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Old 08-31-2008, 08:45 AM   #1
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My father just died and I feeling so sad and confused.

From what advice I’ve read it’s helpful to get your thoughts out during a tragic time like this and since I don’t have really close friends to talk to, this forum seems next best choice, and hopefully it may also help others. My father died August 28 and he was in his 80’s and I’m in my 40’s. While we weren’t emotionally very close, we lived together most all my life except a few years during a separation from my mother, so now I miss him terribly. He was slowly declining over the past 5 years or so but we were able to take trips to Las Vegas and California in ’03 and the Caribbean in ’05 plus a few visits to my mother in Florida after that, (they were divorced in ’95 and it devastated him but he accepted it and became friends the last 8 years) and up until January he still could get around by himself and go up and down stairs by himself. I felt proud he didn’t use a walker or cane although I never told him, I now wish I did. In January he got sick and went to the hospital for a month but they found nothing specific but said it was most likely advancing dementia so he had to go to a rehab nursing home. At this point he was no longer able to walk, which to me was a very sad point as just 2 months previous we had been at my mothers in Florida where she was dying and in hospice (We went down to get her out of hospice and into treatment and she is, knock on wood, basically cancer free as the doctor says but that story would take up a whole book) and again he was able to walk through the airport without assistance.

He entered the nursing home mid February. By May he lost 30 pounds, wasn’t eating much and when he did there were aspiration problems so they put in a feeding tube. By then, he could barely speak and he was getting bedsores which led to infections so basically he was going to the hospital for a few weeks and seemed to be getting better, then when he got back to the nursing home he would get worse in a few days and would go back to the hospital again. And every time they kept asking me about code status, like they were obsessed with that. I kept saying to do everything you can for him if that happens, he doesn’t have a terminal disease or coma for heavens sake just an infection. By now the first nursing wouldn’t accept him back because of his code status so he stayed in the hospital a month until we found one that would. The new place was much better than the old one with more caring staff and nurses. He was stable for 3 weeks before an infection came back and he went to the hospital again. This time even this nursing home wouldn’t take him back unless I agreed to a DNR status. Reluctantly I did and he went back on August 22nd.

He seemed stable but most of the time he slept, but the brief times he was awake, once he was able to crack a smile with such a sweet face, and that I will always cherish. Especially since the bedsores must have been painful. For the last few months I visited him 2 or sometimes 3 times a day and kept sending his homecare aid 6 days a week even though many times he wasn't awake. The last time I saw him was early evening and was sleeping so I just said good night and sleep well. The next morning I get up at 5am for some reason as I usually don't get up til 6:30 or so. 15 minutes later I get a call from the nursing home saying he just passed away. I felt so numb and cold. I should have rushed over there but was feeling nauseous. I got there at 8 and the nurse led me in his room. He seemed peaceful and I put my hand on his forehead, it was still warm while tears started but I didn’t really cry. I've never cried much but I have been shedding many tears at times. But I guess even though in the last 2 months I was in denial that he was really never coming home I guess it prepared me in some way as I did have feelings of great sadness during that time as well.

While I’m grateful to say I didn’t have any major unresolved issues like so many people have with a parent that died, I feel bad and guilty about many things I did or didn’t say or do. Even though I visited him 2 or 3 times a day, I only stayed a few minutes, many times checking my watch as if I had better things to do. Before he got sick, sometimes when he was slow or forgetful I would say some mean stuff like calling him an old man, he wouldn’t say anything back but now I realize how much it must have hurt him, I wish I could say how sorry I am. One of the things I regret is not having married or having kids while he was alive. He didn't have any brothers and sisters and I don't either and he died not knowing if his name will live on.


