstairs to get my phone and two policemen escorted me up, maybe because they thought I was going to commit suicide or I don't know. I called my two best friends and let them know what happened. I stayed at one of their houses for the following two weeks after that day. My dads girlfriend arrived shortly after I got the news. She was frantically asking so many questions. One of the policemen told her the news. She literally fell to the floor sobbing in disbelief. My mother ordered me to call my sister because she was still at her friends. I kept telling her to come home and she said no repeatedly until I had my mom tell her. My sister got home within five minutes. Everybody took the news horribly. Now, 37 months and 19 days I still have days that it feels like yesterday, and other days that it feels like 10 years had gone by. I have very vivid dreams of him often. Every time I wake up from them it just reminds me that I'll never see him again. The feeling I get the most is anger because the way he died was preventable and I feel guilt for not going to the game with him the day before. Also, I always think of scenarios that I could've prevented it or helped save his life. When I visit one of my friends that lived in the same neighborhood as I used to, I pretend that he's still alive. I have a recording on my phone of him yelling at my sister that I took as a joke and I watch it almost every day just so I can hear his voice again. Other times, I feel like that this whole thing is a lie and he's just going to come home and act like it was a prank. Sometimes, I feel like I'll see him in public and if I make eye contact with him, he'll dart away because he faked his death. There are so many of these odd feelings I get that I can't possibly list them all. But I just wish that he was sick or I didn't go to school that day. I'm also an atheist so it hurts me most knowing I'll never see him again because I don't think there's an afterlife. I hate when people say "you're so strong" because in reality, I'm not. I think about him every hour of every day. I especially despise when people say that "he's so proud of you right now" and "he's in a better place," because I don't believe in all of that. When people ask about my parents I immediately tell them about my mom and then they say the dreaded words, "and your dad?" I hesitate for a second because I hate the expression on everybody's face when I tell them he's dead. Then here comes the "I'm so sorry for your loss," "How did he die," "If you ever need anything I'm always here." It's a weird thing to say, but I like meeting people who have a dead parent because I know exactly how they feel and I can talk to them about it and relate 100% with them. When someone tells me that their parent died I don't ever tell them all of the cliche responses to that statement. Paul Marino Sr. 5/9/63-9/24/12
  11. I’ve encountered death two times in my life… The first one was my father-in-law (not by law, but may as well been). I’ve been with L for almost 9 years, and from the beginning his family accepted me as one of their own – treating me more like family than my own family normally does. We would go semi-frequently to stay at L’s childhood home in his hometown on the weekends. He was very close to both his parents. One November, four years ago, L was napping as I got ready for work. His cell phone rang, and, singing it was his brother, I woke him up and handed it to him. L’s dad had had a heart attack at work, but was still alive. We immediately drove to meet his family in the city where they’d life-flighted him to. Turns out he’d had the heart attack, and no one knew how long it was before someone found him. Long story short, they did what they could for him, but he was mentally gone and the plug was pulled. We all watched as he passed before our eyes, but he was already gone… And shortly before he was supposed to retire and travel the country on motorcycle with his wife, L’s mother. L was wrecked by this, and I wasn’t much better. I’d never encountered death up close before, so I had no learned ways to cope. I spiraled into a depression that I can’t even describe. There was… a lot of crying. I can’t even describe it, like I said. And then there’s the second encounter. L and I went to Indianapolis for Halloween, and for him to play some Magic: the Gathering. It was Sunday the 1st, and we were at the event hall as he sold some cards. My phone rang, and I saw it was my brother. “…Are you at work?” I felt my stomach drop, but asked “No. What’s up?” “Dad’s dead.” He sobbed this out. My father was 53 years old. He wasn’t supposed to die for a while yet! I haven’t even turned 30. Apparently, sometime between 1AM and the following morning, his heart had stopped. There’d been a history of drug abuse in his past, but he was relatively sober these days – especially compared to the past. He also had suffered the last few years from emphysema. He was always saying I never knew how long he’d been around. I didn’t know it until after, but apparently he had found out a year or so ago that he had Congestive Heart