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Life after dad

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Hi and thank you in advance for taking the time and reading the following.

The Story

I will try to make it as short as possible, but it's quite a long story. I had an incredible 34 years. Was raised by a loving dad and mum, a fantastic grandmother and a lot of friends that I've met in my journey, a fantastic SO and a good and stable job. But everything changed close to Halloween 2020.

My 96 old grandma, who was still independent, living alone, felt in her home and broke her hand. My parents took her in until everything was ok, but in a matter of days, a "sleeping" dementia she had became full awake and in just six hours it went from her not knowing who they were, saying that they are to strangers who want to kill her to trying to break their heads. Imagine, a 96 fragile lady doing that. Sadly, because of covid I couldn't arrive fast and they had three hours of chaos. Finally and in an incredible way, I've made all the arrangements to take her to a care home until we will see what to do.

We were lucky enough to take her to a place that helped a lot and she is still there today, 80% of her usual self, recognising everyone, but, of course, with dementia moving slowly.

However, that night something happened to my dad (my dad being her son in law, not her son. 66 years old). The following day, dad had fever and chills and just in a few days he was rushed to the hospital.

No one knew exactly what was happening to him, but he was getting swollen of liquid in his lungs and body. From November 2020 to April 2021, I've taken my dad at least 10 times to the ICU.

Finally, after visiting the best clinics both private and public, we decided to take him to another one, the best in my country. He was diagnosed with pericarditis, so he had to take a special treatement and then see if he will have a surgery or not. My dad was a person who was going very often at doctors, very preocupied of his health, very paranoic when it comes to this. 

Things looked ok for two months, finally he was called in july to talk with the doctor about getting the surgery, because it was for the best. Mum went with him in the doctor's office where they talked about the details, how they will open him up, etc. Three days later, dad was rushed again by me at the ICU having huge respiratory problems.

Because of a screw up, his surgery was pushed on 9th of August. We finally went there, however, when we arrived, his operation was again pushed because there were no open places at the ICU. On the morning of 14th August, the roommates from the hospital told dad he slept funny and very agitated. That was the last time we spoke with him, he was intubated in just a few hours.

Two days later he was operated. It was a success, but the doctor informed us that my dad is very sick: His Ankylosing spondylitis changed his thorax and now it's applying pressure on his lungs, with one lung being really affected after he had tuberculosis in 85, which he recovered.

He stayed intubated for close to one month. He reached 49 kilograms. He was awake, but intubated, in ICU, alone, with no phone, no tv, nothing. Finally they decided to make a tracheotoma to help him breath. They did and everything was ok for about 5 days. Then they found food in his lungs, food was going there so they had to make an incision to feed him from a tube directly in his stomach. He constantly lost weight, no matter what they did or we did. I've talked to multiple nutritionist, I was going once in three days to take him food full of proteins, healthy, nothing worked.

Close to December, the ICU moved him to another hospital, one specialized with respiratory problems. The plan was to make him comfortable with a smaller respiratory machine then I've booked a place to the best recovery clinic in my country, to help him get at least 10-15 kilograms and put him on his feet. Nothing worked.

On 21st of December, in the night, he had a cardiac arrest. For two weeks he stayed like a vegetable and finally on 4th of January his heart stopped. 

He couldn't fight anymore, he had close to 30 kg, 9 hospital bacterias. But no signs of Lupus, Leukemia, Cancer, Infections or Tuberculosis.

The conclusion

There were 5 months in which I've did everything I've could and everything went wrong. I've did everything to protect mom, spoke independently with doctors, tried to bribe, tried everything to save dad and I couldn't. And the last time I could hear his voice I've ignored him, I was upset because I was certain his way of being was direct responsible of this, that he somehow it was his fault. 

I am not the first person to lose his dad and I won't be the last, but I cannot understand how this was possible, how he was so sick and multiple doctors couldn't identify it. Sure, there is a small part of me that thinks he knew it, but under pressure, as I mentioned, dad is not reliable. I am mad on him because he left us, I am mad on myself because I never clicked with him and never had talks, that I never told him that I love him, even if I hope he knew, that I did not do more, that I did not believe him when he said he couldn't breath, that he was so unlucky and so and so and so.

I feel relieved he is not suffering anymore, but I am heartbroken he is not here anymore. People said I was a Panzer these year, but little did they know I was a Panzer in 1944 with everyone and everything hitting me from every direction.

I don't understand life anymore, I don't understand anymore why stuff like this happens. Why us, why did he have to go so early and so stupid. 66 was no age, not for someone who was not ill, who was taking care of himself before all of this.

The past year changed everything I've believed in.

And there are two other things that I can't explain:

1. All these five months, when were visited him in the hospital, he always wrote us to buy a place in the cemetery. Finally when mum told him we did, he had the cardiac arrest.

2. We hid everything from grandma, she never knew that dad was not well. But almost every time we visited there, she said something: "Take care of him, Take super care of him, THAT WOMAN wants him".


Where do I go from here, How to I cope with all of this?


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I am so sorry, the hardest thing we can go through is losing someone we love.  I was 29 when I lost my dad, pregnant with my first child, he was looking forward to being a grandpa as his first one died in a car accident.  It wasn't to be.

One of the things I did was tell my kids stories about him, they grew up seeing his picture, a couple of his "treasures" and I would tell them stories about him.  I felt bad that they never got to meet him, they would have loved him, and he them.  That to me is the saddest part.

There is nothing fair about any of this, is there.

Their not suffering anymore seems the silver lining, we need one because this is hard and it hurts.

When my husband passed away just after his 51st birthday, it was a shock.  I asked WHY the first year, never got any resounding answers.  I finally quit asking, figured I wouldn't like or agree with an answer had I gotten one.  Someone else wrote "It is what it is."  Yes, that's the cold hard fact, no matter how it's stated.

One of the things we can do is try to carry on the the things we learn from them.  With my dad it was his tremendous sense of humor, all of us got that and use it as our way of coping in life to diffuse things.  Whatever your heritage from your dad, take it with you.  We haven't lost them entirely, but the way we interact/relate to them is different, we discover a new way of continuing our relationship with them.
Continuing Bonds - rituals
Continuing Relationships
Thinking About Continuing Bonds | Psychology Today
Continuing beyond physical death
Parent Loss: Continuing Their Song


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