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Someone to understand


pcb1902

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Hello,

I lost my dad in January 2007, he'd been ill for a long time, he'd had colon cancer which was successfully treated but then the cancer came back to his liver. He passed though suddenly from a heart attack.  I have two older sisters and two older brothers but I'm the one that's been left to look after mum, I suppose because I'm the one with no children, no responsiblities and no ties.  I'm happy being there for mum and would be around for her even if the others chipped in.

I haven't been able to grieve for dad, I did for the first three weeks but then it stopped, things got back to normal pretty quickly and I just had to get on with things, I'm there for mum, to listen to her and be with her and so I think I've just pushed my own grief to one side so I can help her and not burden her.

I don't miss my dad and I don't understand why, I loved him very much and still do, I spent a lot of time with him and we were very close - which I suppose makes it harder for me to understand why I feel this way (or don't as the case may be).

My sister is very open with her grief and I constantly hear my mum say how bad my brothers feel about losing dad and how hard they're taking it.  I feel very selfish even as I write this but everybody seems to have forgotten that I lost dad too and it's hard being "the strong one", being the one that can cope or seeming to be cold and unfeeling because I can talk about my dad without getting upset, because I remember who he was, how he was and laugh about the good times - is that so bad?

I feel as if I can't talk about losing dad to anyone, I haven't even attempted it with my family because I know that the conversation would ultimately be about how they feel and because I listen to them I'll let that happen.  I can't talk to friends, I know they'll listen but I feel that they'll just think I should be over this by now.  I've never been one to talk about my problems to anyone so wouldn't know where to start - it's somehow easier on here.

I apologise for going on, but it feels good to get some of this out.   Can anyone relate to this, I need to know that I'm not alone in the way I feel, that I'm not sub-human in some way because of it. I'd appreciate any response.

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My guess is that your feelings are not as intense as you think they should be because you have probably been grieving for your dad much of the time he was sick.  You mentioned that he'd been sick for a long time.  I think when someone we love has an illness that will likely take their lives we are forced to begin the grieving process before they are ever gone, whether we realize it or not.  My dad died this past September and had been ill for about five years.  He did pretty well for the first three years, but the past two, particularly the last year, were so difficult for him and for all of us.  We knew the illness was going to claim his life at some point (pulmonary fibrosis) and I think we all began to grieve.  In some ways, we were able to come to an acceptance of his death before he died, which is often a very, very difficult stage to go through when someone we love dies.  My mom and youngest brother died a number of years ago, nine months apart, one in an accident, the other five weeks after the diagnosis of cancer.  We did not have any time to prepare for their deaths and I know for a fact that my dad's death has been much easier to deal with than theirs.  It hasn't been "easy," just so much less traumatic, which I think really helps with the grief process.  I miss him terribly and I am grieving for him, but the feelings are MUCH less intense than I expected.  Sometimes I feel guilty about that, but I am convinced it is because I began the process once we knew the disease was terminal.  Possibly it's the same with you.

DianeS

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Thank you for your reply.  I never thought of it like that and now you've said that I guess you could be right in what you say.  I went round to see my dad every day, took him to all his hospital appointments, visited him every day when he spent time in hospital and picked him up when he was allowed home, I spent a lot of time with him each day too. I knew on some level that this horrible disease would take him from us, but I altered my attitude towards it so that he wouldn't see and I behaved normally around him.  I always thought I had been in denial about how ill he actually was but thinking about it now it's possible I was mentally preparing myself.

It makes sense and makes me feel like I'm not a freak for not feeling, thank you.  I still don't understand why I don't miss him - maybe my head has fully accepted that he's gone but my heart just needs to catch up.  I am very spiritual and, without wanting to offend, I believe he's still around and I still talk to him, so that could be why I don't miss him either.  I don't know, guess there's always a lot of maybes and that's just life.

Your response has helped - thank you.

Trisha

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I'm sitting here alone and afraid and feeling silly that I'm putting this on here but I just need to get this out of my head a little.

My dad's brother passed away at Easter and in two days time I've got to go to his funeral, he's having a horse drawn carriage as a hearse the same as my dad did, we're going to be following this to the church, we're a big family and a lot of the same people are going to be there, most of them the last time I saw was at dad's funeral.  I know it's going to bring that day back to me and I don't want it to happen, I want to go and pay my respects but it's just going to remind me that my dad's gone and I don't want the grief to start - I know, stupid isn't it, but I don't want to grieve, I don't want to miss him, i don't want him to be gone and if I grieve for him that means he is gone doesn't it, makes it real.

I feel totally pathetic, I'm trying to type this with tears running down my face, but I had to get this out.  I've read some of the other posts on here and feel that I can say that I haven't really got over dad's passing at all, like I pretend with others, that I'm okay and getting on with it - after a year people think you should be 'over it'.

Anyway, thanks for reading.

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Trisha,

Last evening I had dinner with my two brothers.  I was riding home with one of them and we started talking about Dad.  Our conversation was much along the same lines as you wrote in your post.  It has been 7 mos. since our dad died and he said it has only really hit him this month.  He said he hasn't missed him like he thought he would (and yet they were very close), until just his past week.  We talked about what I posted to you and he agreed... that we'd probably done a considerable amount of grieving as we were watching him die those past couple of years.  Also, there was a sense of relief that he was no longer suffering.  That carries you for awhile.  At some point though,  you're going to have to grieve.  If you don't, it comes back to haunt you (no pun intended) at some point. 

My youngest brother was killed in an air force plane crash at the age of 29.  Nine months later my mom died of lung cancer (non-smoker) five weeks after the diagnosis.  She was buried nine months to the day after my brother's funeral.  A few weeks later I was really struggling and decided to go to a grief support group through the American Cancer Society.  What struck me the most was that there were people there who  had lost someone 5, 10 and even 15 years before.  They all said the same thing...that they hadn't grieved at the time their loved one died and after all these years, for some reason, it was hitting them so hard.  The counselor stressed the importance of letting yourself grieve.  I remember at the time feeling like you, that you don't want the grief to start.  After the difficult months of grieving after my brother's sudden death I was afraid that if I started crying for my mom, I'd never be able to stop.  I was so afraid that it was just going to carry me away.  But you know what?  It doesn't.  You grieve, you hurt, you cry, you keep going one day at a time. Your uncle's funeral will likely be difficult and will bring things to the surface for you, but that's okay.  Everyone there will probably be fighting the same feelings.  They will also be remembering your dad's funeral.  There is comfort being among those who understand. 

DianeS

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I know.

I know it will be hard and I know others will be thinking and feeling the same, and I know that my sister will cry, my brother most probably, my other sister will be quiet during the service (and then spend the rest of the day talking about herself and her great holiday she just had in Florida) and I know I'll act normally until I'm alone.  I know this sore throat I have is most probably nothing to do with the great British weather and more to do with how I feel - and I know you probably know what I mean when I say that I know what you say is right but...

And I hope you don't take offence at the above, I really do appreciate your response and am grateful to be able to talk about how I feel, because finally someone has listened and not made me feel as if what I feel isn't as bad as them and I'm allowed to be sad for me, just because I don't show it doesn't mean it's not there.

I'm so glad I found this site - even to have just one person reply means a lot, after so long of not being heard.  And I've just realised that probably makes me sound like some kind of weirdo loner person, I'm not but I'm gonna leave that bit in anyway.

Once again thank you.

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