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Father died and I don't understand my reaction


maria42

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My dad died suddenly 20 days ago while he was sleeping. He was perfectly healthy, aged 63, and, like so many other fathers, a great dad. We were very very close.

I was visiting home when this happened. I was woken up by my mom in the morning, and I was so shocked when I saw him that I felt numb (I felt nothing, I just looked and looked, and acted like a robot afterwards to help arrange the practicalities) and unable to understand that my dad was just gone for a long time, we were talking and laughing only a few hours ago, and he was so very cheerful and loving.

This is my first significant loss in life - I have lost all my grandparents, and although that was very sad back then, this feels very different. It changes everything and for the first time I feel unprotected. Yet I don't really understand my reactions so far and this is why I am writing here, just in case anyone at all can understand and share.

I have cried very little since dad died. I kind of know he is gone, yet I feel as if I am holding my breath since his death, trying to take care of my mother and appear strong. I am more concerned about making everyone else at home feel OK, and I have not spent any time at all thinking of my relationship with him and how much his absence will affect me. I have cried only a couple of times briefly, thinking of things that will happen in my life and he won't be there to see, and thinking that I will no longer have him tell me he loves me when leaving home after visiting. We were very close. I feel I have to say this cause this lack of profound grief seems unjustifiable in my eyes - not concerned about others, it's about my own feelings I am concerned.

I keep talking about his funny moments to mom and others, laughing at the great fun moments we had together. As if I am preserving his presence in the house and in my life. I dream of him but I am not crying or feeling lost, feeling as if I am holding my breath. Then, other than that, I have developed this fear of the same thing happening to mom. And finally, I have many weird physical symptoms in the last days. Twitching arms and legs occasionally, muscle pains, and today my heart was beating fast during the day, very slight chest pain too. Overall, I feel my body is ready to explode. I had to force myself to cry a bit just a while ago just in case this would help me let go of the tension.

I am not getting it. I normally express my feelings very easily. Will I find away to express my grief for my dad?

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My dad died suddenly 20 days ago while he was sleeping. He was perfectly healthy, aged 63, and, like so many other fathers, a great dad. We were very very close.

I was visiting home when this happened. I was woken up by my mom in the morning, and I was so shocked when I saw him that I felt numb (I felt nothing, I just looked and looked, and acted like a robot afterwards to help arrange the practicalities) and unable to understand that my dad was just gone for a long time, we were talking and laughing only a few hours ago, and he was so very cheerful and loving.

This is my first significant loss in life - I have lost all my grandparents, and although that was very sad back then, this feels very different. It changes everything and for the first time I feel unprotected. Yet I don't really understand my reactions so far and this is why I am writing here, just in case anyone at all can understand and share.

I have cried very little since dad died. I kind of know he is gone, yet I feel as if I am holding my breath since his death, trying to take care of my mother and appear strong. I am more concerned about making everyone else at home feel OK, and I have not spent any time at all thinking of my relationship with him and how much his absence will affect me. I have cried only a couple of times briefly, thinking of things that will happen in my life and he won't be there to see, and thinking that I will no longer have him tell me he loves me when leaving home after visiting. We were very close. I feel I have to say this cause this lack of profound grief seems unjustifiable in my eyes - not concerned about others, it's about my own feelings I am concerned.

I keep talking about his funny moments to mom and others, laughing at the great fun moments we had together. As if I am preserving his presence in the house and in my life. I dream of him but I am not crying or feeling lost, feeling as if I am holding my breath. Then, other than that, I have developed this fear of the same thing happening to mom. And finally, I have many weird physical symptoms in the last days. Twitching arms and legs occasionally, muscle pains, and today my heart was beating fast during the day, very slight chest pain too. Overall, I feel my body is ready to explode. I had to force myself to cry a bit just a while ago just in case this would help me let go of the tension.

I am not getting it. I normally express my feelings very easily. Will I find away to express my grief for my dad?

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HI: I have a feeling you are in protection mode. I am not sure how old you are but watch your health. I bet your not allowing yourself to grieve but it will eventually come out. I feel better after I cry...

Your reaction is different than most. Life does seem to be so unfair sometimes. I lost my mum 3 months ago yesterday and its very hard. I cry, life seemer colder harder somehow. My mother was a wonderful person and i miss her alot.

