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Guest Guest_mermangel0416

i have been searching for answers and somewhere to turn. i have a wonderful husband and beautiful son (14 months old) and a strong and supportive family, but i am experiencing a spiritual and emotional crisis and even these amazing individuals seem ill eguipped to help me. my father passed away on june 9 2003 after being diagnosed with stage 4 metastic colon cancer on may 16, 2002. of course the details are too much to go into...the ups and downs of treatment, the hopes and the fears. the near death days and the times when others called him "the miracle man" b/c we all thought he had beat it. in the end i am suffering form a truly broken heart, nothing else even comes close to describing the ache and loss. i am 34 yrs old and this is my first real experience of death. i know i am lucky in this, and yet...i had to witness the painful demise of one of the most precious and dear people i have known (or could hope to know) and i was so utterly unprepared for the reality of it. the ugliness and awkwardness. i understand and accept that life is a cycle...the birth of my son was a beautiful breathless event that renewed my faith in god...the death of my father has made me question all.

i am having some guilt b/c in the last days (spent in hospice) he was heavily medicated (the cancer had spread to the bones: he was on morphine and atavan (sp?)) but he fought like HELL to stay alive (11 days more than the doctors told us) and i am torturing myself wondering whether he would have wanted us (my mother, 5 siblings, spouses, children etc) to have seen him that way. he was a very private man and so much of his dignity was already taken away due to this heinous disease and it eats at me thinking how he suffered and did it add to his suffering to have us suffering with him? was it selfish to want to be with him? i also struggle with the thought of how aware he was, was he "trapped" inside his mind and body? going through all of the "stages" of death...seeing his small body in that bed, his face and the look in his eyes in those last days it all haunts me, even now as i type this i am crying.

i know that this is all normal: in the meantime, i am functioning, laughing with my husband, enjoying my baby, loving and reaching out to my family...planning for the future and treasuring the past...and yet i need to make sense of this and make peace with god(?), let my anger go, remember the man my father was his whole life not the last 12 days. i thought watching him die was the hardest thing i've ever done but living with this is very near to it. it is such a raw wound, any help from those who've been there? thanks.

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i have been searching for answers and somewhere to turn. i have a wonderful husband and beautiful son (14 months old) and a strong and supportive family, but i am experiencing a spiritual and emotional crisis and even these amazing individuals seem ill eguipped to help me. my father passed away on june 9 2003 after being diagnosed with stage 4 metastic colon cancer on may 16, 2002. of course the details are too much to go into...the ups and downs of treatment, the hopes and the fears. the near death days and the times when others called him "the miracle man" b/c we all thought he had beat it. in the end i am suffering form a truly broken heart, nothing else even comes close to describing the ache and loss. i am 34 yrs old and this is my first real experience of death. i know i am lucky in this, and yet...i had to witness the painful demise of one of the most precious and dear people i have known (or could hope to know) and i was so utterly unprepared for the reality of it. the ugliness and awkwardness. i understand and accept that life is a cycle...the birth of my son was a beautiful breathless event that renewed my faith in god...the death of my father has made me question all.

i am having some guilt b/c in the last days (spent in hospice) he was heavily medicated (the cancer had spread to the bones: he was on morphine and atavan (sp?)) but he fought like HELL to stay alive (11 days more than the doctors told us) and i am torturing myself wondering whether he would have wanted us (my mother, 5 siblings, spouses, children etc) to have seen him that way. he was a very private man and so much of his dignity was already taken away due to this heinous disease and it eats at me thinking how he suffered and did it add to his suffering to have us suffering with him? was it selfish to want to be with him? i also struggle with the thought of how aware he was, was he "trapped" inside his mind and body? going through all of the "stages" of death...seeing his small body in that bed, his face and the look in his eyes in those last days it all haunts me, even now as i type this i am crying.

i know that this is all normal: in the meantime, i am functioning, laughing with my husband, enjoying my baby, loving and reaching out to my family...planning for the future and treasuring the past...and yet i need to make sense of this and make peace with god(?), let my anger go, remember the man my father was his whole life not the last 12 days. i thought watching him die was the hardest thing i've ever done but living with this is very near to it. it is such a raw wound, any help from those who've been there? thanks.

