Don't grieve alone; 14,000 members and growing
Hello everyone. I just lost my dad, not even two weeks ago, and I feel like I can't breathe. He was my favorite person in the world and I sometimes question if I can even function without him. Other times, I still find it hard to believe that he is gone, and then it hits me all over again.
I never got to say goodbye.
He started declining earlier this year so we started getting him treatment and therapy so that he would get better. I haven't physically seen or hugged my dad since I dropped him off at the hospital (due to the virus) over three months ago, and now I never will again. That's the toughest part I guess, all of those missed months that I could have had with him. Now he's gone and I miss him so much it physically hurts.
Has anyone else had a similar experience?
When will it get any better? Can it even get better?
Will I be able to recover?
Hello again everyone.
So, I know I was kind of upset last night, but I'm in a much better mood now that I got all of that off my chest. I do have one more thing that I want your opinion about though.
I am considering getting a tattoo.
The six month anniversary is coming up next weekend, and I thought, what a good time to do something impulsive. I've been thinking about it for a while now. I want, no I need, something, a physical reminder that it was real. That all of this pain is valid. I want a permanent way to remember my dad. Here's what I've been thinking:
The one idea I really like is "everyday" in cursive. So the reason for "everyday" is that it goes with something that he used to say to me. When I'd get upset because of life, and start crying in front of him, I'd apologize because I didn't like crying in front of people. He'd say "don't apologize. Remember, everyday, you must laugh, cry, and tell someone you love them." By then, he'd already start tearing up, and then I'd say "I love you" so that I could check another thing off the list. It became a habit.
There's also another reason for wanting "everyday". I've already talked about our mutual love for High School Musical. Well, Dad really liked HSM 2 and all of the songs on that album. It was about summer and fun. It was my dad. One of the last songs in the movie, is called Everyday. We'd listen to that song all of the time. It had a great message. I mean the first line in the song says:
"Once in a lifetime, means there's no second chance. So I believe that you and me, should grab it while we can."
As much as I love the idea, there are a few problems with this tattoo. One is that it is a big thing, for my first tattoo ever. Also, placement. I'd want it near my heart, so that it is always close to me, but things like that need to be concealed for "future elementary school teachers" to get jobs. So I'd need a good place to hide it, that won't hide it forever, you know? I want to see it. I don't want to get a beautiful tattoo, just to cover it up, in a place that no one will ever see, like a bra line, on my rib-cage, or on my hip. [My dad had "tattoos" on his hips. They were radiation markers. Just a few dots, here and there. Maybe the hip wouldn't be so bad? It could be symbolic.]
Another idea I had, would be to get my dad's cancer awareness ribbon on my wrist. It's practically a perfect sign. It's small and can be covered with a band-aid or a bracelet. And, I used to draw it there all of the time when I was a kid.
Here's the problem: I went through a few different phases of information, you know, because I was a kid, and they wanted to filter out information. When I first found out about it, and when it progressed when I was eight, they called it Bone Caner, because it was in his ear bone, lymphnodes, and eventually in his spine and hips. When I was in fifth grade, I started a tiny club with my friends, and I made little badges for the cancer ribbon color. Mine was gold. When I was in seventh grade, I was told that it was actually called Metastatic Neuroendocrine Carcinoma, but an even more rare form of this cancer, because it started in my dad's ear, not the pancreas. I did a project on it for Biology in school, where I learned all about the different stages and the cancer itself. They also mentioned calling it Neuroma. When I looked it up, it was a picture perfect, cookie-cutter story and placement of my dad's cancer. Neuroma's cancer awareness color was gray. I had gray duct tape ribbons that I made, and passed out to all of my friends. I did that for years. I still have the ribbons, and the one that I wore on my name tag everyday for six years. Now, as I am actually able to understand the terribly long title of "Metastatic Neuroendocrine Carcinoma". Metastatic just means that it's moved, or metastasized to other places. Carcinoma just means cancer, or in his case a bunch of tiny tumors. Neuroendocrine is the actual cancer type. The awareness ribbon is zebra print. It would make sense that I the ribbon as zebra-print then, right? But to me, there are no memories associated with it. It was gray for so long, that getting anything different would just feel wrong, but then is it still an accurate portrayal of my dad's story? I don't know.