Failure. The doctor had wanted him to get surgery, but he said no. Truth be told, my father’s death was sad, but it wasn’t tragic… Growing up, I didn’t really see him. I was always taught by my mom that he was a horrible person – basically a monster. According to her, he had been an alcoholic who abused her. The alcoholic part – that was true. But what I found out years later, from multiple sources, was that my mother and him had abused each other. Doesn’t make it right, but it was a two-way thing. When I was around 21, he and I were able to reconcile and, over time, develop a bit of a relationship. For a long time, I didn’t say “I love you”… this man was a stranger, and I wasn’t going to say it til I genuinely felt it, and felt right saying it. He also wasn’t happy that I didn’t called him “Dad”, but I had my reasons for that which had nothing to do with him. But he was my father, and I loved him. He made no excuses for his past, wanted to make up for it as best he could, and was the best person he could be. The fact that he made no excuses… it meant so much to me. In the last few years, his mother (my grandma), his sister (my aunt), his nephew (my cousin) had all died. His brother had previously died, too. His dad was dead. He’d faced a lot of sadness, and he was at peace. He told a family member a month ago that he was ready to go. The thing that had meant most to him, especially since he came down with emphysema, was fixing the relationship with his kids. The only thing he really had left was seeing me get married… my biggest regret is that he won’t be there to walk me down the aisle. He was endlessly proud of me, of how I turned out, and I’m just heartbroken that he left so soon. The week after I found out, I took three bereavement days, came into work on Thursday, and took a sick day Friday. At work, I was barely functioning. It hurt so much to be there, and I couldn’t distract myself my normal ways since – you know – work. I’m a designer, building online ads. That Thursday, I went to my boss and told her I wouldn’t be doing more than 5 mandatory overtime hours a week (for context, my department has been on mandatory overtime, working anywhere from 5-15 mandatory overtime hours a week… this week was 16 hours mandatory with 8 of it having to be this weekend… yeah…). I’ve sobbed a few times in the bathroom stall. My productivity is way down. My supervisor hasn’t asked me once how I’m doing, or even discussed it with me at all beyond me telling her the overtime thing. Very little in way of support at work, and it hurts like hell to be here. The stupidest things make me cry right now… sometimes even nothing at all. And an intense apathy with a feeling of deep, almost numbed anger under it has set in. I last saw him on Memorial Day (he lived over two hours away, and with how much I work… you know). L and I were leaving for Vegas the next day, and needed to finish our preparations. Still, I thought it would be nice to spend it with my brother and dad… in fact, I think that’s the only time since I was tiny that the three of us had been together on any holiday. We hung out, my brother grilled, L and I introduced them to a couple of fine beer types they’d never had – a lambic and a sour. We had fun. We played Wii Sports and my father got cranky when my brother beat him. I had L take a photo of the three of us, as I thought it would be nice – that’s the only time since I was little that the three of us had been in a photo together. He was disappointed when it was time for us to go, but like I said, we had to finish preparations for a weeklong trip. I feel so guilty now about that, but I know I shouldn’t. I can’t believe he’ll never text or call me again. He’ll never hug me again. He’ll never walk me down the aisle. We’ll never eat Thanksgiving together. There’s so many “never agains” and “never wills” that I tear up just thinking about it. And my brother, he’s worse off. All he can think of is death lately, and he doesn’t want to talk. My brother and I –neither of us are religious. I’m a science-minded agnostic, but I like to say “I may not have faith, but I have hope.” Both of us just hope he didn’t disappear. If he’s still there, I hope/wish he’d just give one or both of us some sign to let us know he’s ok. Imagining that you disappear… it just makes every bit of life that’s not happy feel futile. I sometime miss when I was a religious little kid, “knowing” It hurts so much. The sadness. The disbelief. The apathy. All of it. I can’t bring myself to care about much else other than L and my brother right now. When at home, I’m normally playing two games at once while Netflixing with L to distract myself. I’m terrified of once these three weeks are up, since I know I have to go back to the standard overtime schedule and I’m already exhausted. …I know it’ll get better. But it just isn’t fair. It hurts. Sorry for the long read. PS: Anniversaries of L’s dad’s death and my father’s death are only a week apart. November sucks. TLDR; my dad died suddenly at 53 this month and I’m barely coping. I’ve lost all father figures in my life.