Please don't blame yourself for simply loving your dad with all your heart. I understand him being a private man as alot of people are including myself. I really don't think it added to his suffering having his beloved family with him. He needed you guys to be there. He knew he could count on you, to give him the love and support he needed. I'm sure it done nothing but show him he meant everything to his family, as well as comforted him. He possibly knew what was going to happen to him. The fear of dying and being in so much pain was indeed terrible for him. But your family did nothing but make it easier for him to bear. I believe he felt lucky and blessed to have you there. It also wasn't selfish at all to want to be there. Wild horses wouldn't have kept anyone away at a time like that. Don't feel bad about that. Focus on all the love you made him feel in his last days.

When someone dear is taken it is so easy to blame god. I blamed him for taking my dad from me at such a young age. This was also my first experience with death. And it has really destroyed me. Try not to blame yourself or feel guilty. You've done nothing wrong. Your daddy needed his family desperately. You are lucky to have a close family who is there for each other. You are also blessed to have a wonderful husband and son. Wrap yourseff up in them, and try not to dwell on things you shouldn't. Your family is special for being there for your dad when he needed you most. You may email me at boo_katt2000@yahoo.com or continue posting your feelings and progress here for we really do care!

Lil' Viper

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My dad had metastatic cancer too. It was in his liver, lungs, prostate, bone marrow and spine. You describe so many of the same things I went through in his last days. It is so hard to live with those memories, imagining what it must have been like for him. I felt like he never deserved any of it. He was the most generous, loving, caring person I ever knew and it just seemed so unfair for him to learn that he was going to die from such a horrible disease. He never accepted the fact. He was in denial all the way up to the moment he died. He was so scared. I could tell just by knowing him so well and from the expressioins on his face. The morphine made communicating with him very difficult, but at least it appeared to help him with the pain. It was just awful to see what he went through though. I will never understand why this happens to such good people and why we are left with these memories to haunt us forever.

This may help to think about. Try and remember the last time you hurt yourself physically. A broken bone or surgery or even a visit to the dentist (which for me, is pretty awful). Now that it's over, do you look back at the pain you were in with any regret? No. You're just glad it's over and you really don't care that it happened at all. If someone said they could wipe it from your memory, you probably wouldn't even ask them to do it, now that it's over. The same thing applies to your dad. I doubt he's feeling any remourse for what he went through and is more likely to be having a better time now, than any of us are if you believe in that sort of thing. The important thing to remember is that the pain and suffering is over for him and that's something to be very glad about now.

Hope this helped in some way. I do understand how you feel. You describe it so perfectly. The details were very similar to mine. There is just nothing worse that I can imagine.

Jenn

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hello to jenn and lil viper...thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful responses. while i am not necessarily "happy" that there are others out there who have and are suffering as i am, i does help to know that i am not alone in my "quest" for peace and understanding. both of your replies were comforting to me and reaffirm my instincts: about being where i felt i needed to be, with my dad. i was also very moved by your thoughts regarding pain, jenn. i related it to the birth of my son, everyone asks how bad it was...and i DO recall the pain and yet it had a purpose. i was in hard labor for 11 hours before i even took pain meds and i would do it all again (and hope toin the future). i know it was hard for my husband and those of my family who visited during that time, but i understand why they needed to share that with me and be there. i do believe that my father is in a better place (i envision it as hawaii, a place he always wanted to go...) and he has cast off his thin, frail body and is free and floating out in the waves and the pain was just a passage to this new wondeful paradise. i will try to hold on to that image of him. is it just me or are the nights the hardest? i am good all day, dealing with the REAL~ity of everything. then the baby is in bed and my thoughts and feelings turn to the still present aching in my heart. i can only imagine how much more intensely my mother feels that ache. lil viper, how are you? still sleeping? made a dr appointment yet? i want to thank you both again for being a source of support and strength i know i will need to lean on in the days to come.

