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Lost my Dad 3 weeks ago


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Hi All,

First-time poster - I saw this site randomly when I typed "my dad died..." into my search engine because who doesn't do that?

So...yes... I lost my wonderful father almost 3 weeks ago, and I don't know how/when this awful load with ease.

It was an awful day in itself - I was *at* a funeral of my friend's grandmother, and was visiting the internment site of my friend who died five years ago when I got the phone call from my mother that my father had likely passed with the paramedics still working on him. Promises I am not making this up.

Anyway, long story short - my dad passed away from a cardiac arrest and I am ... broken.

I had a very understanding work family who gave me compassionate leave and condolences.

I have fantastic friends who shock and bewilder me with their rallying and support.

My brother is fantastic - understandably he felt most able to handle things when he was organising. Still much to be done, obviously.

My mother is difficult, but that's neither here nor there.

I want to send thank-you notes and flowers and chocolates to all people who were so kind during that awful initial period and find I am stalling.

I have gone back to work and that has helped.

I went to Singapore for a wedding of my partner's friend just four days ago - which was lovely and a celebration of life - and all I could think of was all the thoughts and ideas and suggestions my father had about Singapore ("Try the Chilli Crab in Singapore - nothing like it anywhere else!"). I felt terrible for going - like, dropping all my responsibilities and jetting off overseas for a gay ol' wedding. Naturally, no one anticipated this, but there's a large guilt-ridden part of me that tells me I should have cancelled the trip and mourned like a properly respectful child.

Anyway - all of this pales in comparison to the fact that I just want my dad back. I miss my dad.

I know this will never be okay, but when will it ease? How do I know is the right time to get help, i.e. counselling? Is 3/4 weeks too soon to really go through the counselling process? Or am I just unnecessarily prolonging *not* talking about it? If I were to talk about it; I think I would prefer a stranger -  I tend to typically internalise things and crying in front of my loved ones is not a common pastime for me. My partner has been amazing. The only irksome side of it is he is telling our friends and family that I'm "doing okay"...which feels wrong. I'm functioning. I'm existing. But "okay" sounds too easy right now.

 

Any thoughts, suggestions, comments are all appreciated. :)

 

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Kitty, my dear, I am so sorry for your loss. I too am a bereaved daughter, and I know too well the pain and sorrow of losing and missing my own father. You are among kindred spirits here, and I'm glad you found your way to us.

You ask if it's too soon to seek grief counseling at this point, and the answer is no. In grief you are wise to reach out for any support that is available to you. If you broke a bone you wouldn't hesitate to seek help, and yet here you are with a broken, bleeding heart and wondering if it's too soon to ask for help with that. I understand why it feels so wrong when your partner gives others the impression that you're "doing okay" ~ because there is absolutely nothing about grief (especially this soon after your father's death) that feels okay.

You've asked for suggestions, and I'm a firm believer in learning all you can about what is normal in grief, so you'll have some understanding of what to expect and a better idea of what you might do to manage your reactions. Grief is unique to the person experiencing it, but there are certain aspects of it that are common if not universal. Here are some readings to get you started ~ and feel free to share their contents with your partner, too. Also note that each of these articles has additional reading suggestions listed at its base:

Grief: Understanding The Process

How We Mourn: Understanding Our Differences

Parent Loss: Continuing Their Song

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Kitty~

I am so sorry you lost your dad so suddenly. Tomorrow marks the 6th anniversary of my own dad's passing and causes me to realize why I've been feeling weepy the last few days. Six years without him and I still miss him all the time. Grief to me is tricky in that I get to a point when I feel I'm done with it and like right now, it rears it's head and leaves me in a puddle yet again. I withdrew after my dad died as I knew I needed to heal and I didn't make myself do anything I didn't want to do.  My dad had dementia for several years and I traveled every other month to visit him those last couple of years, so once he passed I didn't travel except for already planned visits like a class reunion.  When I was home for the class reunion my uncle (dad's older brother) passed away and I was able to be there for my family.  Seems surreal anymore that that happened almost a month to the day after my dad crossed over.  There are so many supportive people here who will give you guidance as best they can.  All I can say is listen to your heart and take care of yourself first. It will get easier, if that's the appropriate word, but I find myself smiling from fond memories of my father more so now rather than shedding tears.  Maybe the better description is we become accustomed to this changed life without that very important person, our dad, no longer with us.  Hugs.

