My dad is dying. We have hospice and they've been wonderful. But I know it's going to happen soon and I am not handling it well.

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My dad lived with me for 5 years. He had to go into a nursing home 6 months ago. No one told me that I would still be a caregiver after he went into the NH. My dad and I formed a bond while he lived with me. He's a good, kind, sweet, and intelligent man. He was a wonderful father and a loyal husband for 40 years. We've had scares with him before and it was always uppermost in my mind that with all of his chronic illnesses he could go at anytime but now he's actually going through the dying process. It's reflected in his blood tests, his BP is 80/60, his O2 sat is below 90 and now he's difficult to arouse. Today he started refusing to eat. We signed papers with hospice last night and in the 24 hours we've had them they've been so wonderful and I'm so glad they're there with us during this.

Since going into the NH I have become my dad's touchstone. Everything is alright as long as I'm there. The responsibility and, yes, burden of this was enormous. While my dad had lovely visits with my brother, I got Depressed Dad. Morose Dad. Please Kill Me Now Dad. I left feeling drained and depressed so I took my own advice and began redirecting him and not letting him get that way when I was there. Dementia settled in a few months ago and with it came obsessing and hallucinations. Again, I'd redirect my dad. And this has gone on for months. My hat is off to those of you who deal with dementia and Alzheimer's for years. Your saints, each and every one of you.

My dad and I were always close and since he moved in with me after my mom died we grew closer. We've always been able to talk about anything and though my dad has always been a charming and lovable man, it doesn't mean that being his caregiver was wonderful. Being his daughter was and is wonderful. Being his caregiver practically broke me because we had had such a close relationship. For our roles to change, for me to become the parent was a horrible transition for us both.

Now here we are, 6 months later. I may not care for him everyday but I am every bit his caregiver and advocate, legally and ethically. And he's dying. There have been nights when I have prayed that he would pass away in his sleep because he was so miserable. Or sick. Or because the stress and anxiety was affecting my health. I'm not proud of that but it's the truth. Usually my prayers consisted of this: "Please make it stop, please make it stop."

And I feel ashamed because some of you are dealing with such horrible situations and in comparison, I had it easy. But it wasn't easy for me. Or my family. The stress I felt came from trying to get my dad on Medicaid and getting phone calls from him late at night because he couldn't find his pants and him begging me to come and visit him when I visit him all the time, he just doesn't remember. But to him, in his world, he hadn't seen me in weeks and that broke my heart that he thought that. That was his truth.

Now he's in the 'Dying Process'. He's barely awake anymore. He's not eating or drinking much. He's picking at his skin and making himself bleed. He's not voiding much. His vitals are bad. I work in healthcare and I can almost see into his body based on his last blood test (2 days ago) and see what's going on. It's shutting down. His diabetic kidneys. His cirrhotic liver. His CHF heart. It's just all dying and now all I want to do is yell at him, "Wake up, daddy! Come back!!" He's always claimed to be agnostic but secretly I think he's an atheist who was surrounded by spiritual-minded people and he didn't want to offend anyone. But being a praying person I wonder if my mom is waiting for my dad? Is she hovering someone in the ether watching us all go through this? Strange things like that keep crossing my mind.

I can't imagine life without my dad. My mom and I were close but I had such a different relationship with my dad and I've had him longer than I had my mom. While my dad was living with me I used to wonder if my mom would be proud of me, caring for my dad the way I was. But strange things cross my mind. What's it going to feel like to have no parents anymore? My dad has been the center of my universe for 5 1/2 years now. What happens when he's gone? What will I do with that void?

And the pain. I've never really processed my mom's death. I feel guilty for that but I still can't feel it, 6 years after she died. Will my dad's death tear me apart? And exactly how long does he have? I want an answer! A week? 10 days? Two weeks? Logically I know no one can answer that but I still want to know. If I know when to expect it then maybe I can prepare although I've read that no one is ever really prepared. But I want a date and time. Right now there's this fog, this sense of surrealism. My dad is dying. I know that. It's the unknown that scares me. The pain, the sense of loss, the guilt, the memories. How bad is it going to hurt?

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Eyerish - As others have said each person grieves in their own way. My dad passed
1 1/2 years ago. I don't cry as often but sometimes I get what feels like butterflies in my stomach or like I'm going to be sick that he's not here anymore. Funny though - that's usually when something catches my eye that reminds me of him. A couple of times, I've seen the bible verse John 3:16 (his name was John) in very odd places ( the back of a truck, a random facebook message ) or a beautiful sunset and I hope, I want to believe that it's his way of letting me know he's still around, he's still with me. Death is certainly something we can't stop once the process starts unfortunately. So many people told me I would feel a sense of relief once he was gone but they were so very wrong - I felt this hole that noone could fill, I felt lost without him to care for, I felt confused as to what I should do with my life. But never once did I regret caring for him for 8 years. In fact, as time goes by I find that I'm proud of myself that I was able to do it. The best advice I can give you is to keep a journal with you everytime you are with him. I wish I had written down some of the things dad said in the last week of his life. So many times I remember the look in his eyes as he said goodbye or thanked me for taking care of him but I so wish I could remember the exact words he said, that I had written them down. I, too, wanted to deny it was happening, wanted to believe that if I didn't acknowledge it, he would stay here. You never know what they will say or when and it's those remembrances that are ones you'll cherish. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. Kuli
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Eyerish - Thank you for sharing such personal thoughts with us. When my father lay dying, his bp dropping, I kept wanting to scream at him to come back, that it wasn't real, that it wasn't his time, that it couldn't be happening, but of course it did. It's now been 8 years, and I still miss my dad, but I don't hurt the way I did.

