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My dad died a year+ ago after being in home hospice for a few months. I did plenty of crying and grieving before, during and after hospice but now it almost feels like I'm forgetting him. Every once in a while I'll feel sad if a certain memory pops up, but it usually passes fairly quickly. In general, life is just going on and it seems like I don't miss him as much as I imagined I would. I hear friends talk about their parents who've been dead for much longer, who say there isn't a day that goes by that they don't miss them and it makes me feel like there's something wrong with me. And it's not that I don't feel his absence. It has just somehow started to feel normal. This may be long, but this is my first post so I just want to cover all the things I've been feeling to get me to this point and hopefully someone can help me make sense of it all.


My dad and I were always very close. I'm the baby of the family so he probably spoiled me. My mom died when I was young so he was also like both parents to me. He always stayed active so it seemed like he'd live to be 100 but a few years ago we all started to notice that he was becoming more frail and it probably wasn't a good idea for him to live on his own. He would never agree to leave his home and we couldn't really afford a full time care worker (nor did he want one) so I moved in with him. I feel like living with him took a real toll on our relationship. He loved to push my buttons, and I'm just like him so I always took the bait and would argue instead of just letting it go. Sometimes we got along great and then there were times when he'd just go off about the smallest thing, or get mad and give me the silent treatment. I'm not saying I was always perfect, and I'm sure I was to blame for some of those fights, but it just seemed more and more like he would be angry about something else (the news, politics, getting older, etc.) and take it out on me.


When he took a turn for the worse and came back home from the hospital for his end of life care, he became very demanding and could be downright nasty. Everyone experienced his moods and impossible-to-please behavior to some degree but, again, I tended to get the brunt of his anger. My sibs and I took turns caring for him but I still lived with him, so unless I was at work I was always there whether it was my turn or not. It seemed like he appreciated them for coming to take care of him, but I lived with him and couldn't do anything right. I never expected his last months to be full of arguments but they were. Once again, I couldn't just let his attitude or comments roll off me even though I knew logically that he wasn't totally himself and he was probably going through a million emotions. I even found this website back then because I was desperate to know if other people had gone through this, and it seems to be pretty common for a dying parent to lash out at one person, usually the primary caregiver or person they're closest to. Even knowing all that, the way he would act or talk to me a lot of the time just hurt my feelings and I couldn't always bite my tongue. He even gave me the silent treatment for two days (early on when he could still walk on his own) and I just couldn't believe he would do that knowing that he was near the end. We never ended up having any kind of deep conversation or anything before he died, and there were no apologies from him about fighting with me. I love yous were said and I can only hope he knew that I meant it and only ever wanted to help him.


I felt and still feel a lot of guilt for these arguments. But when I think of those fights now I just get mad, and then I'll think of other times throughout my life when he was not emotionally nurturing. But that's not who he was. He was a depression era tough guy. I've always known that. But I think his last months have tainted everything. And I don't want that because he was really a great dad. So a year shouldn't be enough time for me to feel so normal.

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Sweetie, everyone deals with grief in their own way. My dad died in 1985 and at times, I still cry.

My mom died in 2012, and all I felt (and still feel) is relief.

Don't beat yourself up because you don't feel like society thinks you should. There is no such things as the "Grief Police". You feel like you need to feel for YOU!! No one else.

Hugs to you.
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Bunnyblake Oct 25, 2021
Thank you.
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Frankly you sound like you are fine and recovering well. Stop comparing yourself to how others say they are reacting to their situation. They say everyone handles grief in their own way. Accept that you've done it well.
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It sounds like you are processing your loss just fine.

My dad and I always gave each other crap. If we didn't he was asking what was wrong. He loved to spar with me because I gave as good as I got, it gave him mental stimulation . It was how we loved one another. Sounds like you and your dad were the same.

There is an old saying "We hurt the ones that are closest to us." It is true, because it is safe to let your junk out and they will still love you. Not that we mean to or that we should try not to, we just do. It is human nature to be who you really are around your loved ones. That's why teaching our children self control and courtesy within the family unit is so important.

I guarantee that he knew you loved him and he loved you.

