Unexpected loss of my dad, my best friend. Feel I should have done more.
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.
As a fellow sensitive soul and as a parent (mum) and as a child to those I fear losing one day, I feel so incredibly deeply for you. I cried throughout all of your heartfelt soulful posts, wishing I was there to make a difference to you. You are a truly beautiful sensitive loving person, a fact your dad would have been easily aware of.
This must have been a truly shocking experience for you. The shock factor alone would be challenging enough to deal with, let alone the added overwhelming experience of such a loss, reflected on daily. I'm glad you feel your father still with you in a number of ways. To imagine him guiding you through moments of inspiration or through dreams is a very soulful experience. I have heard it said before that when someone passes the person who loves them can find it almost impossible to get them out of their head. It's like they hear them all the time. While one person may say 'I don't know why I can't get the thought 'You need a fresh start, paint the house' out of my head', another person may say 'I can hear my father saying 'You need a fresh start, paint the house', so I'm going to listen to his advice'.
Your future wife and kids will know your dad through you. When your wife or children say 'You are a great listener' or 'You're so sensitive to what I need', you will be able to say 'That's you father in law/grandfather'. In this largely insensitive world you have many of your father's teachings to pass on to others. From what your dad has taught you and from what you have learned from him, it would not surprise me if you were to become the sort of teacher (in life) that makes a significant difference to others. Can you imagine your father smiling at such a thought?
I'm glad something or someone inspired you to come here. The greatest challenges in life can rarely ever be navigated without support.
Take care 🙂
Hey di_yo, thank you for your support, I agree that it is a beautiful thing, the relationship we have with our dads. I have been talking to a few people lately who have not been as fortunate to have had such special bonds with their parent/s.
It highlights just how special they really were, and still are! I consider it an honour to be his son, and I find great happiness in the fact that you too had a special dad. I feel like giving you a high five or fist bump ha.
Thank you geoff, I look at his photo and cry, but I also find it comforting to think that he is free to explore all of the wonder in the universe, that we in this plane do not know of.
I will continue to think of him dreaming such beautiful scenes, and I too hope to dream of him for ever more, there we can be together once more, if only for the briefest, blissful moment.
Hello therising, I am sorry for making you cry, but I am touched and honoured by your kind words and thoughts.
I am feeling him more and more in my life, guiding me towards the right way, and I hope one day in the future to follow his footsteps into volunteering and giving back, I think helping others may provide great healing and warmth to myself as well.
I can see him smile whenever I make myself or another smile, he had that special smile, where he smiles with his eyes. Just making eye contact with him felt like a big warm hug and you couldn't help but smile back.
I will try to carry on in this strange, incredible thing we call life, with his warmth, kindness and patience. I can see him looking at me with pride, seeing all the hard work he put in to raise me, and knowing he did well, he did so well. I will try to be the man he raised me to be.
Thank you for all of the support, knowing there are people out there that care truly make a difference, I have found out about so many wonderful people and organisations recently that I never knew existed.
The world may be bombarded with negativity and doom and gloom, yet there are still beacons of hope in many places such as here, a wonderful reminder of the beauty of humanity. We are all in this journey together and it feels incredible to have a hand on your shoulder, knowing that someone, somewhere, has got your back, no matter how small the gesture.
Hello, a lot has happened in the past week, there were times of joy
and hope that were met full force by tremendous grief and loss.
Firstly, last week I went to my GP to organise a Mental Health Plan, which allowed me to begin some counselling for my Bereavement and Trauma.
I attended my session, I think I held back and put a brave face on, I almost broke down but I stopped myself, perhaps in time I will allow her to get closer to and feel secure enough to express myself fully, I don’t know though, I let everything out when The Police first attended, then to the Nurse at Hospital, and then when I saw some of dad’s friends. I think maybe I have put up a defensive mechanism to not have to open the wound again and again.
Then on the same night I reconnected with some friends I had not seen in many years and we went out for night of fun, a great time that lasted well into the late hours.