  12. My wonderful friends. I posted this (below) on a certain part of social media. I agonised over it. Why? because certain people in his family can only have access to certain media and they are suffering too. My Husband's brother lost his beloved wife last year to breast cancer and my husband was desperate about it. It is my way of letting them know we are family. I have never been to Iran. My husband wanted to see his country once more before he died. WE had a plan. It was not to be. As from Saturday, I won't be in contact for at least a week because I will be at my Mom's house. There is no internet access. I don't know how I feel. Actually I do. I am bereft. I almost completely alone and I am just the only adult in my little tribe of 2. Mom said 'this house is yours' to Max, and my husband always said 'promise if anything happens to me you WON'T sell your mom's house' ... My husband and my mom adored each other..... So, I will put the key in the door in 2 days and there will be my ghosts. My beloved ghosts,...my father (1st) then my grandmother and then Mom (Can't even go there x 3) and now my beloved husband. The love he gave me kept me breathing throughout. As I write, I weep. Where the heck does this amount of salt from you eyes come from? Does anyone else's eyes have crust? I have never loved so much. I was given unconditional love. He was the one that gave me the world and also KNEW my grief He lost his mom aged (6)Those big strong arms that said 'I am here' and just held me. I will walk into that house and see his coffee cup on the sink, his work clothes on the floor (he left 1 week after us.but of course he took us to the airport (Manchester) and wept when we left him and Max and I, flew back to Belgium because of school) there will be the food still in the freezer. I have lived with this horror once before. Putting the key in the door after Mom. I was grumpy woman I remember 'pushing him off' with unforgivable words like 'she wasn't YOUR mom' or 'You just don't understand' The day of the funeral He 'heard' her loud and clear. Hardly surprising looking back because they were the two purest hearts. My Mother's wake was held in a park. I sat at a table in the the gardens and saw (in the distance) my husband's heartbreak of Mom. He wept and wept and wept. I will never forget it as long as I live. The loss of a parent in adulthood is horrific. The loss of a partner who held your hand throughout ...quite another. Thank you to Baback's Iranian family in Brussels ( for his Moroccan friends too) for those also from every continent ( his family in the US & Canada and throughout Europe ) here is to you all, for keeping Max and I in your hearts. So many of your friends, my Baba(my love) said 'We loved him.' I walk alone now on this earth, for however long, no one knows . But the legacy of love and caring continues. We are, and your friends,the continuation of the magnificent soul you were on earth. I will never 'get over' you, but we always talked about that you and I. There is no getting over your soulmate. There is simply doing what YOU would want. That is seeing our son live and be happy. We will, next week, make the hardest journey I have ever made in my lifetime. To an empty house. Empty of YOU, Mummy Daddy, Nanny. Putting that key in the door.. only you loved enough, my beloved, to fully understand. It is a lonely plough to furrow. Different continents/religions/1 heart always. My Baba I will love you forever. I am doing this for our love and our son.You are mine and I am Yours
  13. Growing up my dad wasn't around because he was doing drugs and was a drug dealer. He ended up going to prison for a few years. I've always had an intense longing for a relationship with my dad and we connected through myspace back when I was about 12. I ended up meeting him and we talked over the phone or on the internet ever since. I love him. My dad died in march very suddenly. He was in a car accident, I guess he lost control of his car and it flipped over into a ditch. I didn't find out until a week later. He hadn't been responding to my facebook messages and so I googled his name for some reason. I found the online news article detailing his car accident. I have so many conflicting emotions but I am mostly just depressed. I long to hug him and make sure he knows that I love him. I long for him so much I've spent like 150 dollars calling psychic mediums. I don't even know what I believe and if I am religious or not, I'm just desperate. At the same time I'm somehow still angry I guess because of his absence. The loneliness is killing me. When he was alive I was able to call him about my problems or just to catch up. I just want to call him. I keep thinking about the pain he was probably in. After he was discovered they took him to the hospital and he died later that night. I just imagine him laying in a ditch and I feel terrible. I wish there was something I could have done. He was all alone in pain. I feel so empty....also angry because no one on my dads side of the family messaged me or tried to get in contact with me about what happened, I had to read all the details from an article. And I won't be invited to my own dads funeral because no one in his family knows me ( but they know of me) :'(
  14. Hello All, I recently lost a father. It was a pretty quick downhill battle. He was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and end stage renal disease. In the last month, I traveled out of state back and forth to help visit and care for him, and was there in the last week or so of his death. This has been very traumatic for me as he was my only surviving parent (mom died 20 years ago) and he remarried a woman shortly after that we really don't consider family due to her own severe mental issues that kept us distant. Now, I am going back to a relatively new job and am having a hard time making it through. My husband is starting to get tired of me talking about anything related to my father dying and his death. I have yet to contact a counselor but will do so this week as my work provides help for this. Right now, it is hard for me to keep forgetting his last words to me as I helped administer morphine, "What is this?" How do I move on when I don't really feel like it but life forces me to do so?
  15. I turned 24 a few weeks ago. Usually I make a big deal about my birthday and plan something with my friends, but this year was different. It was my first birthday, first valentines day, first new years, first christmas and thanksgiving without my stepfather. He died of cancer in june, I took care of him. He was more than a father to me- he was a superhero. When I was 12 my mother was diagnosed with cancer- he married her 5 days later and promised to take care of her, my brother, and myself no matter what happened. She died when I was 17, a few months before I graduated high school. I continued to drink and take pills to deal with my pain. I created a lot of art work as well. I also now realize I began submitting myself to unhealthy relationships, in search of love that the other could never give me. Two years later the homicide department knocked on my door. These officers sat me down to tell me my real father had killed himself. My heart shattered. He had been unemployed and battled with his own depression and money problems. I'm not sure I ever really dealt with this loss. until now at least. Over the summer, when I became a caretaker for my sick stepfather, I prayed to my dead loved ones, for strength to get through another day. It was so taxing. so stressful and unusual for me. After he died, my whole turned upside down. Not only was I taking on -all at once- a whole swarm of responsibility i never had- to pay bills and watch over myself... A few months of living in my childhood home- my aunt, the homeowner- essentially kicked me out. Told me they were going to sell my house this spring and my drunk uncle was coming over everyday to tear apart the floors and paint. I had to move. and I did. I've lost my health insurance recently. another obstacle for me. The executor of my stepfather's will has shown her true colors- and made it clear that she is neither a good person or a part of my family any longer. I'm not sure where to get the help I need, within the low budget i have. I need support-from real people.
