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?
A year ago today was Father's Day. I know that it was technically yesterday, and that yesterday was difficult on it's own too, but I still can't help but to think about my last Father's Day with my dad today too.
It seems too crazy to even think about how long ago that was. I'd like to say that, that day was a good day, but it wasn't. He fell again that day. We had to once again call the fire department to help him up back into a chair. That was also the day that he decided it was best to go get some extra treatment to hopefully fix things. Little did we know that it was the beginning of the end.
One year ago today, marked the last time we made pancakes together. I mostly made them, but he was there too, so it counts. It was a bitter sweet moment, with the underlining feeling that it could be the last time doing something that was practically an everyday thing. I think he even acknowledged it out loud. I can't believe that he was right.
Not even 72 hours later, I dropped him off at the hospital, and we shared our last hug. I can't even begin to comprehend that that was the last time that I ever hugged my dad. It wasn't even a real hug. He was being wheeled off in a wheelchair, and I leaned down to hug him. It wasn't the type of hug that made me feel safe and warm, like my father's hugs usually are. It didn't have the same intensity as my favorite hugs in the world. I can't even remember the last one of those. This hug was too quick, and was burdened by where we were, and what was happening at that time.
Moments like those play in my head all the time. Sometimes, when I close my eyes, I can picture times in our old place. The great times and the laughs we shared. If I think hard enough, I can still feel him brush my hair back out of my face, something he used to do to help me sleep. Or, I can still hear his voice sing along with our favorite songs when they play. I dread the day that my brain forgets the little things like this. I know that I am already forgetting memories, but I don't know how to stop it. That feeling just breaks my heart more.
If you're still here, thanks for reading.
Picture your favorite hug in the world. The one that you could stay in forever, and always feel so safe and warm. The one that can hold you and tell you that everything is going to be okay, and you might even get to believe that for a minute. For me, that kind of hug was my dad's.
It has been 365 days and 14 hours since I last hugged my dad. THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY-FIVE DAYS.
What kind of world is this, that I haven't hugged my dad in a year? What kind of world is it, where I can never hug him again? How is that even possible? How is that fair?
I will never again be able to feel my favorite hug in the world. I will never again experience the place that makes everything okay. And nothing will ever be okay again without my dad.
So, I'd like to tell you all a story today. About two years ago, a movie came out in theaters: Escape Room. I, who had recently been enjoying my fair share of scary movies and thrillers, was really looking forward to going to see that movie. I practically played the trailer for anyone who would talk to me, so that I would have a movie companion. Then, I went to my dad's house, like I always did, and it turned out he wanted to see the movie too. So we went, and we really enjoyed it. In fact, we even watched a few other movies that were similar to it, we liked it so much. And, it is still one of my favorite scary/thriller movies, to this day.
However, the end of the first movie has a somewhat cliff-hanger-y ending so that if they wanted to make a second one, they could. Anyways, the second movie came out in theaters recently, and I was so excited to watch it, from the minute I saw the trailer on TV.
But it just hit me: My dad will never be able to watch that movie. He will never know how the series continues/ends. We'll never get to experience a memory/moment like that again. And just thinking like that, hurts. It hurts so much.
And it is probably so stupid that this bothers me so much, but I can't help it. And, it's not just this moment. I miss my dad every single day. But it is moments when my life has to continue, when his doesn't, that makes living so much harder. What else can I say? It's not fair.
My dad should be here. We should be able to watch movies together. I should be able to hug him anytime I want to. God, what I wouldn't give just to hear his voice one more time, or to even just sit in the same room as him once more. But I can't. And it's not fair.
I miss him so much.
I know that I haven't posted in a while. And, maybe you thought that it meant that I was doing well. Well unfortunately, that is not true. Since around the weekend before the one-year anniversary of my father's passing, everything has been rough.
I miss him so much. It doesn't even feel real. How is it possible that my dad is dead? How is it fair that I will never see him again? or hug him again?
Some people checked-in around the anniversary and said, "I can't believe that it's already been a year." Really? You can't believe it? You mean, you haven't felt every single second like I have? Why not? Why does no one else care that I no longer have a father? that my favorite person in the world is gone? that with all of this, I feel like I can no longer breathe clearly anymore?
