I lost my dad fairly suddenly and unexpectedly in mid-October. Last night was not exactly a celebration of the new year for me. My dad left behind a very complicated business - which my husband has mostly been managing (along with his real full time job) and my mom, who has early onset Alzheimer's. This would have been his absolute worst nightmare.
My dad was my buddy and best friend. I really miss him so much. I am 29 years old. My dad was pretty much the picture of health at 63 apart from type 2 diabetes. He watched what he ate, walked and rode his bike every day. He was so full of life and humor and spirit. He took care of my mom and worried about her all the time. He stretched himself too thin with his business. He gave his all to everything he did.
I started a Caringbridge site the brief time he was in the hospital, which has now turned into an outlet for my experience with this immense grief. I have not tried to run away or avoid this. I have been living it every day. I just want to know if it gets better.
Everyone thinks I'm handling it very well and seem so calm and put together. What they don't see is the rollercoaster of emotions I live through every day - how hard it is on me and my husband to have to deal with the business side AND the grief side AND the taking care of my mom side.
We just bought our first house together - closed on it the day my dad fell suddenly ill. What should have been the happiest year for us turned into the worst. I feel terrible because I look at other older couples and feel so bitter. I don't begrudge them their happiness but I just want my dad back - I feel so horrible for my mom. And I feel too young to be facing this. How am I supposed to face each new year without him?
I have a master's in counseling and psychology. I know how this process works...but living it is entirely different. I guess I'm just looking for some words of encouragement - that things will in fact get better, some day...I know other COTH-ers out there must have experienced the same thing.
Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.
Oh, I am so sorry. I lost my father to Parkinson's when I was 46, much older than you and it was still pretty rotten. I took a couple of other hits, including losing my Shea, you know, the horse that is your user name? I had a really hard time with teaching and not being patient enough. It gradually went away.
You are going through a lot. Try to let yourself enjoy the good things, like buying a new house is awesome!
Sending you a hug.
I'm so sorry that you are hurting. Yes it does get easier and sometimes even better. Cliche but yes time does heal. It is so hard losing your Dad when you are so close. I know I had to deal with it.
Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. However, it is ok to just stop drop and cry when you need to. Don't hold the grief in! Let it out when you need to. This is all part of the healing process.
You are entitled to your grief and a big box of kleenex! Make a little bit of time each week for yourself. Watch a sad movie, curl up with the kleenex and let it all out. Very cathartic!
Best wishes for your Mom, I can't even imagine how hard that must be for you. Hugs
It does not matter how old you get, you are always daddy's little girl.
My step mom was well into her 50s when she lost her mother - after prolonged illness and care. it still did a number on her.
When my sister died 5 years ago, it about tore me apart. And we were not even close (her doing though, she was my big sister, I adored her growing up...)
It took almost 2 years to adjust to the new normal, and still, now and then I get that PANG when I see something she would have liked, when I remember that it won't do any good to buy that Gone with the wind puzzle, because she is no longer there to enjoy it.
If you do start to feeling overwhelmed, talk to a doctor. Mine had put me on selfemra when my sister's cancer had returned, because I was an utter mess. A year after her death I was phasing it out.
Right when things caught up with my mom, a combination of delayed grief and Lime disease...her doctor put her on it.
It's ok to feel down to a certain extend, even dislike other people's luck, but only a little (besides, who is to say they are really that happy and not just putting on a front!)
give yourself time to heal!
Originally Posted by Bristol Bay
Try setting your broomstick to fly at a lower altitude.
My mother has MS and is dying slowly. I have such mixed emotions about it because she has made it to 81 and plenty of elders at that age have strokes or other conditions that aren't much better than MS, or even worse. I do understand how you might feel I think, it isn't fair at all for these things to happen.
I understand what you are going through and it is so hard. 2012 was supposed to be the best year of my life. On June 2nd I came home from Moscow, Russia with my newly adopted son, a process that had taken a year to complete (and 3 trips to Russia). Shortly before we left on the final trip to Moscow to bring our son home I had to euthanize my heart horse. I didn't really have time to process that as I had to get ready to board a plane and bring home my little boy.
