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6 Months And It Still Seems Like Yesterday.

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My father had a massive stroke and heart-attack on December 16, 2009. He was gone before he hit the floor. He was taken to St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver just across Burrard Bridge from where my father lived with my mother in Kitsilano. He was unresponsive to attempts to bring him back and he was put on a ventilator until I could be contacted. I'm not a sociable person at the best of times and some jerk was calling repeatedly (I presume it was some telemarketer and therefore I had turned the ringer off. So my mother went through hell trying to contact me. They finally had to notify Surrey RCMP who came to my door. The doctors tried everything that they could, but they couldn't save him. His body was kept around by the respirator only.

I did manage to get there in enough time. I believe that my dad's spirit lingered long enough for me to say good-bye. I could see that he was pretty much gone when I got there. There was I think a little involuntary reflex when I walked in the room but other than that, nothing else. I took the time to tell the doctors who worked on him "Thank you for taking such good care of him." That was the least I could do after they tirelessly worked on him in the emergency room trying to bring him back. I'm not sure he could hear me, but I held his hand and told him "Go...don't be in pain...be at peace..." and "I love you, Dad."

On the way to the hospital it was pouring rain. On our way home the sky broke and we had some sun. And on top of it all, we saw an absolutely gorgeous rainbow. I took it to mean that my dad was saying good-bye. I have this feeling in my heart that he probably heard my last words.


6 months hence and the pain of losing him still seems as raw as it was the day he died. I get up in the morning, I deal with what I have to do (take care of my kids...) but the pain of his loss still lingers. Every thing seems to irritate me. The social mores that go along with grieving; the whole so-called "heirarchy of grief". Half the time, I feel like telling society to "GO TO HELL".

When my dad died in December of 2009, there were people who genuinely mourned his passing along with me and then there were others who strove to try to minimize my loss by saying "Well, he had a long life; at least he wasn't murdered or had a long, drawn-out illness or what not...etc, etc. etc..."

To the former, I say "Thank you for your concern and patience"; to the latter, I say. "Look, I don't give a **** about the what-ifs and the barbed-platitudes. I just wish I still had my Dad around."

I'm tired of seeing a "grief competition" or grief ownership. Why does every loss have to be a competition of who had the greater loss? Why do the victims of violence get to "lord it over those of us who have lost their loved ones by natural causes"? To me it doesn't make a ******* bit of difference. They're ALL dead, they ALL leave behind people who miss them deeply and will never, ever be the same again. "I'm sorry that you hurt but don't minimize my pain either regardless of the circumstances!" I think Pamela Cytrynbaum got it right in her Psychology Today Article: The Heirarchy of Grief - Who Is The Biggest Loser

Society has created a "step-ladder" of entitlement to sympathy.

In society there seems to be a heirarchy of grief and loss, where those who stand at the pinnacle are the ones who've had loved ones murdered with there being a heirarchy even there. Mothers who have lost children to violent crime stand at the very pinnacle of that heirarchy. Everybody has to bow down to those who have lost their children to a murder as if that epitomizes the very essence of loss and grief. Those who mourn their parents are at the very bottom of the heap. Does that mean we ache less than the mother who lost her child through murder? I don't think so. Why should we be made to feel guilty for our own grief just because the loss of our loved one didn't meet society's criteria for grief...by getting themselves murdered by a criminal?

"Well, think of what your mother is going through." Yes, I can and I'm sure she hurts just as much as I do. We lost someone who was very important in our lives. It doesn't matter how, it doesn't matter when. It doesn't matter WHAT AGE...he was.

"Be strong for your family and help your mother through this time." Well, buddy, do you not think that having lost my father, that I shouldn't take time to grieve myself. That I should just squelch down my grief and turn around and help someone else because..."my, oh my, her grief is much more than yours..."

And people say this without thinking how their words affect other people. It's annoying at least; enraging at worst.

So I ask society in general. Why should I minimize my own loss; why should I bow to someone else's loss and forget my own because society says that I should pay more heed to the grief of a widow of a veteran or the surviving families of a murder victim? I feel that everyones' loss is personal and important to their respective families regardless of the circumstances, and telling me to subordinate the loss of my father because so and so's son or daughter was murdered is an insult to my father's memory.

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hi The_Animal

First off I am so sorry for the loss of you Dad. I too lost mine suddenly on 17th Dec 2009, cardiac arrest. It was completely unexpected and by the time the hospital called us they were already 15mins into CPR which I didn't find out until we arrived there. So I knew then he was gone, although they brought my Mom & me in while they were still trying CRP, my heart and soul just knew he had already left so I knew my cries for him to come back to me were in vein. It was beyond crushing not to be with him in his last mins, we were actually expecting him home from hospital 12 hrs later.

Wow, seeing that rainbow sounds pretty cool after such a horrible shock, I think it was maybe your Dad saying Hello from another place rather than Goodbye.

I could not agree more with all that you have said regarding grief. I too feel it is as raw as ever and I too do what I have to every day but the pain is always there. I really don't think society has a clue how to deal with people grieving in general. Grief itself is so deceptive, I notice so much now that it's 6 months, the outside world thinks all is ok with me now for the most part .......but the truth is the grief has just become a part of me now, it has seeped into every single cell in my body and it will stay with till I leave this earth.

I do think people mean well when we hear some of those typical "condolences", if they have not experienced such a profound loss they have absolutely no idea of the pain those words cause. I know I cringe so much at things I've said to people in the past, NOW I know so much better, I know there are no words of comfort, I know there is nothing "right" you can say to someone.