Make sure to take care of yourself and not be the strong one all the time. You need to grieve too. I go to the gym to release tension, swimming, working out, etc, it helps alot.

I also think because he died suddenly you didn't go through what many of us go through dealing with the suffering, and the tubes, hospital, etc which is very draining. You might be in shock of some sort.

I will hope and pray things get better, its so new for you....I am sure you miss him very much. Take care of yourself. Debbie Not sure why you would not feel profound grief unless you were not that close.

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Thank you both for your replies. I am so sorry for your losses too.

I am not sure how that happened but I seem to have all the sadness blocked in my body and unable to express it like I have in so many other occassions.

I also seem to be unable to stop acting strong for others, for now - I keep telling myself dad would want me to do this for mom. I am still at home with mom and will stay here for some time. I am thinking of the time I will go back to my place in a few weeks, and I picture me being extremely sad and lonelly, thinking about me and dad and all the things I will want to tell him, I really feel I am postponing the crying. I do hope I'll manage to cry eventually to release the emotion and the tension.

I am 29 and otherwise totally healthy but last days have been hard. After writing the post yesterday I got a panick attack thinking that my mother and brother may die like this tomorrow too. I also got so scared thinking I will eventually run out of fond memories of dad, and that I may eventually forget him. I was so very close to him and I cannot admit it that that was it and that he is gone just like that. Maybe it takes time to accept when it happens like that. I don't know

I hope a different stage will come to release the pain differently. If not I may try seeing a specialist.

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Thank you both for your replies. I am so sorry for your losses too.

I am not sure how that happened but I seem to have all the sadness blocked in my body and unable to express it like I have in so many other occassions.

I also seem to be unable to stop acting strong for others, for now - I keep telling myself dad would want me to do this for mom. I am still at home with mom and will stay here for some time. I am thinking of the time I will go back to my place in a few weeks, and I picture me being extremely sad and lonelly, thinking about me and dad and all the things I will want to tell him, I really feel I am postponing the crying. I do hope I'll manage to cry eventually to release the emotion and the tension.

I am 29 and otherwise totally healthy but last days have been hard. After writing the post yesterday I got a panick attack thinking that my mother and brother may die like this tomorrow too. I also got so scared thinking I will eventually run out of fond memories of dad, and that I may eventually forget him. I was so very close to him and I cannot admit it that that was it and that he is gone just like that. Maybe it takes time to accept when it happens like that. I don't know

I hope a different stage will come to release the pain differently. If not I may try seeing a specialist.

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Hi Maria,

I know you've heard this time and time again but accept my deep condolences for the loss of your dear dad. I lost my dad not to death but just that he left. The pain was, is, very bad but my life has gone on. I also have many many beautiful memories with him and I cry from time to time but I've got to say that in the beginning I was so strong, for years actually. It's not until recently that I've been experiencing a loss, a lot of things about dads make me cry. Anyway, enough about me. What I wanted to say is that everyone grieves differently, one thing I do think is happening is that you are in a deep state of shock. Those usually last, and not putting a timeline here, but about 6-8 weeks. Then reality sets in. Please take it day by day, just because you have not been able to grieve like most does not mean that you were not close to him or anything like that so don't be too hard on yourself. I know of a friend who it took a year before the reality of the loss of his father set in, it even took like 6 months for him to really cry.

I'm so impressed by how strong you have been for your family, you seem like you are such a good and responsible daughter. Although it may take some time, the good news is that recovery is possible. It may take months, a few years, or even longer. But I can assure you that the acute pain you feel right now will begin to lessen with time. However, please be sure not to be repressing your grief on purpose, this can be harmful mentally, emotionally and even physically, as why it may be a reason you might be having spasms. If you find it difficult to talk about your grief, you can try writing as a helpful release. Write in a private journal or come here to the forum where we can all sympathize with you. You can make a scrapbook with pictures of happier times and by looking at them, it will be painful at first, but you will eventually find comfort. Crying is also an emotional release, the Bible says that, "For everything there is an appointed time, even...a time to weep." (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4)

Maria, at times you will feel that you are on an emotional roller coaster, but remember that you do not have to be ashamed of your tears, its part of the healing process. Hopefully we can hear back from you soon.

