Can’t seem to grieve

Hello and thank you for taking the time to read this.
My father 87 year old was diagnosed with colon cancer last September. It was a battle to get certain family members to listen to my concerns especially my eldest sister ( there is a 10,year age gap between us).
She has a bee in her bonnet about dementia and thought that dad had that so was pursuing a diagnosis for that. Long story short it was cancer and dementia so we were sadly both correct. It’s been a battle ground with her ever since. As I lived so far away from my parents and still work my eldest sister took over the care of my parents. Before she started they were quite independent but after a year she had taken over most aspects of their lives. Power of attorney for us siblings, all paper work stored at her home and she was the point of contact for all Heath professionals.
As a health professional myself I’ve seen things change with my dad and had to become quite the politician negotiating with both my mother and sister to get the appropriate help,for my father.
Last September when the diagnosis came it hit me like a truck and my GP said I was experiencing emotional shock. I’ve prepared myself for the day that my father would pass away and it happened last Tuesday.
My husband and I did weekend shifts caring for my father and on these occasions I was able to contact out of hours GPs to get the help I thought my father needed. My mother was in denial regarding his cancer diagnosis and because I had managed to get proper pain relief for dad , oral morphine, instead of paracetamol she was angry because he was sleeping all of the time. On one occasion she asked me to stop giving it to him so I suggested that she gave me all of her morphine tablets for her arthritis so that she could experience life in pain and then ,all the decision about dads pain relief. Even on Sunday …, dad died on Tuesday…the out of hours GP came out and explained that we were near the end and he suggested that dad be sedated , catheterised so that he had some peace. My mother agreed to,the catheter but didn’t want him too sedated as she wanted him to be aware of her and any pain so he could ask for pain relief if he needed it !!!
My eldest sister has now started a massive production for the funeral with quotes from Shakespeare and naming her deceased daughters favourite charity in the obituary. I went with her to register dad’s death , consult with the funeral directors and find the venue for the wake. She is always looking for conflict and is passive aggressive. I organised all of the grandchildren (27-40) to take turns this weekend popping in to see their grandmother as I had to get back to my home as I had been away for quite a while. I wanted to give her a break but as soon as she was able to criticise she did. I’m finding her very toxic and obnoxious.
So that brings me to my reason for writing, I am unable to grieve for my father. I look at photos of home from the past and the last few weeks where he was a shadow of himself and I feel numb. I haven’t cried whilst I’ve been in my mother or my sisters company as I feel as if showing any vulnerability with these two toxic women will floor me and once I start to cry I won’t know how to stop. I’m reading as many articles as I can to make sure I’m normal as everyone else is sad but I’m just going through the motions waiting for the next onslaught. We have two weeks until the funeral and I’m waiting for the next attack and wondering if that’s why I can’t grieve as I’m protecting myself against more nastiness.
I stood by my sister 6 years ago when her beautiful daughter died of cancer, leaving behind a 15month old baby. I looked after my sister and her husband for years. Staying with them, having them at my home and taking them away in the holidays and at Christmas as they couldn’t face being in their own home. That love and care that I showed my sister is now a long forgotten memory. She has taken over and we are all too frightened to confront her as she has had a breakdown in the past and we don’t want to be responding for another. I felt as if my father was a hostage and as a result of that I had to hold my tongue. But he’s gone now and I only need to get to,the funeral and I can put some distance between us again.
I miss my dad I think but then I wonder if I’m in denial as I feel nothing. Is this a protective mechanism ? On the Sunday before he passed away we spent a lot of time together and I made my peace with him. We sat on his bed together watching George of the Jungle on the iPad with the sound down. He began to smile and I asked him what was so nice that he smiled. He told me that someone had whispered in his ear that they loved him. I love and loved my dad but I feel as if I’m stuck and don’t know what to do. Thank you x

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Hello @Dad311222, thank you so much for sharing your feelings with us - I am so sorry for the loss of your dad.

Your loss is so recent and it is absolutely normal and okay to feel whatever you feel. Although many people refer to the, “stages of grief”, we feel this isn’t quite an accurate representation of what grieving is like. We think of the, “tasks of grief” and the very first one is accepting the reality of the loss. This can take time. It sounds like you have a lot to cope with right now in regards to your family and the practical arrangements, and as you say, you might be trying to protect yourself, too.

I’m sure someone will be along to offer their support, but I wanted to let you know you have been heard. I hope you find the community to be a support to you - take good care,


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