Feeling lonely after my Dad has gone

Hi, my Dad passed away on August 9th from heart failure. He was only diagnosed with it about 8 weeks prior to him going and it all seemed to happen fast. He moved in with me and my family for two weeks before having a week in hospital, which is where his heart stopped.
I went back to work last Monday and thought I was doing fine, but come the Friday, was feeling very emotional and have been again all weekend and today. I feel so angry - we weren’t allowed to visit him in hospital due to covid (understandably) but it is making me feel so much anger to the virus for taking away that last week he was here and that he couldn’t do his usual activities in the last year of his life.
I’m so overwhelmed too. I don’t have a relationship with my mother, so I was super close to my Dad, and I have a brother that lives 4 hours away and another that my Dad had fallen out with, so it’s all down to me to sort out Dad’s house and get it ready to sell (we live nearby) and I’m just feeling like I may sink with the pressure of it all. I’ve a 2 year old so I can’t just ‘stop’ and my fiance has been amazing in helping in planning the funeral, but he’s also got a demanding job.
So I’m just on here to vent and ask if it ever gets easier? I know I’ll have good and bad days but right now I just miss him so much and am hating life without him. On the surface I seem okay as I have to be, but I feel so alone in the sense that there isn’t anyone to be thinking or looking out for me in the way that a parent does. It’s a very odd lonely feeling. I was out running at lunchtime and a bus passed very close to me, and I just burst into tears as I thought (other than my partner and child) there wouldn’t be anyone to inform if I was hurt. Other things like sending pictures of my daughter to him - I can’t do that now and get a response and it’s just making me sad and angry, not with him, but that a heart can just stop.

Not sure if I’m looking for advice here but was happy to find this where people can share their feelings.

Dear Debnichs,

This site is a good place to express your feelings. We all know what it is like to grief the loss of a loved one, even though our circumstance may be different. It sounds like you and your dad were very close. It is very early days for you and it is totally normal to go rhough a whole range of emtions. I remember bursting into tears the first time I went to a buy chips in a place I had often been to with my dad. It is sad that your brothers cannot help you with all the practical things that need to be done and that you don’t have a good relationship with your mother. On the plus side, you have a supportive fiance. Sometimes, being very busy, can be a help. Your 2 year old relies on you and I am sure that you are doing an amzing job, juggling all the different roles. Do try to look after yourself too, it is so easy to forget to eat proper meals and get enough sleep when you are grieving. I found that in the time leading up to the funerals of my parents, I was in sort of auto pilot mode, and it was only after that when it really hit me. You ask if it will ever get easier. From my own experience, and from the many psots I have read on this site, I would say: yes, it will get easier, but how and when is different for everyone. I don’t agree with the saying that time heals, but I do think it is very true what some sle posted recently: time helps. Just take things one day at a time. Take care. xx

Thank you for your response. The funeral has been and I initially felt better, but its come back I think more in terms of feeling sad at the hole that is left. I’m glad I’ve found this site though as its comforting to read other’s experiences. Also I’m sorry that you’ve gone through the losses that you have x

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Hi Debnichs, I’m really sorry to read that you have lost your Dad. It sounds like you’ve done and are continuing to do a huge amount. Well done, many people can’t or don’t do the workload that comes with illness and death.

I can relate to many of the things you’ve mentioned. My Mum also died relatively suddenly of heart failure. I’m a year in after her death and have found grief an unpredictable, unimaginably strange experience so far. I think it just takes so much patience with yourself, which is incredibly difficult when life is demanding (and often more than before in terms of workload around the person’s estate etc.) I still have many days that are raw with pain and many more that are just kind of flat and empty-feeling. I have feelings of happiness too at times and some increasing sense of getting used to her absence (although it remains incomprehensible to me, I’m guessing it always will be). So I don’t know that it’s gotten easier, just that everything’s changed so much and continues to. I often feel like grief has it’s own life force and I’m a kind of unwilling passenger.

