Trying to do normal things since I lost my Dad

My dad passed away 4 weeks ago after over ten years fighting cancer. Sadly we were told that he was needing end of life care 6 months ago so my mum and I cared for him at their home as we didn’t want him going into a hospice. Im very close to my parents as an only child (now an adult, I’m 34 now) and grateful I got to spend a lot of time with my dad in his final months. However watching him deteriorate over the months was incredibly horrific (he was only 68 and so desperately wanted to live). He didn’t discuss dying and I’m not sure he ever knew he was going to die, he just kept fighting and we kept being positive when talking to him as that’s what he wanted.
My work were incredible and let me work from home every afternoon so I could help with my dads care and spend time with him. My mum and I don’t have any family other than my husband so it was just us that could care for dad.

When my dad passed away, my mum and I held his hand. It was peaceful but if I’m honest it didn’t feel peaceful to me and was the most traumatic experience of my life. I’m certain I’ve got some kind of PTSD from it, like I’m sure anyone would.

I’ve been off work for just under 4 weeks and spent my time trying to help my mum learn how to adapt to life without dad and the funeral was a week ago. My work have been incredibly understanding. I’ve had no pressure to go back and I do quite a demanding job. I decided to return this week thinking it will be good to try and return to some kind of normal and be distracted, and not wanting to take too long off out of respect to the company. However, I’ve found it so overwhelming. I think it was always going to be like this when returning to work, it’s the reality of colleagues having normal conversations, and normal work dramas, I just didn’t expect to feel like this. My Job is very customer faced and lots of calls.

How soon did anyone else return to work after caring for a loved one!
Did anyone else feel this way when returning to work? Have I returned too soon?
I just can’t think straight at work. Do I take more time off or just persevere and it will get easier? I just feel so drained and exhausted emotionally.

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Hi @Missingmydad I’m sorry you’re going through this too. I lost my dad at the start of this year in what sounds like very similar circumstances. Like you, I felt totally exhausted for weeks afterwards, I think as a combination of grief and having helped care for him in the months before. My work managers were very good and didn’t put me under any pressure to return. I ended up being signed off for 6 weeks and then going back on a phased return, a couple of days a week at first then gradually building back up to full time. That certainly helped me, as going straight back full time would have been overwhelming. Maybe see if they’re open to that when you feel ready, most decent employers will let you go at your own pace. It doesn’t sound like you’re quite ready for it yet, but when you are, I’m sure the distraction of work will help you adjust to this new life. It’s a long, hard road that we’re on and we just have to do what we feel is right for us, day by day. Everyone is different and there are no rules in grief. Hope this helps a little, take care and be kind to yourself. Jack x

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Hi, sorry to hear of your loss. My mum passed away in May and was diagnosed 6 weeks prior to her passing. I moved in with my Mum the day she came out of hospital and I am so grateful I got to spend that time with her.

I returned to work last week after being off for 5 months and I am doing so on a phased return basis. I knew myself I couldn’t return full time straight away as I would have found it all too overwhelming. Everyone copes with these things differently and only you know what is best for you.

I knew the time was right for me to get back to work as I had this wee voice saying to me you need to go back and I know that’s what my mum would have wanted.

Grief is such a powerful emotion and I find being at work distracts me from it, but then I feel the guilt of I haven’t thought about Mum. When I get home that’s when all the emotions come out as I have held it in all day. All we can do is take it day by day. In the early days of losing Mum I was even taking it hour by hour. Take care and you do what is right for you.

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I’m so sorry for what has happened to your Dad .
I lost my Dad nearly 3 months ago , in sudden circumstances- he was 75 I am 44 next week .
I haven’t been back to work yet . People tell
Me it will help to have some routine but I work with data so I need to be very switched on which I’m not . I am thinking of going back as a phased return at the end of October as I know my Dad would want me to get back to it …
Sending love , here anytime you want a chat x

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Thanks @Jack3 , @Laura8 and @Ginger48 for the responses. I can’t tell you how much it helps reading that other people have felt the same.

Sometimes I can’t actually believe that It was me that lived those months watching my dad deteriorate and that I didn’t breakdown. Between working full time both at the office and at my parents and caring for my dad at the same time, I don’t think I allowed myself to actually believe what was happening/ going to happen. That was simply my life. I barely even saw my husband. I was just on autopilot. It’s hitting me now that i lived that and that it happened. I don’t think I’ll ever forget being there for my dads last moments. It was an absolute honour and I’m so glad as I was there on one hand, but I’m also aware that it’s completely traumatised me and is an image I can’t get out of my head.

