Losing my best friend

My dad was wonderful! We lost him in March 19, at 81 after a long fight with vascular disease. He had his first heart attack at 37, two triple heart bypasses and a stroke. I’m still struggling to come to terms with it.
You see, my dad was my best friend. He suffered a lot with depression, as do I, and we just ‘got’ each other. When at I was in the lowest time of my life, he had the ability to make me roar with laughter - I could talk to him without fear of judgement. When he was low, my mum would phone me and say “sort your father out”, and we’d laugh and laugh. We had private conversations on a Friday when mum was out, and he’d tell me how he really was, then we’d find something to laugh about. My mum was pretty controlling as far as he was concerned. When he had his stroke, physically he recovered, but he lost his short term memory, so she had be ‘be his brain’ for 30 years.
At the time I lived 350 miles away from my parents, so a couple of visits a year, and phone calls is how we managed, but we were very close.
At Christmas 2018, dad suddenly deteriorated. Mum was exhausted caring for him (but wouldn’t let me come up and help), so he was put in hospital so mum could get a few days respite. She finally allowed me to stay, and we organised everything he needed from the OT’s so we could get him home. When it came to discharge, we were told there was no care available for him (they live in a rural area), and that we had to put him in a care home. They also told us he wasn’t dying, despite, at his request, having his medication stopped. We knew him, we knew he was giving up. I will never forget his face when we told him, it just crumpled, and mum and I were totally distraught. We had promised him he could pass away at home.We had 2 weeks to find him somewhere that we found acceptable, and would meet his needs. The time we should have been spending with him, was spent driving around viewing homes.
He passed away peacefully with mum holding his hand a month later. He contracted a chest infection, but refused antibiotics, and we supported his decision.
I was, and still am furious that we weren’t allowed to take him home, but I have the happy memory of us just laughing and laughing during a lucid time on my last visit with him. Mum wasn’t so lucky.
I miss laughing with him, we had exactly the same sense of humour, I don’t have anyone to bounce off anymore, and two years on, I feel so lost without him.
Seven weeks later, I lost my dog suddenly to cancer. She was my reason to get out of bed every day, she was my confidente, my shadow, my baby. It was so out of the blue, I walked around in a total daze for months.
Then 3 months after dad died, mum was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She’s still very much with us, and doing ok on the experimental treatment she’s on, but we have a very different relationship. She’s not a loving mum at all, well not to me. However, after going through what we went through with Dad, I was determined that she won’t have to do the same, so I moved to the other end of the country to be closer.
I find it incredibly hard going to see her. The house just isn’t the same without my old dad there. The place is like a shrine to him, with photos everywhere, but if I bring him up in a conversation, she shuts down. I know it’s her way of handling things, and I respect that - but the house that was a home, a place of refuge, full of laughter, has gone. When lockdown started, and we both had to shield, it was a relief that I couldn’t go over. Now that I can, all the emptiness I feel in that house has come back

Hi @Millie1108 ,

It looks as though you are new to the community so welcome and thank you for bravely sharing your story and how you are feeling. I’m so sorry to hear about your Dad (your best friend) and your dog and also about your Mum’s terminal diagnosis. That is so very hard and such a lot for you to deal with in a short space of time.

It sounds as though you are finding things particularly difficult at the moment - the way you are feeling is understandable given all you have been through and are processing. I wonder whether you might find some bereavement counselling helpful? If so, Sue Ryder offers a free online bereavement counselling service - sessions are held via video chat so you can attend from home. If you would like to find out more information about this service, here is the link: www.sueryder.org/counselling.

If you have time, I thought you might also find this article on our website helpful: https://www.sueryder.org/how-we-can-help/someone-close-to-me-has-died/advice-and-support/how-can-i-cope-with-bereavement.

It was nice to read you have lots of happy memories of laughing with your Dad particularly when you last visited him - I hope you find some comfort in that. Keep holding onto those things which bring you comfort.

Thank you again for sharing in this way - remember, you do not have to struggle alone. We are here for you.

Take care,