Just lost my Dad

I’ve never used a site like this before but I feel like I need to talk. I knew my Dad was dying for a long time. He was given a few months, 2 years ago but stuck it out. He was diagnosed with throat cancer just before and he had radiotherapy and so many treatments that he got through so bravely and then on the day they gave him the all clear, they diagnosed him with terminal bowel cancer. So he’d had his teeth taken out, made to feel ill and feeding tubes put into his stomach to make him better put in for nothing because he never really ate again. He just talked about all the food he missed.
He was difficult to grow up with because after my younger brother died he became an alcoholic which involved a lot of pain and distance between us but between the arguments it caused and the distance at times, I always loved him.
After the cancer diagnosis he would rarely talk about it but we became a lot closer although he was very confused at the end and found it difficult to understand what was going on himself.
He died at home in the end. Which he was do desperate to do but he died before I got to say goodbye and I got to my Mum and Dad’s just after he’d left this world and had to let my sister and older daughter know and help with what happened next as my Mum seemed to shut off into a world of her own understandably. As the oldest it felt like my responsibility to help with everything and I don’t begrudge it in any way but I feel like I can’t easily grieve whilst making sure that everyone else is ok.
It sounds silly but it’s like today I woke up after the funeral this week and just had the realisation that my Dad isn’t here any more.
He will never give me away when I get married, he won’t be there to talk nonsense to and have a laugh and I don’t have my Dad any more and I know its selfish because there are other people in my family that feel that pain and people in the world going through more and I had extra time with him but I have to look after them now and don’t feel like I’ve been able to properly grieve myself or cry because I have to be strong like I always have been depended on being from a young age and I just wanted to speak to people who might understand or we could go through this together.
Sorry I know this is long and rambly

Hi Lickey1980
i understand how you feel, my mam had stomach cancer in 2010, had major operation, had chemo lots of tests an was cancer free around 2015. both my parents happy an healthly until late 2018, when my dad got ill, my mams cancer came back when she was caring for my dad. by the time she got to go to doctor, it was too late, she had terminal bone cancer. we lost her in feb20. she battled so hard to stay, she was just too tired. family members came an went to grieve in thier own way, i stayed to support my dad. i dont think ive been able to grieve either, i have flashes then it goes back in the box till next time. im just trying to get thru each day best i can xx

Hi Lickey1980
I have been in similar positions unfortunately, my dad was an alcoholic and it caused rifts in the family. He and my mum divorced when I was very young and I consequently only saw him during summer and Christmas holidays, once I became an adult I could choose when to see him and saw him more often. However, when it came to getting married he didn’t like my choice of groom and we didn’t speak for 2 years and he didn’t walk me down the aisle (but that is another story). We started talking again and I would call in regularly just for a chat and a cup of tea, then he got diagnosed with cancer and we got to know each other even better.
I have an older sister and 2 younger sisters from my Dad’s second marriage and I found myself comforting the younger ones (adults but big age gap) it took me a long time to grieve and find an outlet, and it is hard and I think the grieving only starts after the funeral. Before the funeral you are running around making sure you have all the paperwork and that everyone knows what’s going on organising the wake and food and all the 1000’s of little details, and it’s great it keeps your mind busy but after the funeral you stop and that’s when it hits maybe not the next day but the next week for me it was several months. At the moment it is even harder for you with lockdown but might be worth going for a long walks with a pocket full of tissues, take some deep breaths and remember all the good times. Remember grief is selfish it is yours and how you deal with it and feel it is completely different to how your other family members feel and deal with it.
I lost my Mum Jan 2020 and it has hit me completely differently to when I lost my Dad and it is a struggle. You are not alone.
Here if you need to chat.

Dear Lickey1980,

First off , I hope you’re well and safe.

I was prompt to respond because, you and I are in a similar situation where both our fathers have passed away from cancer, and we are both the eldest in the family. If anything, your post gave comfort to me, and I am sure to many others, that we are not alone, and I hope this message can give you some comfort and ease.

I want to remind you, and I am sure you’ve been told this before, you’re very strong person, not many people are able to go through what you did. Perhaps, you may be tired from hearing that as well, and I don’t blame you at all.

Regardless where we are all from, being the eldest of the family is very tiresome, and with the added responsibilities that our younger siblings do not get to experience, it definitely is overwhelming a lot of the time. I wish there was something that I could say to reduce the amount of responsibilities you have, but my advice is to talk it out to your family. It may not change much, but at least we can say that we have tried. The unfortunate thing is, younger siblings will never simply understand our struggles, but perhaps by giving them an insight of how you are feeling, they can empathise and try and lessen your stress and pain.

I also would like to say, don’t ever feel guilty and/or apologise for having feelings. We are all human, we all have emotions. Yes, there are many other people out there, that have it worse than us unfortunately. However, it does not mean our feelings aren’t just as valid as theirs. Us acknowledging our feelings, does not make us selfish or ungrateful. But as a reminder to myself first and foremost, I do keep in mind that I am incredibly blessed to have my family and friends, but at the same time we are also allowed to feel the pain, grief and any other emotion.

I, too, continue to think about the future special moments that my dad won’t be able to witness, such as like you said the day of marriage, the days where the grandchildren are born, or simply the days where we need their advice, or just to hear their laughter one more time. It definitely is heart-breaking, and there is nothing we can do to change the outcome. However, I feel that the one thing that we can control ( I can be wrong about this) is about our attitude towards future situations. Our fathers memories, we will always hold them close to our hearts but, remember that we can’t always be sad forever. That there will come a time, where we will start smiling and laughing again, despite the fact that our grief and pain will never leave, but with time we will learn how to live with it.

I see grief as someone, who has turned up to my house unannounced, and forced me to sign a contract, stating that they will live with me till its my time to depart this world. Grief moves in, and makes a ton of noise at the start, and it has, and will continue to cause a lot of a pain and misery. However, with time grief will start making less noise but, anytime they make noise, they will cause pain and misery just as they did the first time when they moved in.

This is all easier said than done, some people will take years to get to a stage where they can live with grief, others are unfortunately still drowning in it. This could be due to the lack of family support they have, or other additional things for e.g. things that have happened to them that were simply out of their control.

What I am trying to say is, we will all at some point learn to live with grief, its just that we all have different ways of doing it :slightly_smiling_face:

I saw this on Twitter a couple of months after my dad had passed away, its what inspired me to write about what I said, about grief living with us, and with time, how it doesn’t making as much noise.

I can’t include a link on here, but if you type this on google " Twitter @ Lauren Hershcel Ball in the box analogy " a lovely woman had tweeted and had drawn a diagram about grief being in a box, and that with time it will grow smaller but will still hurt just the same.

Hope it helps!

Thank you for sharing your story with us, and we are here if you want to have a further chat, or anything really.

Malxo

Hey, I’m really sorry to hear you lost your Dad. I can relate to what you’re saying about ‘not being able to grieve properly’. My Dad died in May and it was a mega shock. He had no wife and 2 kids including me. I’m 25 and my sister is 28. I was the one who literally sorted EVERYTHING out. Dealt with the house, probate, the funeral, you name it - all me! I had the weight of the world on my shoulders and because of all the admin it felt like I wasn’t able to grieve properly because I was like a rabbit in the headlights! I feel like my sister grieved sooner than I did. If there’s anything helpful I can say to you it would be that you will grieve in your own time and it will all work out the way it is supposed to. Xx