Jump to content

My Dad


AnnC

Recommended Posts

I went home to my parents' for Thanksgiving (they live about 3 hours from me.) We had a nice Thanksgiving, but my dad was weaker than he had been a month earlier. Last February, he had been diagnosed with Stage 4 esophageal cancer. They treated him with radiation and chemotherapy. It really wiped him out, and at first he couldn't eat and was miserable. His eating improved, but he lost energy and started to lose the feeling in his hands and feet. His balance began to suffer, and his memory started to get worse. They found then that the cancer had spread to his brain, so they started radiation to his head -- and he got worse and worse.

When I went down Nov. 22nd, my brother had just gotten a wheelchair for Dad, and he was having trouble getting in and out of it onto the chair or toilet. My mom had been caring for him all nine months, but isn't strong enough to lift him, of course. During the night on Thanksgiving, he fell out of bed with a crash that woke all of us (my brother and I stayed over.) My mom couldnt' get him up, so my brother did, and we had to clean him up and wash his clothes (because he didn't get to the bathroom). We realized my mom could no longer cope with all this. The next day we took him to the ER.

They kept him in the hospital for five days while they tried to figure out why he was deteriorating, and we rushed around all during Thanksgiving weekend to find a NICE 24-hour care place for him. We found one that was really nice and close to my mother's house. But meanwhile, they found that the original tumor had returned, which the doctor said meant the cancer was resistant to treatment, and he recommended hospice.

We got Dad into the care facility, and got hospice involved. He had a few good days, then started having major pain. It took a day or two, but they finally got him on enough morphine to take care of the pain, but it was so much morphine that he was unconscious. He died 8 days after he was moved to the facility, on Dec. 7th.

I feel bad for my mother, who was married to him for 56 years. I had a difficult relationship with him. He was raised in a cold, unloving home, and my mother and his grandmother were the only love he had. He was often difficult because of this, and drank heavily. But at the end, he was so sweet and accepting of his illness, and so patient, so unlike how he was before. I struggled to say I loved him, and I didn't say it in so many words, but I spent three weeks there, helping with everything and seeing him every day, and on the last day he was conscious, I kissed him and he smiled and made a happy sound. I hope he knew I loved him, even if I found it hard to tell him?

I'm so exhausted after days and days of stress, rushing around to take care of him and my mother, to find a place for him before the hospital kicked him out, to get things set up, to make sure he was medicated appropriately, to try to make sure he ate, that he didnt have pain, that my mother got some sleep, on and on. Then the funeral arrangements, calling all the friends and relatives. Then meeting with bankers, and all the guilt of inheriting money from him, of profiting from his death. It is all so awful. I sleep nine hours a night yet yawn my way through work.

We had to identify his body, which was weird! They apparently didn't want to cremate the wrong person. It was so weird a feeling, to see him in the funeral home. My mother seemed to derive peace from seeing HIM at peace, but I just had this weird feeling in my stomach. I'd never seen a dead body before. It seemed creepy, yet he just looked asleep. But unmoving.

I just feel overwhelmed. It seems like six months since we put him in the hospital, but it was less than a month ago, and now he's been gone two weeks. I suppose I am still numb, but I don't know what I'm feeling. Just a weird feeling, of relief that the other shoe finally dropped and he's no longer suffering, yet sadness that he is gone, and worry over my mother and just other floating unnamed feelings I can't catch hold of.

Sorry to ramble on. Thanks for listening/reading.

Ann

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My dear Ann,

I'm so very sorry for your loss, and I cannot imagine how difficult all of this has been for you and your mother. At the same time, I think your mother is blessed to have you as her daughter, and I think, too, that regardless of what words were said or not said between you and your father, surely he knew from your actions how very much you loved him. Keep in mind that your love for your father, and his for you, did not die when his life here in this realm ended. Love is forever, and as long as you keep him there, you will always have a father-sized space in your heart for your dad.

Please don't worry about what you are feeling or not feeling right now. Just let it be whatever it needs to be ~ and know that you are not alone. We are right here walking beside you as you find your way through this.