The last thing I'd consider is my dad's nickname for me, in his handwriting, copied from a letter that he wrote to me. Again, I have no idea where to put that. And, for that idea, I did see custom necklaces that you could get in a loved one's handwriting. Maybe I should do that for "everyday"? I don't think that he wrote that in a letter though. I don't know.
The thing about tattoos is that I hate needles. Hate them. I also have really sensitive skin. My ears got infected so many times when I got my ears pierced. I can't even wear earrings anymore because anytime I put them in, my ears turn bright red and start swelling. So, what if something bad happens to my skin? But what if it's the best impulsive thing I'd ever do in my life? What if it's the perfect way to honor my dad and I'm too chicken to go through with it, and I miss out on an incredible healing opportunity?
I don't know. What do you all think?
Update: I got the tattoo this year.
I did it during Friday the 13th for $13 tattoos with about a hundred other college kids. I waited eleven hours in line, pondering what I wanted to get. I had so many beach related, cancer-related, and other meaningful tattoo ideas drawn out on one piece of paper. About an hour before my turn, I decided on the one I got. It had to fit the requirements for the $13 tattoo. It had to be no more than an inch in diameter in any form, and only in black "line work". It also had to be on a limb (arms and legs only), so that ruined my hip idea. I could have gotten it on my upper leg, as high up as they said it could go, but I decided after all of this, I wanted to be able to see it. I decided "fdjhkj what anyone thinks, I'm getting it to honor my dad.
It says "Love you more" in my dad's handwriting, copied from a letter he wrote me when I was in high school. I don't know why I didn't think of it before: in the last year, he wrote that in so many text messages and cards. He'd say like, "just played the best round of golf ever, luv u more" or "you got an A on your math test love u more". Of course one of the only times he wrote it out properly was in that letter, but it was perfect.
I got in on the inside of my bicep near my elbow. It took about one minute. I just held my arm out, and put my head down so I wouldn't faint. I barely even felt it until it got to the last part closest to my elbow. Afterwards, I was ecstatic. Not only did I persevere throughout the hours and do it by myself (while other people went with friends or at least had one for support), but I did this for me, and for him. My mom could hate me for it, people could judge me for it, but no one's opinion would matter. It healed in about a week. My mom found out two months later when I saw her for spring break, but that's another story.
I see it everyday, but I can cover it up by longer-short sleeve shirts, with long-sleeve shirts, or with jackets. But I love to show it off. If you are questioning whether or not to get something for a loved one, DO IT!
It was a well-thought out, but also rash decision, and I'm so glad I did it.
Thanks for reading :)
This is going to be a very tough week for me. I can just feel it.
Today is the sixth month anniversary of the last time that I spoke to my dad on the phone. He then was medicated in the hospital to the point where he slept through his remaining days, until he died. I still remember pieces of the conversation. That night, he apologized for having cancer. He apologized for putting me through all of this, and etc. It's like he knew. If he did know, I surely didn't, or I would have never hung up the phone. I wish I could tell you that we ended with our "I love you"s, and we did, for a moment. Then, he called me back. He was confused. He said he was looking for his friend, who is also the attorney in charge of his estate. I don't know why he wanted to talk to him, I don't know if he ever got to. But I do know the last thing I said to him was "do you mean Uncle ____, Dad?" and he hung up on me. I called him back a dozen times but he never answered the phone, that night or any other time. That was our last goodbye. There was no movie scene of closure, no picture perfect "I love you"s, just unanswered phone calls and so many questions.
So yes, today marks six months of not being able to talk to my dad.
Wednesday marks nine months after the last time I hugged my dad.
Saturday is the big sixth month anniversary of his death. If it's anything like the others, I will spend the day crying until I become dehydrated, and then I will spend the rest of the day ignoring the world like it ignores me. My mom is upset with the way that I handle things on these days, but she doesn't get a say anymore. (She constantly brings up how she lost her parents, my grandparents, too, but it's just so different. She doesn't understand. She'll never get it.)