When my husband and I would go over to Mom & Dad's for dinner, Dad & I would clean the kitchen together. Dad would say, "Let's do this for Mom - her back is hurting". So we always did that. Now that Mom, my husband and I are living together, every time I clean the kitchen after dinner, I hear my Dad's voice, plain as day, saying - "Let's do this for Mom".

Finding something you can continue to do that you did together with your Dad, no matter how small, will keep him close in your heart.

My thoughts are with you.
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keep him in your prayers
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Eyerishlass, my heart breaks for you because I understand your feelings. I would've walked over hot coals for my dad. He was my rock. After all these years, I still miss him and think of him daily. It is a tribute to your loved one when you always have them in your heart. Your dad sounds like your rock too.
I feared my dad's death because I thought it would be difficult for him. But it wasn't. His death taught me never to fear death, it's inevitable and must be accepted. Dad's was peaceful. He no longer had the pain and it showed on his handsome face. That alone made it easier for me to accept he was gone. Alz had ravaged his mind, he wore out, could no longer fight. He was at peace. His physical body was gone but he lives on in my heart and always will.
My mom died 2-1/2 years ago. I've yet to cry. Our relationship was so horrible. My overwhelming emotion has been relief. I didn't much like her when she was alive, I don't know why I thought that would change after her death.
You love your dad and he knows it. He will always be in your heart. He will live on in you and your daughter. I see my dad in my son and it brings me comfort and happiness. That would make my dad happy too.
Blessings to you.
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Eyerishlass, that was a powerful and beautiful post. I have a feeling that throughout this very difficult time for you journaling may help you. You have a lovely gift of writing.
I still grieve for my grandfather who passed away almost 20 years ago. And my grandma but not as much as my Grandpa. Not like you will your father, I imagine, but enough to know that sometimes grief can just take years. It does not disrupt my life -or I would seek therapy help-but I have my moments when I hurt just as bad as when he just died and miss his gentle loving ways. He was an artist and a musician ( and I was his favorite grandchild :0). But at his funeral-I did not cry. I wasn't numb, I just did not take it in. It took me a awhile to even process that.
Grieving is such a personal journey -maybe that is one reason it is so hard- and whatever you feel is just what you need to be feeling. Just, if you feel yourself slipping into a deep depression that you cannot escape from get help. And let us know on here.
I am so sorry for your pain. I really do not know what it is like as I have both my parents but my heart still hurts for you. Know you did an amazing thing for your Dad and your Mom is proud! Prayers and hugs and love to you.
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Eyerish, I think it's a gift you are able to have this time to process your feelings, your doubts, to pray, cry, negotiate with God. Really. It's like time slowing down for you to get it all in:) I would pray for earthly release for your Dad, and connect on the soul level with him and your Mom. Thank you for your wonderful post, for revealing your deepest thoughts and feelings. Very Special, xo
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Almost all of us lose two parents. If we are lucky, that happens when we are adults. The only way to avoid this loss is to die before they do, and then it is they who have a heavy loss to deal with.

Losing parents may be nearly universal, but each experience is unique. You are alone right now. Even your brother is not having the exact same experience you are. You have the strength and the courage to handle this. It is/will be painful. It is a real privilege to be with your father in this stage of his journey, and it is also highly stressful. Allow yourself to feel what you are feeling, without judgment. If there is a manual on "the right way to lose a loved one" I haven't seen it!

It is OK for you to hope he dies in his sleep. It is OK for you to want him to "come back" to you. It is OK for this experience to be different than the experience of losing your mother. You have no need to apologize or feel guilty. It is OK to wish, irrationally, that you knew when he will pass. Father will go when it is his time.

When I think of loved ones who've died in the past, like a grandmother and my father, I am glad that they were a part of my life, and I know that they live on in me. I am not quite at that point yet with my husband's death, five months ago. I am still focused on the pain of the loss. But I am confident that in time when I think of him it will be more with a sense of gratitude that he was an important part of my life for 40 years, and not so much the pain that he didn't live longer.

Please accept my warm wishes for you at this difficult but meaningful time.
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im not the most comforting person in the world but if your dads body and organs are failing i hope your grief and loss is dulled somewhat by a sense of relief that hes no longer suffering.
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Eyerishlass, you wrote the things that go through so many of our minds when our loved ones are in the process of crossing over. I idea of becoming orphans is frightening. We grow up depending on our parents to be there for us. We venture out into the world less afraid because they provide a safety net if we should need to come back for some reason. When they are gone, the safety net disappears. Really, it hasn't been there for a while, but the inner part of us doesn't know that.

What you are going through is sad, but so meaningful. All you can do is be there for your father and enjoy being with him just a little longer.

Comforting thoughts being sent your way.
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