  16. Hello, Everyone: Sorry my first post is so long, but I have so many thoughts and feelings about my grief experience that I feel compelled to share. I lost my beloved father two days after Christmas, 2014. My mother died two months earlier in October, but I was much closer to my dad. I was raised by my father and grandmother after my parents divorced when I was five years old. I was my dad's caregiver. I also cared for my grandmother, my great aunt and my great uncle over the last 34 years. On December 18, 2014, shortly after midnight, my dad was admitted to the hospital for shortness of breath, wheezing and low oxygen saturation. At first he semed to be getting better with oxygen therapy, but then later that day he suffered a massive heart attack. Ten days later he died of respiratory failure caused by Congestive Heart Failure, Acute Renal Failure and Pneumonia of Unknown Etiology. He was 86. I watched him die for 36 hours in "Comfort Care" at the hospital. It was the first death I had ever witnessed and the hardest thing I have ever had to do, aside from having to carry on without him. I am my father's only daughter with no husband or children. Most of my friends and relatives live far away so they could not be with me and my dad during this difficult time. When I looked out the hospital window as day turned into night, I felt detached -- like the world was foreign to me and as if I wasn't connected to it anymore. Through the night I listened to my father's labored breathing in the dark. I felt helpless because there was nothing I could do to save him. He was sedated on a morphine drip so he could not communicate with me. During the last twelve hours his respirations became agonal (Cheyne-Stokes). The nurses said he was not in pain, but the sound of his breathing and the mottling of his skin gave me the impression that he was suffering. I loved my father more than anything in this world. I lived with him for 55 years so the loss of him is devastating to me We both grew up in the same house and we were both raised by my grandmother so that made us even more similar in our outlook. As long as my dad was around I was happy (most of the time) and could face anything, but now I have no one I can trust so completely. I am suffering from insomnia, anxiety, anhedonia and loneliness. For the first time in my life I am seeing a therapist who says I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I went once to a drop-in grief support meeting but it was cancelled because of low attendance. There were only four of us and they wanted a minimum of eight persons. I am struggling with guilt, because I worry that it was something I did or something I failed to do which caused my father's death. My energy level was low during my dad's final weeks at home, because I had developed chronic bronchitis. I'm normally pretty healthy -- I haven't been bedridden since I caught a bad flu in 1979 (knock on wood). I feel bad that during this rare time that I got sick is when my father died. I wasn't bedridden -- I was well enough to still care for him, but one evening, to make preparing dinner easier and faster, I cooked him a steak, a small piece. He complained that it didn't have salt. I didn't normally cook steak for him or add salt, because of his salt restricted CHF diet. He didn't like the salt-free spices; I had tried so many of them. I didn't even keep salt around to avoid temptation, so I gave him some parmesan cheese to sprinkle on the last forkfuls of steak. I thought a small amount wouldn't hurt him. Later that night he had shortness of breath and was admitted to the hospital for the last time. He had been briefly hospitalized two weeks earlier for the same symptoms which were diagnosed as pneumonia of unknown etiology. He was sent home with a prescription for the antibiotic cefpodoxime proxetil. However, the hospital lab failed to do a sputum culture, even though the samples had been collected twice and I had reminded both the doctor and the nurse that a culture should be done to know which pathogen was causing the pneumonia. I couldn't understand why I had to tell them. The last time he was in the hospital for pneumonia they did a sputum culture without my having to ask. The doctor said that it was "disconcerting" that the lab did not do the sputum culture, but he still sent my dad home with the antibiotic script after just three days in the hospital. By the way, a woman in the waiting room told me her father had also been sent home too soon with a perforated bowel! Since pneumonia and congestive heart failure tend to look the same on x-rays, I think it was actually heart failure that caused his lung congestion but I didn't question the diagnosis, because my dad had had pneumonia (staph, non-MRSA) six months previously and had recovered with bipap therapy and antibiotics. They never figured out what caused his pneumonia this time, because nothing was cultured from his sputum during his last admission. He tested negative for TB as well after three days in isolation. I believe the powerful IV antibiotics he received in the hospital, both vancomycin and levaquin, may have caused his kidneys to fail, since he already had chronic kidney disease. Why would they give him such powerful antibiotics if the sputum didn't culture anything? If it was heart failure, then I worry that it may have been the parmesan cheese that worsened it. I had let my guard down, because at his last doctor appointment his GP told him that my dad had beaten his diabetes through his good diet. So I occasionally let him have more of his favorite foods, like raviolis, veggie pizza, spaghetti and meatballs, and chocolate cake. If we kept the portions small enough he could get by without aggravating his CHF. Comfort foods made him feel better, but too much was dangerous. Sometimes I felt like a killjoy, warning him not to eat too much of his comfort foods. Early on we had learned that just a bologna sandwich could send him into heart failure. I was between a rock and a hard place. Two years earlier, thanks to improving his diet, he had recovered from gangrene on his toes caused by peripheral arterial disease. His surgeon called his recovery a miracle -- she had previously thought