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Kitty,

I'm sorry you lost your dad...I was 29 when I lost mine to heart attack.  There's never a good time, and however long we have with them is never long enough, but I was expecting my first child and he never got to meet his grandchildren.

I've learned we have to give ourselves permission to smile again, because we feel guilty if we do, and lord knows it's hard enough to find occasion to, but we need to be able to, and frankly, it isn't our mourning that holds us to them, it's our love, and that continues.  Everything you say is normal in grief.  It's not too soon to see a grief counselor, they are especially trained in grief and can help guide us through it, we aren't born knowing how to deal with it, it helps to have someone else's guidance.  

http://www.griefhealingblog.com/2012/10/seeing-specialist-in-grief-counseling.html 

It's okay to tell people you're okay when you don't feel like getting into it, but make sure you have someone you can talk to about your true feelings, we need to be able to let down and express ourselves.  This is also a good place to do that, everyone here "gets it", we've been there.  I'm glad you have such caring friends and work environment, that's actually more rare than not, and is very helpful.  When my husband died I had a wonderful work environment, boss, and coworkers, but that changed a few months later, start of recession and lost my job.  I thank God for this place, it saved me!

You might want to consider a grief support group in a couple of months or so.
http://www.griefhealingblog.com/2010/04/finding-grief-support-that-is-right-for.html

Take good care of yourself.  All kinds of feelings are normal in grief, Marty has sent you a good link on the process.  

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On ‎15‎/‎06‎/‎2017 at 8:46 AM, ChinUp54 said:

Kitty~

I am so sorry you lost your dad so suddenly. Tomorrow marks the 6th anniversary of my own dad's passing and causes me to realize why I've been feeling weepy the last few days. Six years without him and I still miss him all the time. Grief to me is tricky in that I get to a point when I feel I'm done with it and like right now, it rears it's head and leaves me in a puddle yet again. I withdrew after my dad died as I knew I needed to heal and I didn't make myself do anything I didn't want to do.  My dad had dementia for several years and I traveled every other month to visit him those last couple of years, so once he passed I didn't travel except for already planned visits like a class reunion.  When I was home for the class reunion my uncle (dad's older brother) passed away and I was able to be there for my family.  Seems surreal anymore that that happened almost a month to the day after my dad crossed over.  There are so many supportive people here who will give you guidance as best they can.  All I can say is listen to your heart and take care of yourself first. It will get easier, if that's the appropriate word, but I find myself smiling from fond memories of my father more so now rather than shedding tears.  Maybe the better description is we become accustomed to this changed life without that very important person, our dad, no longer with us.  Hugs.

I suppose it doesn't ever go away then...

I feel I have withdrawn a lot. I find it difficult to muster the energy to see friends and family. Part of it is just feeling exhausted a lot, another aspect is not wanting to act particularly social, and yet another is guilt at doing almost anything that is potentially considered engaging in life. At this stage, just going to work is an effort, but I'm determined to keep going - sort of have a purpose each day. Anything more than that is a bit overwhelming.

I'm sorry to hear about the extraordinarily sad timing with your dad and uncle. When it rains, it pours. I have said that to myself a lot these few weeks. Does it often happen that way? Bad things happening at once, or does it just seem that way because we're more vulnerable when it does?

I hope you were okay on the day of the anniversary. I hope you remembered many happy, fond memories. :)

 

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On ‎16‎/‎06‎/‎2017 at 1:03 AM, kayc said:

Kitty,

I'm sorry you lost your dad...I was 29 when I lost mine to heart attack.  There's never a good time, and however long we have with them is never long enough, but I was expecting my first child and he never got to meet his grandchildren.

