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Don’t know how I feel

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Brief summary of my situation: I’m 52, my dad was 75 when he died on April 11 of this year. My mom is still with us, he and I had a good relationship, he had been in a decline for years. He had been at the point where he probably should have been in a facility that could give him 24-hour care, but my mother wouldn’t hear of it so we 4 kids tried to support her in caregiving as much as we could. Weeks would go by where he got little to no sleep, he’d hallucinate all night and do things like wake my mom and tell her they needed to leave because the house was on fire. He had bladder cancer a couple years ago, and the surgery for it was successful— but he had always hated hospitals and was terrified when his follow up visits were near; and of course the anxiety made it hard to sleep, etc. I live 3 hours away, and he needed to use a bathroom every 20-30 minutes, so I didn’t see him often. I was trying to visit at least once a month. 

All of that to say that he had not been himself in a long time. He couldn’t do things that used to make him happy, simple things like go downtown to get a coffee and read the paper. And I didn’t see him very often, and when I called home he could generally talk to me for a minute before he was too tired. This is the part that confuses me: I feel like I am telling myself all the unhelpful things I would not say to anyone else. I shouldn’t be upset because he’s not suffering, my mom was not able to continue at that pace and we were worried about her, I didn’t talk to him or see him much so it’s not like my life is any different now. Of course my mom and the siblings who live close are having a hard time, but I’m OK. Sometimes I think I don’t feel anything, but that’s not true because I don’t want to do anything but watch tv and play on my phone and I don’t want to cook for myself or shower and I am very irritable.  Further complicating matters is not having any kind of service for him because of COVID. I think I am just feeling stuck 


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I am so sorry for the loss of your father.  Grief hits us differently and how it displays is not a measure of our love, our personalities, coping skills, how intertwined we were in our everyday lives, etc. all play in to how it affects us.  

Certainly this pandemic has made it harder for grieving families.  I attended a funeral yesterday for a long time friend.  There were about 40 people, normally the place would have been packed.  The amount of work involved with preparing a place is astronomical.  We had hand sanitizing stations at every entrance, face masks available at every door as well.  They set up a luncheon where servers dished it out and wore gloves, social distancing, etc.  But it was nice to have one at least.

It sounds like your father had some dementia setting in.  It is okay to feel some relief as well as sorrow, that is normal under the circumstances.  Between the loss of your dad and the pandemic, it's no wonder you're feeling a bit depressed.  You could get some grief counseling and even coming here is a start as it helps to express yourself and know you're heard by others that get it.  

You might want to schedule a visit with your doctor if your depression lingers.  Try to get out some every day and walk, get fresh air, it helps us feel better.  Even a grief support group might help you feel less isolated in your grief.  Don't be afraid to bring up your dad to your mom or siblings.  My mom appreciated that I brought up daddy and talked about him, she said most people didn't and it made her feel alone as he was never away from her thoughts.  She lived as a widow for 33 years.

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