There are so many things I feel sad about. Just thinking about the little things like most every night when I would be lying on the couch in the basement watching TV he would come down at night to say goodnight and wave his little fingers and show a big smile to me. Looking at the last thing he bought when still “fairly together” about 2 years ago, a 3 foot tall carving of a baby elephant (he loved and collected elephants because they symbolized kindness). Looking at all the 100+ medical books he studied and a few he even authored on the bookcase. Looking at all the souvenirs from all the vacations we took together, knowing we will never be going back to Paris or Venice again, his favorite places. Thinking about the gentle way he walked, taking short steps, the last few years always showing a smile when I looked at him. Up until 2 years ago I never thought he would never be around. Although it has been sad to not have him at home for the last six months of his illness, the first night coming home to an empty house knowing he’s not around anymore was 100 times worse than knowing he wasn’t home but still alive.

This is the 3rd day and although I still very sad, it doesn’t seem as bad as the first 2, but I’m feeling guilty even saying that plus I’m not crying but I am getting teary eyed often. Maybe for me it will come out at the funeral in 4 days. I just hope I don’t loose it there in public. Another thing I feel a little guilty about are people who loose a parent at much younger age. I’m thinking, I’m in my 40’s, many people loose a parent in their 30’s or 20’s, and some when they are teens or just kids. What right do I have to feel so bad, these other people had their parents around for a much less time.

Just writing this is exhausting and every few minutes I get tears so I have to take a break and continue later, plus I’m picking up my mother at the airport. Any comments or thoughts in the meantime are welcome. Thanks.

Last edited by heatherton; 08-31-2008 at 08:53 AM. Reason: .

 
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Old 08-31-2008, 10:58 AM   #2
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Re: My father just died and I feeling so sad and confused.

I lost my dad in 2004 of a stroke at age 79, he was independent until the last two weeks. I treated Dad with respect because he raised us like that. I would never utter a negative word back to him. I had no remorse when he died because I had done everything that I could do when he was alive. My dad told me over and over how he "Thank God for me" and the rest of his children. I felt like life was over when Dad died but all I could think about was how dad would be soooooo mad at me for grieving and giving up.
You must forgive yourself for your shortcomings because your mind will begin to play terrible tricks on you. Shame and condemnation will literally destroy you. Even though you've made mistakes, I can still feel your love for your papa. I know he loved you too.

 
Old 08-31-2008, 12:24 PM   #3
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Re: My father just died and I feeling so sad and confused.

I am losing my mom as we speak - she doesn't have much time left and we were always so close - my dad and I had issues as my parents were separated for quite awhile - he was never really there for my brother or myself - when he died he was 65 and looked 95 - it was so sad to see him that way and it was a relief somewhat when he did pass - I still grieved for him terribly for all the lost time and lost moments - don't feel guilty - you were good to your father and he was to you - you did the best you could for him and spent lots of time with him - I never had that - be glad that you did - he knew you loved him no matter what as I know my dad in his own way loved me and he knew I loved him - regret is the worse - I did have regrets when he died - I have learned from that and have been there totally for my mom - but I am typing now and not in the next room holding her hand - you can't be there all the time - you just can't - you did your very best for your dad and you sound like a wonderful daughter - there are children who do so very very much less than you have done and have no remorse - thank God you were a part of his life right to the very end - I am so glad I am with my mom now at the end - my dad died alone in a room, left lying on the floor all night until someone came in and found him and he told me the night before that he was going to die and I wasn't there for him as he was somewhat homeless and I was unable to go into that neighborhood - I was 29 when he died -you had vacations and so many memories with your dad - I do not have very many good ones - Be happy that God was kind to you and your dad when he was alive and kept you together - remember his smile and his love that he had for you. I wish you peace - I know your father is happy in heaven- Courtney

Last edited by courtney3478; 08-31-2008 at 12:26 PM.

 
Old 08-31-2008, 05:46 PM   #4
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shefab HB User
Re: My father just died and I feeling so sad and confused.

I am so sorry for your loss. I went through a lot of the feelings you described. My grandmother raised me since I was one month old, so she was my mother in all respects. I lost her this past April. She was 85 and I am 43. I feel so blessed to have had her in my life so long. Honey, it doesnt matter if you are ten or a hundred and ten - when you lose your parent it hurts. Right now you are probably still in a shock/denial state. You can read about all the stages of grief, and dont let anyone tell you you should 'be past that stage already'. You can expect to go back and forth between the different stages for about a year.

