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?
So my dad once again appeared in my dream last night... I know we've heard this before, a while ago too, but this time was different. This time he was super sick again.
"We, being a family and a few friends (but their faces are blurry), were sitting at a dinner table and talking. My dad was acting poorly and being rude, like he was towards the end of his life. Then all of the sudden, he disappeared, and people at the dinner table started talking about him and, of course calling him rude. I immediately came to his defense saying "He has a BRAIN TUMOR" and then his best friend said that it wasn't true...."
Anyways there's more to that story, but I just want to explain this part:
So my dad has stage four Metastatic Neuroendocrine Carcinoma, also known as a slow growing cancer where about thirty tiny "METs"/tumors stayed in his body, mainly around his spine, hips, and neck, in the bones though. It was so slow growing that he had it for twenty years! Sure it progressed as time went on but by the time I was 8, it was stage 3 and when I was 13 it became stage four. For four years, he was able to do what he loved. He surfed, or golfed, or fished almost every day. He went to Hawaii and Costa Rica to surf with friends. He lived. He got his tests every few months and the little METs stayed in size and place, and if they moved, he went through another radiation treatment. (Chemo was always out of the question.)
When 2020 hit, the downfall occurred. In January, he had to have a completely unrelated neck/spinal cord fusion surgery. Five days after his surgery, he started another round of radiation. Shortly after all of this, he began starting to have numbness in his legs, which after months of not seeing any results, or answers from any and every doctor, he was forced to use a walker, then a scooter, then an electric wheelchair. Pretty soon he was falling and unable to get up so we had to call the fire department to help him. He was not a happy man during those months.
After his fifth fall, in June, we all decided it was best to check him into a hospital to get some major tests done to see what was happening. After weeks, he was checked into a Rehab facility/ nursing home to help him get stronger. After a few weeks, he got COVID from the staff and was sent to the hospital, until he could get a negative result to be placed back in there. It took 26 days to get two negatives in a row to be able to leave. During those 26 days, the staff did not shower him, did not give him the therapy that he needed. He declined further. When he finally got back to the rehab place, he was so weak, he couldn't do anything without assistance. He developed UTIs and water-logged legs. He was fussy towards the staff and somehow he ended up in a hospital again where he stayed until September. This whole time, we were trying to get him back home, or at least in an extensive but short, full-blown rehab facility, where he would stay for a few weeks, get as strong as he could, and go home. He was getting so weak and not doing any better anywhere that we decided it was best to just let him go home. We wanted him to go home. He wanted to go home.
Right before we was discharged, he was still having a UTI, which had been going on for months. The doctors thought it was because he had a tumor near his bladder. This threw me off because for twenty years, he only had his little tumors in his bones. The doctor wanted to run more tests, but we all thought that it was best for my dad to just get him out of these hospitals. We needed to go home. So we did.
He finally went home in September, on 24 hour care with nurses. I was going to come down from school and visit him a few days after he got settled in. He didn't even last 48 hours. He was fussy because there were so many machines beeping and people in the apartment, and he said he couldn't hear himself think. I was told that he had a seizure and after coming back, he then started swinging at people and refusing to take medicine. The nurse then brought him back to the hospital, and recommended that he go on hospice. That night I drove home.
Once admitted to the hospital, he had an MRI of his brain to see why he had a seizure. He had a tumor there too. He was still angry all the time so they started to sedate him. I knew I had to see him then. He was also given a routine COVID test, where he was once again positive. We thought it was just a false alarm, but then he started having trouble breathing, and his oxygen stats were low, he was put on breathing masks and other supports, AND I wasn't allowed to see him. A week later he went to sleep and a few days after that, he died.
I never got to see him.
The most recent memories of him that I have are no good because he was so angry those six months that I was with him. How did I not know that his condition was worsening. He was never a very angry guy. How did I not guess why? I just thought he was frustrated and the tests didn't show anything. His last MRI was in April, how did they not catch anything? How were those new tumors progressing so quickly when the others barely changed at all?
I was already struggling with his passing. I miss him more and more everyday. Now, on top of that I'm left with questions, those terrible months of memories, and extra reminders that I didn't need of those times. For once in my life, I've been trying to focus on the good, all of those good times I spent with my dad, but the world just keeps breaking me further and further.
What do I do?
