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Good afternoon,

I lost my dad on 11/13/08, exactly 10 years after my mother passed. Both had several health issues and the end was long in coming. My dad had surgery on his back to repair a slipped disc. When he came out of the surgery, we tried to get him to wake up and talk to me. All he could do was to open his eyes and could not speak. I asked the Doctor if he had suffered a stroke and was told no he would be fine. He was moved to ICU the next day. My brothers finally came to visit him. I am the one to always take care of my parents. Dad's Dr. kept saying that he was getting better and I asked for a second opinion. Dad was to have this the next day....that night I got the call from the hospital asking about Dad's request for DNR. I tried to wake up my brothers, no luck, I had to make the call. We rushed to the hospital and an hour later, Dad passed as I held his hand. He opened his eyes briefly and thanked me for being an awesome daughter and friend. Everytime that I think about that I cry. The nurse who was with me said that she thought that dad had gotten and infection from the surgery. Why did I not see that? I wake up every night at 2:30 waiting for that call to come again and can't sleep for the rest of the night.

My Mom and Dad always moved with us. Now they are both gone and I don't know what to do. I have read posts here and can see that it is time for me to take care of myself, I don't know how to, my life's focus has always been everyone else. I have been there for 8 uncles, 5 aunts at the end and always take care of the arrangements, I know it sounds like I am feeling sorry for myself and the family says get over it, you are the strong one and we need you be strong for us...I have no strength left to give.

I am feeling so lost and keeping thinking that I should have done more. I try to hold myself together, but once a week, I just break down and start crying and feel as if I am loosing my mind. All I want to do is play on the computer and am afraid to go out because I may start crying. I did plant a birch tree out in the front of our yard, it was his favorite, everytime I go there to be close to Dad, my heart breaks.

With the holidays and my 25th wedding aniversary coming next week, I know that I should be happy, but all I keep thinking is that my Dad will not be here to hug me and send roses. He did this every year. He always took us to Florida this week so that I could be at the ocean as it soothes my soul. He also loved the water and we would just sit and watch the waves with me and my family.

My husband and daughter want me to talk to them, but all I do is cry and feel weak, I am suppose to be the strong one and take care of everyone else. My associates at work want me to start doing the happy dance again and laugh...I can't.

I know that I grieved after my mother passed, but it did not hurt this bad. Does anyone know what I should do? Thanks for the help.

southern eagle.

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You have to remember that after your mother died, you still had your dad. Now in a way, maybe without even knowing it, you feel like an orphan. I know one of the things that bothered me the most after my dad died was that I couldn't do anything or give him anythig any more. But I can pass on his legacy and even though my grandkids never got to meet him I will say something like that's just what Papa would have done or you act just like Papa so they kind of get a feeling for who he was.

Please don't block your husband and daughter out, especially if they are asking you to talk with them. So many of us here would die to have someone ask us that. If you cry then so be it. Hopefully they will be there to help and support you.

And yes, you probably feel weak both physically and emotionally because you ARE. Grief is harder than most any job you will ever have. If you have to let family help you with the physical part of surviving then do it. Get carry out if noone feels like cooking. The dirt will be there tomorrow so take a rest.

There probably isn't one person on these boards that doesn't feel that there was something else we should have done. I don't know why we do this to ourselves, probably out of the feeling of helplessness, but the fact is when death is near there isn't anything we can do to change that. I call it the Coulda, Woulda,Shoulda sydrome and I wish there was a cure but I don't think so. I think from what I have read you finally at some point (if we don't die of a broken heart first) you learn to accept that you did all you could.

Just try to think about your dad in heaven dancing with your mom or walking along the beach that means so much to you and someday you will be there too and someone you have left behind will be going through the same thing you are. It is all part of the circle of life even if it sucks.

I hope some of this helps but especially don't close out the people who truly love you.

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Southern Eagle,

I agree, don't shut out your husband and daughter, they want to help and they too are grieving. I shut out my family and just recently I apologized to them and my daughter told me she understands but at the time she didn't and thought I was being selfish. She was upset that I wasn't available to them , to help them grieve with me. I realize now it was a huge mistake. I didn't mean too, I just wanted to be alone.