The only light in my life is the time that I can see him in my dreams. Most of the time, I know he's gone now, but I can still see him healthy, and hug him. I just start crying and I never want to let him go. Unfortunately, I wake up, but the moments when I remember that I got to see him, I smile. And those moments become the highlight of my week.
On the other hand, the anniversary brought back memories of when he was sick, and all of the feelings that I felt during that time. My therapist and psychiatrist say that I am experiencing PTSD. While I know that it's not super traumatic like normal PTSD situations, but in my life, it IS traumatic. I mean, I lost my favorite person in the whole world in the worst way. I had to watch him slip away before my eyes, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. And I hate that I couldn't be there for him in the end.
So anyways, that's how I'm doing now. It's officially been a year, or now it's been 379 days. And, let me tell you, time does NOT heal all wounds. In fact, I like "absence makes the heart grow fonder" better. The longer that it has been, the more I miss him, the more it hurts, because the more it becomes real.
Well, I don't know when I'll be back, but thanks for reading.
Today I was reminded of a few things.
I was reminded that my dad was a great person. The best person I know.
He gave money to family and friends in need. He donated cash and meals to people begging on the street. After his last round of radiation, he bought everyone on that floor a lunch of their choosing. When he needed rides to those treatments, through the American Cancer Society, he prepared Tupperwares of leftover meals and baked goods for the drivers as an extra way to thank them.
My dad was a good person, and he didn't deserve to die the way he did. He wanted to go home and see the sunrise from the beach one more time. My uncle was in charge of getting him back home, as he was the person in charge of all that, as I just turned 18 while all that was going on. After spending almost three months in rehab facilities and hospitals, my dad was barely home for 36 hours before he was sent back to the hospital for the last time. I was on my way home that day, but when my dad had a seizure, my uncle couldn't handle it. Even with two live-in nurses, my uncle couldn't wait for me to get there, before my dad was taken to the hospital. He was in there for five days, alone and declining, as he had tested positive for covid and I wasn't allowed to go in and see him. My dad had a brain tumor, and his oxygen levels were declining, so our last words were muffled and blurred. I was able to video call a nurse, as she took a device into his room so that I could finally see him for the last time. Unfortunately he was already unconscious, so I just sat and watched him sleep, until the nurse nagged me for not talking to him, and wanted to hang up.
My dad died all alone in an empty but noisy hospital room filled with devices to help ease the pain for him. I couldn't be there to hold his hand, or kiss his head after he died. I missed the last three months and three days of his life, and I didn't even know it. I naively thought that I could see him once he got better, but there was no better. He died at 9:41 p.m. on a Sunday. I got the call at 9:54 saying that he had passed.
Now it's been more that sixteen months since that very day. I still have guilt and shame about not being there. I miss my dad every single day. I am now, a week from turning twenty, still getting flashbacks to those times, making it more difficult to want to live to twenty.
I am a daughter without her father, a girl without her best friend and her soulmate. I don't know what to do anymore. I am now in charge of money that he had, and I have no clue what to do with it. I would give every single penny of it, everything I have, to have my dad back. But that will never happen, so I just sink back into my depressive state and wait for my time here to end.
I have spent the last hour crying my eyes out, because of a reminder of a great person's end. I didn't know what to do, so I thought I share my feelings here.
Thanks for listening, I guess.
One week from today, it will have been 18 months since my dad was alive. That statement seems unfathomable, but it's true. Honestly, it feels like an eternity.
I am beginning to forget what it felt like to have him in my life, to be around him, to talk with him everyday. When I picture his face in my mind, he is now blurrier. The details of his face are missing. I can see the outline, his eye and other features, but his freckles and wrinkles are gone. I can only see him as he was in the few pictures I have saved on my phone. The ones that I look at all the time have us in it, whether I am five, fourteen, sixteen, or seventeen.
My mom sent me one picture of him that she took when she visited him in the hospital towards the end. She was a consultant in making and an advocate for the decision to try to get him home in the end. The picture of him is from thirteen days before he died, and eighty-two days since I last saw him in person. He was sick and ungroomed. He was not the happy and healthy father who loved me for eighteen years, and for that, I can't look at those photos very often. I'm trying to remember him as he was, but I also want as may memories as I can since there aren't many. I don't know what to do.
