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I'm New Here & Just Lost My Dad

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Hi, I'm very new here & to all this grief stuff. My 84 yr old Dad passed away on October 26, 2012-16 days ago. Exactly 1 day after celebrating his 63 wedding anniversary to my Mom. He went peacefully, surrounded by our whole family & with Mom holding his hand.

Last June he survived a major hemorrhagic stroke & after therapy for a few months was able to go home to his house with Mom. Last winter we almost lost him twice but he pulled through. The Tuesday before he passed away he'd fallen, gone to the hospital & was diagnosed with kidney failure & heart failure & the dr's gave him a round of dialysis hoping a 3rd miracle would happen. Nope.

I am a 40-something woman who desperately misses her Daddy & I really don't know how to deal with this or what to do. Thankfully I live only an hour from my Mom who suffers from dementia & I am the only daughter that lives in the state. My eldest sister is staying with Mom until all the stupid Social Security stuff gets taken care of, & then Mom will go stay with my sisters in Texas for a few months until there is an opening at the assisted living facility which we've picked out for Mom & where my aunt also lives.

My husband & I were, thankfully, the last family to be with Dad when he was feeling pretty good Wednesday night so we got to talk & visit with him & hold his hand but I had a dream that night where my sister, who died when she was 4, told me that SHE needed Daddy now & so did Grandma & Grandpa & was it ok for him to come live with them now. [is this weird?] But Dad being Dad, took care of Mom until the end & refused to ruin their anniversary I'm sure that's why it happened the day it did.

Doesn't help that I developed a very nasty case of cellulitis that week too. I thought I sprained my ankle hopping out of bed the morning that we got the call to hurry to the hospital & the dr's at first thought it was a blood clot but thankfully it was just that stupid infection.

Please give me any advice on how to handle this. I cry at the very suggestion of anything to do with him which is alot, especially when people ask how I am. I'm not good. Can anyone give me advice please? Thank you.

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Hi LisaAnnB. I think we all have a real rough time dealing with the emotions of grief in the first weeks and months. People here talk of having 'meltdowns', where the flood of emotion is beyond our capacity to control. Well, I think we learn about grief as we go through the many meltdowns.

As best I can figure, it helps to let the emotion pass through us instead of trying to fight it. It's been said here many times that if we bury our grief, it just stays buried and doesn't get resolved.

And for each time we have a meltdown, we learn a bit about recovery and pulling ourselves back together. It's a gradual learning process.

I wish there were an easy set of rules that would guide us all through grief. But none of it is easy. I'm sure there is learning, personal growth, and healing as we struggle through grief. But there is also a lot of suffering, and some portion of that just has to be endured.

Things that help (as best I know) - A supportive social network of friends and family. Psychological and counseling services. Any of the educational resources on grief, many of which are linked to in these forums. 'Grief-work', meaning any regular activity that eases you through the rough times (pets, gardening, painting, music, exercise, friends, keeping a diary, or a gazillion other things. You choose.)

This community can also help. Write of your grief or ask any question, and you will probably get good response. We have a professional counselor, Marty, that handles the really difficult questions. Glad you found us!

Ron B.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi LisaAnnB,

I'm also new to the site, yours is the first post I've read... My dad died on Oct 9, with mom by his side and much family nearby. The circumstances of his passing were by all accounts ideal: he was eighty, had his wife and family, had no pain, and went peacefully. For all that, I'm grateful. However, it does nothing to change the overwhelming and sometimes paralyzingly pain of loss.

I wish I could offer great advice, but I'm still trying to figure it out myself. I can only offer condolences and confirmation that what you're feeling sounds completely normal to me. A month and a half out, I'm not feeling much different or better than when it was brand new. I have finally looked into grief support groups (though can't find anything that begins before January!), and I found this site. All I can recommend is that you hold onto your mom, and sisters, and husband; understand that this is supposed to be difficult (wouldn't you be more concerned if you felt ok?); seek out the support you may need; and be kind to yourself. I'm pretty terrified of Thanksgiving and Christmas, and up 'til now the best I've been able to do is work on the gratitude... I'm truly thankful to have had a dad so worthy of missing this much. I'm glad to hear you had the same.

Keep putting one foot in front of the other...

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Dear ones, let me add my voice to Ron's in expressing my deepest sympathy to both of you.

There is scarcely anything I can add to what Ron has said, and I agree completely with Monica's wise words as well. I happen to think that, since most of us are so unfamiliar with sheer, raw grief until we lose someone really close to us, it helps to do some reading about what is normal (and therefore to be expected) in the grief that accompanies significant loss. Doing so helps us feel less helpless, "crazy" and alone, and in the process we discover many ways to better understand and manage our reactions.

Since "the holidays" are nearly upon us, it may help to read some articles about how to cope with those as well. In addition to reading through many of the posts you'll find in these forums (truly, you'll find no more accurate accounts of grief and what can be done with it than you will find here) you may find these links helpful:

Death of a Parent: Links to dozens of articles, books and websites

Coping with the Holidays: A List of Suggested Resources

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Marty and Ron- your words are kind and helpful... Thank you. I hope you, LisaAnnB, have also found some comfort. I'm on a plane about to head "home" for my the first Thanksgiving without Dad. I'm scared. Can't wait to see my mom, but also afraid I won't be able to keep it together for her. (Also feel terrible for the poor guy who has to sit next to me!). More to come, I'm sure...

LisaAnnB, and all others having a "first" today... Good luck!

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Thank you all for your advice. Thanksgiving was tough but I survived with only 1 melt down. I get so frustrated because I can't even look at His photos without tearing up & he had this amazing smile that I miss. I'm scared that I'll forget his voice & his laugh.

One question [of many I'm sure to ask]: why are people afraid to ask me about him or talk to me about it? Are people that afraid that I might cry? I NEED to talk about him-he was this amazing man-and I do journal now all this stuff. But it's ok to talk to me about it, if I tear up it's not for long. Attending the local grief support group is not an option-the moderator/leader is an acquaintance of mine who runs the local hospice office & is not known for her discretion so I am here for guidance. It is all so confusing & my siblings are not a tight supportive group-8 kids each with different opinions on all of it including what to do with my 82 yr old mother who has dementia.

The good thing is that I have a very good "chosen" family [the friends we choose to be family vs the family we're born with] & a supportive husband who has a good family too. They don't allow me to wallow in the grief no matter how much I want to. My husband & a couple friends even talked me into doing some Christmas decorating at home & even hosting a small holiday gathering of friends-they know I usually really enjoy this. I go into the shower every night & allow myself a 10 minute melt down when I need it so my husband doesn't constantly get the tears.

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I checked out of this site for a few days while with my family for Thanksgiving. I survived. Lisa - I hope you had as good a Thanksgiving as possible, and found more comfort than frustration with your family. I was very happy to be with my family, though I got the distinct impression that everyone else was doing better than I am. Only four of my nine siblings were in town, and we didn't talk at all about how we're "coping", but it was just nice to be with people who were dealing with exactly the same thing. It was nice to hear about my dad from someone other than me. No one "dwelled" on Dad, but he was mentioned frequently- it felt natural. I'm grateful for that. I'm terribly sorry to hear that you feel the local grief support group is not a place you'll be comfortable. I hope you'll keep looking for other options, and certainly hope this site is helpful to you. I'm so happy to hear that you have a strong support network with your husband and friends, but I also understand that you're feeling this loss constantly, and don't want to feel like a constant "burden." I agree, the shower is a superb place for a good long sob-fest. I take advantage daily. Hang in there... please keep posting if the conversation if helpful. You're in my thoughts.

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