My mom died Dec 06 and my dad died 10 months later Oct.07. I am married, have 2 kids , am in my 40s and suddenly I am an orphan. Maybe that's why you feel like you are having a harder time with your dad's death. There are many times I will be at a family gathering and realize everyone has a parent there but me. I think losing your last parent makes you feel very,very alone.

After my parents were gone my brother started having some very serious health issues. I had taken care of both my parents during their illness.I felt like I should take charge and be there for my brother..I realized I had nothing left to give . I was exhausted. My grief therapist told me I had to start making boundaries and take care of myself. I would give you that same advice. Yes, everyone needs and expects you to be the strong one, well, now you need to pass that responsibility to someone else for while. You are not alone. Keep posting here.

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Thank you to both Annie and Mary! After reading your posts, I spent time looking thru pictures of our trips to the ocean and remembered my Dad saying that this is where angels come to train to accept the peace of God's love.....and then I talked to my family. My daughter, boy is she a smart one, said that I am finally grieving for both my mom and dad. She had called my brothers last night and told them that it was their turn to go thru all the effects and to sell what is left in the house. My husband told me that I have never been this distant from him in years. He also spoke to my brothers and told them that I am the baby of the family and that I need a break from running the family. They both want to see me smile again, they say that it lights up the room. I am afraid to smile and be happy right now, does it mean that I miss dad less? He grieved for 6 months after my mom passed and just stayed in his room looking at her pictures. I am doing the same things.

I know that he is in Heaven with Mom and I am sure that she is giving him grief for making her wait so long to see him again. Even tho he remarried, she was the love of his life and he spent 10 years taking care of her as she battled cancer and strokes. Yes my family is centered in taking care of others first.

I am in my late 40's and yes it feels very weird to be an orphan. I miss them both and will miss taking care of them as they did for me when I was a child. Even tho we have 3 cats and 1 dog, my daughter and boyfriend want me to get another dog and call it pappy. I think my husband would stop speaking to me....no more pets!

You are so right Mary, I have not stopped cleaning, cooking, working long hours so that I don't have to admit that I am human and hurting. My husband told me that my tour of duty helping my parents generation is over and that it is time for me to enjoy life and relax. I don't know how to do that, tried shopping and kept crying in Wallmart because I kept finding things that Dad would love.

Thank you for listening, it helps.

Patti

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Patti,

It sounds like you have a wonderful husband and daughter, who love you so much. I thought what your husband said about your "tour of duty being over" was a good explanation. I remember when I first started feeling a little better and stronger, my husband said it was so good to see me smile again. It doesn't mean we don't love our parents, I know your parents would want you to smile again too.

I kept very busy too, although I didn't go out in public very much, too painful and I couldn't handle the unexpected "grief bursts" when I was out shopping. I stayed at home until my therapist and my family told me it was time to start getting out. It wasn't easy but I knew it was the next step in getting a little more of my life back. I am an animal lover too and it was just so much easier to stay home with the animals!

I really admire your husband and daughter for knowing how to help you, even if you aren't sure right now. Let them help. Take care.

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Annie,

Thank you so much for your thoughts and ideas. Last night Stew made me go to the grocery store. I used to go almost every day, I started shaking and was afraid to look any one in the eye. As we were looking for our "treat" for the night, a dear friend rushed up and hugged me. Another "grief burst" hit and I wanted to run away. My friend told me that it was ok and reminded me of how many times I have done this for others and since I had paid it forward, it was my turn to be given back.

When we got home, I was so embarrased that I had cried. My daughter and her boyfriend both smiled and said, so what, you are human and gave me a huge stuffed Husky dog, yes his name is Pappy. My husband laughed and so did I for the first time in 2 months. God it felt good. Then they handed me a box from Dad's home, in it was an angel that I had bought him in Florida. He had put it in a box with sand from the beach and a picture of the 2 of us smiling and happy. Truely a gift from above.

As the family and I talked about how weird it is not to be in Florida, I began to understand my Dad's trips every year. He would always take us to the same place for years by the ocean. I realize that he only changed locations when we reached a new level of life. It is my turn to pick a place and make it special for my family, just us and the kid's. Can't decide now if it is going to be snow or ocean. Maybe another day.

Thank you all for being here and listening and sharing.

