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Going Nuts?

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Hi everyone. I lost my dad in November 2009 while I was in my last year of nursing school. I had to 'tuck in' the grieving process in order to graduate which was my Dad's greatest wish for me. He literally said, "Don't stop school for me." I, originally felt rejected by him again (!!), but now I see he was protecting me again. He had an 8 month battle with pancreatic cancer that was just horrible.

So, I've graduated from nursing school, passed my state boards, and I wish I could give him a big hug. Now that the stress from school is over, I feel like I need to continue the active grieving. The problem is, is at work.

I'm messing up at work, which is not new work for me. I'm doing the same things I was doing before I became an RN. No med errors, no problems with patient care THAT I'M AWARE OF! I'm messing up on the paper work, and I seem to have lost my short term memory. I also feel real confusion. I'm afraid that I will get fired from work. They know about my Dad dying, and people who still have their parents are just so unaware.

I'm allergic to many medications, so I'd rather see a therapist. I have new insurance, so I'm going to give it a try. I just feel really scared opening up to someone in person.

I know everyone here has been where I am, and I'm so sorry that we were initiated into a club that no one wants to join, but I'm glad that you are here with me.

I've been writing Dad and God letters and expressing my thoughts and emotions to both of them. I have forgiven myself and my stepmother for the things that happened while Dad was dying. But now, I think I need to forgive Dad for dying, and I'm still pissed off! I want to go stomp on his grave and tell him I don't appreciate him dying (actually, Dad had a great sense of humor, and I think he would get a big kick out of that!)

I need to write another letter to Dad and tell him about the NCLEX, school, problems at work, etc. He's not here physically, but I like to think that spiritually we never end.

Love to all,


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I just want to say that I'm sorry for what your going through.I lost my dad on New Years day this year.I'm having a hard time moving on,and have had alot of the forgetfulness that you are talking about.I know your not going nuts!Or maybe we both are...I didn't know it would be this all consuming.It seems that people are over this now and I feel like I hide my feelings alot now.My friends and even my fiancee dont bring up my dad,and what hurts the most at the moment is that I feel kinda like he is more distant now,which was what I didn't want to happen.Like he was so fresh in my mind before,and now he isnt so real anymore.My dad had a great sense of humor too.I think its great that you were still able to make it through school,and I'm sure he is very proud of you.And I hope you find a therapist that will help you.This site should help a little too.Good luck to you.

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Hi Renee,

It's so nice to "see" you here again, and I want to congratulate you on your graduation from nursing school, passing your state board exams and becoming a registered nurse. That is no easy accomplishment, and to achieve all of that while experiencing the illness and death of your father is nothing short of monumental. Just think of the enormous energy, concentration and discipline it must have taken for you to do all of that! It is not surprising at all to me that now, when you can let down your guard just a bit, this grief is knocking at your door and demanding your attention. That is the way of grief ~ if we cannot or will not pay it the attention it deserves at the time, it simply lies in wait until such time as we are ready, willing and able to deal with it (or it comes out anyway, every which-way but straight, and in ways that we cannot control). The good news is that it's never too late to do the work of grief, and now you have the time and space to deal with it. I applaud your decision to see a grief counselor.

You say that at work you're feeling confused and experiencing some short-term memory loss, although so far this hasn't affected your patient care. For the safety of your patients, Renee, I think it's important that you have a talk (in complete confidence) with your supervisor to let her know what's going on with you. You can explain your circumstances just as you've explained them to us: that during your schooling, graduation and preparation for state boards you were also grappling with your father's terminal condition and death, that you had no choice but to "put off" your grief work, that you are aware that now it is time to begin doing your grief work, that you intend to seek appropriate help through that process, and that even though you're not functioning at 100% right now, you have every confidence that you will be very soon. If you're so inclined, you may even request that, out of concern for the safety of your patients, a colleague be assigned to "shadow" your work for a time, just to be sure that you've not overlooking something important. Such a conversation will convey to your supervisor that, being the excellent nurse that you are, you are demonstrating accurate self-awareness, you are practicing adequate and appropriate self-care, and you are putting the safety of your patients first.

Finally, you said, "I'm allergic to many medications, so I'd rather see a therapist. I have new insurance, so I'm going to give it a try. I just feel really scared opening up to someone in person." Please see this post: Reluctant to Seek Counseling

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Thanks. That's a great idea. I've also thought of volunteering to be the aide for a while. It's kind of a mental break. I saw your thread, and It described my family to a T. She could have been my Mom.

Wow. Denying grief really is very debilitating.

I'm excited about finding a therapist now.



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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi Renee

Congratulations on being strong and getting through NCLEX (not easy). I have never thought about writing dad a letter. I am like you, so pissed at him for dying...guess that is very selfish. There is no one to mourn with me or share with so I sit here wondering how to move on. I know he chose his time because I was on track, great job, loved wher I was living and then he passed and I lost it all. Its been just over a year now and I am still finding it hard to do anything. I finally went to see someone and that actually made things worse. The doc kept telling me what a waste of life my father was and I should not miss him. I am so conflicted now.

I am glad I have found this site and hope reading how others have worked through it and knowing I am not alone in holding this hurt will [hopefully] help me to continue to try to move on. His birthday is coming soon and my goal is to be able to remember him without crying. I thought my cousin losing his 21 year old son would help put things in perspective for me (dad was 80) but it really hasnt. Its just all so surreal and the longer I stay in this mindset the more I think I will never be able to move on. :-(

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