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lost both parents 2 weeks apart, feeling lost


brokendays00

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brokendays00

At the beginning of last month, both of my parents and i were admitted to the hospital, all 3 of us with covid-19. I was admitted to a regular room, as was my mother, but my father was taken straight to the ICU, where after a few days he was intubated and placed on a ventilator. A few days after that, my mom was transferred to the ICU as well. I was discharged after 6 days. a couple days later, i was told my mom was intubated and placed on a ventilator as well. Over the next week and a half, i was told that they were making progress. very slow progress, but progress nonetheless. 

Then my mom took a turn for the worse. Prior to this hospital stay, she was also suffering from 3rd stage COPD, kidney disease, diabetes, and congestive heart failure. All of which were reasonably under control. But the covid-19 did too much damage to her body that she didnt survive. She passed away on July 18th.

My father was continuing to make very slow progress, but then he had a hemorrhagic stroke causing a seizure and a brain bleed. From there it only got worse, HIS kidney shut down, his heart rate was erratic, and the ventilator was doing 100% of his breathing. On July 31st, he passed away.

This happened 3 days after their 41st wedding anniversary by the way.

I was unable to visit them for several reasons. I was under a 2 week quarantine because if my covid diagnosis. And since both of my parents were in a highly controlled covid wing of the ICU, there were no visitors allowed anyways. So my mom passed without my being able to see her. Thankfully, i finally tested negative, and so did my dad, so he was moved to the regular wing of the ICU, so I was able to see him. Twice, before he died.

My parents have always been the ONE constant in my life. I'm 38 years old, and i feel like the last decade I took them for granted. I feel lost. Thankfully i have a very supportive girlfriend, and some very helpful neighbors. I live on the opposite side of the country from my extended family, so they help as much as they are able to. But heres the kicker: My dad's extended family? They ALL coincidentally got the coronavirus as well. Including my dad's identical twin brother. He is currently recovering at home after his own 11 day hospital stay, so he hasnt been able to help out as much as he would have liked to.

 

I am a single child, so now i am having to deal with the final arrangements for both parents, and the hassle of managing their estate, and i feel like i havent given myself proper time to grieve. And i worry I'm not grieving properly. I've cried, but not as often or for a long as i feel like should be doing. I'm also dealing with the guilt from probably being the person who passed the virus on to them. I feel like i may have essentially killed my own parents.

 

I guess im just looking for any advice or wisdom from people who have also lost parents.

 

Thank you for reading.

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wildflower74

Hi there friend, 

This is so much for one person to endure. I'm sorry. And people who lost someone before coronavirus can't fully understand what it's like in your situation (wondering if you accidentally killed your parents... I mean, that is so shitty), so that's another level of suffering and loneliness. This sucks and I'm sorry. I'm so sorry you didn't get to see your mom too.

I know you said you're seeking wisdom or advice, and I just lost my dad a week ago, so I don't have any yet. A family friend lost both his parents to murder suicide a few years ago and like you had to make all the arrangements afterward. I saw him yesterday and for me, the most reassuring part of his visit wasn't anything he said, but instead was the knowing look in his eyes when we sat in silence. His eyes held so much pain, and I felt he had been where I am and understood. It made me feel less alone in this. I only lost one parent and can't imagine losing both so close together... I hope passing my friend's story and presence along will help you in some small way.

I hope it's okay if I just sit here in my grief with you and tell you how much I relate. My dad didn't die from Covid, but I still identify with so much of what you described and I'm close to you in age. He was immunocompromised and vulnerable to minor viruses and infections that healthy people wouldn't even notice. It was one of these viruses that killed him. He was in the hospital for a month and we were not allowed to see him. Each day we anxiously awaited the nurse's report. Like you, I had hope for a while as he seemed to be making slow progress. Some days he'd get a little worse, some a little better. Even as recent as July 23rd we still thought he would make it. He had similar complications as your parents-- intubation and respirator, heart rate all over the place, kidney function going down, brain swelling at the end. He was confused or unresponsive much of the time, but I didn't want him to feel like we abandoned him, so I called a few times, had the nurse put me on speaker and talked to him, sometimes while he was unconscious. The last time I talked to him he tried really hard to respond... he sounded urgent. But his speech was slurred and muddled, and I couldn't understand him. I said, "I'm so sorry dad but I can't understand you. Let's talk tomorrow and I'll try again to understand." That night he took a turn and was never responsive again. I think he knew he wasn't coming back. I feel so much regret for not trying harder to hear what he was trying to communicate, not being more patient and waiting longer, not saying more while I had the chance. I realized a couple days later that I'm pretty sure he was trying to tell me he loved me. They finally allowed us into the respiratory ICU to say goodbye on July 26th. The allowed us about 6 hours total, although they told us multiple times that they were "making exceptions to their covid policy" and letting 3 people in instead of 2, and letting us stay longer than the half hour they were allowed. My mom said her last words via phone we held up to his ear, because she didn't want to risk getting covid in the hospital. I wanted to be with my dad when he passed so that he wouldn't die alone or with a stranger. But they kicked us out. What a wretched time it is right now. So much pain for so many. 

I also can relate to not feeling like you're grieving enough or like you're supposed to. There's so much going on that first week or so with making arrangements, talking to the funeral home, accepting condolences, etc. It can really take up your time and energy. I have been trying to avoid social media, tv, and other distractions when I can so that I have that extra time and quiet to feel my grief.

 

 

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wow

so sorry to hear this horrible covid story 

many people all over this country have covid stories, mostly about not being with their loved one when they passed. this is a traumatic thing and I am not sure how you would get over this other than thinking "it was just meant to be this way" for some unknown reason many people were not meant to be there. .....I know that has no comfort but know u are not alone.

as far as the guilt...I think most of us have this and as a good person, this self reflection is part of growth. what u don't want to do is stay in that guilt. when it comes you HAVE TO send it away. you have to think you made some mistakes and you are sorry and will try not to do these things again and then you must MOVE ON, like in 30 seconds MOVE ON. you may even have to say STOP out load then force yourself to think of something else

think of something NICE peaceful and something that makes you happy about the good things about your parents

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wildflower74

I don't know if you read my previous response but I wanted to add something. I don't know if it'll be helpful. But I talked to the family friend who had lost both his parents at the same time a few years ago. He just said that all the cliches are true-- "take it one day at a time" and "time heals." I had hoped he had some magic thing to say but there just isn't. It's hard. Hoping you find some peace and thinking of you.

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brokendays00 if you ever need to "talk" please feel free to send me a message. I did not lose my parents at the same time but have dealt with guilt and have lost them both. I can relate to a lot of what you say and am willing to talk if you need a friend. Being parentless earlier than you expect is ….without words.

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thanks....today seems harder. I was screaming in the car driving to work and crying so easily. I am angry that she had to leave me so soon. She still had so much life in her. It is hard without my mom my friend

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It _is_ so hard. My mom was my very best friend. People are surprised to hear that for most of the time she was here with me, we didn't argue...at all. We only had disagreements at really rough times. We always knew the other one cared and loved unconditionally. My mother was also the most beautiful person. I hope you are able to have some peace rather than the sadness this evening. 

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