Sorry for the long story yesterday. I just think I needed to type it all out. If you can believe it, that was the shorter version of how terrible my year has been. Not to even mention the actual act of losing my dad and the few agonizing days that he was sleeping, me flinching every time I got a phone call, except for the actual phone call. For that one, I was so confused. He kept asking very formal questions, so it totally caught me off guard after asking me a few questions regarding me being my dad's person, when he just changed the subject and told me that he had passed away. I don't remember the specifics really, only that I said "okay".
I can't believe that was six weeks ago. I can't believe no one's said anything. I mean, I can believe it, because they haven't said anything on any other day since his death, or them finding out about it, but still. I know that lack of friends is the least of my worries with my struggles to cope with all of this, and my declining mental health, but it really seems to top it all off. I mean, I'm a wreck and no one is there to notice. My roommate has been gone for the majority of this weekend. And if she's even noticed the puffy eyes, or the abnormal attachment to my bed, she hasn't said anything. Maybe the abnormal is my new normal and I haven't noticed it until now. What if, I'm the last one to figure out how much of a mess I am, and that's why everyone left already?
Wow. Now I'm really a mess. If either constant sadness or numbness, and barely living, is six weeks I don't think I want to see what six months is, or holidays. Man, I'm in for a real treat in the future.
At least I have you guys to be there, to read my thoughts, and help me through this terrible time.
Thanks for reading.
My roommate just told me that I have been killing her happiness, not exactly in those words. She says, for example, that in the morning, when she wakes up in the morning, all happiness and sunshine, and says "good morning" I usually just reply with "morning" and am not in such a happy mood. That is usually because my first thought every day is that my dad is gone, and I have another day of suckiness in front of me. This makes her lose her happiness, because she thrives on others', and I no longer have any. On top of all that, apparently, my grief is making her feel like she couldn't tell me that she is now uncomfortable with my bitterness towards the world, and my pure anger, sadness, and numbness that I feel towards life.
I don't know what to do.
I have been wishing that people would notice my outward hatred for what is now my life, but now, she senses it too much and it is affecting her. I don't mean to hurt her, but if I keep it inside I'll go numb and/or further my depression, or worse.
I guess it's good that we're heading home soon for break. I guess I can keep it together for a few more weeks. I don't think I could act happy, even if I wanted to though. I don't know what to do.
How can I pretend that I'm not dying more and more everyday without him?
How can I pretend to be happy, or even okay, with the fact that my dad is gone?
How can I be okay with the world who put him through all this pain, just to kill him in the end?
What do I do?
I could really use some help here...
Wow. You absolutely have the right to act however you want in your space. Your dad died only weeks ago, and to be honest, I don't think she could ever fathom or understand the pain you're going through. I don't think you should pretend. If anything, maybe you could just talk to her and say something like, "I'm sorry you feel that way, but I'm working through grief and feel that it's important to honor how I'm feeling."
This is a tough one though because it's a unique circumstance where you're living with someone you might not necessarily live with, and then also not leaving as much as you normally might. Not to sound harsh here towards her, but how she feels about your demeanor and grieving is not your problem. In my opinion, I think you should continue to do whatever you need to in the moment because just smiling and acting happy will not help you genuinely heal. I'm sorry you're experiencing this on top of everything else.
Yesterday was seven weeks. I didn't really feel like writing about it. I was pretty much in between constant crying and sobbing, and trying not to think about it at all.
Anyways, today I left my dorm room and someone complimented my sweatshirt. It has our school's logo and stuff on it. She said it looked "vintage" and "cool". It was my dad's. It probably looks big on me and there are a few tiny stains on there from who knows what he spilled, but it's all his, and now I have it. It smells like the laundry detergent he uses, and it's very comfy, so I wear it a lot. The comment simultaneously warmed my heart and made me want to cry. Despite all that, I think I really needed that.
I don't know how a complete stranger can say what I've been dying to hear from anyone who really knows me. I guess I'm just grateful to this stranger for lifting the crushing weight of my dad's death, even if it was just for a moment.
Maybe today will be okay.
Thanks for reading.
So, I don't know if I've talked about this yet, but I have this notebook that I've been writing in since my dad passed away. It has song lyrics and poems that really spoke to me, and that describe the terrible feelings of grief or missing someone close to you. Some even pertain to losing a father. Well anyways, I'd write them down, and reread them a lot. Sometimes I'd cry. I find it to be very therapeutic.
