Dad’s death was unexpected and traumatic.


My dad recently passed away from Lung cancer, a diagnosis that he only received just under 4 weeks before his death.

I feel let down by the NHS, the non-existing palliative care, and others who were meant to support my dad and his family.

In some ways, I believe there is a failing with my dad’s care and in due course I will be retrieving his medical records to investigate this.

For now, I am having to navigate my unexpected grief and unexpected trauma. I was with my dad for his last 24hrs and it was a harrowing experience. There was no peace in his death, and I was often left pleading with the nurses on duty to help him.

It was so bad that the last words he ever managed to speak to me will forever haunt me…

“I want to die.”
“This is torture.”

Following these words, he proceeded to attempt hitting himself in the chest with what little energy he had left in a bid to trigger a heart attack.

Unfortunately, that didn’t work and it took a few more agonising hours for him to eventually die.

I feel so alone and angry in this grief. Talking about this with family is out of the question as I’d prefer not to upset them with such details, but what do I do?

How do I move on and live with this for the rest of my life?


I am so very sorry.
What a tragic situation for you.
I can’t begin to know how you’re feeling but do understand the sense of wanting to protect others from what you’ve seen and the reality of the situation.
I think in the short term you don’t move on, you muddle through day-to-day (or hour by hour)……as to the carrying that knowledge, I find writing down how/ what I’m feeling can be helpful, perhaps that might work if you are not able to speak with anyone…….?

My heart goes out to you. So sorry about your father. :heart: Several of us here have lost our dads and harbour anger at how our loved ones were treated by the medical staff. You’re not alone, though I know it feels that way if you don’t have anyone close to you to talk to. Reading and posting here can help. But I think you need to process this with a professional as well. Try to find a counsellor who has experience in trauma. If it isn’t possible through your GP, you might have to go private, but you have been through so much and those memories are too painful to bear on your own. Sending love and light. :people_hugging:

Hi @temo I’m sorry that sounds awful, your poor dad :pensive:

Your experience reminds me of what happened to my mum a bit too. She also had lung cancer but we didn’t find out until late, stage 4. She was almost about to have her treatment when she suffered a stroke and had to go to hospital, then died in hospital a few weeks later. Watching her struggle to breathe was horrific and haunts me. She used to say things like shoot me, and that she wants a new body, and once she knew she was going to die on the last day, she wanted the fear and struggle to be over. It was horrific. She only got palliative care the last few hours. I had a lot of sensory nightmares at first about the sound of the oxygen mask, and the beeping heart monitor. These have thankfully faded a bit.

I feel very alone and angry in my grief too. I also haven’t shared these harder more traumatic details with other family. But I also don’t have close family who I’d really want to tell, so am dealing with it alone.

I’m not sure how we move forward, apart from the hope that the awful memories will fade and we will think more about our happy memories with our parent. I don’t want to always think of my mum not able to breathe in hospital, because for most of her life she was lively, joyful, smiling and happy. I try to think of her like that instead and look at smiley photos and videos and I also still talk to her and tell her how I’m feeling. I tell her it was awful and unfair and I’m sorry. You could try talking to your dad still too, telling him how you feel? It also helps knowing you’re not alone in your grief and struggle. Others like me understand x