I've learned we have to give ourselves permission to smile again, because we feel guilty if we do, and lord knows it's hard enough to find occasion to, but we need to be able to, and frankly, it isn't our mourning that holds us to them, it's our love, and that continues.  Everything you say is normal in grief.  It's not too soon to see a grief counselor, they are especially trained in grief and can help guide us through it, we aren't born knowing how to deal with it, it helps to have someone else's guidance.  

http://www.griefhealingblog.com/2012/10/seeing-specialist-in-grief-counseling.html 

It's okay to tell people you're okay when you don't feel like getting into it, but make sure you have someone you can talk to about your true feelings, we need to be able to let down and express ourselves.  This is also a good place to do that, everyone here "gets it", we've been there.  I'm glad you have such caring friends and work environment, that's actually more rare than not, and is very helpful.  When my husband died I had a wonderful work environment, boss, and coworkers, but that changed a few months later, start of recession and lost my job.  I thank God for this place, it saved me!

You might want to consider a grief support group in a couple of months or so.
http://www.griefhealingblog.com/2010/04/finding-grief-support-that-is-right-for.html

Take good care of yourself.  All kinds of feelings are normal in grief, Marty has sent you a good link on the process.  

I'm 29 now - it's comforting to hear you were the same age. Perhaps it's strange and just wishful thinking, but I still feel 29 is too young to lose your dad. He wasn't in great health, but my brother and I very brokenly admitted we "hoped for at least a few more years".

It's kind of awful the things you remember you'll miss out on - like you mentioned; dad not meeting his grandbabies... He won't be able to walk me down the aisle - that's a bad one that gets me; he would have been pretty thrilled and honoured to do that. He wanted to show me some countries he visited in his youth, and discovered how they have changed in the preceding decades. Things like that, you know.

Right now, I just miss the physicality of him. I miss his shaved cheek and his scent. That special Dad smell.

What you say makes sense - we aren't born equipped to handle things like grief... and telling people you're okay as a way of protecting yourself.

God, I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your husband. I'm so sorry. That's too, too sad.

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On ‎16‎/‎06‎/‎2017 at 1:03 AM, kayc said:

Kitty,

I'm sorry you lost your dad...I was 29 when I lost mine to heart attack.  There's never a good time, and however long we have with them is never long enough, but I was expecting my first child and he never got to meet his grandchildren.

I've learned we have to give ourselves permission to smile again, because we feel guilty if we do, and lord knows it's hard enough to find occasion to, but we need to be able to, and frankly, it isn't our mourning that holds us to them, it's our love, and that continues.  Everything you say is normal in grief.  It's not too soon to see a grief counselor, they are especially trained in grief and can help guide us through it, we aren't born knowing how to deal with it, it helps to have someone else's guidance.  

http://www.griefhealingblog.com/2012/10/seeing-specialist-in-grief-counseling.html 

It's okay to tell people you're okay when you don't feel like getting into it, but make sure you have someone you can talk to about your true feelings, we need to be able to let down and express ourselves.  This is also a good place to do that, everyone here "gets it", we've been there.  I'm glad you have such caring friends and work environment, that's actually more rare than not, and is very helpful.  When my husband died I had a wonderful work environment, boss, and coworkers, but that changed a few months later, start of recession and lost my job.  I thank God for this place, it saved me!

You might want to consider a grief support group in a couple of months or so.
http://www.griefhealingblog.com/2010/04/finding-grief-support-that-is-right-for.html

Take good care of yourself.  All kinds of feelings are normal in grief, Marty has sent you a good link on the process.  

 

On ‎15‎/‎06‎/‎2017 at 8:18 AM, MartyT said:

Kitty, my dear, I am so sorry for your loss. I too am a bereaved daughter, and I know too well the pain and sorrow of losing and missing my own father. You are among kindred spirits here, and I'm glad you found your way to us.

You ask if it's too soon to seek grief counseling at this point, and the answer is no. In grief you are wise to reach out for any support that is available to you. If you broke a bone you wouldn't hesitate to seek help, and yet here you are with a broken, bleeding heart and wondering if it's too soon to ask for help with that. I understand why it feels so wrong when your partner gives others the impression that you're "doing okay" ~ because there is absolutely nothing about grief (especially this soon after your father's death) that feels okay.