It also has a few letters that I've been writing to my dad. I thought it would help, but I just felt silly knowing that they were just sitting in a notebook that he would never see. Later, I got the idea to write emails to him. They actually say "To: Dad" and I can hit send and stuff. I haven't hit send yet, I just save them as drafts, just in case someone else needs his email while trying to do other account things. I can only imagine hitting send, though, and how it would feel. I could still pretend that he could read them, that they could reach him. I think it would be nice.
When I was a kid, I used to write letters to my grandparents who had passed, and put them under my pillow. I'd usually find them under something like my bed years later, but it's the thought that counts, right?
I don't know. I guess I just wanted to share something that I've been doing that somewhat helps, or just something that I've been doing a lot lately.
Thanks for reading.
so sorry o yore loss
i no202020 bean bad for evry 1
not bean abl 2 sea famly finds ect
Today in my public speaking class, we had to come up with an impromptu short speech about an object of significance for us. I, of course, had way too many objects that remind me of my dad to choose from, (I was already wearing one of his shirts and his sweatshirt, and several of the bracelets that he got me) but I ended up picking one of the many turtle knick-knacks that my dad got me in either Hawaii or Costa Rica. I keep them all on my desk and I just stare at them or hold them.
I picked one of my favorites that reminds me of when we saw baby sea turtles hatch on the beach. We took pictures and just watched them run around in their little protected and closed-off environment. I guess the turtles just remind me of a better time: when my dad was alive, when he wasn't as sick, when we lived on the beach, when he was happy.
On the other hand, one of the turtles I have reminded me of the weekend that he was asleep/unconscious. Those days, I was sleeping with it in my hand. I had the crazy idea that if I just held on, maybe he would too. I guess I was wrong, but I still carried it around with me for days.
Also, when other people spoke today, some also had things of their lost loved ones to share, or things that remind them of them. I guess it just reminded me that other students my age lose people too. I wonder how it doesn't show, how they get/got through it, and why I feel so alone in this. I mean, I know that you all on here have lost at least one person, but you guys understand what I'm going through. When I'm in the real world, it seems like no one else knows how much it's killing me. If they've ever lost someone, they most definitely don't show it, they don't soften at the thought of my loss, they don't do anything. They just move on.
I don't know. Maybe it's all in my head, but that's how it feels.
I just really miss my dad.
I just wanted to talk about a few things that happened yesterday.
First, my cousin texted me out of the blue yesterday. She too lost her dad to cancer at a little bit younger age, only a few years ago. In a twisted way, it is kind of nice to have someone in a similar situation. We talked about thing for a little bit. Our moms are sisters, and are very similar, so we share a lot of the same motherly problems. She understands the sucky people problem too, she was just there to listen, and even asked the right questions, which no real-world person seems to know how to do.
The next thing is that I'm going home soon. I drive back in two days. Yikes. My mother wants me to be this happy person for the holidays. She's been making way too many plans for my mental and social capabilities to handle. Without the distraction of terrible school work, I won't have the excuse nor the mental diversion to hide behind. My feelings will be the only thing I have left. I will have to face them. And, man do I have too many of them to deal with. I tried to explain how rough it is going to be and she threw the "I just want you to be happy" thing in my face. I can't be happy for her. I can't even be happy for me. I couldn't even be truly happy before I lost my dad. Now, with my world in ruins, and no real friends my age, I don't know what there is to be happy about. If I'm in this mindset before the holidays, I can only imagine what I will feel during them.
Wish me luck.
I hope you all have a nice thanksgiving holiday.
This is my first major holiday without my dad. I miss him so much. I'm trying to keep busy by making a huge feast for only three people, but it's not enough. It's hard not to think about it. I mean, he should be here, and he's not. I am not, nor will I ever be, okay with that statement. The two month anniversary of his passing is tomorrow. I'm not ready for a back to back crying session.
Speaking of crying, during my very long drive home, I started remembering the last time I had to drive home, when he was sick. It just brought back all these memories. I started sobbing, while driving. I just couldn't stop crying. I was in pretty bad traffic at that time so I wasn't going fast or anything, and I did pull over at an exit too. I know it wasn't safe, but I couldn't help it, and honestly, I don't really have any regards for my safety anymore. Oh well. Sorry.
Again, Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
I've just been having a really hard time lately, and especially today.