It is normal to have the ups and downs. I felt guilty recently for not crying every night, but thats normal too. I believe it takes a whole year to complete the grief process at minimum.

I will hold you and your family in my thought and prayers. I would also encourage you to find someone to talk to, a pastor, priest, therapist, etc. It does help.

 
Old 08-31-2008, 05:56 PM   #5
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Re: My father just died and I feeling so sad and confused.

heatherton I'd just like to say that I know how it feels to lose your dad and I'm so sorry that you've had to go through this. I lost my dad just over 2 years ago now when I was 27 and I feel that no matter what age you are when they die you should NEVER feel guilty that other people may have been younger than you are now. He is still your dad and no-one else can ever replace him or the memories you have of him. I don't have any brothers or sisters either and it sounds kinda daft but I feel that because it's only ever been just you and your parents you do "grow up" a lot faster than people who do have siblings. The first few days I felt sad but also I guess I couldn't believe that my dad was gone and that I would never see him again. Kept waiting for him to walk back through the door all the time... You do get teary but I felt that I had no right to get upset in front of mum as she needed my support at the time so kept things bottled up for a while. When I did cry eventually it was like the flood gates had been opened- even scared the poor dog who didn't know what to make of it !
You say that you hope you don't loose it in public.. what difference does it make realistically if you do? You have lost your dad and if you want to cry then no-one will think any the less of you. You have every right to get upset and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
Like you I also felt regret that my dad hadn't seen me married or have kids, but the night after he died I sat and wrote him a letter telling him all this. I put this letter and a photo of me and my mum in his suit pocket before the funeral and it helped me to feel that I'd told him all that I felt that he should know. Just putting the words down onto paper made me feel just a little bit better. I felt that although he wouldn't be with me in person when these things ever happen he would somehow know that he would always be a part of my life. While you have happy memories of your dad you will always have him with you and remember that no-one can ever take these memories away from you.
One last thing, although you say that he died not knowing if his name will live on, remember that while you talk about him and think about him, he will always live on.
(hugs)
Poppy

 
Old 09-03-2008, 06:25 AM   #6
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heatherton HB User
Re: My father just died and I feeling so sad and confused.

Thanks for all the responses. I've been kept busy the last few days making the funeral and cemetary arraingments. There is the viewing at the funeral home today, and yesterday I went through a dozen slide carosels from past vacations to pick out a few to enlarge and print for display by the casket. Going through the old pics didn't bother me but when I looked for a current picture to enlarge to 18x24 for the center and got his passport renewal photo from just one year ago, I really was choked up. Especially reading on the passport the expiration date of 2017 and thinking of all the things we will never be able to do together.

Althought I'm not feeling so down now, probably because I've been so busy, I probably will be after the funeral, coming back to an empty house realizing he will never ever be coming back. I work from home alone most days so that may be depressing also. Thinking of taking a day trip to the beach to get out of the house but I don't even know if I could even enjoy it. I'll write more after the funeral and thanks for listening.

Also, what is the usual procedure after the funeral? Do the attendees expect to come over to the house for some food and drinks? It's an 11:30am funeral and I assume most would go back to work. I wouldn't mind having some kind of get together of his colleges and friends in a month, 3 months or 6 months but since there is 2 viewings today and the funeral tomorrow, another visitation in the same week would be too much.

Last edited by heatherton; 09-03-2008 at 06:33 AM. Reason: .

 
Old 09-04-2008, 08:16 AM   #7
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courtney3478 HB User
Re: My father just died and I feeling so sad and confused.

My mom just passed on Tuesday - I know how you feel - keeping busy but when the funeral is over it will be hard - My sincere condolences - keep you chin up - I am trying to do the same - Courtney

 
Old 09-04-2008, 02:12 PM   #8
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Re: My father just died and I feeling so sad and confused.

