Struggling to accept loss

I have joined this site a few weeks ago and have found some comfort in reading other people’s experiences and I suppose it has normalised some of the emotions I have felt knowing that countless others have gone through and are going through similar experiences. After starting and stopping several times to write a reply on another’s post I’ve decided today to share my experience and my struggles if nothing else just to get it off my chest whilst I’m having an off day.
I lost my Dad on the 31st March this year the day before his 70th Birthday, his passing was sudden and certainly unexpected he had previous health problems which he had overcome and to all of us appeared to be in good health. Due to my shifts at work we had gone away as a family the weekend prior to celebrate his upcoming birthday. Looking back I’m so glad we as a family had this weekend. He got to have quality time with all the people he loved. I had been struggling with my own mental health and depression and decided after that weekend to take a couple of weeks off work to reset and get my self together. Unfortunately 4 days later I got a distressed call from my mother, she was so upset and unable to talk a police officer then came on the phone to say that paramedics were working on my dad. I raced down to their house and as I went inside he was lay on the hallway upstairs with paramedics trying so hard to revive him. I knew then it was too late, the senior paramedic explained that had suffered a cardiac arrest they had artificially set a heart rhythm and that he had a 5% chance of pulling through. Soon after his arrival at the hospital, a doctor informed us that there was nothing more they could do for him. My mother fell to pieces, my wife stepped in to comfort her as I talked to the doctor then the police who as procedure had come to the hospital. I didn’t cry it hadn’t truly sunk in and I made sure all the formalities were done and that everyone else was ok before we sat with him where just the shell of my dad remained no longer a twinkle in his eye his soul had left.
The next few weeks became a mix of time standing still whilst also being busy making arrangements. Initially the horrible experience of letting other family members know hearing their grief and shock , having to wait for post mortem and the surreal experience of picking a plot in a cemetery. And still I struggled to process, struggled to accept what had happened it did not seem real, still wanting to be there for everyone else and not knowing how to grieve myself.
On the morning of the funeral I was doing ok, still carrying on in an unusual business like manner about the whole situation, until the hearse pulled up outside his and my mothers home, the sight of the coffin and the floral tributes and finally it hit home. I cried uncontrollably all those bottled up emotions came pouring out for the man who had been an absolute rock to me, the best man at my wedding such was the closeness of our relationship cliche to some but he truly was my best friend. The ride to the church was horrific the tears kept streaming as we followed the hearse.
I had decided to do the eulogy for my dad I wanted to do him Justice and although there is no way of summarising the life of a loved one in 5 minutes I felt proud I got across his values, what we admired about him and with humour throughout. People laughed, cried and surprisingly I was given a round of applause at the end. A brief break from the sadness of the day, before we headed to the cemetery, again it just felt so unnatural as if I was watching through someone else’s eyes as the day played out.
Then afterwards apart from those closest family members the day after everyone carries on with their lives, that isn’t a fault of theirs but I almost resented them for it I felt like I was falling deeper down into a hole with each passing day after the funeral that I was unable to get out of. Still not properly grieving, a new intolerance for other people where I would usually be able to forget about it.
I kept delaying returning to work knowing that I was in no fit state to go and put a shift in and have to speak to other people or act like I cared about things when it felt like everything else just didn’t compare to the loss I now had. This mood just continued, watching my mum struggle and trying to be there to support her and the huge change to her life I still had my family at home but she was now alone. It just became overwhelming and I shut off my emotions when I should have let them out, talked to other people but I couldn’t allow myself to do that.
Then something happened which has helped me massively, receiving counselling. Addressing both my own mental health problems and the loss of my dad never in a million years would I have thought I could sit in a room with a stranger and express myself. But I did and I continue to do so, it’s not that they have told me what to do or offered a magical solution rather that it had allowed me to unlock my emotions to think more about myself and to reflect on how I’m feeling. There has been plenty of days i have cried but I have allowed myself to, after 6 months off work I’ve recently returned and whilst I believe it will be good long term to get back into the routine of life that touch of normality just seems to have brought it all back the fact that he isn’t here anymore. My daughter doesn’t get her papa to pick her up from school when we’re working, I don’t get to spend time on days off talking about the football and life in general. I know he wouldn’t want me to sit here and not get on with my life but some days I struggle so much. The death of a parent regardless of the circumstances Is such a huge blow but what I’m struggling with is the suddenness, I never got a chance to tell him what he meant to me, to tell him that I loved him, the manner of his passing was maybe the kindest way for him to go but for me and his family we never got a chance to say goodbye.

