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Unexpected loss of my dad, my best friend. Feel I should have done more.

Community Member

Hello, I feel vulnerable typing this but the words seem to be flowing as fast as my tears.

A few weeks ago I found my father passed away in his bed at only 69. He was always early to rise and seize the day, yet that day I rose from my slumber before him, it immediately felt wrong, and as I knocked on his door reality hit me like a brick. There, before my eyes I saw my father, a man who's strength, patience and generosity made him 11 foot tall and bulletproof to me, laying on his back in bed, so still, so still... far too still.

I immediately tried to wake him by shaking him, then breathed into his mouth before beginning CPR, but as I compressed his chest I heard one of his ribs or bones make a sound which terrified me and caused me to panic, knocking over his table before running outside to call the police.

I have been in denial, and keeping busy has kept a lot at bay, but in the past 6 or so days it has felt as if my entire body has caved in, I have broken down multiple times per day drenching myself in tears and searching for reasons to stay on this plane.

His death was such a shock, I still recall his final words 'I'm off to bed, goodnight' I never thought in a million years, that goodnight would turn out to be goodbye.

I have felt so much guilt owing to my circumstances for the past few years.

See as an adult I had to go back to him for help in rebuilding my life, so he was my beacon in the dark world, raised me as a single father from a child, and now too as a man.

I cannot repay what I owe to him, he sacrificed everything for me, yet only ever asked of me to be happy and live a good life.

Other guilt stems from the thought that I did not provide CPR for long enough, once I heard his rib I felt as if I were hurting him and fell apart, I know that I did not hurt him, yet I cannot shake that remorse, I also regret the few days before he passed as he was so tired and lethargic, he was recently recovering from a bout of shingles and a slight chest infection so we both assumed that was the reason for his tiredness, but I feel I should have done something, forced him to go to the GP or something...I never thought he would go to bed Monday night and never wake up, I don't think he did either.

I have been talking to his photo and recording myself on his phone, have asked him to take me away too, yet I know he gave too much of himself for me to throw it all away.

I put on a brave face for others but his phone holds my truth, miss you man, I am trying dad.

98 Replies 98

Hey pl515p1, welcome to the Beyond Blue forum. Thank you so much for having the strength to share your story with us tonight, we understand this isn't always easy to do. We are so sorry to hear about the unexpected loss of your father. We can't imagine the shock and pain you must be going through right now. We can hear how important he is to you and the admiration and love you have for him. Please know that our community is here to support you through this difficult time. Hopefully, a few of them will pop by and offer you some words of kindness and advice.  We hope you know that there is always help available to you, whether it's from our professional mental health counsellors Beyond Blue (available 24/7/365 on 1300 22 4636) or our friends at Lifeline (13 11 14) or the Suicide Call Back Service (1300 659 467). We'd also recommend getting in touch with Griefline - 1300 845 745. GriefLine provides counselling support services free of charge to individuals who are experiencing loss. Thank you again for reaching out to our community. We hope we can be of some comfort. 

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Pl515p1, the love for your dad is well and truly shown by the words you have told us, and we are so deeply sorry and our utmost sympathy for the loss you are trying to cope with.

There are no words that can possibly fill this hole left by your father passing away, all we can do is try and support you by holding you up and we are definitely here for you.

At times we put on a brave face, but it's when you are by yourself, reality, unfortunately, sets in, and this is the time to know that there are so many other people wanting to help you through this.

Our most sincere condolences.

Geoff. x

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Dear pl515p1

Hello and welcome to the forum. Thank you for telling us about your wonderful dad and how much he meant to you. Words cannot take away your pain but we are here to give a listening ear and words of comfort as much as we can. I can only imagine how dreadful it must have been to find your dad had passed away in his sleep at such an early age. Please accept my sincere condolences.

I can understand the regret you feel about not insisting he see a doctor or all the other ways to help you have been wondering about. Please try to remember no matter how long you tried to give CPR it would have made no difference. It was not for lack of trying that your dad passed away. You did try but it would have made no difference.

My mom died unexpectedly 20 years ago. She was in the UK and I was in Australia. No chance to say goodbye though I did manage to get to her funeral. Like you I cried buckets and would dissolve into tears with every memory. It was so very hard. You will manage and your grief will get less but you will always remember him with love for everything he meant to you and some sadness that he has gone.

I see Sophie has listed some resources for you to contact. Please try to talk to someone whenever you need. It is by talking that you will adjust to a life without dad. It is natural that you feel you cannot manage without him. Can you do your best in his memory? Talk to his photo or write your words of grief, it will help.

The loss of someone so close to you is hard. It's a natural reaction to push away the sadness. No one wants to accept the person they love has gone. Crying is a good way to grieve. It's OK to do this and the natural way to feel. I suggest you do fill all your time with activity but allow yourself to cry and mourn for some part of each day.

Please continue to write in here if you find it helpful.


Community Member

Thanks Sophie_M, I have contacted grief support who have arranged to call me, I hope it will at least help place my thoughts into some sort of structure.

Thank you too geoff.