Courtney, you have my sympathy too....((((((hugs))))))

 
Old 09-04-2008, 06:02 PM   #9
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heatherton HB User
Re: My father just died and I feeling so sad and confused.

Thanks again for all the nice comments. The funeral was today and although it was a sad time, I was able to make it through. While there were probably 40 people at the viewings, only about 10 came to the cemetary so if I had to do it over again I would probably have had the ceremony at the funeral home and then have a private burial. But as I said, this was the first funeral I have been to let alone planned.

My mother is flying home in a few days so I'm not sure how I'll feel then, being alone at home knowing my father isn't coming back. I'm still keeping busy starting in on the thank you cards, going through his final medical bills and soon, choosing the headstone design. Plus I have at least a month of work backed up that will keep me occupied. After that I don't know. Since I'm surprised that I haven't had a "melt down" after he died like I kept thinking I would while he was alive, I just worry it may hit me all of a sudden at some point down the road.

 
Old 09-05-2008, 06:07 AM   #10
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Re: My father just died and I feeling so sad and confused.

Thank you - services and funeral today and tomorrow - I hope I will be strong - pray that I am - again thank you for your support - Courtney

 
Old 09-05-2008, 05:49 PM   #11
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Re: My father just died and I feeling so sad and confused.

heatherton and courtney no doubt you will both be experiencing lots of new emotions over the next few weeks and yes at times you will feel scared, upset, anger and plenty more feelings besides. It's always hard when you lose a parent, no matter at what age but remember you're not alone. Please come on this site and vent your feelings if it helps, no matter how trivial you feel something is, get it out of your system and share it. I can guarantee that there's bound to be someone out here who has been there sometime ! I only wish I'd known about this site when my dad died and had been able to express my thoughts at that time, unfortunately for me I didn't and kept a lot of things bottled up for a long time, to the point where I made myself ill. I'd hate to think that anyone else would go through that just because they were trying to tough it out on their own. Anyway I guess what I'm trying to say is that although a stranger on the other side of the pond I feel for you both, be strong and believe me when I say that in time, although it still hurts like hell, things do get easier. (hugs)
You're both in my prayers
Poppy x

 
Old 09-09-2008, 11:12 AM   #12
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Re: My father just died and I feeling so sad and confused.

Thank you so much for your kind words - it does make me feel better knowing you understand - the house feels so empty as she lived with me all my life - I must wait for time to let this get easier - i can't wait for time to pass a little - Courtney

 
Old 09-10-2008, 05:25 AM   #13
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heatherton HB User
Re: My father just died and I feeling so sad and confused.

It's been 2 weeks since my father died and one week since the burial. I drove my mother to the airport on Monday and I've felt fairly good as long as I don't think about him too much. Even being alone in the house without him is bearable. Probably if I reflect on the things we did together I would feel a lot worse, knowing we will never be able to do those again. I still have to take care of the gravestone but that can wait a few weeks. I guess the best thing to do is keep busy and take one day at a time.

 
Old 09-16-2008, 05:51 PM   #14
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Re: My father just died and I feeling so sad and confused.

I read you post and felt so sad. My mother died on Sept 9 and every day is good and bad. Days are better when I am busy but nights and quite times are horrible. I used to call my mom to talk about nothing at all and now I can't do that. Today I called her phone and let it ring until the answering machine picked up so I could hear her voice and leave her a message. I told her I missed her and that I would see her again real soon

 
Old 09-17-2008, 04:31 AM   #15
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Re: My father just died and I feeling so sad and confused.

That's how I feel...she died Sept. 2 and was living with me all my life...the house is empty without her...i sit in her room and spend time with her bird..it makes me feel closer to her...she was a part of my life all my life...we always lived together even after I got married...she took care of my daughter the years that I worked...good days and bad days, yes...it is going to take some time...try to stay busy..I find it is the only thing that helps...I understand your pain...stay strong and yes I do believe in my heart we will be together again some day and that gives me comfort...this is not the end!!!

 
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