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Its only been 6 weeks since my father passed. But I am feeling lost. It seems everyone including my siblings have "moved" on with their lives. But I'm still going over the details of the last year. Feeling tortured about what ifs. It seems the whole year was a struggle. As my father's primary caregiver for the last three years, the final year before he passed was the hardest. He seemed to lose the will to live. I was getting frustrated and impatient with him. He didn't want to eat, or take showers, or take his meds, everything felt like an uphill fight. And then I finally stopped fighting with him. Now that he has passed, I feel like he could have lived longer if only I was willing to fight for him. I should have found other solutions instead of giving up on him. People talk about grief work, but I don't know what that is. Others have suggested I need to find a new life, new purpose or just a distraction. But eventually I go back to my dad and how I failed him. I'm not sure what to do. Most days I do not want to do anything. I have gone back to work but other than that, I don't know what steps to take to feel better. Or maybe I haven't given myself enough time. I don't seem to have any answers.

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First of all, my condolences. I am sure the pain is still fresh. My dad passed away yesterday. I imagine I, too, will feel guilty for having had moments of impatience and for not having given more time to him. He was 90, had pneumonia in August, and never really recovered. My mother and I have been taking care of him as he was pretty much bed-ridden. But I also feel that we gave him the best possible care in the time he had left. My mom is 86 and struggled, but she did so much for him. I run my own business and just had to keep on working. Anyway, he is in a better place now. I think grief counselling would be the best thing for you, especially if you feel you are 'stuck'. A grief counsellor can help to give you clarity and peace of mind as you struggle with your emotions. We all have to work through emotions before we can let go. That's what I would recommend. All the very best to you. Maggie.
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Thank you all for responding and for your kind and supportive words. I know I have a long ways to go. I'm still struggling with the loss of my dad. He was 84. Everyone tells me that he lived a long life. I don't find it comforting because I felt in my heart that if I was stronger or smarter, he would still be with us. And instead I feel like I let him down. After the stroke my dad often said he would be better off dead. But I told him, he was lucky, and he still had his family. But it wasn't enough. I don't know when I will be able to work towards forgiveness or even acceptance of his passing.
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cdnreader, it is so normal to go through the "what ifs". Even though I gave my Dad the best of care with him living in an Assisted Living facility, which he loved, and had found for him two fantastic caregivers to give him extra attention... when he passed two months ago I was heartsick.

I figured he is now with my Mom who had passed almost a year ago. But every now and then I second guess myself. Today was the first day that his passing had really gotten to me.

I also think it depends on who you have in your life. I have a cousin who calls me every couple of weeks, she was my Dad's God-daughter, my age, and she has a great sense of humor, so I am happy after that call.

My sig other, I can't remember the last time he made me laugh or smile. I know my will talk therapist will eventually tell me I need to surround myself with positive happy people. And she would be right.
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Six weeks isn't a long time in the scheme of things. I know how the "what ifs" can haunt you for a while. I had a call from a nurse in skilled nursing about my dad (who was 92). She said they had started oxygen for him. I asked if I should come and she said, "No, he's ok." So I didn't go. Ninety minutes later, they called me and told me to come. When I got there, he was gone.

So for a few months, I played the "what if" game...and the "I should have" game. But I did the best I could with the information I had. I took good care of my dad for years before that. So over time, I was able to go over all of that in my mind and come to accept that I did the best I could and my dad would be the first one to say that. So maybe over time you can know in your heart (and your head) that you did the best you could. Not perfectly (NONE of us are perfect) but the best you could do. We all lose patience...none of us are perfect. We are human. So work on forgiving yourself for any perceived shortcomings and know that you were there for your dad every day when it mattered. Hugs....
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You did not fail him. You stayed with it to the very end. Throw away the what if's. Yes, you are numbed by the vacuum that hits you when caregiving ends. That is perfectly normal. Give yourself some time to recover. And just because siblings appear to have moved on, they may just be suppressing their own grief, holding it in. Everyone has different ways of dealing with it.
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