he'd need to have his leg amputated below the knee. She said I was obviously taking very good care of my dad and that made me proud. My dad had multiple hospitalizations, but in between his quality of life was still relatively good for his age, considering all the health issues he had. I also feel guilty that I wasn't with my dad the night he had his heart attack, because nobody told me he had suffered a heart attack until later. It was a silent heart attack. They just told me he was going to be given bipap therapy to help with his breathing. The bipap had helped him recover from pneumonia six months earlier, so I was optimistic. Since I had been up all night with him the night before, I decided I would get some sleep and see him in the morning. That morning the doctor called to tell me my dad was suffering too much from shortness of breath, that the bipap therapy had failed to help him, so he was going to be sedated and placed on a ventilator. Naturally, this came as a shock to me, but I didn't know enough about what being on a ventilator is like -- I just hoped and prayed it would save his life and be only a temporary intervention. While my father was on the ventilator, the hospitalist first suggested Comfort Care. She said my dad had had multiple admissions and wasn't getting better. I told her that his quality of life between hospital admissions was still good. He could see, walk, hear, enjoy movies and music, converse, laugh, read, even do light chores on good days. He had recovered from other crises -- he just needed a chance. I started to worry that they weren't going to do their best to save him, because it would be more cost effective to terminate his life. As if I weren't under enough stress, there was a nurse from hell in the ICU who kept talking down to me. She called me a five-year-old in terms of my medical knowledge, compared to the nurses and doctors. I'm not a trained RN, but in 34 years of caregiving for four relatives in succession, I have done a lot of research on their behalf. I've also taken some pre-nursing classes in college. Still. I didn't want to rattle her ego, so I said, "You certainly know what you're doing." She replied, "Yes, I know my s***!" At one point she told me, "What would you rather have, someone who knows what they're doing or someone who is "touchy-feely"? I replied I'd rather have both. She answered sharply, "Well, you can't have both!" I asked her if it would be contra-indicated to place an extra blanket on my father. The blankets were thin and the room was cold. Knowing how arrogant this nurse was, I was careful to phrase it as a question, not a demand. Still, she got flustered and said, "If you place too many blankets on him, his temperature will rise and then we'll have to give him more antibiotics." He didn't have a fever and he felt cool to the touch. The nurse lectured me with a sarcastic tone, "You may have taken care of your dad at home, and I'm sure he's a wonderful man and all, but he is in a different world now!" I replied that I was just trying to advocate for my father because he can't speak for himself. She reluctantly brought the blanket and proceeded to drape it over the top of his head. Since my father wasn't used to sleeping with his head covered, I asked a male nurse permission to move the blanket to cover his body. This nurse misunderstood me and brought more blankets, which further irritated the nurse from hell. I'm not Asian, but she mentioned Chinese families who demand six blankets on their loved ones, even when they have a fever, One thing she told me that disturbed me more than anything else was that she said her religious beliefs didn't approve of keeping people alive artificially! My first impulse was to ask the Intensivist to have her reassigned, but he wasn't available. Then I remembered what my father had told me about not making waves, because he might be the one to pay for it. I was afraid the nurse would pull the plug on my dad, in accordance with her belief system or as revenge for my complaining about her So I kept quiet and even asked her permission to dim the lights, so she could enjoy her power trip. Later I saw her moaning in the hallway that people don't understand how much work a nurse has to do. An older nurse replied, "Sorry, that's part of the job!" Luckily, I only had to deal with the nurse from hell for two nights. This may sound paranoid, but I wonder if part of her job was to help convince me and others that Comfort Care is the only ethical alternative. Belittling my knowledge may have been a ploy to reinforce the argument in favor of Comfort Care. During the period that my father was being weaned off the ventilator, I found him awake and alone in the ICU, looking distressed. He wrote a note on a piece of paper that read, "Help Me". He wanted the ventilator tubes removed from his throat. At first I thought he wanted to die, but he didn't want to die, he wanted the tubes out -- he didn't think he needed the vent anymore. I managed to convince him he had to wait until the doctor determined it was safe to remove the tubes. He settled down but I had never seen my normally stoic father looking so utterly forlorn. It was heartbreaking! He asked me to bring a handheld battery-operated fan from home to cool him off -- even though he had no fever and the room was cold, he felt unusually warm. He wanted me to direct the air flow to his face, because it helped him breathe. Using an eraser board he told me he loved me, and I told him I loved him, something we said to each other every day at home. I know my presence brought him comfort and that is a great consolation to me, but the images of his suffering still haunt me. That night I stayed with him all night and I was glad that I was able to advocate for him. When he couldn't sleep I called a very nice nurse who gave him Fentanyl which put him to sleep right away. Twice he needed it to sleep. When he awoke, my dad asked me if I had slept, because I tend to suffer from insomnia. I had nodded off in the chair. I told him the nurse said we were both out like a light. Daddy always worried about me. He was so cute. On Christmas Eve, he was off the ventilator and it looked like he was recovering. He told