You've asked for suggestions, and I'm a firm believer in learning all you can about what is normal in grief, so you'll have some understanding of what to expect and a better idea of what you might do to manage your reactions. Grief is unique to the person experiencing it, but there are certain aspects of it that are common if not universal. Here are some readings to get you started ~ and feel free to share their contents with your partner, too. Also note that each of these articles has additional reading suggestions listed at its base:

Grief: Understanding The Process

How We Mourn: Understanding Our Differences

Parent Loss: Continuing Their Song

Thank you so much for replying. It means more than typed words can adequately express. :)

I never thought of seeking help for emotional injury as a similar pathway as you would for a physical one. I had a look at a brochure for an Employee Assistance Program at work where counselling services are offered to employers and employees, but the odd thing is that the brochure didn't provide contact details. It seemed a bit strange. Shall have to find it online. Just have to (half-heartedly) finish an assignment first, so I can concentrate.

Thank you, Marty T, for the links. I'll have a look now. :) 

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I like to think they can still share in our special moments.  Maybe it's wishful thinking, but who knows.  I believe wholeheartedly that the spirit lives on and they are out of suffering, and we'll be together again, but beyond that there's a whole lot I don't know. ;)

I hope you find a good grief counselor!

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  • 2 weeks later...
On ‎18‎/‎06‎/‎2017 at 10:23 PM, kayc said:

I like to think they can still share in our special moments.  Maybe it's wishful thinking, but who knows.  I believe wholeheartedly that the spirit lives on and they are out of suffering, and we'll be together again, but beyond that there's a whole lot I don't know. ;)

I hope you find a good grief counselor!

I hope they share in our moments. It feels like an awful long time if they don't and it's hard to imagine doing life-fulfilling things and not be able to tell him about them and/or involve him.

It will also be his birthday soon (6th July) - what sort of things do people do on the birthday anniversaries? I feel I just want to crawl into bed and wait the day out.

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Everyone handles it differently.  I just try to survive it, I'm alone in this and that makes it harder.  I wish my kids lived here.  I just went through my husband's bdy (June 14) and anv of death day (June 19), it's a tough week, that and my dad's bdy/parent's anv (June 10), they're both gone too.  June is tough for me!

Crawling under the covers and waiting the day out sounds good to me if you don't have to work.  On the other hand, distractions seems to kill time and make it pass faster.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi All,

Thanks again for your replies.

In terms of my Dad's birthday, I went to work...and probably shouldn't have.

I completely cried on arrival and had a bad nothing-went-right day overall.

Lesson learned there.

In other news:

I'm having some trouble with arranging face-to-face counsellors. The Employee Assistance Program I mentioned earlier reported that their "extended hours" were the hours of 0800-1700. Not particularly helpful when you work full-time.

I'm not inclined to take time out of work to attend counselling sessions as I work as part of a team that is already sort-staffed and short-skilled...and more than that, I'd feel better if I put in a full day's work and then focussed on counselling afterwards.

They do offer telephone-counselling, but I was not initially sure I would get the full cathartic experience over the phone.

Does anyone have any experience with phone counselling? Did it prove helpful and gave the relief you needed? All thoughts appreciated. :):) 

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I haven't experienced phone counselling, but I guess they have "doctor on demand" now and some are using that.  I guess it wouldn't hurt to try it out and see.  You might also consider a grief support group, many of them meet in the evenings.  It's not the same as counseling, and you might have to try a couple to find one you feel comfortable with, but it can be really helpful if you find a good one.

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Hi Kitty,

I am so sorry to hear of your loss of your dad. My dad died a year and a half ago and I miss him every day - I probably always will. There is no good age to lose a parent, or any loved one, when you are close. If you lose them when you are young, that is hard, but when you lose them when you're older that's hard too because you lose the dad of your childhood, the dad of your youth, the dad of your middle age that you were close with on more of an even level, and so on. It's always hard and you can't compare it to other's losses.

As to the counseling, I think it comes down to whether it's a good match more than anything. I have been on both sides of this one. Ages ago I worked for a company that had phone counseling as a benefit. The woman I was matched with was very good for me. Now I work as a counselor, and I have counseled people on the phone - mostly people that I had worked with in person and I had moved or the distance was just too great to travel sometimes in a rural setting. I have two friends who do counseling on the phone as well as in person, and their experience is the same as mine. After initial apprehension and skepticism, they decided that it was effective.

Good luck, and remember to take things at your own pace...

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