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Will be 5 years this week, I am still beyond broken about Dad..


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Hello all..

This is my first time here, and first time posting anywhere about this besides a PTSD forum I joined today. Things have started to get bad, and I really need a friend who understands.

I'm a 27 year old female who lost my father in 2007, on his 54th birthday.

My dad was sick pretty much my entire life, and I spent my time growing up helping my mother care for him instead of having the normal childhood I should have. Dad was a severe diabetic (Native American), and had multiple amputations, surgeries, and illnesses. In 2007, he had his second leg amputated and we almost lost him in June of that year. It was a miracle that we still had him. He made it through surgery and was in rehab, and was honestly the happiest I had ever seen him, ever. He was excited about coming home, about being stable on two prosthetic legs instead of one real and one fake, he wanted to be the man he wasn't able to be. I had never seen him so happy, so bright.

The "nurses" and "doctors" at the rehabilitation hospital where he had been previously learning how to walk the first time he had an amputation allowed him to obtain an infection in his left arm, middle finger to be exact. He was a diabetic, and infections are deadly.

They didn't treat it, even with poking, prodding, and pressure from my mother and I. We saw him slipping away, getting weak, incoherent, not eating. This wasn't dad. Finally they sent him to the ER to have a pic-line put in for antibiotics. The ER doctor pulled my mother and I aside and asked if he had ever had hand surgery and we said no. He asked because the infection had eaten away the entire bone in his middle finger. This doesn't happen over night.

They sent him to an isolation room to begin treating what was now gangrene, we kissed him goodbye and I promised him I'd bring a fan the next day because it was so hot in that room. The next day never came.

2am that night we got the phonecall from the hospital; there had been an incident and we needed to come down. I knew something was bad. Apparently he had gone into cardiac arrest due to the septic shock, and he was without oxygen for 13 minutes (he didn't have a DNR, and the brain starts to die at 3 minutes hypoxia). He was shipped up to ICU, now on life support, having violent seizures as his brain swelled and his eyes bulged out, all while dealing with his gangrenous finger, which had spread to his forearm at this point.

His seizures were so bad he bit through two ventilator tubes, and we had to have a bite block put in so it wouldn't happen again. My mother and I spent 6 agonizing days watching him in ICU, hoping for the best, praying for a miracle, speaking to doctors and trying to make the best choice.

At around 6pm on August 8th 2007, they loaded him up with morphine and pulled the life support system. We gathered around him; I held his hand tight. He gasped, moaned, and strained for air for nearly two hours before he turned blue and took his last breath. I had to tell him it was okay to go.

This was 5 years ago -- I am still a wreck. I have severe PTSD, anger, grief, and other issues from this. I miss my dad. I miss my family. I miss the life I had when I used to smile and knew it would be alright. I have nothing but stress and health problems now, I can't do anything without breaking down.

To complicate matters, I'm a college student and in the funeral industry -- every corpse I see is my dad, in my mind's eye. I just can't do this anymore.

If there's anyone out there who can relate or help, please do. I really need a friend.. thanks..

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Hi Jersey,

I also just joined the forum a few minutes ago. I lost my father too-it happened July, 8. He died from acute leukemia. It is late at night, and I can not sleep, because I think about him.

First of all, I am very sorry for your loss and I do understand your feelings. Unlike your Dad, mine was pretty much a healthy man (only had mild and well-controlled diabetes) before the diagnosis of leukemia. He lived a year after this diagnosis. My Dad was 68. I was with him all the time through treatment, relapse, decline and eventual death. I witnessed his last breath and his last heartbeat. It is very recent, and I do have what you can call "flashbacks" occasionally. I have dreams of him dying and me frantically trying to do something. Or dreams about him bleeding from his nose. Several times I woke up next to my husband and in a daze thought that I am next to my Dad. I call for my father, and try to check his breathing, but then realize that this is not him next to me. I can not get all of this out of my mind. Especially these moments after he just died. He was in hospice home, but me and my Mom were always there, every minute. They washed him and laid him out, and when we went into the room he looked so still, so peaceful. He was still warm, I thought he could take a breath any minute. I hoped it was all a terrible mistake, though I knew that everything is over.

