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Unexpected Loss Of Father

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Hi everyone

I'm new here and just wanted to introduce myself. My dad died of a sudden heart attack on December 26 2013. I'm 27 years old and he was 62. I woke up that morning to my mom screaming (thank goodness I was home visiting for the holiday). I ran downstairs and saw my dad unconscious at the kitchen table. I called 911 and then did CPR until paramedics got there. He was already gone.

I'm really struggling more each day. I think I was so numb for the first month but now I can't stop thinking about it. I'm having a really hard time focusing at work and I work in an emotionally intense job that requires me to really be there. I have flashbacks and nightmares all the time about doing CPR on him.

I just want this all to go away. I want to go back in time two months and get him to go to a doctor. It's so hard to fathom never talking to him again. I used to call to check in nearly every day. My friends just don't get it and I don't want to talk to any of them. Im just hurting so bad and I don't know what to do anymore.

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I am so very sorry for your loss and the sudden shock of it all. You must reeling from how it all happened and that it happened. You did come to the right place...this is a loving and understanding group of people, all of whom are dealing with the loss of someone they cherished. We all support each other and you will find comfort here. It sounds like you live fairly far from where your mother lives and where your father died. And having a job that is demanding when you are grieving and in shock is, in itself a huge challenge. Were you able to take any time off?

One thing you might consider is checking out some grief support groups in your area. A local Hospice might have one or at least direct you to one. If not, they might be able to direct you to a skilled grief counselor. Having someone to talk to, vent with, process with is very healing. You can also do that here but face to face counseling would also be very helpful.

As for your friends, it is common for friends not to comprehend your loss. You are young and I assume your friends are in your age range and have had little experience with grief. Even if they have, many people just do not know how to respond to someone who is grieving. hence the value of a group like this who do understand. Please feel free to come here often, post your feelings and let the group get to know you.

I am so sorry this has happened. I know you miss your father so much and with his sudden death, you were unable to say good-bye or talk with him. There are people here who have experienced that also. I hold you in my heart, Mary

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Mary stated it very well...I would see a grief counselor that can help you work your way through this, it's too hard to do on your own. They say at about three months out is a good time to start with a grief support group. I had an extremely difficult time with focus when my husband passed away. It was hard to do my job. My boss knew that and he and another guy who had lost his baby daughter ten years before, both talked to the entire crew at work about what to expect when I came back to work (I was off two weeks) and how to handle my grief bursts, how to help me, etc. I will always be grateful I was working for that place at the time...it went out of business a few months later and my next place totally lacked in understanding.

Your friends are probably uncomfortable dealing with grief, not knowing the least thing about it. I've learned it helps to be very explicit about what I want and need since most people would like to be of help but really have no idea what to do or say. Most of my friends disappeared on me, which isn't uncommon. If they want to stick around, I would not discourage that, but you will have to let them know what you're going through, what kind of things they say are helpful, and what is not. I had people say some pretty assinine things to me. That's common too. At the time I felt angry but in looking back I just chock it up to their ignorance. I've had to forgive that and at least having been through it now, I'm more likely to know what to say and what not to say to someone who is grieving, and what they need.

I am so sorry for your loss. My father passed when he was 62...I was 29 and pregnant with my first child. It was hard, not having him here for her birth and everything that happened since. My son is about to graduate from college with straight A's and a double major in Engineering, debt free, I know how proud my dad would be of him, but can't tell him, never having met him. :( I've learned to exist without my dad in my life, but there some things I just miss and it's been nearly 32 years. You'll never stop missing your dad, but eventually will find a way to adjust, with effort and help from counseling and support. My heart goes out to you and your mom. How is she doing? I hope you are able to see her now and then, I know how much it would have meant to me if my kids could have been there...my son was in the Air Force and my daughter moved away shortly after George died.

As Mary said, you were unable to say goodbye to your dad...you might want to consider writing him a letter. I didn't get to say goodbye to my husband either, he died of a heart attack, so it was totally unexpected. I wrote a letter and put it in a balloon and released it. I also have a computer file that I keep an ongoing collection of letters to him. And I talk to him all the time. If I'm nuts, I don't care, just trying to survive the best way I know how...and it's been 8 1/2 years since my husband died.

I also used art to depict my feelings...what I was feeling, what I wanted to feel, etc. I found it helped to express myself. I felt a loss of power in that no one asked ME if I wanted him to die! When I express myself, I feel it's a way of restoring some of that power. It helps to get it out, not keep it bottled up. This place has been a lifesaver for me, as there are those here that understand.

Thinking of you...

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Excellent suggestions, all, and for your sake, my dear, I hope you will follow some of them.

I also want to suggest that, given your traumatic experience with performing CPR on your dad and the flashbacks you describe, you might consider listening to some guided imagery.

If you've read any of the other posts on our site, you'll surely see Belleruth Naparstek's name mentioned more than once. She is an expert on PostTraumatic Stress and its treatment, and her Health Journeys site is filled with useful information as well as dozens of recorded guided-imagery CDs you can try.

For starters, you might find this article helpful: Help with PostTraumatic Stress

See also Nightmares and Bad Dreams in Grief

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Marty, great references...as usual. Picking up on Belleruth Naparstek, one thing I have done is to put her affirmations and guided imagery etc. on my iPod. When I can't sleep (which I might add is rare now) I plug Belleruth into my ear and I am asleep very quickly. Her soothing voice, if nothing else, relaxes a person.


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Really good links, Marty, you guys are great resources!

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Hi lovemydad,

I am so very sorry for you losing your darling Dad. I lost mine suddenly too on 17th Dec 2009...still feels like only recently.

I wish there were words of comfort but I don't think there are....all I can say is that I can relate to what you are going through and feeling. I was 34 and my Dad was only 65....a very young 65 at that.

I also witnessed CPR being done in the hospital....they were at it 20mins before my Mom and I were brought in so he was gone already by then. And all he was in for was a simple kidney stone.

Honestly I have struggled so much to barely exist the last 4 years which sounds like a long time but It doesn't feel that long. I started grief counselling last summer....better late than never. I refused for years no matter who suggested it....I figured NOBODY could "help" me or "fix" me,nobody could bring my Dad back Which was all I wanted and needed. But things became too much last summer, I had no clue why I was falling apart because I had spent 4 yrs talking about my feelings, never hiding my grief.

My very first session was mind blowing.....we discovered that I had blocked out my Dad completely & every part of me that was like him (which is 99% of me actually we are so alike). Also discovered that I was completely traumatised from witnessing the CPR. In telling friends after the session it turned out that none of them ever knew I saw that. I had not forgotten myself but although I spoke about everything else that happened in the hospital that night I never ever spoke of the CPR. It's been a long road for me but I feel I have come out the other side.

Right none maybe none of this makes sense to you (it never did for me reading other people's experience....I always thought I am the exception,I will never ever really "live" again)....and it's ok to feel like that. Everything happens on YOUR TIME, this is YOUR grief and nobody else's.

My only "advice" for you is to be kind and gentle with yourself....do what you need for YOU for the moment.....your entire heart,life,mind,body & soul have been turned upside down and inside out. This site and everyone here have been a life saver for me because everyone just "gets it" & nobody here judges or has any expectations that someone "moves on" etc and all those stupid terms.

So keep sharing here there are so many who can relate. We all have our individual stories and feelings and no 2 people on this earth grieve the same way....but we can relate to many different aspects for sure. So as alone as you feel right now I promise you are NOT.

Sending you so much love, my heart truly goes out to you hun,



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