I was beaming on the way home, I wanted to tell dad all about the great night I had, I was so excited until I got back, see, I was having so much fun out that I had almost forgotten what had happened, I realised as I entered into the empty home, that dad was no longer there to share my joy with…
The pain that hit me with that realisation was earth shattering, I felt my inner core shift as if I was no longer in my body, everything I had withheld from my counselling session erupted from me. I have never cried so hard or for so long, my breathing became rapid and my screams, once muffled, audibly announced my anguish to the world.
I know I was talking to him constantly, I think I asked him to come back or to take me with him, don’t know how long I cried for, or how I fell asleep that night, but I woke around midday and my body ached, and still does. It feels as if I have run a marathon.
Today I arranged to speak to another grief support via phone, she seems incredibly wise and generous as well as tolerant. She allowed me to tell what I wanted to, while subtly guiding the discussion.
We had a great discourse, and I hope to continue to converse with her in the future, I made her laugh several times with stories of dad, and hearing another person also find such joy from my dad brought me much warmth, I find myself wanting to talk about dad a lot now, I want to share how amazing he is.
The downside of such an illuminating discussion, was when we parted ways I felt the joy of talking of him slowly fade, as what had just made me laugh now made me miss him even more.
I felt for you so much when you spoke of the overwhelming pain that came on your return home from your night out. Emotion is such a physical experience. The more intense the emotion, the more intense the vent. What emotion we exhaust from our body can lead us to feel pure emotional physical exhaustion.
Possibly the hardest emotion to manage is 'heartache'. The degree of heartache often dictates just how much we have loved or still love a person. I'm sure I don't have to tell you what pure heartache feels like. You would easily understand this raw physical emotion. It hurts so much, the ache in your chest. To scream and cry, as opposed to remaining 'choked up' is an incredibly powerful form of venting. Such a vent can also release stored stress in the body.
I'm wondering whether what may help you a little through your grief in some way could involve you speaking to your dad out loud or imagining him there in the room with you, wherever you are. Grief is such a sensory related experience: We miss seeing, hearing, smelling or touching someone. With such dismemberment (losing someone who was a significant 'part of us'), sensing them through re-membering them with our mind and heart can reconnect us with them in unique ways.
Be kind to yourself after every significant painful vent. Get sleep, restore your energy in careful ways, including through the help of those inspiring energising friends. It sounds like you are forming a great circle of support with all those you have employed to help you make your way through this incredible challenge, one you have never faced before. It is a courageous person who seeks to navigate their way through the unknown.
I feel for you mate, so strongly.
My dad at 64yo (my age now) passed away. He was wonderful. What my grief led to was using symbolism to nip in the bud all my grief.
E.g. a poem I wrote-
TO KISS HIS TEMPLE
There were some things I knew as taboo
to express my love but to question who?
to touch the pale face of my dad back then
when touching taboo...when "men were men"
For boys were male and "you cant do that"
jealous of my sister and that is that
that man couldnt hug his son for how he was seen
nowadays if you hugged your son- well, you'd be relieved.
And so my dad the salt of the land
wouldnt touch me even by hand
he knew he loved me and I him
with a wink of an eye from under his brim
Then that day we all regret came along
where watery eyes was met by song
and there he lie with an eerie smile
I be alone with him for just a while.
As I stroked his forehead cool to touch
I raised my head automatically as such
to kiss his temple of which I dare
I knew his mind was well aware.
Of all the kisses I missed
they gathered together in just one kiss
finally as his spirit rose and went
he left his love and hugs were spent
I never craved again heart be blessed
that tradition of males their love expressed
a kiss on his forehead way back then
ended an era when "men were men"....
So the symbol is- one kiss.
- I'll continue next post shortly
So, the other message I'd like to share is carrying out his wishes that you'll continue on and enjoy a good life. This grief period will take as long as it takes, no rush, but as time goes by some grief periods will be replaced by life's experiences.