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Hi. Sorry to hear your loss. It’s a really tough road, isn’t it? I lost my mum in May aged 90. I am an only child and she meant the world to me (and me to her). She had multiple illnesses, but a chest infection was the final blow. I got to her care home at 4.30am as she passed at 5am. I told her she was the most precious lady in the world; but I am not sure at that point if she realized I was there. Her eyes were open but her breathing was laboured and I just didn’t realize it would be so quick as she took her final breaths. I was never one to say to mum “I love you”, and I regret that. But I know she knew I did; and I’m sure your dad would have known that too. We all have regrets and wish we had done things differently, and it is heartbreaking looking back and knowing we can never get those things back. I take strength in knowing she is at rest, as hard as it is now without her. I hope she is looking down on me, as I do believe their soul will never leave us and is beside us every day. Take care. xxx

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Hi MC 91,
Can I first say well done on posting and getting all this off your chest so to speak. You have been through so much and what strikes me is how well you have picked yourself up and coped with it all. There are still so many emotional issues but you are doing so well so far. Your dad would be proud of you for sure.Its the worst feeling ever to go through all this grief and everyone is different. I know I am finding it extra difficult and some days are just the pits. I know you wish you had told him how much you loved him etc but in my opinion I feel our parents already knew this .Love is shown in what you did for him and he knew that. He knew you loved him. My son hardly ever tells me he loves me but 100% I know he does from the things he does for me. So it was the same for your dad. Personally I think you should hold your head up high and be proud of the wonderful son you were for your dad.
Deborah

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Hi and welcome to a community where everyone is, sadly, going through similar journeys. I lost my father 5weeks ago, he was 83 and had a few health conditions but died 1.5hrs after falling ill and going into A&E. He “checked out” when he heard the prognosis and like you also wrote he lay there soulless with no twinkle in his eye, shelll of who he was. Feels sudden but also I feel he had a lot of willpower in how he went(which is slightly comforting for me & mum).
Emptying your thoughts on here is cathartic and although your grief journey is very individual to you, they are parts, mainly feelings that will resonate with all of us and that’s the source of comfort or validation. It’s still early days on my own journey and I’m not ready to go back to work - can’t see I ever will but reading your story gives me strength and hope that one day it will and that small steps forward are important. Thank you for sharing, it’s helping so many of us as well as yourself. We hear you x

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@Mc91 thanks for sharing your story, I found it very moving. My Mum died suddenly and unexpectedly two weeks after her 80th birthday in January. She collapsed on her driveway and died, not being discovered by a neighbour until the next morning. The first I knew was when I rang her because she hadn’t replied to a message I sent her, a paramedic was in her house and he told me she had died. It was a struggle to accept the reality of such devastating news. I too went into autopilot for the five weeks until her funeral. It has been a long eight months since her death and there have been many difficult times when I have felt my Mum’s absence as sharp as a knife. I have researched a lot about grief, read lots and reflected on my feelings. I know that whatever I feel will pass on and change. I have a place for remembering my Mum both in my house and garden, photo tributes and vases of flowers that I know she would like. All the little things truly help me. Ultimately I keep reminding myself that my Mum loved me and wouldn’t want me to be sad forever. I wish you the best on your grief journey, take care xx