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My Father May Be Passing On Soon....

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My father may be passing on soon. In a way, I feel like I have already said goodbye to him. I haven't seen him for almost a year. I have been having many dreams about him. I just learned today that he had a stroke and he is not doing well. Does anyone have any suggestions for me? It is difficult to know what is going to happen next and when. I am not sure if I have the strength to see him again. Thanks.


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I think my biggest suggestion would be for you to take a few quiet moments and think about your relationship with your father, then ask your heart, not your head, how it might feel for you if you didn't see your father alive again, and if you could live with that for the rest of your natural life. If you have any doubts at all, then try to go and see him....just so you don't have any regrets afterwards along those lines. Most, if not all of us end up with certain regrets we can't do anything about later, so to protect yourself from those, let your heart guide you, unfettered by the rational mind....because once you're in the throes of grief, it is your heart that will be most affected, more than your intellect.

And if you think you might have the time, if you're a fairly quick reader, I would also suggest you get yourself a copy of Final Gifts by Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley. Many people suggest this book, and having read it 2 years after my Mother passed, I wish I'd had it sooner, while she was still alive, so I could have possibly received a more meaningful and rich experience ( along with the comfort that would have brought ) out of her dying days. She had a few strokes before she left, so your father may actually have more time than they're suggesting. And BTW, I didn't get to see my Mom before she died; my last trip was 2 months prior. God bless and I wish you the clarity to hear your Higher Self in your decisions.

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I agree completely with what Maylissa so beautifully said. Follow your heart. And I have read Final Gifts too and, like Maylissa, wish I had read it BEFORE my dad died. It is a comforting book that will give you a whole new thought about death and is also invaluable information on what the dying are trying to tell us before they go.

Good luck,


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Dear Cynthia,

You say that you’ve not seen your dad for almost a year, you know that he may be dying, you feel as if you’ve already said goodbye to him, and you’re not sure if you have the strength to see him again. I’m not sure what sort of relationship you have with your dad or how you feel about him, but I agree with Maylissa and Shell that if there is anything left unspoken between you and your father, if there is any unfinished business between the two of you, this is the time to address it. Ask yourself how you want to feel when you look back upon this time remaining before your father dies. What can you do now that will later bring you comfort and peace?

In addition to the excellent book that Maylissa and Shell have recommended, I want to suggest The Four Things that Matter Most: A Book about Living, by Ira Byock. By clicking on the title, you can read Amazon’s description and reviews of the book, and here is an excerpt that appears on the Comfort for Grieving Hearts page of my Grief Healing Web site:

Please forgive me.

I forgive you.

Thank you.

I love you.

These four simple statements are powerful tools

for improving your relationships and your life.

As a doctor caring for seriously ill patients

for nearly 15 years of emergency medicine practice

and more than 25 years in hospice and palliative care,

I have taught hundreds of patients who were facing life's end,

when suffering can be profound,

to say The Four Things.

But the Four Things apply at any time.

Comprising just eleven words,

these four short sentences carry the core wisdom

of what people who are dying have taught me

about what matters most in life . . .

We are all sons and daughters,

whether we are six years of age or ninety-six.

Even the most loving parent-child relationship

can feel forever incomplete

if your mother or father dies

without having explicitly expressed affection for you

or without having acknowledged past tensions.

I've learned from my patients and their families

about the painful regret that comes from not speaking these most basic feelings.

Again and again, I've witnessed the value

of stating the obvious.

When you love someone,

it is never too soon to say, "I love you,"

or premature to say, "Thank you,"

"I forgive you," or "Will you please forgive me?"

When there is nothing of profound importance left unsaid,

relationships tend to take on an aspect of celebration, as they should . . .

Because accidents and sudden illness do happen,

it is never too soon to express forgiveness,

to say thank you and I love you

to the people who have been an integral or intimate part of our lives,

and to say good-bye is a blessing.

These simple words hold essential wisdom

for transforming that which matters most in our lives --

our relationships with the people we love.

-- from The Four Things That Matter Most : A Book About Living

© 2004 by Ira Byock, M.D.

Free Press, New York

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I have to agree with what everyone is saying about you seeing your dad. My father passed away in December and I had time with him before he died and I still feel like it wasn't enough.

My sister on the other hand was not as lucky. Her and my father always butted heads on a lot of issues. Their last full conversation, they were fighting with each other. Although he was sick for a while his death was sudden and none of us were sure what to do with ourselves after he passed. She was left with many things that were never said and it hurts her everyday. Although she doesn't say it I can see it on her face. Keep in mind that once your father is gone there won't be any more opportunities to hug him and say "I love you." Even if you didn't have a good relationship with him, you really should make ammends and you deserve to feel better without living the rest of your life upset with yourself for not seeing him or wondering what if.

Good luck,

Daddy's Girl

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I just wanted to make one thing clearer about what I first said. I'd said to look at your relationship with your father, for yourself and your own judgement of it....then base your heart's desire on that. I wasn't suggesting that no matter what, you ought to consider going to see him. For example, my own father is failing in a nursing home, with dementia, but I, personally, have no intention nor longing to visit him because we had a terrible relationship and he hurt pretty much everyone he ever came into close contact with. So for me, he is not a person I love - I tried to, through the years, but it was a useless endeavor for me. So although the staff there has told me time and again that he's very docile ( now - they wouldn't know a thing about his past ), and isn't even making any sense anymore, so in effect isn't the same man I'd known, I have no desire to even start feeling sorry for him as this 'new' person. It's not like I could have a new relationship with him now anyway, as he's too far gone mentally to respond. So for me, I figured I'll still be left with hurting over the original fact that my own father never loved me, regardless of how he is now, and I don't feel the need to add to my already over-burdened losses by starting to feel softer towards someone who never deserved that kind of emotion, and then lose that person, too. That would just be more hurtful for ME. Better for me, I believe, to just let sleeping dogs lie.

Of course, I have no idea what your relationship with your own father is, or has been, like, so am passing no judgements here. I just wanted to make myself more clear in that I believe it really depends on each relationship and where your heart lies in it.

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