Dad knew I wished to follow
in his footsteps
through my pride and boyish whim
I dreamed I could follow him
And as he slipped slowly away
I kept following that day
No wonder he used a broom to sweep
My fathers footstep stencilled feet
But every now and then I see a hole
In the snow I see his soul
Sadness follows in my inept
its just something I must accept
But I be eager the day my feet will greet
my fathers footstep stencilled feet...
the message above is- yes, you want to follow him, but it isn't your time. Live life in his honour...youll stand taller and be a great asset to society by being his son.
He would be so proud you wrote in here. And by the way...your efforts in revival were commendable, few would have been able to even try. I'm proud of you.
I am sorry for your loss, I know the pain the grief and the loss. I lost my father a few years ago, and the pain it caused was horrific!
BUT do not let this take over your life, do not lose this battle with grief! You are better and stronger than grief and so not let this overtake you!
I hope to hear back from you - cheers!
I wouldn't say what I'm about to say is advice, more just what I feel has worked for me, and since we're sort of in the same boat, if may be helpful to you.
All my sessions have been over the phone, no video. Which to my own suprise, I found more helpful (at first I assumed it would be less helpful because it's less personal). I find I can open up more when I can't see the person I'm talking to (maybe similar to how confidence comes with anonymity? I don't know..) Also, I'm able to mute myself while my psych is talking, as I blow my nose and clean myself up from balling my eyes out lol. And lastly, I can sit in whatever crazy position I feel like while talking to her without it being unprofessional as it would've been in an office/video setting.
I completely get the putting a brave face on. I got to the point where my physical eye balls hurt from crying and I just didn't have the energy to cry anymore.
But I think of all places/people to break down to, your sessions would be the best place (as long as your are comfortable with it of course). They're trained professionals, and can help guide everything your feeling.
It's great that you found the second grief councillor helpful! Definitely try and get her back if you can, the most important thing is that you feel safe to and not obliged to open up.
It's a bit of a catch 22 isn't it? These memories that bring you such joy now also bring such sadness. I don't know if there's anything we can ever do that will get rid of the sadness, but I like to focus on the joy of the memories more so I don't spiral into the sadness portion.
How is your eating and sleeping?
Sorry I have not replied earlier. Past few days have
taken almost everything I have.
I thank everyone for their support.
Friday I had contract work done, including my dad's room.
As soon as I heard
his door squeak I fell apart, I had to sit in a corner of my living
room with my back to the workers, as if I were a child in
trouble at school. Listening to them move his bed and furniture tore
me apart, I felt as though they were desecrating his space, and
invading his privacy.
I had placed some of his writings and other items on a table, during the work they moved it, causing papers and his work jacket to fall on the floor, made me so angry, I know they were doing their job, and did not know the significance to me, they kept moving his stuff so I got into an argument with them and they left.
I saw they had left dad's room open, I panicked and closed the doors to the hallway and have spent the days since near the front door. I canno close dad's door, I never wish to see his room again, just thinking about it brings me back to the day I found him in his bed, I can't... I can't do it.
I have slept few hours since Friday, spend most of the days thinking or organising paper work.
Most nights I talk to dad, either his photo, or on his phone, I ask him every night to take me away, I want to go to sleep and not wake up like him.
I want to escape the pain and live in my dreams of him forever.
Yet every morning I
am still here, I struggle to push myself to do things and meet my
I went to see my Counsellor on Monday. I am still hiding behind a facade, though it slipped a little when she helped me solve one of my problems. I have thought about letting her hear some of my recorded conversations, but listening to them myself makes me feel sick to my stomach with fear and worry. The amount of pain, sadness, and anger I have unleashed is terrifying.
I think I am scared
to let her listen, but I am so exhausted that I cannot
maintain I am doing ok forever, I'm not going as well as
people see, if they saw me alone at night they would see my true
Perhaps I am doing them, and myself, a disservice to hide, I'm so tired, they'll probably crack me soon enough.
I have not been eating or sleeping much, I can feel my mind is not clear and my thoughts are slowing.
A friend is coming
over tomorrow to help me organise a few things. She will probably make me eat ha, she cares, so I will
I offer everyone who is also suffering, my condolences.