Patti

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Patti,

I am glad you got your new dog and kept your husband too! I wanted to tell you, my parents always took us to the ocean too. For 22 years we went to the same place, we would just get more and more condos as our families grew. Lots of wonderful memories. We have gone back since they have died, its very bittersweet, but all the grandchildren want to keep going back. Hope you have a peaceful night.

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I finally found the strength to move forward and take care of everything that was in my dad's home a step at a time starting this weekend. I have been happy for 3 days and now my daughter wants everything done Sat. There is so much to go thru and no one else to help....make the pain go away....I have a month to get this done and don't have the money to rent a truck for the move....what do I do? Grief is again overwhelming

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Can I ask why your daughter has anything to say about it? If you are the one that has to make the decisions, then you are the one who needs to go through it at your own pace. If you have a month just make sure you stay with it but don't overwhelm yourself.

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Southern Eagle

I'm so sorry about your Dad. Yes I agree.. things are different with both parents gone. Your hub and daughter and her boyfriend are wonderful and I echo that letting them help you is a good idea.

I understand the time crunches for getting a home empty.

Thinking of the paying it forward your friend reminded you of in the store.... any way that perhaps you could ask a few friends or maybe friends of your daughter or boyfriend to help you move the stuff you need moved? Maybe make a caravan of sorts?? It could help you to not feel so overwhelmed maybe?

This way if there are things you don't have time to sort.. you could take more time with it at your place.

I learned early on after losing both of my parents and having to do the majority of the care, listing, selling and emptying of my folks house that if I didn't ask for help.. I would be doomed. So I asked.. alot. And it did make things easier on many occasions. It simply IS too overwhelming to try to accomplish everything by oneself.

So maybe give yourself some time to figure out how others could help you...

leeann

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You know what the wonderful thing is about this site, others helping to point out the obvious to each other. I called my friends this morning and they are making this into a treasure hunt party. Sheryl wanted this done so that she can move on, but as we talked and went thru 2 of Dad's 35 boxes of memories and paperwork, the man was a pack rat, she realized that 80+ years of memories can't be tackled in a day.

Thank you as always for helping our family going in the right direction.

Patti

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Good afternoon,

I lost my dad on 11/13/08, exactly 10 years after my mother passed . . . Does anyone know what I should do? Thanks for the help.

southern eagle.

Dear One,

Is there anyway you can go to the ocean for your anniversary? What a lovely gift ... and are you feeling any better today?

It is a difficult journey for the survivors. I have so much to do, and am still in jammies and looking at the clock at 10 a.m. There is so much inertia ... for me ... to get up and get moving.

Maybe we just need to be as gentle with ourselves as we can, and that includes opening to accept forgiveness ... And then? To accept guidance on that that "next best thing" is that needs doing. My next best thing? Finishing the vacuuming and putting vacuum cleaner away. Maybe going for a healing soak in the hot tub at the fitness center (since I'm not of a mind to work out). Stopping at the grocery. There is no nourishment in this house. Then? Maybe starting to assemble school work into piles (reading, writing, math, science, social studies, etc.) There are great mounds of paper work I need to take care of, and ever so much more beyond paper work ... but just a step at a time. What's your next best thing? What's the next best thing you need to do to make your life and home right?

Baby steps ... and tons of love!

I'm so pleased we have this place to write!

Temmie

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  • 2 weeks later...

To each and everyone of you who have listened and helped, THANK YOU!

Last Saturday we finally finished cleaning out the apartment, that day was the hardest yet and my husband let me be alone for a while to just cry my eyes out and say goodbye. I realized then that I was saying good bye to his home not my dad and that made me feel better. Many donations to good will and friends. My daughter and boyfriend got to donate wallmart furniture and fill their apartment with all of my mom's furniture that she loved so well. My mom was my daughter's side kick as she was growing up and taught Sheryl how to paint. Sheryl is now using this talent as an art therapist for under privileged children.

My home is sprinkled with loving memories of dad and we all laughed as we threw out our coach from 25 years ago at a yard sale and brought dad's in.

I still work too many hours, but put a stop to that this weekend and said no more. My boss is a jerk, but I am grateful that I am not like him and so are my associates.

