I almost feel silly posting this year, because it’s been so long since my Dad died, but I’m struggling today and thought I’d try to reach out to others who understand.
My dad died 6 years ago, when I was 21, of colon cancer. He was only 51, and was ill for several years before he died and went through multiple treatment attempts. I was with him in the hospice when he died, holding his hand, which I know is a good thing but the experience seems to have left me with some kind of trauma or ongoing grief issues.
Part of the problem I think is that I had a difficult relationship with him before he got ill when I was around 16. He left my family when I was 11 and my parents divorced, and I didn’t see him often until I was 15, then he got ill so soon after. As a result, most of our ‘quality time’ that I can clearly remember was when he was ill, so that whole experience really shaped my memories of him as a person and our relationship. We spent a lot of time together once he was ill and he ended up moving in with us again so my mother could care for him.
The whole process of his death really upset me and I still battle with flashbacks and getting very upset when I remember certain details of those last days. I don’t want to go into too much detail in case it upsets other people here who’ve had similar experiences, but it’s mostly remembering what he looked like, the last moments, upsetting memories of the sounds of his breathing, and the atmosphere of the whole last week. Part of what upsets me is that he was young and he didn’t want to die, I don’t think he had really ‘accepted’ death and his fear and unhappiness at having to go against his will upset me to think about and remember. I miss him terribly and whenever I allow myself to think about the fact that he never met my son, won’t be at my wedding, that I’ll never see him again… these things all disturb me horribly.
I don’t know where I’m going with this really. I’m just not sure how normal this all is. Maybe everyone who loses a parent young feels this way? I don’t know! I still can’t listen to music that reminds me of him and I cry if I look at old home videos of us when I was small. I mostly cope by not thinking about him much or talking about him, which I know isn’t really right and I feel would upset him if he knew.
I became a Christian this past year after always being agnostic and I think part of why I came to the faith was because I needed some way to cope with him being gone. But even that doesn’t always comfort me because he wasn’t a religious person so that adds another layer of fear and sadness to the whole mess.
I won’t ramble on anymore but thank you to anyone who reads this. I’m having a hard week and I struggle generally with depression and anxiety anyway so it all piles up on me sometimes emotionally.