When I try to hear his voice in my head, I no longer know if that is truly what he sounded like, or if I made it up. The few shirts that I have of his don't smell like him as much anymore, but instead smell like the laundry detergent or me or the deodorant that he used whose stains are beginning to fade. I don't know what I'll do when the smell finally fades. I've already lost so much, and now the small remnants that I have left are leaving me too. And every time something like this happens, I lose him all over again. A couple months ago, one of our friendship bracelets that I wore broke while I was sleeping, and I cried for a week. Now I have them stored in a jewelry box instead of keeping them with me wherever I go. A seam is ripping in his sweatshirt that I wear all the time, and so I'm now wearing it less to preserve it. It's not fair. Life should leave me in peace with what little I have left of my dad, but it's like it wants me to suffer more. I just don't know what to do, or how much more of this I can take...
Today is a terrible day. Today marks
a year and a half
five hundred and forty-six days
since my dad has passed.
It's been even longer than that since I last spoke to him. Even longer since I last saw him in person, since I last hugged him goodbye. I still can't believe it. It feels like forever, a never ending forever that will just continue to grow. How is that possible? How is that fair? How can I be expected to go on the rest of my life without my father? How can my life just continue on without him?
Well that last part isn't exactly true. Yes, my heart still beats, and my lungs still breathe, but my life ended the day he died. Maybe even the day he started declining, or the day I realized he was going to die. I am no longer a person who lives. I am a walking zombie, going through the motions until my time finally comes to die too. I just do what I have to to get through it, but "getting through it" certainly should not count as living.
Not all of my days are like this. Sometimes, every once in a while, I'll find an activity that'll "make the world a little kinder/gentler", as my therapist likes to say. Those days, life seems to be okay, more manageable, more bearable somehow. I don't question it, because that makes the following days worse. How can my pain, my grief, be lighter on a certain day? I don't deserve to feel lighter because my light in my life, my dad, is gone forever.
That usually makes these days so much worse. On days like these, I sit in my room and cry. I cry because my dad is gone, because it's been so long since our last everything, because I have to continue my life without him, because I miss him so much, etc. I dedicate these days to feeling my grief so that I can "reel in" my feelings on the rest of the days. Some days, I can't. Some days I just feel so terrible, for no other reason than the fact that my dad is gone. Maybe there was a certain reminder: a dream with him in it, an upcoming anniversary. Maybe I just had a bad day in general. Either way, my grief goes up to an 11/10. I feel every second, every heart beat, every breath, without him, and it sucks. It really sucks.
So that's why I hate today, and every single day in general.
I am so truly sorry that your person has walked the Rainbow Bridge. I still experience a similar hurt from my situation, 30+ years later, even after finding ‘the next’ person. I am reaching the point of being tired…tired of hurting every day, tired of feeling the loss. I have been trying to get out and do ‘stuff’, anything really, and focusing on being around people (which I typically don’t really groove with as an introvert). Small distractions perhaps, but engaging with others helps enrich life for me. Volunteering has helped immensely as well, getting my mind off of my specific problem and helping others through their issues. I encourage you to reach out and keep a support team of friends around you. I know it is tough, I know that you feel like screaming at them because they do not know the depths of your pain, but my guess is that they really do want what is best for you as well. Even if they cannot comprehend your pain.
No one is going to replace your Dad or the significance he has in your life, but other new people can add a richness to life. (To be clear here, I am not trying to minimize the loss that you are feeling and I am not saying that you should feel a certain way, just offering another's Fatherly perspective) As a Dad myself, I would not want my child to endure the suffering that you are describing, and would get the most pride and enjoyment out of my kids living a full and eventful life. It can be tough…I usually encounter a trigger of some sort at least once a day. Personally, I have had to try to reframe the memory into being thankful that the memory existed, that my person existed in my life and that the memory is a historical smile. I am not 100% effective, it takes time to actively instill this habit, but it is providing me some comfort, or a lessening of the soul-crushing emotions from triggers.
Keep talking through it here with us, and know that we are rooting for you!