My dad is gone...

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Still in shock. My mom will not answer her phone so I will have to drive over there to tell her. Could have never gone through this journey without this site. Racked with guilt of what I could have done differently.

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Karsten, I’m sorry for your loss.
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Karsten; I don't see you as having a pity party; I see you, as you say, as someone who had a very important purpose/job, and now that element of your life is gone.

And your dad, who you loved dearly is gone, as well.

It's a compounded loss, complicated by the fact that your mother is most likely acting in untoward ways.

I also have no doubt that there's some family member or friend whose told you that you're grieving too much, too litlle, or in the wrong way (there is ALWAYS someone ready to step in to do THAT!)

The most egregious example of that I've seen, several years ago a friend lost her 40 year old daughter to breast cancer, leaving a husband and two preteen kids. Someone was overheard saying, re the 10 year old daughter "well, SHE's certainly in 7th heaven, getting all the attention, isn't she?"....There is a special place in Hell for folks like that, I think.

We grieve in our own way; you come here and rant and rail and moan just as much as you like! We're Team Karsten!
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Kirsten, I haven't interpreted your concerns and self recrimination as self-pity. You're not feeling sorry for yourself; it's more as if you're criticizing and berating yourself.

If you were engaging in self pity, you'd be referring to how your life has changed, you can't do various things you wanted to, etc., b/c of your father's death. I haven't seen any of that.

I see some legitimate concern about your mother's behaviors, and a lot of anxiety about whether you did the best you could under the circumstances.

Chin up, now! And go outside if you can and enjoy the spring weather. Here in lower Michigan it's a lovely day, powder blue skies dotted with small, fluffy clouds meandering across the sky, trees bursting from bud into leaf, birds chirping and probably trying to find a mate, and nuts like me obsessing about how to get thousands of square feet of garden plowed or tilled and planted by Memorial Day.

So, tell us what you're going to do to treat yourself today, to relax and to feel better about yourself??
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Thanks GA. Once again very helpful words. Not only in the "advice" but one thing I think I need to be doing is quit having this self pity party. I guess its one thing to grieve, but everyone goes through this. I know your loss was very recent. I am not the only one here. I think you talking about your experiences reminds me I am not the only one who has dealt with loss . Sort of an obvious concept I know, but in the middle of self pity I don't recognize that as I should.
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Karsten, my father was close to 100; he was strong, always bounced back after severe medical episodes. I fully expected he would live several months longer to reach his goal of 100.

Then, things changed. Rapidly. I was taken aback as there were so many things I wanted and needed to do and thought there were still several months left. I still feel regret for not "seizing the moment." I know I'll feel that regret for some time, so I have really focus on what I could do.

And the important things are what we did, not those fun trips we planned to do, or other things that weren't first priority issues. In the dying stage, there's no way we can do all we thought was necessary, so we triage our feelings and focus on what can and absolutely need to be done.

When I've written on other posts about decision making and moving forward, I've tried to take emotion out of the picture and treat this as a life's learning experience.

There's no way we can redo what happened or didn't happen. We can only learn from it and move forward. If I remain stuck in reliving what wasn't done, I'm only harming myself. Remember that when you begin questioning yourself again.

That's what I'm trying to do instead of beat myself up mentally because I didn't do something that might have been good, but wasn't absolutely necessary. And the necessary aspects are what are important in the long run.

I don't know what to tell you about dealing with your mother; from what you write, she'll be stressed as well, and that will compound your grieving. This could be a time to renew your parental relationship, and I'm hopeful that the two of you will be able to come together to grieve, then move on, with her being much more contemplative. But she might become more upset. We never really know.