me, "You see how much I need you?" I replied, "I need you too! That's what love is all about." The ICU nurse told me my father was doing better than yesterday. He said I should go home and get some rest, that he would look after my father and call me about any changes. The nurse was compassionate and I trusted him to take good care of my dad, so I went to bed, hoping for a Christmas miracle. I awoke with a feeling of dread. On Christmas morning, I found my father in respiratory distress, the oxygen cannula had fallen out of his nose and he was begging for air, water and God's mercy, over and over. His oxygen saturation had dropped into the low 80's. No one was helping him, and this was in the ICU! When my father saw me he thanked me over and over -- again it broke my heart to see him suffer so much! I got a nurse to put an oxy-vent mask on him and increase his oxygen. He shouldn't have been switched to the cannula, because he was breathing through his mouth. The nasal gastric tube was blocking his airway. After that I knew he could not be left alone. Thank God I had slept the night before, because that helped me stay awake with him for the next 36 hours. A couple of days before, I had reassured my father that there was a closed-circuit tv camera watching him in the ICU. He waved his hand in a dismissive gesture as if to say, "They're not watching me." I should have taken that as a warning. Still, I needed to sleep and there was no one else to stay with him through the night. I'm so grateful that my half brother, a Critical Care RN, and my niece arrived at the hospital on Christmas Day. The hospitalist told us my dad's kidneys were no longer responding to diuretics and his creatinine level was rising daily. When I asked about loop diuretic braking and suggested they try a different diuretic, nobody even knew what braking is. I had asked the nephrologist about aquapheresis and he said they didn't offer it and that he needed full dialysis. The hospitalist said my dad was too weak to be moved. She seemed more like a robot than a human being. She said there were only two options, a heart operation or Comfort Care. If he had the operation he would need to be put back on the ventilator and placed on dialysis, which might kill him because the volume fluctuations would stress his heart. The doctor said his heart was not able to perfuse his lungs and kidneys properly, because of mitral valve regurgitation, enlarged left atrium, arrythmia with a blood clot, and blocked vessels. He had been diagnosed with advanced heart disease several years earlier but wasn't considered a good candidate for surgery then; now at 86, after his massive heart attack, his chances were even worse. She said his heart's ejection fraction was 15%, barely enough to sustain life. Mercifully, his heart attack had been silent so he didn't have chest pain, but respiratory distress is bad enough. My niece and I tried very hard to convince the doctor to consider other options to no avail. My brother the RN said Comfort Care would save Dad a lot of suffering. My brother and niece started crying. I was still in shock, but broke down over the phone to my best friend in Cincinnati. I can't help but wonder what if he had received more aggressive treatment for CHF two weeks earlier instead of the doctor assuming it was pneumonia, and sending him home with just an antibiotic, would my father still be alive? Even if he had pneumonia, was giving him those nephrotoxic antibiotics warranted without knowing which bacteria was causing it? The same doctor during my dad's previous hospital stay had encouraged him to select a DNR status. He said if my father wasn't going to have a heart operation, then he "should be consistent". I explained to him that my father was being consistent -- he didn't want chest compressions because they would break his ribs, and he didn't want surgery, because they would break his sternum. My father wanted to live, but the doctors at a different hospital had told him he was not a good candidate for heart bypass surgery. My dad didn't want stents, because he didn't want to take blood thinners -- he had a high risk for gastric bleeding. Several years ago, daily aspirin for his heart and H. pylori had triggered a slow bleed in his stomach which caused him to lose a third of his blood supply. His mother had died from internal hemorrhage from coumadin even though she had regular protime tests. My father was willing to try the ventilator, if necessary, to give him more time to recover. He had beaten the odds before. He was a fighter, literally -- he had boxed for the Golden Gloves in the Army during the Korean War. I got the impression that the hospital wanted to phase my father out, because of his age. The lab not doing the sputum culture two weeks earlier, even after I had reminded the doctor and the nurse, is highly suspicious. The hardest part was when my dad asked me if he was going (dying). I told him that the doctor said his heart wasn't doing too good and he needed an operation. I wanted so much to soften the truth, to give him some hope to cling to, but I needed to know his wishes. He didn't want to go back on the ventilator and he didn't want to stay weeks or months in the hospital recovering from open heart surgery. Two years earlier he had spent six weeks in the hospital just recovering from a botched toe amputation. When a follow-up surgery was scheduled, the surgeon postponed it from the morning to the afternoon -- my dad was not given anything to eat or drink for 22 hours! Thank God, the nurse cancelled the surgery when my dad started vomiting from low blood sugar. If he had had the surgery that day, he might have aspirated while under anesthesia. Naturally, this and other adverse hosptial experiences undermined my dad's confidence in having major heart surgery. I hated the idea of giving up on my dad. My purpose in life had been to try to get him well, but I also didn't want him to suffer. A respiratory therapist told us that a lot of his patients were living vegetables on respirators because their families wouldn't let them go. My father said good-bye and thanked everyone present, my half brother and his wife, and my niece. He said to tell his family and friends