Lost my Dad recently

Hi all,

A brief introduction, my name is Becky and I live with my Husband and three year old Daughter in the West Midlands.

I have never been on a forum about grief before yesterday (when I found this and made my first post), and as much as it is sad that there is a need for this, it is wonderful to know that this is out there to support people going through such a difficult time, so thank you to those at Sue Ryder that created this.

My Dad suffered a massive hemorrhagic stroke on the morning of 30th November 2022. This was caused by a large bleed on the left side of his brain and a contributing factor of this was blood thinning medication that he had been taking in one form of another for many years (made him a high risk for having a stroke). The doctors told us that he was very poorly, wouldn’t operate given his age and medical conditions and that the next 24-48 hours were critical, but they did warn that most people with this severity did not survive, and if they did it would be really life changing and highly unlikely he would live life as he did before, would need weeks if not months in hospital and lots of physiotherapy. It took all movement and feeling from his right side and slurred speech. That day he went in to aspiration pneumonia and he sadly passed away that evening with me, my Mom and my Husband by his side. He was 70.

I have lost family members before, for example three of my Grandparents (one of my Grandads passed away when I was 5 so I was too young to understand at the time) but I feel that this is the first time I have truly experienced grief. Nearly 6 weeks later I struggle when I say things like I love you or I miss you without tears forming, but I can tell people that he has passed away, talk about how he passed away and do things like talking with the funeral directors, etc without getting upset (the only time I felt like I was going to cry was when I was with my Mom and Husband at the funeral directors arranging the funeral when we had to look at coffins). It is like prior to my Dad passing away I understood grief to be losing someone and getting upset, but couldn’t explain deeper. Over the last (nearly) 6 weeks I feel I can explain and empathise so much clearer.

One way to describe it on my opinion is like a contradiction. You accept and understand that the person has gone, but at the same time it doesn’t feel real and you expect them to still be at home or the other end of the phone. Grief is that emptiness that only that person could fill. Grief is the tears when you say that you love and miss them. Grief is taking a photograph of your Daughter and knowing it reminded you of something completely different that he would understand and then wanting to show him but can’t. Grief is seeing something on TV being advertised and knowing he was a fan and would have watched it, but can’t tell him or talk to him about it. Grief is realising that your three year old Daughter (her Birthday was two days before the funeral) will recognise his photograph now and say who he is, but one day won’t remember him and also doesn’t understand what is happening because she is too young. Grief his hearing your Daughter say things like that’s for Grandad when sharing her toys out and putting one by his chair, or saying things like Grandad will be back in a bit, he is at the doctors or saying put a plaster on him because in her mind a plaster makes you better, or over the last couple of days seeing your Daughter get excited when she can see the moon out of the window and runs over dragging us to see it, then declaring that it’s Grandad Phil, and hearing her say night night Grandad, see you in the morning. Grief is such a mixture.

We had his funeral last week, and I did a speech. All I was worried about with that speech was being able to do it without getting upset and breaking down in tears (I purposely didn’t say the love you and miss you things to avoid that) and as much as it is something that we never expected to happen yet and indeed didn’t want to be facing, it was a lovely and fitting tribute and send off for him. I am an only child, and feel honoured that he was my Dad, and no one else knew him as Dad than me (well, to some degree my Husband with my Dad being his Father in Law) and I know how much of a hole he has left. I was a Daddy’s girl growing up.

I work in adult education and as such had booked the Christmas school holidays off work prior to my Dad’s death. I took off a load of flex leave and had three days compassionate leave before Christmas and took extended annual leave last week (and a compassionate leave day for the funeral) so I returned to work properly yesterday. I did the week before Christmas at work (less half a day) so I am now getting back to normality work wise now (even if to some extent I don’t want to, but I think that is more because of how long I have been off work).

We know it’s not the end of our goodbyes yet. On Saturday I need to pop to the crematorium to collect a few of his ashes as we are having some jewellery made with them, so that will be sad, but what is going to make it even more sad is that when I called the crematorium to arrange this I asked if I needed to bring anything to put these few ashes in and she told me no be at they put them on a baby box what they use for baby’s ashes. That has actually upset me more knowing this. At the same time I am taking a cheque and form over to pay for his plot and stone as we are having his ashes interned there, so know that in around 8 weeks time we can arrange the internment (going to arrange that for the Easter holidays if it’s ready by then).

If you have read this far, thank you. Sending you all my deepest sympathies and condolences on your losses.


@BeckyG86 - I am so sorry - losing your Dad like that is so hard. Thank you for sharing your experience with us and I hope you are ok today. Loads of love x

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