Adjusting to life after the loss of my father.

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I have been watching my strong and loving father decline drastically over the last few months. As his care needs increased, so did our exhaustion. He entered respite at our local hospice house on 03/28. During that time he decided that it was indeed time for a rest. He passed away very peacefully on 04/08. He gave me the gift and privilage of being present at that time. The staff at the hospice house not only cared deeply for him, but they provided support and care for our whole family. They allowed me to be his daughter during his final week, rather than care taker. Now starts the work of adjusting to life without him. I know he is at peace and with my mother and sister, but it is still hard to bear. The hospice staff also provides aftercare for the first year of our loss, which I will definitely need.


kkr, please accept my deepest sympathy for the loss of your beloved father. Right now you are in the first stages of grief and it is heartwrenching. You cared for your father, he was a huge part of your everyday life and now you probably feel lost and deeply sad. I only offer these words out of experience. I too watched my strong, handsome, intelligent father vanish before my eyes (many yrs ago). It was shocking and heartbreaking. I also was with my dad the evening he passed, my voice being the last one he heard, my hand being the last to touch him. Those memories have been with me all these years and I feel so priviledged to have them. Losing him broke my heart, but seeing him suffer broke it more.
It sounds cliche, but time will heal. I still cry, I still miss him terribly. You will too. In time, the emptiness will lessen and give way for you to remember the happy times with your dad. You are so very, very fortunate to have had a sweet father, one you obviously loved so much. Hold his memory close and take one day at a time. The best to you.
Let me first start out by saying that I'm sorry for your loss and I know how you're feeling (somewhat I hope). I know that doesn't help much. I have lost a lot of family at my young age of 23.(mother, father, grandfather [who I considered to be my father]). I know the pain is unspeakable. But try to remember that it takes a really great man to have Hospice/nurses/staff truly care for him. Those people probably take care of so many people and just see them as patients. It just shows how your father touched their hearts. :) I too had someone who I took care of until the day he passed away. It was my grandfather. He was the strongest man I've ever known. It takes a person with great strength to drive from NY to AL while having a heart attack like he did. He always made sure I was taken care of. My mother was murdered when I was only 3 years old. So my mothers parents raised me. I was very close to him. Until this day, when someone asks me about my ethnicity, I always say I'm Italian and Irish. My grandmother is Irish and my grandfather was Italian. I never took into consideration that they weren't my "real" birthparents. Anyway. I digress. He had cancer and he fought it as hard as he could. When he got very sick at home I would rub his arms, help him up on his feet, bring him water, whatever I could physically do. Five years later after his passing, I am so glad I helped him as much as I did. That time I got to spend with him I will cherish. He got even more sick and had to go to the hospital where he went into a coma. He never came out. I never got to say goodbye to him. Try to remember when you're feeling down that you were there for him at his passing. Remember that you did all you could for him when he needed you. Remember that he didn't pass away alone. I'm sure if he could tell you himself that he loves you and wants you to be happy. Whenever I'm feeling down, I think about how my grandfather is with his parents and his daughter in Heaven. And how he's not suffering anymore. It helps me. Like AlwaysMyDuty said, it gets easier with time. Don't feel ashamed to take help from hospice. If you need someone to talk to, they're there. Losing a loved one is one of the hardest parts of life. You'll get through it. And you're father will be proud.
kkr, you have my deepest sympathy on the loss of your father. My dad died from lung cancerwhen I was 26 years old and he had been my world. I was shattered and devastated, but at the same time I was glad for him that he died peacefully and would no longer be suffering or in pain. I still miss him terribly and think about him and pray for him every day. It has gotten easier to deal with his loss, but the pain is always there...I will keep you in my prayers.
On February 20th my dear mother died of chf and a mini-stroke at the age of 89.. She had been my life for the past 27 years since my father died. She was my mother, my traveling companion, my best friend, and, over the past 9 months, my child.... She had lived with my husband and me for the past 9 years because she could not live alone. But her mind was sharp and she could get around our house on her own. We were the "three musketeers" and we took her everywhere. She suffered a stroke last spring which left her unable to walk and she wasn't getting enough oxygen to her brain so she would act "funny." Our living room was turned into her bedroom -- hospital bed, wheelchair, potty chair, walker.... My husband and I were her caretakers (he took a night job to be with her during the day, I became the "night nurse") and we had an aide that came in for 4 hours every day just to give my husband a break. We had hospice, but my experience was not as positive or as "warm and fuzzy" as so may on this site have experienced (but that is a different story...). I have been a caregiver to my mom for most of my adult life, but these past 9 months have been very difficult. There were times when I resented her, times when I wanted it all to "be over," times when I wanted my "real" mother back, times when I loved her and prayed that she would not die. When she did die, I was not at her side (I was ALWAYS with her, staying with her in the hospital on her hospital stays, sleeping on the floor next to her bed when she was having a bad night...but THIS beautiful, sunny Saturday I was at the grocery store (after ANOTHER big snowstorm had hit our area and I needed to "stock up") and I missed my mother's passing my 20 minutes. My husband was with her, but I had wanted so desperately to be there with her to help to cross over.... I thought the pain of my dad's death was unbearable...THIS raw pain which slices through my heart is excruciating... I have done nothing but pray,cry and read this site since she died. I miss her so much... I am hoping that God will give me the peace I so desperately seek (and the forgiveness I need to get over the fact that I was not with her when she died...)
Having shared my pain with you, my only advice is to keep moving forward, keep crying, keep praying. God is good and he will help you (us) get through this.
Thank you all for your helpful comments. It has been a week now, and the grief comes more in waves with some relief between. I wanted to comment to jacznsi. I was feeling very anxious a few days before my father died because I really wanted to be present when he passed. I met with a grief counselor and he said that my father's passing will be his gift to me whether he allows me to be present or not. I have to decide whether to accept whatever way he choses. Your mother chose what she thought was best for you, so please do not feel guilty about not being there. I wasn't with my mother when she died 10 yrs ago, and I think that is what she wanted.

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