Hugs,

Ada

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Maria,

I lost my father very suddenly back in June 2011, I am still in shock to this day! I will tell you that life does go on, but I fear I will never be the same person I was before he passed. I too worry about losing my mother, she is my best friend. I walk into their house to this day and for some reason, I can't explain I look over to his chair and think (Maybe) but he is not there. I know he is gone, I helped plan the funeral although most of it is just a blur..I still can't grasp the fact that he is Gone..Forever! No warning, just gone!

I started seeing a grief counselor in Nov. she helped a lot..I started taking meds. for panick attacks and depression which have helped but only mask what I am really going through on the inside! I pray that I will wake up one day and feel normal again, that I will accept what has happened and that everything will be ok, I pray that everyday. I will pray for you and your family, I hope that peace will find both of us someday.

Kelly

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Thank you all for the replies and I am very sorry for your losses too.

Last night was better and I didn't experience any panic attacks etc., speaking to a couple of my close people on the phone made things easier. I think you are all right, it is probably a state of shock. I realize acceptance will be hard and that grief takes different forms - thanks for reminding me I shouldn't feel odd about my reactions.

A friend who is a medical doctor explained to me that the way my dad died is likely to provoke anxiety and stress for my own health and for my family and that maybe I am becoming too conscious of my body and potentially worrying over things I wouldn't worry much about previously - he was referring to the muscle tensions etc. Apparently he said this is a common reaction for some people under these circumstances, they start worrying about others' health too etc. I hope I'll feel better physically over time and that I'll also find a way of not worrying about my mother's health etc. Going for a short walk today helped a lot too.

Again, very many thanks. I hope we will all find ways of dealing with our losses.

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Maria in some ways I am like you. I cried a bit when Dad died in the Nursing Home, we knew it was coming, my Mum died several years ago and I did the same thing with her although she literally just died.  I have health issues that I didn't have before and I do understand the feeling that you might explode.  I have the feeling that I am constantly shaking inside, I am so tired and forgetful.  My Dad was 85 and we knew he was going to die from an asbestos related cancer.  I read about grieving for the loss of the person you knew even while they are still alive, as they are disappearing before your eyes. I also read that when death came, having had the knowledge that he was going to die would shorten the grieving period.  This is why I don't cry if I can control it and I try to go about my life.  The feelings of tension inside are unbearable though and I have locked myself in the bathroom to cry for a bit of release. Nobody expects me to be still grieving but the truth is I haven't started yet.

 

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Dear Lynne,

My deepest condolences and sympathies on the passing of your father. I'm so sorry for your loss. We all handle grief so differently. There is no right way and we must all do what is right for ourselves. No matter what age we lose our parents it always a horrible shock. I hope you can surround yourself with loving friends and family. And if you want, try to seek out a grief counseling or a support group. I have tried everything myself, trying to find some way to comprehend that my father is really gone. Its a horrible reality that I don't want to face.

Take care my friend. Thinking of you. Sending you lots of love and hugs.

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My dad died a decade ago. Don't miss his presence in the slightest. He walked out on my mother ( who was devoted to him ) and my two brothers and I. Grief has different shades and this is mine ; my mother died, aged 49. She couldn't cope with the realisation that her husband had walked away. She died an alcoholic through shame, the shame being, she couldn't hold on to her "man". My mother drank moderately throughout her life, but he tipped the balance completely. He never apologised through all the contact I retained with him. Love my mum to this day and, well there is no and.

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On ‎2‎/‎15‎/‎2012 at 7:39 PM, maria42 said:
On ‎2‎/‎15‎/‎2012 at 7:39 PM, maria42 said:

I am not getting it. I normally express my feelings very easily. Will I find away to express my grief for my dad?

 

Since my mom passed, I have gone through periods where I feel like I'm "blocked" from my feelings, both good and bad.  I suspect this is a defense mechanism and defense mechanisms have the potential to go into overdrive.  If you feel like you aren't experiencing your feelings, a grief counselor might be able to help you discover if you are just grieving in your own unique way or if your response will be delayed until you feel freer to deal with your grief.  

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