I do think until someone is hit with such a loss there are comparisons and it is awful to hear somebody comparing their loss to someone elses. Each loss to a person is as unique as the relationship was, as unique as our DNA, nobody knows the exact feelings because no 2 losses are or ever will be the exact same. Your grief is yours and yours alone and I am sorry if you feel people are minimising it. You don't have to put anything away, you are entitled to grieve your way, in your time, for as long as you like. Many just do not understand, I know from me, my friends have learned so much about grief that they never ever could have imagined before. It's up to each of us grieving to let others know "I am not OK because a certain amount of time has passed". I read an article a while back about research continuing on grief and the more research that is done on it that more people are realising that it's a much longer "process" than was thought before.

My personal feelings are that grief never ends, it just changes. For me I know I will never ever stop grieving for my Dad as long as I walk this earth, why would I stop, moreover why would I want to stop ? It's just the same as my love for him, just because I cannot physically see or touch him, that doesn't stop me loving him, I will love him and grieve for him for the rest of my life. Losing my Daddy has changed me forever, I've lost so much of myself too and I really don't care what society or anyone thinks my grief "should" be.

I feel for anyone who has lost a loved one, I have learned the hard way that nope age does not matter as you say and nor is there any hierarchy in life itself because we all know children do not always outlive parents. Everyday people lose people older, younger, parents, grandparents, young children, babies, adult children and the list goes on. There are no guarantees for how long any of us are left on this earth. when grief strikes, it is the worst thing in the world for each person who has lost and it's painful and lonely for anyone to say anything that minimises your loss.

Perhaps part of that problem is lack of understanding and knowledge about grief, so if you have never grieved for someone then I think we have pre-conceived notions that one loss is harder than other, the second thing then I think is when someone is hit with such a profound loss is that part of grief itself is thinking nobody else in the world hurts as much as you, that your loss is the worst kind in the world. I know when I lost my Dad it was and still is such a lonely road of grief but then I met others on this site and realised I am not as alone as I think. It doesn't stop the pain, it doesn't take away my loneliness, the emptiness in my life but it's given me comfort to know somebody else relates ...I say relates because again nothing is exactly the same. My eyes have been opened so wide in these last 6 months, while my tolerance for everyday things diminshes daily, my tolerance for people hurting and grieving just sky rockets every day. Each loss brings different things with it, so someone who has lost a loved one to violence I'm sure just brings added questions, feelings, emotions that someone like me doesn't have, and just wouldn't ever try to comprehend. There will always be similarties between people grieving and there will always be differences and maybe as time goes on, as more research is done, as more people come together, talk about it, share about it openly, then people will gain more understanding and compassion.

well that is my 50cents. Again so sorry for the loss of your Dad and welcome to this site. Feel free to share your journey with us here, you will not find anyone comparing or judging you and your loss on this site. We're a big supportive online family here. So just remember, it's all about YOU now and your loss and you deal with this in whatever way suits you.

hugs and love to you Animal


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My condolences to you on the loss of your dad. I lost mine May 26, 2010...only 1 month ago, suddenly and unexpectedly to a massive heart attack...he was only 63 and in excellent health. Only concerns...he had high cholesterol issues, but was controlled, so we and his doctor thought, on meds, and he did watch what he ate and he exercised daily.

I agree with niamh...I too think those people mean well with those comments. They simply do not know what else to say and feel they should just say something. I am reading and almost done with a fantastic book which deals with sudden death...I Wasn't Ready To Say Goodbye: Surviving, Coping and Healing after the Sudden Death of a Loved One by Brook Noel & Pamela D. Blair, PHD.

Awesome book written by 2 women who have both loved and lost suddenly themselves. This book also touches on the subject of dealing with what to say and not to say to the bereaved...so a good read for those who are trying to support others as well. You can also get the workbook to go along with it to help with how to survive after your loss.

Hang in there The_Animal. I know very well your pain. {{HUGS}}

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Hi there Animal-I'm so sorry to hear about your Dad.I also(seems to be the theme recently)lost my dad on Jan 1,to a heart-attack.He was 49.I spoke to him,and a hour later I got a call saying he was gone by the time he reached the hospital,and they needed a positive id.You can imagine what came next.I agree with you about the minimize of our pain.I get upset when people say I lost my father.To me he was so much more,and no one can understand what I lost.Although,my heart breaks at the thought of anyone losing anyone they love.I cant imagine losing one of my kids.I couldnt imagine losing my dad(best-friend)either.Our pain is just as great as victims of violence.I havnt been to grief groups or anything.This site is my support system,and it helps because you connect with others who have lost a parent,and they are feeling the same way.No one dares minimize each others pain,because its so huge,and we understand.All the people who tried the cliches on me really p*ssed me off.I hate hearing anything thats 'supposed' to make me feel better.I wont even speak to some of those people anymore.I have to much pain in my heart every day to deal with dumb people who should just keep quite,rather then say thoughtless things.I'm not better.I dont feel better.He is still gone.He may have had a good life,but that dosn't change the fact that it was cut way to short,for him and for me.It dosnt change the fact we are left here without the love of someone so dear to us,so important.We are stuck with our love for them,and no where to put it.It just eats a hole inside.I miss my dad,dearly,as I can tell you do,too.As we all do here.I don't have anyone to comfort about my dad.I'm the one taking it hard in my family.His girlfriend was over it like 2 days after.(I hate her for it,and yes I know hate is a strong word.Its not strong enough:angry2:) My brother is ok.My dad's bestfriends are fine.I'm drowning in sorrow and heartache.I miss him so so much.No one understands or even thinks about my pain,because of course,"he was my parent,and we all lose a parent sometime"yeah they can all f*ck off.

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  • 2 years later...

I know it's been a while since you've written this, but i just read it. Saw it's your birthday-Happy Birthday :)

Also i agree with you about society and platitudes. I am sorry about your father. I do hope you enjoyed your day as best you could with your family.


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