post trauma from watching someone die.

nearly a year ago, my Dad was taken in to hospital with pneumonia. He deteriorated and got sepsis, he was then on life support and stayed in icu for 5 months. He gradually came off kidney support, and support for heart, but was left with a trachy. After infections cleared after 5 months he was taken to a weaning hospital to come off trachy. Anyway he was so weak from long term ICU that he just got another infection and died. Im struggling with the trauma of watching him over 6 months. we said goodbye to him 3 times in ICU as we were told he wouldn’t survive 12 more hours…to which he did. we were all left in limbo and the most intense 6 months of roller coaster rides. I have visions of major events of his suffering and his final days. I find his words of “I cant do this anymore” destroys me and I can not get passed these thoughts and feelings. Its been 6 months now since he left us and I feel stuck, I don’t think I am even actually grieving his death yet ? :frowning: has anyone else felt this way before ? thank you

Hi Rachel

I felt so sad for you reading your message. What a terrible time you have had watching your Dad go downhill and pass away. It is really the most painful experience to go through. It sounds as if it was a complete rollercoaster for him and you. Six months is a long time to bear seeing someone you love go through so much and I think you are very brave supporting him through it all.

I lost my Mum coming up for two years ago and saw her through the terminal diagnosis in hospital to coming home for palliative care and to pass away. That was two and a half months and like you it broke my heart watching Mum go downhill. She was so stoic in coping but did ask was she dying. I didn’t know how to answer that so said that we all would be one day.

I had flashbacks afterwards and conversations had with Mum preyed on my mind all the time. I was told I was probably suffering from long term shock and would suspect you are too. I remember that summer not being able to get warm despite the heat and being muffled up in a thick cardigan all the time.

I have found the more horrible memories have faded for me though some do come back at the most unexpected times. I still have problems sleeping, go through phases of just not being to go more than a couple of hours. If you are the same I find having a catnap in the afternoon even for ten minutes does seem to help. I did not have counselling, whether that would have helped I do not know but others on this forum have said how beneficial they have found it. May be worth considering or there is the online help you can get on this site.

I personally found coming on this forum was all I needed, chatting to like minded people who have been through the same experiences. I have found people very kind and supportive so do keep coming back if you need advice or reassurance.

All the best

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thanks for replying Mel. sorry to hear about the loss of your mum and knowing how it feels to watch someone is just surreal and heartbreaking and sad to hear you went through this too. I too have naps which help and I lost a stone so quickly through stress I guess. Dealing with this is already overwhelming and anything else I normal cope with just exhausts me. I hope as you say over time the strength of the flashbacks will dilute and I can begin to remember his life and not his death. thank you.

Yes remembering your Dad when he was happy and healthy is very important. I have a photograph of my Mum at a family party by my bed. She looks wonderful in it, laughing and smiling, exactly how I want to remember her. She had a melanoma removed from her arm six months before and had made a good recovery. Two and a half years on and I have lost her and one of my Aunts, my Godmother. The memory f that party is such a happy one, one I treasure so much.

I know many people cannot bear to look at photographs but I have found it a comfort. Also sleeping holding one of Mum’s handkerchiefs. Much washed since but still is something of Mum for me.

I don’t mind looking at pictures, I don’t feel much connection with them yet as im still stuck in the last days. but like you I have bits of his that can make me smile. x

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