I think I have gone back to work too quickly. I work in recruitment and so it’s very fast paced and I often have to take calls from my clients at evenings too should they need staff. I’ve already had a few melt downs after getting calls the last few days. It’s a difficult job to do a phased return in unfortunately. I’m going to speak to work about a week or two more. Hopefully I’ll be able to concentrate more then after giving myself some time now. I’m not very good at putting myself first at the moment but maybe I need to.

Have any of you had counselling? I’m wondering how long after a bereavement Is a good time to start?
Always here to talk if anyone needs to reach out. Thank you


@Missingmydad It’s 30 weeks today since my Dad died & it really does help, reading other posts from others going thru the same. I honestly don’t know how I’d be if I didn’t find this website early on in my grief. I think we’re all brave, having watched our loved ones in such pain & dealing with the aftermath of that. The images we can’t escape from & the daily grind of trying to appear ok when inside we’ve been forever changed. I’ve thought about counselling but I’ve not initiated anything as of yet. I can hear my Dad saying: What do you need counselling for? It’s all rubbish :laughing::laughing::laughing:


@Cee my Dad would say the same . He wouldn’t want me to feel as bad as this though so I may try it through work . Hope you are doing as well as you can . I have stopped saying hope you are ok to anyone going through this . I hate it when my Friends ask me that ! Xx


It really sounds to me like you haven’t put yourself first and that a few weeks off May help but then everyone is different xxx

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I had 5 or 6 sessions counselling accessed through my works employee assistance provider. I started it about 5 months after my Dad passed away. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but gave it a try and I did find it helpful, just to talk to someone independent of the situation, and to understand more about what i was feeling.

I’m exactly the same! During my dads final weeks and since he passed, most people have said to me “are you ok?” Or “hope you are ok!” And I hate it because of course anyone going through this would absolutely not be ok. I get that it’s English platitudes though and people just don’t know what to say. Doesn’t make it easier though. It’s very hard to hear. I’m glad I’m not the only one that’s felt like that when hearing the word “ok”. Xx

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@Cee and @ForestCat thanks for your replies. Yeah I’m not sure if counselling would be for me but I think it’s worth a try, I’ll try anything that may help. I’ll just have to wait till it’s been 8 weeks since my dad passed from what I’ve read. @ForestCat i’m glad counselling has been some help to you. That’s really good. X

Yes you’re not alone there .
Are you going to try counselling? I think I will . Have you decided what to do about work ?
I’m going back phased return at the end of the month after 3 months off . Not sure if it will help or not xx

@Laura8 I think I will try counselling. I’ll reach out to some private bereavement counsellors over the next few days and see when they suggest Is a good time to start. I’ve read you should wait the 8 weeks but a friend of mine went to counselling straight away after her brother died and it helped her. Everyone’s different I guess.

I’m glad you are going to try counselling too. I do think it’s worth a try. I hope it helps you.

Yeah I spoke to my work yesterday and my manager was incredible (he’s been through the loss of a parent too) and told me to take another 3 weeks off paid. I’m incredibly lucky to have the support. I just hope that I’ll be in a better state of mind in 3 weeks time and the brain fog has gone. I love my job, it’s fast paced and involves talking to lots of people all day. I still can’t believe that going back this week wasn’t the distraction I thought it would be, that’s what it was when I was helping my mum care for my dad. It was such a good escapism.
I hope I’ve done the right thing taking more time away, I just need to find ways to get my head in gear so I can be ready to go back for good in 3 weeks time. I wish I could do a phased return but I don’t see how it would be possible in my industry.
I think that maybe the reason I’ve found it so hard Is because it’s still not long after the funeral and being back at work felt like a shock of reality/ finalisation of my grief that my dad has gone. Maybe I have moved from being in denial now.
I also wasn’t ready to deal with people and their problems that didn’t feel that important to me anymore. I just didn’t feel the passion for my job I normally do. Hopefully that changes soon :crossed_fingers:t2:

That’s brilliant that you are doing a phased return. I think that’s a great way to go back, it’s good to ease yourself in if you can. Sounds like your company have been really good to you too. I hope you find it a welcome distraction and is good for you. You clearly have support like me so that’s really good. Let me know how you get on :relaxed: xx

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That’s good news .
Yes you let me know how you get on as well . I find this grief I very lonely isolating road and you do need distracting from it .
Yes my work have been really supportive ,
Here anytime

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