Living without Parents

Hello everyone, after searching the internet looking for coping with grief strategies i stumbled across this site and thought i would join up - anything is worth a try, right?

13 year ago i watched my Mam pass away from Breast Cancer, she was just 49 and i was 21. it was the hardest thing in the world to watch and i think it put a hole in my heart that will never heal. i struggled to cope but i learnt how to live with it. I have never needed her more than i do right now.

Then 5 weeks today i my Dad passed away from Liver Cancer, he was 70. He lived alone and wanted to be at home to die. I tried my best to juggle work, children, life and caring for him. I went to see him every day, took him to his appointments (before he was to ill). On the day he passed away i was at work then had my youngest Son’s first sports day, I then went to see him, he did seem slightly worse than he had been, i did however ask the District Nurse if she could give us some idea of timescales, she said it was a hard thing to do but would try. So i left after my visit. I then received a phone call from the carers that were going in to say he was vomiting and could i go and sit with him until the Nurses came back. Of course i went straight over. Only that day the Social worker had arranged for a carer to stay overnight with him (first time) so i left around 10 pm when she arrived. i then got a phone call at 11.38 pm from the carer to say i needed to go back. i jumped in the car and drove the 20 minutes to his. I of course was to late. Even the carer was in the kitchen making herself a cup of Tea so he died all alone. I knew deep down when i left at 10 pm that i shouldn’t be leaving, so why did i!!! it is the biggest regret of my life and it is eating me up inside. I let him down in the final stages when he needed me.

I also must say that they both suffered terribly at the hands of Cancer, we don’t let animals suffer the way we let some humans and it makes me so angry. I will never get the images out of my head, ever.

I know that i will get through this, as i have done once before but the feeling of loss is hard to cope with sometimes.

I never thought that at 34 i would not have either a Mam or Dad around to speak to, to rely on or to watch my children grow up. I am of course thankful that i had them at all because there are people that are so much younger without parents.

I miss them both so so much.

Thanks for listening.


Hello Shineystar,

Welcome to this community. I’m glad you stumbled across us and I hope you find this a supportive place to share how you’re feeling.

I’m so sorry to hear that you lost your mum when you were 21 and your dad only recently - this must be such a difficult time for you but please know you’re not alone here.

I often see people feeling guilty about not being there when their loved one passed, and it must be a feeling that’s hard to overcome. It may not help you at all, but reading your post it sounds as though you were there for him when he needed and supported him throughout what must have been a distressing experience for you all. Perhaps somewhere down the line you may be able to take a little bit of comfort from that.

Take good care of yourself and keep talking to us as long as it helps. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to support you.

Best wishes,

Hi ShineyStar,
I know how you are feeling, the same thing happened to me. I stayed with my husband constantly in his last days, even though I didn’t really accept that he was dying. If I popped out then either my sister or his brothers or one of his many friends were there. The day he died the nurses came in to freshen him up and we all went outside. For some unknown reason we all decided to walk to the local coffee shop for a quick refreshing coffee as it was very traumatic inside the hospital. We were gone for about 20 minutes in total and when I got back one of the nurses was beckoning to me. I ran inside to his room, not believing that anything could be so wrong only to be told that he’d gone. I was totally devastated and kept asking why… why did I leave him alone, why did we all go for coffee, why did he wait until I’d gone…, on and on the thoughts tormented me. Two years on and I now realise that that was what he wanted. He didn’t want me to see him take his last breath, he didn’t want me to witness that. His last kind action to me so I wouldn’t have to relive that last moment we had together.
I think your Dad did the same thing. He didn’t want you to see him die… why would he? His precious daughter? He wanted to spare you that awfulness… that’s how he wanted it. You didn’t in any way let him down… he waited until he was alone, that’s how he wanted to go.
It’s still far too early and raw for you to acknowledge or believe this, of course it is, but in time you will come to realise that he didn’t want you to be there in his last moments, in fact he would have held on and on not wanting to leave you as my dearest husband did. So he waited and when he knew he was alone, he knew he could go, sparing you both the terrible anguish of his last and final breath.
I hope this helps in some small way to comfort you and eventually come to realise it was the best way for him and what he wanted.
With very best wishes,