But remember that you're both grieving, and don't deny your own grief in favor of comforting someone else.
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No need for anyone to respond. People have been so helpful here. I just find it therapeutic to type this out on this forum. My dad was diagnosed at 91 with ALZ and I know at that age your expected life is not as good as if you were diagnosed younger. But he was very fortunate he was not one of those. Heck, even if you don't have ALZ, at age 91 you don't have a lot of life left. And after the pneumonia episodes of the last couple of months, we knew his time was limited. Yet when it did happen, it has just bowled me over like a ton of bricks, as if he died suddenly and unexpectedly at age 60. I guess one is never ready for it. My cousins lost their 97 yo parents in the same year two years ago, and they said it doesn't matter, you are never ready. As readers know I have beat myself up for decisions I made, but even if they were not the best decisions, it would not have changed the time of his passing by more than a few days, weeks at most. And it would be just as hard then, and as Barb pointed out ,I would then find something else to feel guilty about. I guess I am going through what many on here have already going through, and what others will be going through. Pretty much everyone goes through the loss of parents at some point, and if not, its because you went first which is more tragic. I have a good friend who has a 30 yo son who was DX with Stage IV colon cancer, very rare. Those are the real tragedies. Who am I to complain? I guess like everyone we just hope there was no suffering or disappointment by our LO that we were not there at the end. And regardless of the way one believes, he is better off now than while suffering the last stages of this wretched disease, though I guess there are no good diseases. I had a girlfriend a few years back whos mom died at age 64 of cancer, her had died three months later of cancer at age 69, bad enough as is. My dad lived a full generation longer and Kara would have loved to think her parents lived into their nineties. While we are no longer together, I still feel so bad for her. Then to make matters worse, her brother, then sister, died of cancer, a couple of years later, both in their forties. Anyway I am of course rambling, and don't expect nor probably even want anyone to have wasted their time when everyone has been so helpful already. I guess I am just writing this as I would in a journal. For some reason, I am taking this much harder it seems than anyone else in my family. Maybe because I was the primary caregiver, not in the sense of taking care of him in his home, but for the last three months I have been driving everyday, picking up my mom going to facilities, advocating for my dad, researching better options, spending time with my dad. It has been like a full time plus job which it seems I have now been laid off from and have no purpose. That sounds selfish now. Would I have wanted him to live longer in this wretched state so I could have a purpose? I have to remind myself every second that despite what decisions I made, his days were numbered. No one can beat ALZ.
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Kirsten and GA, thanks so much for the compliment!

Please stick around, K. Were really good with neurotic moms here.!
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Thanks Garden. When you say it that way I am not sure that I would have wanted to be there or not. I think we can all agree what we would have wanted would have been what provided the most comfort to our parent so I hope my absence didnt make things worse.  I so wish I would have been there holding his hand, yet the images you describe may have haunted me.  Yes, Barbs email was tremendous. I printed it out and posted it on my fridge so I can always look at it.  I was so touched that she remembered all the details and also so healed by what she wrote. You, Barb, Rocket, Rosses. FreqFlyer and countless others have been so helpful here. You think you will have a break now?  :)  Before long I will let loose on my neurotic mom, which ironically is what brought me to this site to begin with. My dad has been a labor of love, and so easy to deal with. The health care workers always remarked how easy he is as they are used to having dementia patients be ornery and difficult. I suppose part of what bugs me is that while my dad was dying my mom was the one draining my emotional energy through her  neurotic nature . I first came to this site as my mom is so difficult. But I will try to give yall a break. :)  No, I am not from the south.   One of my brothers said that my dad did not have ALZ, his system was just fried from putting up with our mom for over sixty years.  I kind of chuckled.  He said no, he is not joking.   Nobody could put up with that for a length of time without going nuts.  My moms own MD told me she is with my mom for ten minutes in an examination room and is worn out after ten minutes.  
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Barb, your post is elegant and eloquent, poignant, insightful, compassionate, and beautifully written.

Karsten, there are physical signs of accelerating decline, agitation, vacant stares, immobility, not eating or drinking. They're hard to watch; I did b/c I wanted to be near when my father passed, so he could know that he wasn't alone.

I still remember that vacant stare, and won't forget it for some time.

Often it's better that we don't see those last moments and don't remember them.
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THanks so much Rosses and Barb. Barb I am so touched that you remembered every step along the way for me and that is how it really happened. That means so much to hear it written out reminding me. I keep telling myself also the swallowing was the issue. Perhaps certain decisions may have made a few days difference here or there, but he was not living in any event. I do hope having him fed the last day didn't cause him pain. While the duty nurse said he went downhill the last three hours, I guess I never did find out what or how she meant that. I am thinking of asking but not sure I want to know.  Also, when the nurse told me he had been going downhill faster for three hours I asked her later why she didn't call me, she said she didn't think it was that immiment, its her fault.  I said no, not your fault, but in retrospect a little bugged by that.   It was not her fault my dad died, but if they knew he was going downhill, a call would have been nice,  OR, on the other hand, it save me a lot of bad memories by perhaps not seeing him die.  I had always hoped or thought an ALZ patient is so out of it that one of the silver linings is they are not awaree.
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