Two days after we got home from Russia, on June 4, my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer (had no symptoms, went to the doctor for a mild cold that wouldn't go away) and he died 8 weeks later. I was very close to my dad, aside from my husband he was my best friend and the person I spent the most time with. I saw my dad every day.
The day after my dad's funeral my husband was seriously hurt, had to have surgery, and then was laid up for two months recovering. We run a retirement farm together. So there I was, new baby, dead father, injured husband, my mom still in shock, and a farm full of horses that still have to be cared for every single day. Of course this meant that all the horses decided that would be the time to get hurt, sick, etc. since I was essentially running the farm on my own with a little part time help, taking care of my husband, my new son (my husband could do nothing, could not even lift our little boy) and my mother all on my own. I got up at 4am every day and went to bed at midnight every day for almost three months. It was horrible and I can't believe I survived it.
I'm leaving out a bunch of other stuff that happened that would have seemed huge in normal times but now seem like nothing in the grand scheme of things. But a bunch of other stuff happened and I felt like the universe was seriously punishing me. Finally the last couple of weeks I'm starting to think things can be ok, my mom is doing better, husband is back to full work, life is starting to feel like it can be normal again, etc. Then, yesterday, I had to euthanize my beloved dog, a Schipperke named Bear.
My point of all this rambling is that you will get through it. I'm about 8 weeks ahead of you in the grieving process. I miss my dad every day, sometimes every hour, sometimes every minute. It has been 4 months and just in the last couple of weeks I've stopped picking up the phone to text him or call him before having the moment of realization that I can't do that anymore. I still randomly cry and sometimes the loss still feels very acute, but very slowly things are getting better. I feel like I had two losses in one, my father and my best friend. We spent so much time together. No person will ever replace him and the roles he played in my life but hopefully the void will be filled in other ways over time. Mostly what I want is to not feel so down all the time, my normal personality is the eternal optimist but after the last few months my optimistic nature is sagging to say the least.
I'm sorry you are having to deal with such a huge loss. I know lot of people go through it but it doesn't make it less hard. Hugs to you.
Last edited by onthebit; Jan. 1, 2013 at 03:10 PM.
I lost my mother when I was 15. I watched her die. At first I was okay, and then it really hit me a little later. I let myself feel the grief and sadness. I still feel it a bit today but it gets better, really, it does. When tears come to my eyes about my mother now, it is related to the good memories of us together and there is less sadness. It's a huge loss, it's hard. I'm sorry that you or anyone else has to go through with such a loss. It does get better though. Slowly but surely. If you need to look at old pictures and just sob, let it go. Let it out. Time will heal. Remember that living your life is the best thing you can do.
You get through it one day at a time. You grieve and wipe the tears and go on. repeat often. I was 37 and lost my mom, then the horse I'd had for 27 years and then my Dad all in 10 months. I felt like all connections to my childhood was gone.
18 years later I still think about them every day, have conversations with them and wonder what they would think about certain things. Know that people live on through you. I see characteristics in my children which remind me of my parents. I now think no one dies as long as someone remembers. I would imagine your dad wants you to remember him but not to let his death ruin your life. It sounds like you picked an awesome husband, when you need to lean on him, do it.
You are blessed to have had a good father. Mine was a worthless drunk who drank himself to death at age 49. All we were left with was the guilt of being relieved that he was dead and we didn't have to deal with him anymore. As a young girl living with him was so awful that I remember wondering why people got upset when their father died. I had no idea that other fathers were different. I was about 30 when I realized that the reason I had no friends as a child and no one would come over to my house to play was because their parents were afraid of him, I only thought something was wrong with me.
I'm so sorry that you are going through this but the reason you are suffering grief is because you had someone in your life worth grieving over.