he loves them, thanks for everything and God bless them. Then he started praying. I told him he had nothing to worry about, that he was such a good, kind man all of his life that God would surely welcome him into Paradise. I reminded him that the priest had already given him the Anointing of the Sick while he was under sedation. His soul was pure and he would go straight to heaven. He thanked me. I had called two priests hoping one of them would comfort my father now that he was conscious, but one never returned my call and the other said he would send a different priest who works at the hospital, but he never showed up. More regret there. For Comfort Care, my father was moved to a private room and placed on a morphine drip. I missed all the monitors, which I used to fixate upon, looking for the slightest sign of improvement. Thankfully, the morphine and removing the NG tube helped his breathing, and there was a brief time when he seemed his calm, adorable self once again, except he was very weak. Again he started praying for God's mercy until a male nurse told him, "God is good, my friend." That seemed to reassure him. I treasure his last peaceful moments, before he lost consciousness. I told him where there is life there is hope and that I couldn't wait to get him home so I could take care of him. He nodded. One of the last things he said to me was that Michael was going to get tired (taking care of him). Michael was the RN who had saved his life two years earlier by calling off his surgery after my dad had been starved for 22 hours. Unfortunately, Michael was working on a different floor. It really is the luck of the draw -- if you get good hospitalists and dedicated, compassionate nurses, your chances are much better. As my father lay dying, my brother and I prayed and read passages from Scripture. I didn't know if he could hear me at this point, but I told him I loved him and thanked him for being such a wonderful father all of my life. I had told him these things before. I held his hand. People say that hearing is the last thing to go, but I hope to God that his soul was outside his body so he could view his physical suffering with detachment. The nurses told me he was not feeling pain, but how do we really know? One nurse noted that he was calm, compared to some patients who appear agitated even when on morphine. My brother had to go home to sleep so I was alone again for the last few hours. After 36 hours of keeping vigil with my father, I couldn't help but doze off for a few moments. That was when my father passed away. It was as if he had waited for me to fall asleep before he departed. A nurse said she saw him draw his last breath. One of the nurses was crying. I cried when the doctor confirmed his death. I had already cried several times before my father died, but quietly, so as not to upset him. I'm glad it was the nicer hospitalist who was on duty that early morning, and not the "robot". My father was my best friend, my hero, the one person who cared about me as much as I cared about him. Almost every happiness in my life was linked to him in some way. We were so close we sometimes could read each other's thoughts. Our interests, values and opinions were so similar we were practically clones, but like all human beings we sometimes disagreed. There were unkind words I wish I had never said in anger or just because I was tired. I always asked forgiveness right away, but I wish I hadn't taken his forgiveness for granted. He wasn't perfect either, but he was the kindest person I ever knew. I wish I had complained less about my problems and just been happy he was with me. I loved him so much and I did a lot for him. I know I made him happy most of the time, but I'm still tormented by guilt feelings. I also feel so sorry for every sad thing that ever happened to him, even things that happened before I was born. I have to remind myself that he had lots of happy memories. He felt lucky to live during the Golden Age of movies and music. He enriched other people's lives by broadening their cinematic and musical horizons. Since my dad died seven weeks ago, I haven't even been able to watch tv, because it makes me miss him too much. I can't listen to the music we both loved without feeling sad and anxious. Movies and music used to be our refuge -- now even thinking about all the things we enjoyed together makes me impossibly sad. Right now my life feels pointless without him. I'm afraid of spending the rest of my life alone. People tell me I'm free now and on the brink of an exciting new era. But I would gladly give up my freedom for the rest of my life, if I could only have my beloved father back. People tell me he led a full life -- but how do they know that? For most of his life he was blessed with good health, good looks, strength and character, but he never travelled much or had as much fun as he deserved. He was happiest at home, but I wish he could have had a fuller life. I feel guilty that I never learned to drive -- I might have been able to give my father a more full life, if I had bought a car. My dad stopped driving when I was 9 years old, because he accidentally hit a dog which had run in front of his car from between two parked cars. When relatives used to call and tell me about all their fun road trips, it made me envious. I sometimes complained to my father that I wished we had something fun to look forward to. He replied, "Is fun so important? When I'm gone you'll be able to have all the fun you want." I answered, "But it won't be fun without you." Now I get invitations from friends and relatives to do fun things, but it's not fun for me without my dad. I wonder where were these people when my dad was alive? He could have used a little fun, too, once in a while. I know this post is way too long, but it helps me to write about my loss and talk about it. Unfortunately, the therapy sessions seem too short and I can't keep burdening my friends and relatives with my grief, because they have their own lives to deal with. Few people can understand how hard it is for me to lose my father after living with him for 55 years. My heart goes out to all of you who have lost loved ones. I hope you are healing as I hope to heal.