Sunday, of course, like any other Sunday, marks another week without my dad. This next Sunday is twenty-six weeks. I remember when each week was a milestone in itself. Now, I'm used to watching the numbers fly by. Sometimes it hurts. Other times, it is just another day of pain, so it almost feels normal.
Maybe by Sunday, I'll be all "emotioned" out. Or, maybe it'll be another miserable day. We will see.
Thanks for reading.
So I think I figured out why I've been so upset lately, other than the obvious. I realized that everything started falling apart about a year ago. That's when my dad really started to decline. I still don't really know why it all happened so quickly, but my mom thinks that after everything he went through, over half a dozen radiation treatments, and then a recent surgery, his body just couldn't take it anymore. And then apparently after nineteen and a half years with a slow growing cancer that resided in his bones, everything decided to move at a hyper-speed pace and travel to his brain among other places.
May and June of last year were awful. I watched my dad go from walking, to walking unsteadily, to using a walker sometimes, to all of the time, to getting a scooter and using it sometimes, then all of the time, to finally getting an electric wheelchair and never leaving it.
Nine months ago today, I dropped my dad off at the hospital because after going to every type of doctor, with no results, we decided that he should go get tests done and figure things out. That was the beginning of the end.
I never hugged my dad again. I wasn't in the same room with him, ever again.
After almost a month in the hospital, he was transferred to the rehabilitation side of a nursing home. There, I was able to see him through a window. Then they gave him COVID, and sent him to the hospital where they treated him terribly ever since, only furthering his condition, and eliminating all of the progress that was made. That was it for us. He didn't have a chance after all that. We tried to get him home. We did, but he barely lasted forty-eight hours there. He was then transferred back to a hospital. They tested him for COVID, and apparently he had it again. They wouldn't let me in to see him, and after a week and a half there, he died.
That's our terrible sob story. I can tell it a thousand times, and still won't be able to wrap my head around it all. How did I let all of that happen?
I had the upmost respect for health care workers before that. Before all of this, my mom actually worked at the sister company of the place that my dad was at, and even sometimes worked at that facility from time to time. But when they gave him COVID, when they shipped him off to the hospital, and he went back and forth again and again, I really hated the people who worked there. They gave him the virus. They weren't rehabilitating him. They were letting him get worse. They were letting him die. They are responsible for such a big part of his decline. I will never forget that. I will never forgive them for all of that.
So yeah, I'm angry. I'm angry at facilities for doing that to him. I'm angry at myself for not just taking him home. I'm angry at the world for letting that happen. I'm angry at the so-called "friends" and family for leaving me here to suffer on my own.
I'm upset. I'm upset about how everything happened, how I missed out on the last three months and three days of my dad's life. I'm upset that I never got a real goodbye.
I'm brokenhearted. My dad is gone.
I'm just plain broken. My dad is gone, and I can't function without him. I can't live the happy life that he wanted for me, because he's not here to make it all okay.
And with all of this, I can almost understand why I've been having such a hard time lately.
Thanks for reading.
Six months ago my world fell apart
My world stopped, I'm still waiting for it to start
The world still spins, and that's the saddest part
Now I'm only left with the shattered pieces of my heart
That's not the only thing that's shattered
I walk around all day feeling so bruised and battered
Because I lost the only thing that mattered
You're gone now, your ashes scattered
I don't know, I thought I'd try
To do something today other than cry
I try and try, and don't really know why
Because after everything, we never got a goodbye
To say I'm upset today would be an understatement. SIX MONTHS. A hundred and eighty-one days. It all feels so fresh, and yet it also feels like it's been so much longer, because it has been. They say my grief is "complicated" or "prolonged" because it's more than three months. I don't know how anyone can grieve in that time. My brain still can't really process the fact that he's gone. At random moments throughout my day, it will hit me all over again. He's gone. My beloved dad is gone, and I don't know what to do. I don't know how to process that information without falling apart for good.
So I'll sit here in my dad's chair, crying, like I have for months. Relieve my grief into tissues until I cannot shed another tear, until my eyes swell shut. I already know I won't hear from anyone today, but I still won't have silence. Not with my thoughts running wild, and my inconsiderate neighbors playing loud music and laughing how they have for the past hour. What can I say? I hate the rest of the world for ignoring my pain. I'm angry. I'm upset. I'm numb. I'm tired. I'm a walking zombie. All because he's gone.
