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Hello all,

My name is Mary and I'm 20 years old.

When I was 15 my dad was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. My family was assured that despite it's rarity, my dad would be ok. I chose to believe this. I remember crying when my mom told me he had cancer, but then deciding I was only going to be positive because there was no point in being negative or afraid. My dad went through surgeries and chemotherapy and radiation over the course of many months. I don't remember a lot of this time because he worked away from home and would only come home on the weekends. I also probably don't remember much because looking back I think I was just repressing the whole thing. I didn't tell but one of my friends he was diagnosed with cancer. 

So months later he was in remission, I was 16, and coming to the end of my sophomore year of high school. I remember my dad and my mom leaving to go to the hospital to finish up his treatments. I don't remember being told things were going wrong. He woke up one night with his heart racing and my mom took him to the ER and they were going to figure it out. I can't remember if I visited the hospital where he was, or if I didn't see him until he was transferred to a hospital at home. 

The cancer had spread. He was too weak to undergo anymore chemo or radiation. They were going to try one last, new, biological medicine and if that didn't work, he would die. 

Somehow I maintained my hope that it would work and he'd be ok like he was supposed to, but it didn't.

My family gathered around his hospital bed as he apologized to us for not realizing something was wrong earlier. I was trying not to cry because I didn't want him to feel bad but that meant I couldn't speak either. He was going to be transferred to hospice and pass away within a few days. Once he got to hospice he was essentially incoherent because he was on so many painkillers. 

It feels like he held on for weeks. In reality, I don't know long it was. 

I visited frequently, but I never knew what to say. What do you say to your dying father? I don't remember much about this time either.

Eventually, he passed and we had a funeral where we live now, and one where he was from originally. He was buried there.

I didn't cry at either funeral. I wanted to be strong. I didn't want to be pitied. I know now that this was just me repressing the entire ordeal. 

So I probably haven't dealt with it. I don't know how. My dad was the first person close to me I'd ever lost. I was 16. I want to deal with this, I just don't know how.

I miss him more every year. You would think that the hole that was left would get smaller,  but it just gets bigger and bigger.

I feel like I had different intentions when I started this post than to just talk about what happened, but now I'm very tired so I guess I'll stop here.

Thank you

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Dear Mary,

I'm very sorry to hear about your hard day. I think losing a parent is one of the hardest things any of us can go through. Please be kind to yourself. We all grieve differently and the emotions can hit us out of no where. It takes a lot of time to come to terms with our thoughts and feelings.

Please don't be hard on yourself about your visits during your dad's illness. Sometimes in those moments we all feel paralyzed about what to do or say.

I just wanted to let you know are you not alone. And that everything you are saying and feeling is normal. If you want consider talking to a grief counsellor or joining a support group. I also find these websites helpful in understanding my feelings. What's Your Grief and the Grief Healing Blog.

Sending all my thoughts and prayers. Please know we are all here to listen and support you in anyway we can.

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When the brain can't handle the things that are happening, it tends to want to stop. it tends to block things out. 

We put on our brave face. We put on a virtual face mask and we try and be strong. 

You are not alone. We all mourn in our own ways.

I am a hugger cos sometimes there are no right words for a situation but hugging and human contact can be a balm of sorts. So I am sending you a hug.

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