Guilt and sorrow

My dad passed away on the 23rd October. Although he had terminal cancer and we knew it was a matter of weeks, he was relatively healthy on the 21st and the palliative care team were planning to come and discuss getting a hospital bed and other end of life things on the Friday.
Because of the speed which he deteriorated, me, my sis and my mum spent most of the Thursday having to support him alone, trying to move him and stop him falling off the bed.
He was in incredible distress - I never want to hear the groans he made ever again. He hadn’t had any pain relief as he kept insisting he wasn’t in pain, by the Thursday he couldn’t converse with us just kept this awful groaning and thrashing around. He hadn’t eaten or drank for over 24 hours at this point, was retching up thick black blood. Eventually we got a district nurse who put in a syringe driver and gave him some medication supposed to calm him but it didn’t work. In the midst of this a hospital bed arrived, we didn’t know it was coming so we had to get the neighbours to come and literally throw the furniture outside to get the bed in. Paramedics had to transfer him downstairs again he was groaning with pain the whole time. He was given morphine but it didn’t settle him, I had to come home to see my children and an out of hours doctor came and gave him more morphine and advised that he would likely pass within hours. When I returned at 11.30 my sister and I sent my mum to bed. Dad was still unsettled although not as distressed as previously. We sat and chatted quietly whilst being human bed guards - there were no rails on the bed and the amount he was moving meant he was near to falling off constantly.
We realised at 12.30am that his breathing was very slow 1 breath every 30+ seconds. We sat and counted the time between breaths until they stopped.
I feel awful that my mum wasn’t there. That Dad had to suffer. We were alone most of the time except when someone came to administer medicine. Because it was half term immediately afterwards I had to be strong for my kids and I am only just reliving things. I had blocked it from my mind just how awful it was.
I don’t know what to do with my feelings. I work in a school and should have been back to work yesterday but I broke down as soon as I spoke to a colleague. I’m supposed to be back tomorrow and feeling pressure from the head to return. I don’t know what to do.

Dear Narble,
You have just suffered a massive loss so it is totally normal that your emotions are all over the place.
Having been at home with my mum and sisters when my dad died, I know how hard is is to see someone you love die. It sounds like your dad may have had an internal bleed that caused him such sudden pain and distress. I am so sorry that your last hours with him were so traumatic. I can understand that you sent your mum to bed, at that moment that was probably the best thing to do, so don;t blame yourself for her not being there when he stopped breathing. The main thing is that he was not alone, but you and your sister were there. Just before my dad died, we had encouraged my mun to leave his side for a bit to have something to eat. We never know exactly when it will happen.
I cannot believe that your school is putting pressure on you to come back to work. You and your family need time together and your employer should understand that and give you compassionate leave. If they insist, maybe you could ask your GP for advice.
Jo

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Yes. I agree with that. Surely you are allowed compassionate leave? Do they realise what has happened and have you spoken to the Head teacher? A trauma such as you have experienced needs time to take in. A few days is not enough.
To put pressure on you to return may be their way of trying to ‘occupy your mind’ which is not possible in the face of such a loss. If you see your GP you could get a sick note which would settle the matter. Please go and get some advice.
We are all with you in your sorrow. Blessings. John.

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Sorry, should have been addressed to Narble.

Thank you both. I think that’s what my head thinks, that being with the kids would take my mind off things. But I know I need to process my emotions because being 100% for 6+ hours in front of children who need my support is hard at the best of times. I have contacted a bereavement charity for counselling and she also recommended that I contact my Dr .

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