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I'm his only child even though I'm 48. It's breaking my heart knowing he's dying but he's also worried about how I am dealing with it. I've pretended I'm OK, but now he's in the hospital and end of life and I'm struggling to hold myself together. I need him to think or know I'm going to be OK.

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Please allow your Dad to cry. But at the same time give him the relief of a laugh (yes, the dying DO love to laugh, as well) by telling him "Had you been a bad Dad you wouldn't have to suffer through my tears NOW, Dad!" Also reassure him that you will be OK without him. Tell him that you have treasured him and that he will be with you forever; tell him that you will be OK because he made you a strong and able person who can function in the world. Let him know some treasured memories. And yes, mourn and weep if you will, then move on and remember, this is HIS TIME, this is ABOUT HIM. Let him tell you whatever he wants to tell you. Let hm honestly say his piece and don't negate what he says. My Dad had things he wanted to tell me. He wanted to tell me "The worst thing I did in my life", he wanted to tell me what made him happiest. Let him speak and follow his lead.
I am sorry for this loss for you. I am thankful you, like me, had your Dad so long. And that he was, like my Dad, such a treasure.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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GardenArtist Jun 13, 2021
Alva, outstanding advice!
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It is okay to cry and tell him that you are going to miss him but, he raised you up to be a strong, able woman and you will be okay.

I am sorry for your impending loss. I pray that The Lord gives you wisdom, strength and courage to deal with this situation. It is so very hard to lose our parents.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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Like Isthisrealyreal said, it's ok to cry. Losing someone you love so, is hard and very sad, but it doesn't mean that you have to be stoic and keep your feelings hidden from them. You can still let him know that you will be ok even through the tears.
I'm sorry that you are facing the loss of your father right now, as it sounds like you are one of the blessed ones to have a good earthly father.
I pray for God's peace and comfort to be with you in the days, weeks and months ahead.
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Reply to funkygrandma59
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You can cry in front of him and tell him you love him loads, but you will be OK.
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Reply to MaryKathleen
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I don’t think there’s any true pretending you’re okay, most of us show our emotions in a multitude of ways and it’s clear when we’re sad and dreading loss. It’s okay if you break down or cry, it shows your valid emotions. Tell dad through your tears that you’re grateful for all he taught you and those lessons will give you the strength to be okay. I wish you both peace and comfort
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Reply to Daughterof1930
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If he sees you cry, he'll know you aren't in denial and are handling his impending end.

I think, too, that you're getting yourself wound up anticipating how you'll react, and you may be better than you think. I was with my dad when he was given his cancer diagnosis and told there was nothing he could do. I'm a big crier, but I cried in front of him for about a minute. I was with him and my mother from that day until he died six weeks later, and I cried for the first time -- REALLY cried -- seven months after his death. My mind was so engulfed with the whole thing that I didn't really process it until then.
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Reply to MJ1929
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A friend told me what I thought was a very helpful and insightful rationalization of supporting a parent  through death:   supporting, helping and being with his father was the BEST thing he could do for his father during his father's lifetime.

I was very touched by that, and thought of it often when my sister and parents were dying.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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You love your dad, so it’s natural to cry. Once there, most of us intuitively know what to do in these situations. The social worker, clergy, caregivers and the nurses were extremely helpful to me during these times. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them for comfort and any concerns that you may have.

You would be surprised by the strong bonds that are formed between the staff at hospitals, facilities and hospice organizations with their patients. Listen to what these dedicated workers say. They spend intimate moments with our loved ones. Our loved ones confide in the staff in regards to their deepest thoughts and concerns.

I wish you peace as you navigate your way through this process. We are never fully prepared. Doing your best is enough. Your dad does not expect any more than that. You won’t fail him in any way by crying.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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jojoboo1: Imho, it's quite natural to show emotion at this most difficult of times. I feel for you. Sometimes, as in my late mother's case, we don't get an opportunity to say goodbye. Even though I had been living out of state with her, she suffered an ischemic stroke, her eyes closed and she was unresponsive (except for one solitary tear that rolled down her cheek).
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Reply to Llamalover47
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When you say breakdown, do you mean cry or completely lose it?
If it’s lose it, could you talk to him about how his dying is teaching you how to deal and you’re learning calming actions. Dad, I heard about qigong (breathing, meditations, gentle movement). Do you want to taste my new herbal tea - it’s good for stress. I just heard about the Gregorian singers (they modernized Gregorian chants with popular songs). Dad Im gonna cry a bucketload and then do cleansing breaths. I’m just gonna sit here a while and listen to my song list while you sleep (ear buds). Or just do these things even if dad doesn’t know.

Maybe dad can find happiness knowing your time together is giving you a gift. Maybe you can find a way to harness moments of peace and remember this time as his last gift to you.

Btw, it took finding Qigong and meditation YouTubes that resonated and listening often, but once it’s familiar that familiarity brings its own comfort.
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