The grief over my dad's death has snuck up on me.

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My dad died May 11th. He was on hospice briefly and they offered grief counseling but I declined. My dad was dead, we had all been through hell, and I anticipated feeling sadness mingled with relief. And I did experience that. For a while. I certainly didn't see the need to go running off to a grief counselor!

In these past 3 months I have had problems with my memory in that I can't remember anything. It's affected my job. I've become irritable and depressed. Still I wondered why I was feeling all these things. It never occurred to me that it was grief! The other night the new kitten knocked over a plant and I proceeded to have a meltdown. I screamed and yelled and threw things, a reaction completely out of proportion to the tipped over plant. The next day I couldn't get out of bed until 4pm. Something was wrong with me and I was concerned. I felt fuzzy-headed, sad, confused. I took 2 days off work which didn't go over well with the boss but the day my dad died I called in to work to tell them my dad died and my boss said, "So you can't work your shift today?" And the 5 days I took off in the wake of my dad's death the office called me twice to ask me to come in. I don't expect warm fuzzies from my employer but I do expect her to act human. But anyway, that's not the point.

I think my dad's death has caught up with me. I did very little grieving when he died. There was so much to do and I was responsible for it all (with my brother's assistance). The 5 days I took off work when he died I grocery shopped, cleaned the house, and just did stuff you'd normally do when you have time off. The only difference was that I didn't have to drive to the NH everyday. I had all this free time and I put it to good use, or what I thought was good use. Now I'm thinking that I didn't use that time wisely because it appears to be backing up on me.

Right after my dad died, after the service and all of that stuff was done I think I just sealed up that hole in my heart and went on my way as usual. I put the grief on a shelf, I put the loss of my dad out of my life on a shelf and just kept going. Now I seem to have sprung a leak and I'm crying and thinking about my dad all the time and remembering his voice and thinking back to this time last year when he lived with us. We had no idea what was coming. I had no clue about the stress I was about to endure for months on end and how crazy it would make me feel.

I can't believe I wrapped up all of that pain and loss and sadness in a box and put it away where I couldn't see it. The fits of anger, the depression, the fogginess and lack of memory are all the result of grief! I never grieved. I got through it but I'm not sure I ever really felt it, or allowed myself to feel it. I've been going through all of this for over 2 months and it never occurred to me that grief is the reason. How dumb am I??

I made an appointment with my Dr. on Monday only because I have been experiencing things that are not normal for me and I thought it might be a good idea just to check in with him but I may call our hospice and take them up on their offer of free grief counseling. Or I'll wait and see, now that I've kind of pinpointed the problem, if these things continue to plague me. Although I kind of feel as if I shouldn't need counseling. People die all the time and their loved ones usually don't go running off to counseling, why should I need to? Except that it's interfering in my life and my ability to work.

27 Comments

((((((((eyeirshlass))))))) Indeed you are grieving. I have been through many losses and much grief and can identify with what you post, though I have learned not to put it on a shelf. I found that grief waits and then comes out whether you like it or not, so you may as well deal with it. Grieving is not an easy process. It comes in waves. Our bodies tend to be somewhat numb the first few months and then the emotions start coming out. You are right on schedule. My experience is that 3 months, 6 months and especially 9 months are hard times, birthdays, holidays and any other special days. The new year is hard because you can feel you shouldn't be entering a new year without them. Then there are the days of their death annually which are hard to deal with. Yes, people lose people all the time and many do not go for counselling. I have gone and found it very helpful. I have also gone to grief groups which also were very helpful, and joined online grieving forums. I look at it this way - grief counselling cannot hurt - or at least not if it is a counsellor with whom you are compatible. Of course, coming here and sharing your feelings is helpful too. One thing that amazed me is how physical grief is. There are online check lists for physical symptoms in a grieving person, Do look after you. You have been through a lot. A check up is a good idea.

Here is one list of physical symptoms. I have experienced a number of these due to loss.

Physical Symptoms:
- Shortness of breath.
- Tightness in throat, chest.
- Stomach discomfort.
- Numbness
- Intense fatigue and lack of energy.
- Headaches.
- Sighing.
- Loss or gain in Weight
- Dizziness.
- Loud heart beat.
- Sense of emptiness and heaviness.
- Loss of sexual desire or hyper-sexuality.
- Sleep, appetite disturbances.
- Increase in common illnesses i.e. colds, flu.
- Physical symptoms that are the same as those of the deceased

Looks like you are doing the right things for you. (((((((((((((hugs)))))))))))) and let us know how you are. Joan
Oh eyerishlass, I am sorry you are so sad. Emjo's post really said it all -I don't know if I could add anything-just wanted to let you know I am thinking of you!!! And sending you a big hug!!! ((((((eyerishlass)))))). I hope you do let us know how you are doing.

eyerishlass, I am so sorry, and yeah, I've felt a lot of what you do, too, and it's really rough, very hard physically. When I suppress a lot of emotions, I get physically sick. I feel like I've been grieving for years... I'm in a situation where I know full well how badly grief and sadness, stress, all of that, can lead to physical symptoms.. I'm there now. I hope you're feeling better very soon.