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mermangel10416,

The nights are hard for me as well. The thoughts of my dad race through my mind making it impossible to relax and get to sleep. I believe the nights are hard for alot of people. I still sleep long hours. Some say it's where my mind and body are wore out from being depressed. Most of my hard times are after I wake up. I used to call my dad every day before he died. Sometimes, I start to call him until I remember or my husband reminds me that he's gone. Then it hits me like a ton of bricks all over again. No, I haven't made a Dr. appointment yet. I know I need to, and I will. I'll also keep you posted on how it goes. How have you been? Hang in there!

Lil' Viper

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hi lil' viper...i have been doing ok. trying to make sense of things, rely on the strength and support offered. my brother's wife had a baby boy today, 15 days after my father's death and while it was bittersweet, it was such a joyful event. and such a GOOD reason to go to the hospital for a change! and now there is another male to carry on my dad's name. i too have moments where i need to remind myself he is gone...at the luncheon after his funeral we were all seated around the table and i was actually going to say "where is daddy going to sit?" and i had to stop myself. that is the hardest part, no matter how he died, whether suddenly or after a lengthy illness...i just MISS him so much and the times when my family is together it still seems like he will be there...and i guess he is, but it doesn't stop me from wishing to see his sweet face and sincere smile. i still wake up and it's like it's happened all over again. take care of yourself, i am thinking of you...

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It's great that you have a new baby in your family. He will need all the love that you have to offer. Maybe you can find some happiness.

I woke up today missing my dad like crazy. I haven't had a very good day. I've felt so down and alone. I feel so different since my dad died, like I've changed some. Do you feel like you've changed? I don't know maybe it's the depression making me feel the way I do. I haven't lost anyone close to me before, so I really don't know how I'm suppose to be feeling. I hope things will begin to look up, today was a real drag. sad.gif

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hi lil' viper...

been wondering how you are. i felt like EVERYTHING was different from the moment i learned my dad had cancer (diagnosed may 16, 2002). it changed my whole life. from that point on, every thought i had was shadowed by his illness and by his ultimate death. i couldn't even have happy childhood memories without that feeling that twists your guts into knots...b/c i had to deal with the reality that not only are those days gone, but soon he would be too. i think your dad went suddenly? as difficult as it is to deal with watching a prolonged and suffering death, it has to be devastating when someone is taken so quickly. you don't have the opportunity to accustom yourself mentally and spititually to the idea.

both of my mother's parents died very suddenly (heart problems) and although she says she never really "got over the shock", she says all the time that it was a blessing...the she never could have watched them die as we watched our father. i can't say which is worse, we don't get to choose. i guess i was lucky, in some ways, to have the chance to say good bye, to have the last year and treasure it...but saying that good bye was the hardest thing i've ever done. life will NEVER be the same for us, because something at the core of it has been altered. i know he is still "here" (i have dreamt of him twice) but i just miss him, his physical presence, his smile, his voice. and every day i discover some new way that life has changed. we are going to the beach for a week in 10 days and i know it will be very difficult for me. my dad loved the ocean...so i will never experience it again without a twinge of sadness, yet at the same time, it will be a comfort and i know i will feel him there with me. we cannot expect life to be the same, yet it must go on. you are supposed to be feeling as you do, whatever it might be on a given day. there is no right or wrong way to grieve, there is (unfortunately) no time table. have you tried rerading any books on grief and loss? maybe to gain more of an understanding of the stages? possibly you wouldn't feel so "crazy" if you could see how normal all of these emotions are. i am looking for help wherever i can get it!!! take good care of yourself. write whenever you want, i check in at least twice a day...i am thinking of you.