  17. Dear Daddy, I wanna tell you how much I miss you and your hugs. Mammy misses you too, even though she tries to be brave for me and the girls, I have seen her cry if a song comes on the radio that reminds her of you or if she is left alone with her thoughts for too long. Its slowly killing me inside to see her sad. We put the Christmas decorations up last week it was horrible for the first time in i don't know how long, i cried. A full on cry. its just not the same any more with out you i try to be strong but it is so hard sometimes, everyone is telling me i have to be strong but i cant. it is horrible going into school and the everyday teasing is ten times worse and the ever increasing work load and the stress. You were taken from us so suddenly without even a goodbye or a hug Daddy. I miss you from your funny little ways and your cuddles, to that mischievous glint that is always in your eyes, your constant teasing of me and my friends, your comforting words after a bad day, our trips to the airport to go plane spotting, your undying devotion to make us happy even it if means getting up at half six in the morning with a killer hang over, the hugs and kisses before i go to bed, the shouting to turn down the music or to do my home work or to stop singing because i sound like a cat being run over even though you were only joking, the days i went to work with you, the look of excitement in your eyes when the aer lingus Retro plane came in to land, your love of dogs and that proud glint in your eyes when your eyes when you watched one of us compete. I'll miss our talks most of all,our endless arguments over what new planes aer lingus bought and when you would finally get around to teaching me to drive. You have told me all my life that you are proud of me and you love me i know you probably cant see this letter but i want you to know that i am so proud of you and i love you. Every time a plane goes by over head i stop and look up no matter what i am doing and i say " Thats my daddy up there!" my friends think im bonkers but they know i miss you . im crying as i am writing this letter just thinking on all the times we had together all these memories crammed into the space of fourteen years. the other day i asked mum could i do something and she said no and what was the first thing that popped into my head "i'll ask dad when he gets home he will let me." it just came to me , my brain still has it fixed that you are just at work. its the evenings are the hardest no hug and kiss before bed , no giving out that im not asleep no van rattling into the drive at 11 o clock at night , no listening for the text and then the sound of the kettle being boiled to indicate you are on your way home , i got into the habit of waiting for these signals to tell me you were safe . when half 11 comes i keep waiting for that front door to open for you to walk in and throw your bag down. everyone in school is so excited for cristmas but i want to just sleep through the day. ill end this letter now i just want you to know that i love you with all my heart and i will never for get you and i love you and your are the greatest dad in the world well to me anyways, and im just so proud of you daddy i really am and i promise you this that you have your wings and im going to get mine and nothing is going to stop me love, miss, need you Your Daughter , Maria xx
  18. Today is our First Father's Day without Dad. It's been 6 months & 15 days. thought this would be easier to get through today. Almost didn't buy my husband a Father's day card since every time I got near that section at the card store I cried. Finally at Walmart, one of my regular customers from work who knows about Dad saw me struggling at the F.Day card section, went & grabbed a big sheet of poster board & held in front of the Dad cards until I could find one for hubby. Today I woke up thinking "Yay, I can call & talk to Dad today." then a few minutes later "oh crap, no I can't. he's gone & I can't tell him & hear him tease me about making a fuss over him". So I'm avoiding looking at ANY photos of him until later when my hubby's at work & I can cry. I so want to hold his hand again, want to hear his voice, want to feel his hugs, share a beer with him. He was the best example of a man there could be-my husband even resembles alot alot of his same good character. His best gift was thew wonderful & gentle way he treated my Mom-he had her so spoiled. He also taught my sisters & I what to look for & expect from a man/partner; sometimes we didn't listen but in the end we all did. I wish Heaven had a phone to call him & tell him Hey Happy Father's Day. I'll see you soon. xoxo this photo was taken 2 yrs ago at my daughter's high school graduation. 3 days later he survived a massive hemmoraghic stroke. This is the last photo we have of him well.
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