Wishing you peace and healing,

Marty T

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Ann,

I can not imagine all the pain you and your mother have gone through and are still going through... I too think that your mother is so lucky to have a daughter like yourself... I looked after both my parents till they passed away in 2005.. My mom died while on vacation in Las Vegas and we lived in Canada.. She died on a diabetic coma and complications from that... My dad died four months later of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. We nearly lost my mom two years early from complications from a surgery she had the doctors told us two weeks before Christmas that year that she would not be coming home from the hospital but she did this time... Two years later she died in a Las Vegas Hospital... Please except this great big hug for you and your mother... Take care and if you need someone to listen I am always here... Take care Shelley

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ann,

I am so sorry for your loss. I know it must be very difficult. Your situation sounds almost identical to mine. My father died almost 4 months ago, and we also had a strained relationship at times, and I struggle with guilt about that every day. All that comforts me is the thought that whatever pain and suffering he went through in life is now gone, and he is now in a safer place.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dear Ann

I am so sorry for your loss. You did the best you could and helped your mom and your dad. He knew you loved him and he loved you. Remenber that always. My mom died one month after being put in to the place with hospice. i have so much guilt i should of taken her home and let her die here i had taken care of her for 18 mos bedridden, i should of done the rest. it is hard not to feel guilty about things but i have learned that it just eats you up in side. try to be patience with yourself and give your self time. my thoughts and prayers are with you. lori

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We had to identify his body, which was weird! They apparently didn't want to cremate the wrong person. It was so weird a feeling, to see him in the funeral home. My mother seemed to derive peace from seeing HIM at peace, but I just had this weird feeling in my stomach. I'd never seen a dead body before. It seemed creepy, yet he just looked asleep. But unmoving.

AnnC,

I know what you mean. Even though I was with my dad when he died at the hospital, my mom and I viewed his body in the funeral home because Maryland state law requires positive identification.

It was realy hard to view my dad when he was prepared for cremation and we were viewing him. Someone who was alive a week and a half before was suddenly gone, and now he laid in a peaceful state, never to wake up again. It's still only been a month and a half (almost two) months since he died, so I'm still in shock at all the events that took place.

Hang in there.

Jeff

Edited by jc1030
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you everyone for your sympathy. We are having a low-key Christmas, and I look forward to finally catching up on sleep. I seem to need to sleep a lot.

I find I have another circumstance -- I get really angry. I know anger is normal in grief, but this is about disenfranchised grief. When my father was ill, I got lots of sympathy. I got time off from work to help out with him in his last two weeks plus the week for services, etc. I was involved in caring for him, in arranging his hospitalization, and in the funeral arrangements. I got lots of hugs, lots of cards, and my coworkers were supportive and gave me flowers.

What's wrong with this, you ask? Nothing -- except when my ex-husband died 2 1/2 years ago, NONE of this happened! I did not get one card. No one expressed sympathy -- they were surprised I even cared. I did not have the opportunity to help him -- he lived far away, and we had wonderful talks by phone, but that was it. I had to beg for time off to go to his funeral, and my seat was in the back.

So now, every time I get some wonderful caring gesture to commemorate and acknowledge my father's death, I am so angry, that in 2004 everyone just brushed aside my ex-husband's death, even though it was obvious I was devastated.

I did not even realize the huge difference between "normal" grief and disenfranchised grief until now. I am sad and crying about my father, I miss him, but I am not torn to shreds and wanting to die like I felt about my ex. No wonder it has taken so long to get to any peace about losing my ex -- I am not even there yet, but already I have more peace around my father's death, because I was able to be involved and help and care for him, so I don't have regrets. I have what feels like thousands of regrets about my ex, wounds that I think may never heal. I suppose it is not all about disenfranchisement, it also has to do with my ex dying at 50, and my father at almost 80. You expect your parents will die before you do, but not a contemporary like a spouse or ex-spouse.

Sorry to babble on and on, but it's weird how different the grief feels.

Ann

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ann,

I'm sorry for your losses; I know both have been difficult. It sounds like your father's death has brought back all of the suffering you went through with your ex's death --- and caused you to be angry as well. I know from my own past that experiencing grief is even more difficult when that grief is not acknowleged. Unfortunately, most people think that if you aren't supposed to love someone (like an ex --- because they think that if you are divorced surely you must not love anymore) then you shouldn't feel grief at their death. People don't seem to realize that just because society says you aren't supposed to love someone, doesn't mean tht you don't love them. But when you are in grief, and no one recognizes that or acknowleges it --- well it hurts very much. And to be in the back at a funeral - unacknowledged, while others are getting an outpouring of support and symathy, no one recognizing your loss and pain - its just not fair and hurts even more.

I guess the only thing I can say is try to realize that the lack of sympathy when you lost your ex was due to both ignorance and fear (most people are afraid of saying the wrong thing to someone in grief -- so its much easier to convince themselves that a friend or acquaintance is not feeling grief and therefore does not need support. ) Try to forgive them, and allow yourself all the time you need on your grief journey - and YOU are the only one who can determine how much time you need.

I think most of us here on this board are struggling with Christmas. Some are putting on a happy face and trying for the sake ofchildren, some are doing the minimum to get by to still celebrate, and others are doing their best to not be a part of the holiday at all. We all do what we need to do and there is no right or wrong.

I hope thqt your "low key" Christmas helps you to find some solace and peace this holiday season.

~STOO~

[

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...