I found out that I got into my major's program today. It's a very fancy combined bachelors/masters program, and it only accepts sixty students a year. To say that I was nervous about it, would be an understatement. I was terrified that I wouldn't get in. Not for myself, but because it meant a lot to my dad.
When I told my dad about the fancy program that my school had for elementary education, he was so excited for me. He always believed that I would be a great elementary school teacher, even when I wasn't sure. And when I was finally sure, he was so happy. I wanted to do this for him, and I did. I did it. I got in, and I couldn't call him to tell him. That broke my heart.
He will never be a part of another milestone of mine for the rest of my life. I don't know how that thought managed to escape my mind, but when it resurfaced, it crushed me. No big college graduations. No silly little acceptance letters. Nothing.
Is this what's in store for the rest of my life? A moment of excitement or a brief feeling of pride before the crushing weight of my grief and his absence?
It almost makes the happy things worse than the suckish thing that my life has been over the last six months, because he isn't here with me.
i no for me it fealss so raww new agan iv loss my mom on mon so num a agn
I took my last final yesterday. It is officially summer for me. It is also my first summer without my dad. Summer is such a broad term for some people. For most kids, it meant no school, but for me, it meant more fun times with my dad. When I was a kid, I mostly only saw my dads a few weekends a month during the school year due to the custody agreement. But during the summer, I could spend a week, or sometimes two, at a time with my dad. It was some of the best times of my life. We'd enjoy our time at the beach, biking, surfing, swimming, and paddle-boarding. We'd blurt out the High School Musical 2 Soundtrack because it was all about summer. Sometimes we'd only play "What Time Is It" on repeat. I can never sing that album with as much energy and enthusiasm anymore.
Now, with the memories of last summer dominating over the amazing ones that I've had throughout my life, I am no longer looking forward to summer, and every good memory upsets me. I guess it's just the fact that we'll never get another good one again, we'll never do anything together again.
So yeah, this summer isn't going to go too well for me. I go back to my mom's for the summer. I'll be "home" by Saturday. Next week is the seven month anniversary of his passing, and a week after that is his birthday. I can't even imagine how painful that day will be. And, my mom will probably try to "fix" it and make it worse by dragging me somewhere, or saying something like "don't be sad". But I will be sad, and I have every right to be.
She just doesn't get it. Sometimes I feel like no one else does either.
Hello everyone. Today is my dad's birthday. He would be turning sixty-two.
Being in his sixties, and having a teenager is a little uncommon, and with having a stage four cancer on top of that, there was always the semi-unspoken want for him to at least make it to my high school graduation. In a way, he did do it. The day I drove home with my diploma and my Summa Cum Laude honors, (that was our graduation due to COVID), was probably one of the last good days we had together, or at least one of the more memorable last days. But he did it. He "saw" me graduate. There was no cap and gown, no walks across the stage at my high school, but there was a diploma, so it counts, I guess.
I know I should be grateful that I had my dad for that long. People have lost their parents at much younger ages. But it still hurts. At the same time, all of my friends, and so many of my family members, still have their parents, and will have them throughout their lives for all of their future life milestones. So while I cherish the eighteen years I got with my dad, the selfish part of me asks and begs for eighteen more, or in all honesty, a hundred more years. I know that with any amount of time, I would always want more, and that any age hurts to lose someone you love, but this doesn't just hurt. This is killing me. Even though I lost my dad over seven months ago, the pain feels like it just happened yesterday. Every morning I lose him all over again, once the realization hits that he's gone.
Today's no different. If I thought my birthday was hard, I had another thing coming. This day is so much worse. There's nothing to celebrate. My dad will forever be sixty-one years old. This day will forever be a reminder that my dad should be here, but he isn't. Today is just another one of those soul-sucking days that take a lifetime to recover from. And, I don't know how much more I can take.
I'm sorry, Liv. You're right it's not fair. Your dad should be there celebrating with you. I'm sorry he's not. <3