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I can't seem to snap out of this depression I've been in for a few days. I guess it comes and goes. My dad did die suddenly, of a massive heartattack. My mom said he was fine that day, and she didn't have a clue what was going to happen. He was sitting in his recliner, and she was in the next room (the kitchen) making him lunch. All the sudden she heard him gasping for air. She went to him and he was almost gone, so she started CPR. She's a nurse so she did everything she could to save him. She was the only one there at the time. It really bothers her because she couldn't save him. So she watched him die right in front of her. I try to reach out to her, but she tries to do it all on her own. It was difficult for me, because I just seen him the day before and he was fine. He hadn't been sick. So we didn't know anything was going to happen. I believe it being so sudden and unexpected is why it was so hard for me to accept his death. But it would have klled me to watch him suffer and just wait for him to die, like you had to.

I hope you can relax when you go to the beach. I know it will be hard. But like you said he will be there with you. Maybe that will be a comfort to you.

I haven't really read any books yet. Up until recently I haven't been able to go anywhere or do anything without breaking down. People would look at me like I was crazy. But I can deal with things a little better now. So I'm going to start reading all I can.

I hope it helps, because I don't know what else to do.

Thanks for being there. smile.gif Lil' Viper

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I haven't been the same since my dad died either. It's been 4 years, so I assume I'll never be the same again. I don't look at it as a change for the worse anymore though. I just have a different outlook on life, knowing that things aren't always going to be fine and can even get downright awful at times. I know I won't think "it'll never happen to me" again.

One positive thing that came from my dad's death is how much I try to be like him in day to day life now. It's a shame, but I never would have thought to do this when he was alive. I just wish he knew what a lasting impression he made on so many people. He would have really been proud of that.

It took me such a long time to "snap out of it" after he died, that a friend recommended this seminar or weekend course that was geared toward helping people organize their lives and reach their goals, blah, blah, blah. It wasn't for people who lost their loved ones, but more of a self help sort of thing. My life was such a mess that I was open to anything that might help. The class was kind of weird, but one particular exercise we did was the most amazing experience for me, that it made the whole thing worth the time and effort. They were trying to get everyone to let go of whatever problems they had growing up with their parents. You know, like parents who were critical or never said "I love you" or were abusive to their kids. Well, none of this really applied to me, but in the exercise they had us close our eyes and go back in our memory to when we were very young and we were supposed to picture first our dad standing in front of us and then they told us all to talk to our dads and say the things we never got to say to them all our lives. Well, I was immediately in tears, but the strange thing is that I let down all my inhibitions about being in a group of people because everyone's eyes were closed anyway, and I really felt like I was talking to my dad and he could somehow hear me or something. I was able to tell him all the things I never got to say before he died. This is one of the biggest complaints people have when someone dies. (Wish I could have said this or that, now it's too late, etc., etc.). So anyway, I just sat there and poured my heart out and blubbered through the whole thing and even though it was a gut wrenching experience, I felt really good afterward because it was like finally saying good-bye or letting go or whatever you want to call it. I couldn't seem to do it up until then.

Sorry to be so long winded, but I thought you all would like to hear how a little insignificant thing could have such great results. I will never forget it. It was probably the most helpful thing I ever did for myself.

Jenn

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Thank you for describing how crazy this feels-

I just lost my sister after a painful battle and I keep looking back at everything we tried and second guessing, and regretting all the large and small indignities and losses she suffered on her way. It feels like my life was just cut in half- into "before- with her" and "all the rest ahead-without her" My parents are very religious and are comforted in their faith but I feel like God has some serious explaining to do!