Recently, I had a dream about my Dad that changed my outlook a little bit. In a dream he was in his bedroom looking very healthy and happy. I walked in and was very surprised. I started telling him-how can this be? I know that you died. And he said-no I did not. I am alive and I am here with you. Because I was still doubting in a dream, he invited me to touch him. I came closer to the bed and touched his forehead. It was warm! Then I asked him-what about the funeral, the grave, the death certificate? And he just waved at me like he dismissed all of this. And then the dream faded.

I felt very good after this dream. The heaviness lifted from my chest. I do believe firmly in afterlife. I don't know for sure what and how happens there, but I have no doubt that it exists I think my Dad is trying to tell me that I should not think of these terrible dying moments and days. He is near, though not in the same way. That is how he wants me to think of him. And I try to do this as hard as I can. Jersey, your father is near. He shed his body, that was so sick, but his soul lives forever. He can hear you, and you can talk to him any time. And one day when your time comes, you will meet him again in another world. Do you dream about your father? What kind of dreams do you have?

I know that you are hurting, but hope that you can look at the situation from a different perspective. You are sad because you are separated from your Dad. But think instead about him. He was sick all his life, and at the end very, very sick from what I read in your post. My Dad also had septic shock at the end. The last day of his life he had fever of 105, and it was terrible, just terrible. He was so weak, he couldn't even cough. His mind was pretty much gone, and he was such a smart man in the past. I'll be honest with you, I prayed to God to end his suffering and to take his soul. He died the next morning. And your Dad suffered a lot longer than mine, had all these amputations and other problems. His soul is free now, he is not in pain, doesn't have fever... He will never be sick anymore. He can go wherever he wants. When I think about this in relation to my father, it helps me a little.

You are a young person. I am a bit older than you. I have a family to support and a child to raise. No matter how much I hurt inside, I have to get up in the morning and get things done, though right now I am not very efficient at this. You are just starting your life, but this is the only thing that can help-to get up and do something, even if you don't want to, even when you are hurting. Think of what your Dad would want you to do. Would he want you to be so heartbroken for years? Or would he like you to move on, move forward, make him proud? I feel that my Dad is watching me from above. I think your father is also watching you and he wants you to be happy. Just talk to him, ask him for help, and he will help. You know that you did everything possible for him when he was sick. There is only so much we can do. The moment comes when we realize that the disease is stronger and the battle is lost. But we should be proud that we fought a good fight with our Dads.

You wrote that you are looking for a friend, and I am happy to be your friend. I hope to ease your (and mine) grief a little. I do realize that often words seem empty and don't help much. The problem with words is that they can not do what we want the most-they can not bring our fathers back to us. And the words can not make sick person healthy. That is why I was annoyed by the chaplains who wanted to talk to me when my Dad was dying. Because the words couldn't help. Especially the words from a stranger. Do you take any medicines for PTSD? Sometimes they work wonders. But medicine is only a crutch. You and only you can help yourself-not to forget your father (this will never happen), but to think about him without pain.

Jersey, from what you wrote, I think you mental state is very fragile. It is just the way you are, the way you are made. You could not have chosen a worst major for yourself-a funeral industry. People who work in this field are mentally very strong. They can separate themselves from the pain and sorrow of others. The same can be said about nurses who work in hospice and see all their patient eventually die. I am very grateful for funeral home people who came to pick up my Dad's body and took care of him. They were very professional and nice. But it definitely requires a special kind of person, and it is not for everyone. I think this kind of work is not for you. Probably just changing majors would do wonders for your mental state. Please, do it. You are very young and can easily change direction of your life for your own benefit.

I hope this helps at least a little. I send you a hug, and wish you peace. Please, let me know how you are doing.

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