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silkworm

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About silkworm

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  • Birthday 01/06/1955
  1. Loss of a Father

    I haven't checked this site in a few weeks-- for those who didn't read my previous posts, my Dad died on January 5 (the day before my birthday). He was 93. He caught a bad cold over Christmas, and this, combined with his heart problem, probably did him in. We took him to his cardiologist on January 3rd, and the cardiologist told us that his lungs didn't have any fluid in them ("a good sign"), but that his pulse was racing-- he didn't, though, think that Dad needed to be hospitalized. As I was going to bed on the 5th, I heard him coughing horribly in the room he and my Mom shared, and I wondered if I should call an ambulance. I ultimately decided not to, because his cardiologist's words made me think that his condition was fairly stable...I also reasoned that he usually seemed better once he was asleep, and that probably all he needed was to sleep and have the new medicine enter his system. So I went to sleep, and the next morning when I woke up my Mom called me in to their bedroom because he was cold and not breathing or moving. I called 911, but I already knew that he was gone...the paramedics confirmed it as soon as they got there. It's been fourteen weeks, but I struggle every day with feelings of guilt and sadness. Luckily, I'm living with my Mom and we've been able to support each other. I took her to see Carousel on Sunday and she really enjoyed it, although I was afraid that the scene where the protagonist dies might be too much for her (it was almost too much for me). My brother is in close touch, even though he lives in the Bay Area (we're in LA), and our extended family has helped alot, too. Two questions: 1) Mom and Da's 60th anniversary would have been in less than two weeks. How do I deal with this occasion? 2) I keep having flashbacks to that final night, and keep blaming myself for what happened. I feel as if I need forgiveness or absolution, as if this wouldn't have happened if I had been more attentive and aware. Is this feeling shared by others?-- Silkworm
  2. Loss of a Father

    Hi Missa, Your father and mine passed away within 24 hours of each other. I can tell by the brevity of your post that you are still reeling. I am too. I found this website by total accident-- like you, I am self-conscious about sharing my grief with complete strangers whom I cannot even see. But your utter shock incomprehension resonates deeply with me. Emily Dickinson said it best: Pain has an element of blank; It cannot recollect When it began, or if there were A day when it was not. It has no future but itself, Its infinite realms contain Its past, enlightened to perceive New periods of pain.
  3. Loss of a Father

    MoFirefly-- You may not believe this but last night I was looking at the Dalai Lama's ADVICE ON DYING (and Living a Better Life) and came across a list of the 8 stages that the Tibetan Buddhists say the soul experiences while dying. They are: 1) mirage 2) smoke 3) fireflies 4) flame of a lamp 5) vivid white mind sky 6) vivid red-orange mind sky 7) vivid black mind sky 8) clear light...I thought about fireflies after reading it, remembering how we used to catch them in jars in the backyard back in Connecticut...and here you are, a Firefly yourself...
  4. Loss of a Father

    Thank you MoFirefly for your kind words. I get the sense that this group has been ongoing for awhile-- I'm not familiar with the protocols yet, so please be patient with me. I confess that it somehow makes me feel better that other people are in the same boat as me-- each of our situations is different, yet somehow shared. I do wonder whether I'm being selfish about talking about my own case without acknowledging others'-- in many ways, as awful as it sounds, hearing that other end-of-life-situations were more difficult and complex makes me grateful that Da's was relatively quiet and peaceful. After all, he was 93, died in his sleep without severe pain, lying next to his partner for 60 years. The big question is what would have happened if he had been hospitalized, which didn't occur for several reasons (including his cardiologist's thinking it wasn't necessary). Would he still be alive? Would he have died anyway? Or would he have been in some in-between state, hooked up to life-support machines, tubes coming out of his arteries and nose and bladder? I did a blog search and came across a blog by a young woman resident in which she describes her dismay at how medical technology has both extended life and robbed us of our dignity at the same time. On Da's previous visits to the hospital, I'd seen him in Intensive Care-- it reminded me of the last section of 2001 where HAL takes over. Looking back, perhaps we should have done home hospice-- but that would have assumed that we knew his case was terminal, which we didn't (at least, we ourselves didn't know...are doctors required to tell you you are terminal if you are?). I would appreciate hearing other people's thoughts about death, hospitals, hospices, technology, etc. Has anyone read HOW WE DIE or DYING WELL or the Dalai Lama's book on dying?
  5. Loss of a Father

    Dear All, I have just joined this site and am not certain I know how to use it yet. My first post therefore will be short. I am 53-- a second generation Chinese American living in Los Angeles. I lost my father on January 5th 2008. He was 93, so it wasn't unexpected-- still it was a shock. Only two weeks before his passing, he was still able to take a shower by himself. His condition began to decline suddenly around Christmas-- we took him to his cardiologist on the 3rd, but the cardiologist didn't think he needed hospitalization, only a change in medication. And then two nights later he passed away (one day before my birthday). Our immediate family was small (I have one older brother) and extremely close. My parents were married sixty years, and knew each other for seventy-eight! As you can imagine, we are all devastated. Fortunately we have quite alot of relatives and friends in the area who have been very supportive. Yet losing him seems unbearable. These days I am preoccupied by "what ifs"-- What if we had taken him to the hospital immediately instead of waiting for an appointment with his cardiologist? What if there hadn't been severe storms in California over Christmas which discouraged us from calling an ambulance? What if the book I had ordered on how to nurse elderly patients had arrived the day before he passed away instead of the day after? What if his cardiologist had given me a straight answer when I asked what warning signs to look for instead of giving me a look as if to say "How can you bother me with such a stupid question?" Guilt, blame, anger, depression...and so much uncertainty. I am hoping that this site will help. Ultimately we all depend on the kindness of strangers.
  6. loss of father

    Dear All, I have just joined this site and am not certain I know how to use it yet. My first post therefore will be short. I am 53-- a second generation Chinese American living in Los Angeles. I lost my father on January 5th 2008. He was 93, so it wasn't unexpected-- still it was a shock. Only two weeks before his passing, he was still able to take a shower by himself. His condition began to decline suddenly around Christmas-- we took him to his cardiologist on the 3rd, but the cardiologist didn't think he needed hospitalization, only a change in medication. And then two nights later he passed away (one day before my birthday). Our immediate family was small (I have one older brother) and extremely close. My parents were married sixty years, and knew each other for seventy-eight! As you can imagine, we are all devastated. Fortunately we have quite alot of relatives and friends in the area who have been very supportive. Yet losing him seems unbearable. These days I am preoccupied by "what ifs"-- What if we had taken him to the hospital immediately instead of waiting for an appointment with his cardiologist? What if there hadn't been severe storms in California over Christmas which discouraged us from calling an ambulance? What if the book I had ordered on how to nurse elderly patients had arrived the day before he passed away instead of the day after? What if his cardiologist had given me a straight answer when I asked what warning signs to look for instead of giving me a look as if to say "How can you bother me with such a stupid question?" Guilt, blame, anger, depression...and so much uncertainty. I am hoping that this site will help. Ultimately we all depend on the kindness of strangers.
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