There is nothing wrong with moving forward in life after the death of a loved one. Life goes on and our loved ones would not want us to stop living life to the fullest because they are gone.
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Bunnyblake Oct 24, 2021
Thank you. I guess I just always imagined the sparring would stop once he realized he didn't have much time left. This is the first major death I've ever had to experience (which is probably rare at my age - I'm in my 40s) because I was so young when my mom died that I don't remember it. The movies always make it seem like the dying person suddenly becomes very wise, peaceful and loving and everyone gets to have their deep, meaningful talks, etc. I guess that's another thing that only happens in the movies. Or only happens to some people. It seems like in reality even looming death doesn't really change a person's basic personality. He would have his moments of being scared, or he'd suddenly be crying and apologizing for needing something, but then the mood would swing back. I know it's because his mind was going (congestive heart failure - so he wasn't always getting enough oxygen to the brain) and because he was just angry in general at his situation, but it was so hard to so often be treated like the nuisance and then see him be so nice to my siblings, the grandkids and hospice workers.
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There is nothing wrong with you! What you are feeling is “ relief” from care giver burnout. You gave your all and should have NO regrets. I know exactly what your dad was doing because my mom did the same at the end of her life. He was dealing with the knowledge of his terminal condition and going thru the stages of acceptance. One stage is anger and denial is another. He loved you SO much he was “ distancing” himself emotionally so that in the end, you would not suffer the sadness and grief to an extreme. In other words he was doing you a favor…. Maybe even hoping to make you angry in order to make your acceptance of his death easier. Yes… it’s hurtful at the time but in the end, you are exactly where he wanted you to be…. Carrying on with your own life. You deserve to be happy. Be happy that you and he had such a loving relationship and think about the GOOD times. A good friend and therapist once told me the “ guilt is a wasted emotion”. Go forward and be happy 💜💜💜
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Bunnyblake Oct 24, 2021
Thank you for your thoughtful response.
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You actually sound like you are moving forward in a healthy way with your grief, and that is a good thing. Sometimes people get stuck in their grief, and that can be very unhealthy, so quit worrying that you're not like others you know in your grief, but instead be grateful that you now feel able to move forward in your life. That is a good thing, not a bad thing.

My husband of 26 years died last Sept. and I was his caregiver for many years. I miss him everyday, but I can honestly tell you that since about Aug. of this year, I now feel ready to move on with my life and am excited to see what the Good Lord has next for me. And yes, my life feels pretty "normal" right now, and I am ok with that, because to me that means that I have dealt with my grief in a healthy manner and it tells me that I can now move forward.

So keep moving forward my dear, and quit comparing yourself to others. God made you unique and as a one of a kind, so enjoy you, just the way God made you. And be grateful that you are one of few who can say that they had a great earthly father. That in itself is a blessing for sure. God bless you.
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Bunnyblake Oct 24, 2021
Thanks for your response. It's not that I want to be stuck in grief, but I guess it's jarring to feel so normal when I felt so lost only a year ago. But I guess we're all built to withstand loss. I'm sorry for yours and glad to hear you're doing well. ♥️
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We are all on our own journey. You're processing your way. It's counterproductive to compare yourself to others. You're unique in this world and you're perfect just the way you are.

Hugs to you. Take comfort in knowing you loved each other in the best way you knew how. ♥️
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My family has an expression ‘BBC deaths’ for the ones that are so so lovely. So moving and so quick – the movie can’t go on and on for 10 hours where nothing happens except for those horrible noisy breaths!

Life does go back to ‘normal’. Sometimes it’s a new normal, because the death changes your own life, home, work, day totally. I still remember quite often my mother and her death in 1994, when something prompts a memory, but it isn’t with me every day and never has been. She really was a ‘great mom’, and I’m eternally grateful for what she did for me, even though she did have a tart tongue. But ‘there isn't a day that goes by that they don't miss them’ sounds all wrong to me. Either not strictly true, or the fall-out from co-dependency, or just that their life is still dominated by clean-up jobs and memorabilia.

Keep the good memories and enjoy the rest of your life!
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Sophiahd Oct 24, 2021
I am definitely borrowing the expression BBC deaths!
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My mom is in assisted living with congestive heart failure. So I understand first hand what that does to the brain. I can’t imagine the toll it must have taken on you having your dad live with you. Even though my mom is still with us, I feel like I’ve already gone through the stages of grief. Not sure how I’ll feel when she does pass, but I’m thinking I’ll probably respond similarly to you. It’s been a long road.

By the way, don’t worry about people saying things like ‘never a day goes by that I don’t think of my loved one’. Could be those people are being truthful. Could also be that’s just a trite thing they say, either because they haven’t acknowledged their feelings or they choose not to share them. It’s sort of like when people post vacation pictures on social media- they show you the smiling faces with the ocean in the background. They don’t show the fight that took place right after the picture was taken.

You feel how you feel. No reason at all to have guilt about that. Peace and love to you.
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I know that I didn't shed a tear over my much-loved dad's death until about eight months later when I was having lunch with a bunch of high school friends. That was awkward, but another friend had warned me that sometimes it hits you out of nowhere and sure enough, it did.

There is no correct way to grieve, so don't worry about it. If you weren't able to get past your grief, that would be concerning, but you seem to be handling it well.
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I think one of the reasons life seems more normal is that you knew he was critically ill and realized it made him a different person. You had time to say your goodbyes and did absolutely everything you could to make sure he felt comfortable and loved to the end.

My father died (21 years ago) very unexpectedly within a 4-day period and I continued to have crying spells for at least a year because I never had the chance to say goodbye and always wondered if there was more that I could have done. (There wasn't but I still felt guilt.)

My mother, who I've taken care of for 21 years, is now at the end of her life. She has Congestive Heart Failure and has been in hospice for over a year. She is now in the Transition phase. When she passes I will know I did everything I could for her and had my chances to say goodbye. I think I will feel the same as you. Normal. I'm grieving right now. I will have no guilt. There is nothing wrong with getting on with your life when you are no longer a caregiver. You were an angel taking care of your father at home.
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