I lost my dad in November of 2003. He and I weren't close at all from pretty much elementary school through college. Honestly looking back on it, we were probably too much alike to get along. One morning a couple of days before I left for grad school, my dad had a stroke. It left my corporate businessman/ now retired tour guide father with complete aphasia. The very thing he prided himself in (his public speaking and vast knowledge of pretty much everything) completely gone. I drove him and my rather hysterical mom to the hospital. When she ran into the ER to get somebody to come to the car, I was left alone with him, not even knowing what to say- the chasm between us was so vast. Long story very short, three days later in the hospital (I worked in a hospital and was the liaison of sorts between the docs and my folks- something I was good at), I was alone with my dad in the room while he was looking at the newspaper. He motioned me over and pointed to the auto ads. "Ford. Chevy. Honda. Mitsubishi!" My dad always was a car man and just like that, the aphasia cleared and *I* was the person present when it left! After that, my dad and I became quite close. I enjoyed getting to know him again. He had another minor stroke again a few years later, but bounced right back. Then I met my husband. Chris and my dad talked tennis (my dad LOVED tennis) and got along better than anyone I'd ever brought home. We met in June and by October had found a house in the country. We were out buying furniture when I got the call from my mom, "Honey... We lost your father..." I crumpled. It was November 16th. My then-boyfriend was planning to "ask my folks for my hand" at Thanksgiving. The holidays were awful. We did get engaged on Christmas Eve, but that whole first year was a list of things my dad was missing out on sharing with me- our engagement, Christmas, New-Year's, our wedding... The list went on and on. I would have these long tearful "conversations" with him when I was by myself, "Daddy, I got a raise today. I just miss you so and wish I could tell you." Finding out I was pregnant in 2005 was a tough one. Then I had the dream. I dreamed that I was on a playground near my childhood home, swinging and my dad was there. He was wearing a new orange polo (my dad had always been an clothes horse). He told me how proud he was of me and to please quit crying, that he checked in on me regularly and was always there if I needed him. He also told me that he'd met my son (I wasn't yet 20 weeks pregnant) and that he was just fine. I woke up in hysterics, got up and wrote the whole dream down. My son ended up coming 6 weeks early and there were some complications with his birth, but much to the amazement of my OB, my blood pressure remained normal throughout and I never worried. My dad had said that he would be just fine.
So the upshot of all this? Losing a parent HURTS and that hurt never goes away. It does get easier, but you will always have a sore spot on your heart. Take much comfort in the fact that you knew your dad so well and were able to share and enjoy so much with him. I was 31 when I lost my dad- not much older than you. Dying is a messy business. Very few are able to get all their affairs in order beforehand. You will manage. It won't be easy, but you will manage. So many hugs to you!
I think about living my life in a way that would make my father proud of me--- of what he helped create.
For the first few months after he passed, I found myself thinking that I'd call him and tell him about this or that. I cried a lot, especially while driving. It's a great, private mediation space for me.
One thing that comes to mind from your last paragraph about your professional training vs. living the grief: I think you can finally "get" things about that process that you could not by reading others' experience or textbook, theoretical stuff. You will do better by the people you help with grief in the future for having met your own experience.
Oh, and someone said to me once, "You aren't done growing up until your second parent has died." That helped me accept the early loss of my dad (Finals week of Spring Quarter my Junior Year in college). It also gave seriousness and definition to the problem of figuring out how I wanted to do the next phase of growing up with my mom before she would die.
My life and relationship with my mom as well as other people is much better for my dad having passed early. There is no substitute for walking through feeling what you have to, all of it, IMO.
My mother passed away very suddenly in 2002. She left behind three children, a devoted husband, and a successful law practice. Her death was devastating. I miss her daily, and still cry myself to sleep some nights. I can't say it gets easier, but I do understand. I'm sorry for your loss.
I lost my dad when I was 16 and I did not handle it well. I tried to bury any emotions I had because I didn't want to burden anyone, so everyone thought I was fine. I wasn't fine, and it took me years to feel like I was any sort of fine. I still have trouble sometimes and I'm almost 29 now.
But, it really does get a little less difficult to live with. I now smile at memories of my dad, rather than crying. I don't want to say it gets easier, because I don't think there's ever anything easy about it. But it gets more bearable.
I'm very sorry you're going through this, and I hope the new year brings happier times for you.
Yes. She died on December 24, 2012. She was 82, but seemed healthy. I have been living with my folks for a few years now. My dad is 88. They were married for 63 years. We are lost without her. She kinda ran the show... House is so empty. Now..