Thank you again and my best wishes to you- carol

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  • 2 weeks later...

hi carol~ i am with you. the first day i walked into my dad's room in hospice i was stunned, i staggered out into the family "quiet room" and collapsed on the floor sobbing "there is no god" over and over, much to my mother's dismay. i wish that i could make some spiritual sense out of this, but in all my years i have found little in the way of real "help" in organized religion. may i suggest a book? "life lessons" by elisabeth kubler ross (and another author whose name escapes me, i lent the book to my mom ). there are some real pearls of wisdom in there (non~denominational reality based faith in LIFE and DEATH and our ability to continue on...) that might be of some comfort to you. keep in touch ~alice

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Hi Alice, I just read your story about your father. I know it must have been so hard for you. I lost my grandfather to colon cancer 23 years ago, I was only 10 years old at the time,and did not know what was going on. That however did not stop me from missing him. My grandmother died in 1987, I was 18 and my life just collapsed. She raised me and was more like a mother. But the worst thing that happened to me was 11 weeks ago, when my baby girl died. I was 22 weeks pregnant and went into premature labor due to an incompetent cervix. I know it is a different type of loss we are experiencing,but it is our loss. You lost your father and I lost my child. Julianna was my first pregnancy, and I had so many plans for her, and they were taken away from me. I was so scared the moment it happened. My husband got called into work,and I kept having these urges to go to the bathroom- I did not know what a contraction felt like, and when my water broke the baby came out immediately. I called 911 and the ems came and broke down the door. Julianna only cried for a second or two. They cut the cord and rushed her to the hospital, I followed in another ambulance. I knew it was too soon for her in my heart. I knew her lungs weren't mature enough for her to survive on her own. I was able to hold her in my arms before she died- 4 hours later. I am seeing a therapist,I go to the bereavement groups, and I have gone on many sites and I am not alone. I have spoken with a few women that have expereinced this. I pray that you find peace in knowing your father is in heaven,along with my daughter and all the other angels. Remember and treasure all the years you had to spend with him. How he was able to walk you down the aisle when you got married and saw the birth of your son. He had to be a very special man to have struggled with his disease. He is not suffering now, and you will see him again when you go to heaven, believe that. When you look at your son sleeping, and he looks like a little angel remember your father is with him every day and is watching over him. God Bless you and your entire family.

Michelles

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hi michelle...i am trying to fight back tears as i type this. thank you for taking the time (and emotional energy) to respond to me. words cannot describe how my heart aches when i read of your loss (and that of little gabriel's mother). believe me, my most precious moments of clarity and understanding are those spent with my son, whether it be when he is sleeping or smiling. i didn't need my father's death to teach me the lesson of truly appreciating life, however i did need my son to help me through this time. my husband's mother died b/4 our wedding and he believes that she sent our baby to us to help us through my father's illness and death. (he was diagnosed when my son was 4 weeks old). as i write this i cannot imagine your suffering. again, it's every mother's worst nightmare. there are truly no words to make things better or easier. i guess that all any of us can do is be "here" for each other. it is a comfort to think that those we love share in some heavenly experience together and possibly may ease one another as we do??? i like the thought of you and i making this connection and somehow in heaven my father and julianna have found one another and are observing this. (when you are up to it i would recommend the book "the lovely bones" by alice sebold. it may seem at first a strange book to recommend, but the concept of heaven and the limitless possibilities of the afterlife are consoling!) i would like to add that my son's middle name is julian, so i will say a little prayer FOR sweet julianna tonight and one TO julianna to watch over my sweet alexander julian. i will also say a prayer for you. i hope you find peace and comfort and happiness and joy in your life and in your future with your husband. thank you for your kindness and caring, i am thinking of you. ~alice

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  • 2 months later...

dear struggling,i too lost my mom in a very similar fashion.she had ovarian cancer and it was so brutal to witness.some days i just have to let myself be the walking wound that i am. i cry,i write in my journal,i paint but most importantly i have decided that in order to be ok i must feel my pain...not that i enjoy it one bit!!!!!!!!!!!!!no one can begin to understand what we have had to endure.some days i feel like i am crazy!!! but then i come back to myself and see ok i am going to be alright.pain and all feelings are energy that is talking to and through us,seeking some release.be well,i hope it helps to know you are not alone!sincerely,karen

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