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Grieving my father's passing
dadstiger posted:
My precious father passed away in May at the age of 74. I was laying beside him in his hospital bed, holding his head, and rubbing his hand, when he took his last breath. I am so heartbroken and sad. He had suffered from COPD complications for a couple of years, and he told us when he went into the hospital the end of April that he would not be coming out. We did have the blessing of having conversations with him the week before he crossed over. We laughed and cried and talked of the wonderful memories he had made for us. I am so confused about the whole situation. Why did someone who loved us so much, and who wanted to be with us, have to die? He was such a good person, and he loved me no matter what. Now there is this space in my life that is empty. I don't know how to handle this sadness. I feel as if others just want me to pick up and go on, and be the person I was before. But I will never be the same. I am so afraid that I am going to disappoint others by not being strong. It has always been my "job" to make sure everyone is happy, and now I am failing miserably at that job.
Caprice_WebMD_Staff responded:
Dear Dadstiger,

You are not failing anyone. This loss is still so new and you need time to grieve. Keep taking care of yourself, don't isolate, but allow the tears, allow journaling, and allow yourself to lean on others for support.

Your dad sounds like a wonderful man with whom you had a good relationship. What a gift you had in him, and what a gift you gave him with your own love for him.

There is no 'why'. Death just is and it comes to all, good, bad and everyone in between.

One idea I personally like is that people may die but relationships do not. He is still your dad and you're allowed to continue to love him and all he was to you. And be the person he would continue to love.

Be gentle with yourself.
dadstiger replied to Caprice_WebMD_Staff's response:
Caprice, thank you for your thoughtful words. I have days when I think I am making headway, then a sadness comes in like a blanket over me. I do know that these feelings are normal, and literature I have read gives me comfort. I guess I am disappointed that those whom I felt closest to have not given me the support I feel I need. They want me to be the same I was before, and that is just not going to happen. You are correct in that my father was truly a wonderful person, and I am so blessed to have had him in my life for so many years. Another point that you made really stands out..journalling. I had not thought of doing that. I must admit I am a little afraid, because I know that "sadness blanket" will cover me again. However, I will definitely attempt to put my thoughts into a journal. Perhaps doing so will help me to clarify and validate some of these feelings. May I also share something that I read on a quotes website? "If you have 500 tears to shed, do not make yourself stop at 250." How true that is. Thank you.
Caprice_WebMD_Staff replied to dadstiger's response:
Some people will insist on the cup half full idea in an attempt to help you find comfort, not realizing that it can sometimes invalidate the grief we're feeling. They care, they just don't understand. And, frankly, how can anyone understand until and if they go through a devastating loss themselves and, even if they have, everyone IS different and each death is different.

That's quite a poignant quote, thank you for sharing it here, dear one.

Always feel free to talk here too if it helps.

One thing that helped me after a loss was writing letters to the person. I found it calmed me, eased the grief in some ways. Maybe it would help you too.

It can also help to get creative with projects to memorialize the person you lost.

And just keep taking it one hour or one day at a time.
dadstiger replied to Caprice_WebMD_Staff's response:
I am trying. It is so much harder than I ever imagined it would be. So many things remind me of my father, and then there are the times when I get a "sucker punch" from out of the blue that almost brings me to my knees. I have such vivid dreams of my dad in which he is walking into his house and telling me that he did not die, that he was at the doctor's house getting well. In that particular dream (which I have had several times), I am so happy to see him, and I am the only one who can see him. After we hug, he tells me he wants to go outside and stretch out in his hammock. For some reason, I don't want him to do that, and as I run outside to the hammock, it has become a hospital bed, and he is gone from us again. I keep telling myself when I awaken that the feelings I am having are normal, but in my heart I am so scared. I want him back, plain and simple. I would have taken care of him for however long he needed me to, but God didn't allow that to happen. I also have such guilty feelings because a few weeks before he went into the hospital, I could tell he did not feel well. I asked him to let me take him to the doctor and he said he would be fine. I so wish that I would have insisted that he go at that time, and maybe he would still be with us now. Maybe I should have insisted that his doctors transfer him to a larger hospital for more intense care. I know, I know, these are rather irrational thoughts, but they are truly what I am feeling. I guess tonite I am using this discussion board as a way to let my feelings out. I do hope that this is okay, because I don't want to appear to be selfish or begging for attention. Believe me, I am not. I am just so heartbroken.
Caprice_WebMD_Staff replied to dadstiger's response:
This is absolutely okay, to talk here if it helps you. It's not selfish nor is it about getting attention. You're hurting and you miss your dad and wish he were still here with you. ((((softhugs))))

