Members piece Posted May 14, 2011 Members Report Share Posted May 14, 2011 This is my first time writing here. It's been 18 months since I lost my father to a very rare form of cancer. When he died in the fall of 2009, I was 18, and my brothers were 16 and 14. Every day is still a struggle. Going through my first year of college 2,000 miles away from home at the time he was diagnosed and starting treatment-- my life seemed chaotic to say the least. Going off to college is one of those milestones in your life, I guess. Moving out of your parent's house for the first time, tasting independence. I had no idea when I left for college I would be hit with so many life milestones in just two years. I left my home for the first time, I moved to a different state on the other side of the country, I met my first love and soulmate in college, and just shortly after was forced to say goodbye to my Dad. I had no idea I would have to cope with the loss of my father just 12 months after I first left for my freshman year. What hurts me most about the whole thing is thinking about how young my brothers are. They're just kids; they're too young to be going through this. I think about how my Dad will never get to see them graduate from high school or college. And how he'll never be able to walk me down the aisle or meet his grandchildren. My mom of course has had a tumultuous ride so far in her journey with grief. She lost her other half of 21 years, and has had to watch our family unit have the floor ripped out from underneath us. But my mom had lost her father (my grandpa) about twelve years ago to cancer, and since that time she has thrown herself into cancer caregiver advocacy and helps hundreds of people every year through her website and writing. Because of this, I think she's already had a strong foundation for how to deal with loss and begin a healthy road to healing. But as for us kids, we're just kids. I feel so angry sometimes, but mostly I just feel sad for my brothers and my mom. And myself. I never thought I would have to say goodbye to my Dad, never mind when I was so young. What am I supposed to do when one of the most important people in my world disappears forever? I still don't know what I'm supposed to do most of the time. I still cry a lot. But for those of you who may have lost someone just a week, or a month, or a year ago, I want to say that it slowly, VERY slowly, will get better for you.I remember in the first few months it took nothing at all to make me cry. After my father passed away, I had to almost immediately jump back into college classes, as my family had discussed extensively during the course of the illness. My father especially was adamant that my education not falter in the least and that I throw myself completely into hard work and achievement, rather than allowing myself to get swallowed by my grief. I had no idea how hard that promise would be to keep. Sitting in class just a week after my Dad's funeral, I remember a professor going off on a tangent and trying to do a little comedy routine talking and laughing about how awkward funerals can be (God knows why this topic came up in our small art studio class--especially since I had been communicating with this guy back and forth with updates since day 1 of the semester about why I had been missing class, FOR MY FATHER'S FUNERAL...) I remember the second he started in with "Yeah, I had a funeral to attend a few months back... They're just awkward. Funerals can be funny sometimes..." my boyfriend glanced at me sideways with a look of horror on his face and I was set off immediately. I was so heated, I left the class and slammed the door behind me, maybe shouted something along the lines of "F***ING RIDICULOUS" which was when I think it dawned on the #$*&!^* how he had just majorly put his foot in his mouth.Over the months, it was like the rawness began to slowly, slowly heal over, so that the slightest little things--like a TV commercial or the sight of a Dad holding his little boy's hand--weren't sending me immediately into fits of sobbing. But my father's long and drawn out suffering (I lived in the hospice unit of our local hospital with him for about 7 weeks, where we never knew if he would wake up the next day and he was rarely coherent because of morphine and other meds.) has left a permanent scar on me. Despite feeling some emotional healing, I unfortunately feel myself entering a new, unhealthy, stage in my grief. My general anxiety is totally magnified. I've become scared socially, I don't talk to anyone now really and I try to sit alone and be alone as often as I can, which I hate. I want to have friends again! And to smile more and really laugh...and go to parties and sports games and be a fun and active college kid like I used to be and should be now! I'm terrified of wasting what's left of my youth.I started seeing a grief/trauma counselor last month for the first time since my dad's death and she diagnosed me with PTSD. If anyone else is experiencing social phobia/anxiety or PTSD as a result of traumatic loss, I would really appreciate hearing from you. Does it improve with time? Do you think it's better to try to push yourself out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself to muscle through it? Or do you find it better to nurture and 'baby' yourself and your emotional needs? I refuse to be a victim. All I want is to be the healthiest and happiest me I can possibly be. 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