Emjo, I've got every single one of those symptoms, except the last. In fact, today, I've spent most of it in and out of the bathroom because my stomach feels like it's filled with razor wire.

There's so much intense, raw emotion when you're a care giver. And it doesn't surprise me that that mountain of emotion can fall on your months, or even a year or two, after care has ended, especially if you've been suppressing it for a long, long time... Everything Emjo said is dead on..

I wish you much peace. You'll get there. In the mean time at least we all know we're not alone and crazy around here, and we understand....
Something else that's often missed: Just about the time my mom died, I went into perimenopause. I was forty something. It hits like a ton of bricks. Take any emotion and ramp it up about 50 levels and you have a clue what it feels like. So, when you visit the doc, have him check for hormone levels. It may NOT be your issue, but at least you can then eliminate it .. or .. you can get some relief.
My mother died in Sept. and 4 months later I was in the doctor's office with bronchitis and mentioned that I was so sad and cried all the time. He was also mom's dr and knew what I went through with all her ailments, but he suggested a psychiatrist. I thought NO WAY. ( I don't need someone to document that I am crazy!!) I realized it was grief and that it would eventually ease. I think having her here for 5 years and seeing her in every room and reliving things that happened during that time was something I was just going to have to relive until it got easier. It will be 2 years tomorrow that she died and I can finally talk about her without crying. It did help to be able to talk about my feelings with my favorite sister. So, don't fret. If you are someone who needs a counseling group, do it. There is no reason not to. If you intend to go through it alone, give yourself time.......
Eyerishlass, you have got to be kinder to yourself than you boss was to you! Your dad died and you can't work your shift? I could see being asked to come in anyways if your cat or guine pig died, but we're talking about your DAD...after a long stressful caregiving time to boot!

"Although I kind of feel as if I shouldn't need counseling. People die all the time and their loved ones usually don't go running off to counseling, why should I need to? Except that it's interfering in my life and my ability to work."

Go to the grief counseling. They offer it for a reason. People die all the time, sure, but this one time it is your dad. That matters. Your grief matters. Grief is this heavy, huge thing that maybe morphs and shrinks down over time, and fits itself into you in the end rather than growing and overwhelming you like a cancer...as long as you don't try to neglect it. It does not really go away, ever, but it becomes a part of you, a piece of the puzzle that is your self, that you live with, and that perhaps makes you stronger inside than you were before.
Eyerishlass.. I'm sorry for your loss, however, you are very smart to recognize your symptoms to be grief. I never lived with my dad, he and my mum divorced when I was a baby and my sisters were 7 and 10. He was an alcoholic but a good person. He and I had a falling out about 2 years before he died and we never spoke again. After he died, I did grieve and some people said I was a hypocrite because I was not close to him. I told them I was grieving for what we didn't have in a relationship not for what it was. My point of mentioning this is just to say that grief is very complex and there is no right or wrong way of doing it. A support group may be a wonderful thing for you. I am glad that you are now dealing with the pain and going through the process, you will feel so much better when you come out the other side. xo
i just filled out a routine va form and hit a rough patch at " next of kin . it isnt my mother any more. i expect a lot of " amisses " in the future. probably everytime i bake bread. mom and the parrot usedta be all about some brotchen rolls.
Eyerish....I was just thinking of you. I am so glad you came here for support. Yes, grief is different for everyone. There are distinct stages and times of intensity, and physical symptoms that add to the emotional pain. If you can get free counseling it sure couldn't hurt. Venting.....like you just did.......is just as healthy now, as it was when you first came here. We will listen. We will understand. We will always support you, as you have done for so many of us. God Bless you.
eyerishlass, other people may have not needed to run to grief counselors, but they didn't have a dad that was as awesome as yours. I remember reading what you wrote when your father died. He was not only your father and friend, he was a big part of your world. I imagine that losing him was a bit like ripping away one of your horizons, though you may not have known it yourself. Maybe counseling will help you feel the grief and heal. Grief feels terrible, but sometimes we have to go through it. It is the price we pay for having someone awesome in our lives.

You will be okay. Big hugs from Alabama.

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