Thank you White Rose, I am sorry for your loss also.
I have been talking to his photo for many hours each night, in fact last night may have been the best and worst so far, for some reason I just went back into childhood and read aloud all of my childhood memories, recalling all of the wonderful places we had been, people we had seen, and moments we had cherished, I even began to laugh as I felt the joy and warmth fill my soul.
First time in weeks I truly slept in peace, I even dreamed a vivid wonderland of dad, I was talking to him again, it was so real, it was...until this morning, when I woke and all the memories melted away into a deep mourning that rocked me to the core, I have never felt such a deep sense of emptiness as today, backed myself into a corner and began to shake, I could feel myself almost faint..

I guess it is the duality of existence, are those small moments of joy worth the many hours of heartbreak that follow. It was truly beautiful to see and hear him again, if only in a dream.

I know that life is precious, and we never know what the future may bring, I have tortured myself and agonised over every little thing, every argument we may have had, every time I caused him worry or stress growing up, and the fact that I can never repay him, see now it is my time to work for him, do all the things for him that he once did for me, I so wanted to shelter and nourish him now into retirement, have him see the grand-kids he so wanted to see, it was an honour and a privilege to be the son of such a beautiful man, and I could only imagine how much love, wisdom, knowledge and protection he would have given my children.

Now, if I ever have kids, I can only hope to be a tenth of the man, and father, he is, not was, he still is, he is still in my heart, spirit, mind and soul. I just hope my future wife doesn't mind if we give even a daughter his name too ha ha.

I also know my current circumstances, (still living in the home he passed) are not helpful to my trauma, everyday I have to see him in every corner, I have closed the entry to the bedrooms to avoid his, and have settled into the living room, hopefully I can arrange to move soon as reliving that day over and over has taken it's toll.

Anyway, thanks for reading and the support. I might stick around here for awhile.

Community Member
hi pl515p1,

I'm so sorry about the passing of your father, from what you've said, he sounds like an amazing dad/human being! I can't say I understand your situtation, but I'd like to think I can relate to how you're feeling. My dad passed just a bit more than a month ago unexpectantly, and the same type of thoughts ran through my head. Looking in retrospect and having guilt about not seeing it coming, or maybe if I just did this or that, his passing would never have happened etc. I think it's natural to have these thoughts, but it becomes unhealthy when you dwell on them for too long or start to blame yourself.
The fact that you attempted CPR is such a courageous thing, CPR done properly can actually fracture ribs (that's the extent you have to push down to mimic the beating of a heart), so you actually did great.
If you are comfortable with it, I would suggest seeking a psychologist (or whatever mental health professional you prefer). I think since it has only been a few weeks for you, shock/thoughts/memories/emotions are still running havoc inside your head. I found the psychologist was somewhat able to provide a form of guidance for everything that I was thinking and feeling, and also it kind of feels good talking to a third party with no relation to myself or my dad (I'm not sure why to be honest...)
The way you talk about your dad and look up to him is a testament of how great of a man he was, and your positive attitude in wanting to follow in his footsteps is admirable!
Thankyou for sharing your story 🙂

Community Champion
Community Champion
Dear pl515p1~

In all your grief you seem to have have very naturally not realized that for a parent to help and be the mainstay of a child, even an adult one in poor times, is a source of pride, of feeling useful and having accomplishment

Add to that the pleasure of having your love around him until he passed away.

It is a way I would not mind going myself.

You have done more good than you think


Community Member

Thank you di_yo,

I am sorry for your loss also, I am trying to go easy on myself and come to terms with, and also to understand more, that I did try, and I know that dad would have seen me trying and crying...he would be proud of how much I cared about him, and how much I love him, proud seeing me somehow doing everything that needed to be done in the last weeks, still going on, I have fallen many times, but I feel him pick me up each time. I know he would say to me that I did everything I could, not to worry, and I reckon he would be more worried about my well-being now to be honest.

It is hard, I still am filled with regret, and still feel blame for the what ifs, as you say. I know though that dad is proud, and feels the deep love, and respect I hold in my heart and soul. In time I think I need to love myself, and respect myself as my dad does.

Thank you Croix.

A few people have told me that to go to sleep in one's own bed, with the most important person in their world just there in the next room would be a most serene slumber.

I know he was dreaming pleasant dreams over the last few nights, he told me of them, the final words he said to me were goodnight, so calmly, so I know he did not retire with anything but relaxation in his mind.

I know it may seem funny, but I like to believe that dad went to sleep, and while he was dreaming, drifted away. Now he is free to live in his dreams where he can be or do anything he could ever imagine.

He is probably up there with his daughters teaching them all about life and imparting the knowledge he so wonderfully shared with me to them.

Community Member
It brings me a lot of comfort to hear you talk the way you do about your dad. With such love and pride and positivity. It honestly reminds me a lot of my dad. As horrible and negative as we are feeling right now, it is such a blessing to be able to reflect on our dads with such positive thoughts because they were such genuine people.
Know that you are not alone as you ride through these emotions, there's a whole community here riding along with you 🙂

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Pl515p1, the love and affection you had for your dad was so strong, so your belief that he was dreaming can never be questioned and something you feel at peace with, no one can ever say otherwise.

These are now your thoughts and treasured memories you hold close to you everytime you look at a photo of him.

My best.