It was Thanksgiving, then it was two months, and now today marks nine weeks. I know I shift from months to weeks to days for counting, but who cares? I pretty much count the seconds of heartbreak and pure, unreeling emotions that I've been feeling since my dad died because he died. He died. That simple two-word statement kills me. It makes me not want to breathe anymore. I know you've all experienced a loss, and that's why you're here, but in so many ways my loss was different. I don't care if that makes me sound selfish, because in this way, I have every right to be. He wasn't supposed to die so soon. He wasn't supposed to get sick, twice. We should of had more time. The virus took so many things away from me. First, months of moments and days with my dad that I can never make up for. Then, it took him for good.
I know that people lost their loved ones too. I do know that, but it's just so hard to empathize with others when my world is in ruins. Maybe that's why very few empathize with me. Maybe other people have so much to deal with that they simply don't have the time to acknowledge my pain. Unfortunately, that makes me feel like I've been doing this alone. Like I am alone. Like I have to continue to do this on my own.
I know that these are just dark thoughts, but I can't stop them from surrounding me, from taking every drop of light that's managed to seep through, since he died. Because, again, he died. I can't change that. I can't change what I've said or what I've done, or what I haven't said or haven't done in the past, and I'll never be able to change it. I guess the only few things that I can hope for is that my dad is okay now, that he's no longer in pain, that he can forgive me for all of my mistakes, and that I can forgive myself eventually.
I know that this was probably really long and really dark, and I'm sorry for that. This isn't easy for me, but I wasn't expecting it to be. I just don't know what to do anymore though.
Thanks for reading.
Today I delivered my speech, honoring my dad for my Public Speaking class. It was nice to share some of my favorite things about my dad. Afterwards, I got a private chat message complimenting my speech from someone who lost his dad eight years ago today. He commended my strength for speaking up about my dad, and he told me to "keep my head up," that I could get through it. He would know, I mean, he's managed to get through eight years. I can barely get through two months let alone eight years. I can't even imagine it.
Well, anyways, that made today actually okay. In fact, it made me want to share my speech with you. Here it is:
When I was in fifth grade, my classmates and I were asked to write about our heroes. I immediately knew I was going to write about my dad. You see, on top of being my father, and my protector, my dad bravely fought against an advanced, but slow-growing, cancer for twenty years. This meant undergoing countless radiation treatments, when chemo became out of the question, and living in constant pain, all for extra days with me, his only child. So, when I noticed the commencement speech for this class, I knew that my topic would be the same as it was in fifth grade. Only instead of a tribute, it would have to be a eulogy, as my dad passed away sixty-six days ago. I could tell you how much that statement kills me, but instead, I’m going to focus on the good that my dad brought into my life.
If anyone knows the High School Musical franchise, this one is for you: Besides Kenny Ortega, the director and choreographer of the franchise, my dad was probably the one of the very few middle-aged men who loved High School Musical as much as the kids who grew up with them did. He knew all the songs, or at least he thought he did. He never actually knew the lyrics though, so he'd just make up his own. I will always remember his numerous attempts to sing both parts of the duet in the song Breaking Free, even though Troy and Gabriella's parts overlapped. It was a sight to see, and definitely something to hear. These memories of mine will always represent the happy and goofy personality that my dad had, the kind that could make you smile or laugh, even on your darkest days.
Another thing about my dad, is that he loved the beach. We actually lived on the beach for about five years. Between biking on the boardwalk, surfing or paddle-boarding in the ocean, or just taking a nice walk in the sand to admire the sunrise on the horizon, my dad never took the beach for granted. I mean, he really loved that place. But I went to school where my mom lived, two hours away, meaning growing up, I only saw my dad on weekends and vacation times. When I transitioned into high school, there was an additional time conflict: Band; Its football games and practices conflicted with my dad’s time with me. But in his mind, the answer was simple: He left his favorite place on the beach, his home, and his friends, to spend more time with me, without even having to think about it. That was the kind of person my dad was: selfless, kind, and always thinking of others. Although there will have never been enough time with him, I surely am grateful for those four year of added time, and memories, with my dad.
Everyone has a leading figure in their life; The person who you can always go to, who will always help you. Someone who just knows you better than you know yourself. For me, that someone was my father. So, this speech is dedicated to my hero, the number one man in my heart: My dad.
I hope you like it. Thanks for reading.