I hope that you feel some moments of warmth and peace along the way. You’ll be doing your utmost, even when you feel like you’re not xx

Thank you for your reply, Treehugger. Thank you, it feels heavy, but my dad was a hoarder, so someone has to do it and to be honest I’d not want anyone else doing it. Getting rid of his stuff feels heart breaking though. I took this small grandad clock (wall hanging size) to the tip today (I know I could have donated/sold it but there is so much to do, some things are easier to throw, which I hate saying to you with your username! plus I’m an environment lover), but I handed it over and the guy threw it in the appropriate skip and I almost burst into tears (waited until I was in my car), but I’m feeling so much guilt in getting rid of his things, especially as he never threw anything out (I’m keeping lots of useful items as well as sentimental ones). Is it normal to have that kind of guilt? I know he would tell me to do what I need to do, but it’s hard.
Sorry I’ve rambled there…I’m so sorry to hear you lost your mum to heart failure too. Did you know after her diagnosis how far along she was with it? I think I may have been naïve and assumed because we’d only just found out, it meant it can’t be that far along, even though I kept reading how swollen legs were in the last stages, I didn’t allow myself to believe it and I do regret (I don’t have regrets really with my Dad) not realising and maybe being able to talk about it more (death). I just assumed he’d get better with hospital treatment.
I completely understand what you mean about being an unwilling passenger. A friend lost her dad last Christmas, and I’ve said to her it feels like joining this club where we all understand each other but no one wants to be a part of. If you want to chat about losing a parent to heart failure then I’m very keen. It feels so lonely to suddenly lose them, and you life moves on for other people and I find I’m fine around people I’m not close with, but I want to talk about my Dad so much and realise that’s weird for others. That flat feeling you mention; I find that is how I am on a constant state now, unless I’m entertaining my little one etc, but as soon as that stops, my mood goes back to flat. It’s such an odd feeling. I hope you have the support that you need on the days it feels like that xx

Thanks Debnichs. The guilt around throwing things away, I’m pretty sure it’s totally normal… like everything is a connection to them but clearing a house (especially under a degree of time pressure) means feeling those feelings over and over. It’s pretty punishing at times. I keep trying to remember that my Mum would want this process to happen, there’s no way she would want me to torture myself about it but still, I’m just finding it incredibly hard. She wasn’t a hoarder but my Dad kind of is and she kept a lot herself for emotional reasons. So even though my Dad is still alive, he’s not up to doing much clearing and it’s a big job.

I too would love to dispose of everything in an eco-friendly way but it’s just not possible when I’m doing most of the work myself, so please don’t take my username as a judgment, I just love trees and nature (and all the more during grief, they seem to help somehow).

Heart failure, to be honest I just cry when I think about how it all happened. Mum got rapidly iller during the first lockdown, swollen legs, increasing breathlessness. My Dad had had a fall and needed a hip replacement so me and my partner were living with them for several weeks. I could see how she was struggling but every time we spoke to the GP over the phone about the symptoms they said the swelling was probably the heat, her age, her rheumatoid arthritis etc etc… The last time she’d had an image of her heart had been 5 years previously and it was ok at the time. The GP told us we shouldn’t take her to A&E because of covid. None of us had any experience of how heart failure presents. And as the GP knew that she had COPD I would have expected them to be alert to the possibility of heart failure.

Eventually she was admitted to hospital with pneumonia and that’s where they diagnosed the heart failure. Even then, it wasn’t very clear what they expected to happen - sometimes they were sure she would die soon, other times that she might be able to come home and live for several months or even a year. Obviously we lost her before that could happen.

The doctors at the hospital told us that they’d seen many families in our position, having been told to keep their ill loved one at home during the lockdown and then ending up in hospital when death was much closer. They told us that we didn’t do anything wrong, which I was so grateful to hear.

I know I did my very best to look after her, not knowing what was happening but I think like you I look back at what turned out to be the signs of the heart problem and wonder how it was that I didn’t understand. It’s not guilt, it’s just beyond sadness. As the months have gone by, I have gotten more used to those feelings but I’m changed forever by what’s happened.

I have counselling, which for me personally has been a good fit, I know not everyone finds it a good experience. And my partner has been with me the whole time. So I’m trying to use what I have to rebuild some sense of myself.

Don’t ever worry about rambling. I haven’t always had an off button with all this and I think it’s just trying to begin to make some sense of it all.

The flatness/ emptiness whatever it is. You hear about bereaved people feeling like this but have no idea what it means until you feel it yourself! I’m glad that your relationship with your little one is providing some liveliness in amongst it.

Would definitely be up for chatting, either on here or a phonecall. Will message you.xx

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