Can you tell us more about him and his life and your relationship with him? It won't make the grief any less but perhaps focusing on his life instead of his death may help a bit.
dadstiger replied to Caprice_WebMD_Staff's response:
Honestly, if I could have chosen my father, he is the one I would have chosen, hands down. He was not perfect, he had his quirks, but he always lived his life in a way that made me proud to be his daughter. His vivid personality, large sense of humor, and down-to-earth beliefs made him countless friends. I find myself saying the horribly silly words he would use for ordinary things, such as he was about to "busticate" after eating a second helping of some rich dessert, or getting away to the beach to "squishamodo" his toes in the sand, or him saying he was "just checking my eyelids" when he would doze off watching TV.
I have such a mixture of smiling at these memories, and then crying because they are only memories now.
Have you had someone in your life who you knew without a doubt would take up for you, and would love you even when you were not very lovable? That is what our relationship was like. We were very close, and enjoyed many happy times together. He was so proud of my accomplishments, my daughter's life, and his two great-grandsons. I am so thankful that he was with us long enough to see the boys born and to spend time with them. I know many people do not have that opportunity, and for that I feel blessed.
Caprice_WebMD_Staff replied to dadstiger's response:
Your post made me smile, Dadstiger, My loved one used to make up words all the time too and many of them are still with me, such as 'perzackly' (combination of exactly and perfectly). I like 'squishamodo' too.

He sounds like such a lovely, fun man. Thank you for sharing some of him with us here. :-)
dadstiger responded:
Bad day today. Well, I guess you could say I have been punched out of the blue several times today. I just wish I could get one more hug, and give one more kiss on the cheek to my daddy. Today was busy at work, but very stressful, a lot of negativity around, and I find that since daddy's passing, I can't handle it or brush it off as I have in the past. I take so many things to heart, and I keep it inside until I get in my car to come home, then I lose it completely.
Today was also grocery-shopping day, usually one of my fun times (believe it or not). Everything I saw on the store aisles reminded me of something that I baked or cooked for Daddy. As I passed by the toiletries aisle, I smelled Old Spice AfterShave, which was my Daddy's favorite. I actually glanced around to see if he was standing there.
After I left the grocery store, I stopped by a discount store and was hit so hard with sadness that I truly thought I might have to kneel down on the floor. In the checkout lane ahead of me was a gentleman with the kindest, sweetest face, dressed like my Daddy dressed in his chinos and collared shirt, paying for his purchases. I overheard the clerk ask him his birth year, and when he said 1936 (the same as Daddy's), I felt such an overwhelming urge to sink to the floor and cry. I have now been home from these awful errands for 4 hours, and I cannot stop crying.
I feel as if I am just pretending on the outside to the world, but I am just a shell. Does that make any sense? I feel so alone, even when people are all around me, and I am so afraid that I am going to mess up and not do something that I am supposed to do, like mainly making sure everyone else is okay.
Caprice_WebMD_Staff replied to dadstiger's response:
Yes, it makes sense. And, to some extent, that's what we have to do when out in the world. But be careful that you don't isolate yourself by keeping that pretense up with those who could potentially support you. Let others in to how you are feeling.

I think many of us never really stop wishing for that one more hug. But it stops being as agonizing as it is right now for you. And I think many of us also start seeing our lost loved ones everywhere or people like them, are drawn to them even.

Be gentle with yourself, dear one. I hope you get some sleep tonight and hope that tomorrow is a bit easier.
dadstiger replied to Caprice_WebMD_Staff's response:
Thank you so much. I did sleep some last night, although my dreams were very vivid. But that is okay because I feel that my dreams are helping me to keep a little part of Daddy with me. It is incredible that you made the comment about being drawn to people who remind us of our loved ones. I have done that so many times these past few months, even to the point of speaking to the person, not about my loss, but just in generalizations.
Strange as it may seem, it is almost as if these people have been placed in my "path" by fate.
I thank you also for this community because I have found that I am able to be open with my grief in ways that I don't feel comfortable face to face. 3 of Daddy's close friends have crossed over within the last two weeks, and I can't help but wonder at how he must feel having them with him now in heaven. I imagine there is a lot of laughter, hugs, and maybe some tears as they greet each other. But it also makes me sad to think that they are with him, and I am not able to get those hugs or smiles right now.
I know that I will be okay eventually...never ever the same, but okay.
missyhubble replied to dadstiger's response:
Your story is very similar to mine. I am very sorry for your loss. When we lose someone that close to us our lives are forever changed. Keep being strong.
dadstiger replied to missyhubble's response:
Thank you. I am so sorry for your loss, also. It truly is a life-changing situation, and I hope that you will find comfort in the good memories of your loved one.
mrsmac36 replied to dadstiger's response:
I am so sorry for your loss. I lost both of my parents within 3 months of each other. The pain at the time seems unbearable, but it does get easier. I went through a major depression when my parents died. I also had very vivid dreams of them being alive and well. For me it was hard to distinguish what was real and what wasn't, therefore I was hospitalized to help me cope with my grief. I have found that journaling does help. I've written down so many memories that I shared with my mom and dad. Sometimes I smile while writing, and other times the tears flow. It's an outlet that perhaps will help you.
Stay strong!

dadstiger replied to mrsmac36's response:
mrsmac36, thank you for sharing and for your words of strength. I cannot imagine what you are going through with losing both parents in such a short time. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
I have yet to begin the journaling. I want to, and I plan to, but I am frightened to begin. Knowing that it helped you will be a big part of my beginning to do this.
Again, thank you, and may you find peace and comfort in the days ahead.

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