Life is a diary of experiences and when I look back at the last 10 years, I let everyone let me do all the work, no more.

Will be taking it easier and every day we have a hawk that flies over the hub at 5 am, the time when dad died. A gentle reminder to spread my wings and fly. Thanks dad.

Tons of love to each of you and thanks again.

Patti

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Ok, so I rested this weekend and then this morning I totally lost it. I have been crying, screaming, and feeling like my very soul has been torn from my heart. My boss has been sending out all these threatening emails to all of us in the region that we don't know what we are doing and that he will run each of our hubs. When he is in the hub, our production goes down and associates break down in tears because of the way he talks to them.

I have called human resources numerous times and will try again today.

He laughs at me and says that loosing my dad is no big thing and get over it. He lost his mom 1 year ago and is so proud of the fact that he handled it like a business and was back on track the next day.

I am stronger than this, but cry so hard that I don't have my dad to hold me right know. I hold his cat snuggles, but it is not dad. I have tried hot chocolate, blankets, hugs from hubby, and I can not get warm. This is the worst grief spurt that I have had and I cannot get it to end. My husband has been so proud of the progress that I have made and I feel like I am back at square one. Please make it go away,

Patti

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I often wonder if my mom's spirit went into her cat. So I hold the cat alot and talk to her as if she were my mom. After all, my mom would be with me if she could so why not come back in the cat that she loved so much? The only living thing I have left of her since she died. Love that cat of your dad's, hold him/her alot. you never know !!

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  • 3 weeks later...
Southern Eagle,

I agree, don't shut out your husband and daughter, they want to help and they too are grieving. I shut out my family and just recently I apologized to them and my daughter told me she understands but at the time she didn't and thought I was being selfish. She was upset that I wasn't available to them , to help them grieve with me. I realize now it was a huge mistake. I didn't mean too, I just wanted to be alone.

My mom died Dec 06 and my dad died 10 months later Oct.07. I am married, have 2 kids , am in my 40s and suddenly I am an orphan. Maybe that's why you feel like you are having a harder time with your dad's death. There are many times I will be at a family gathering and realize everyone has a parent there but me. I think losing your last parent makes you feel very,very alone.

After my parents were gone my brother started having some very serious health issues. I had taken care of both my parents during their illness.I felt like I should take charge and be there for my brother..I realized I had nothing left to give . I was exhausted. My grief therapist told me I had to start making boundaries and take care of myself. I would give you that same advice. Yes, everyone needs and expects you to be the strong one, well, now you need to pass that responsibility to someone else for while. You are not alone. Keep posting here.

Annie O

Thank you so much for this post....as I reread my journey, your words have always been a great help.

Patti

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  • 7 months later...

Update to all,

Thank you for the support along the way.

I have atarted a woman's healing retreat with Adventures In Missions. We are in the states and going to Swaziland next year.

It is all about sharing the path that we are walking, no matter what it is. If you want info go to spunkmister@hotmail.com until the blog and website are up and running.

We lost my mother in law 2 weeks ago,but am very gratful that the entire family was with Lillian for the week before she went home.

Lessons learned over this year:

1. Forgive quickly and love deeply.

2. Know that you are loved and you did everything in your heart that you could. This is the most important lesson, stop beating yourself up!

3. Pay forward the love that you were given and embrace the small impact that you make one step at a time.

4. Be yourself and not what everyone else wants you to be. You will love yourself more for it!

5. Silly, but get a pet and enjoy their love.

Blessings to all on this site. There is a lite at the end of the tunnel and is waiting for you.

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I as well lost my Dad to months ago. I just want to let you know, you are very brave. When my father passed away I to was with him at the hospital. He couldn't talk to us and his brain was almost dead. I was sad and felt like I had no strength. Then as I left I saw all my friends, some that I weren't even close to. All I can say to you is keep your friends close. Cry on their shoulders, talk to them and they will help you. Some days it feel like you alone, which is how I feel a LOT! So just find people who are there, who you can count on and let them help you. It will allow you to gain strength and help create new dreams. Never loose hope because your Dad and Mom are always there just sometimes you have to try really hard to see them. I think of what my Dad will say in situations and sometimes it makes me laugh because he was so funny. Do things like that, write down what you remember about your parents, that way they will never be gone.

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