The dagger of grief

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Steely, Mar 11, 2011.

  1. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    My dad's impending death is so intense, I feel like someone is stabbing me in the heart once every minute.

    When Heidi died it was sudden and tragic, but the agony of watching her die was absent.

    This is literally watching him die. Breath by breath he is weaker, and weaker. Choking on food, not able to sit up, not able to go the bathroom or talk. It will be days, and he will be gone.

    We spent the whole day with the Hospice lady, and she showed us the stages of death, and there he was in the weeks to days category.I would rather him have been hit by a boulder. And I know he would rather that too.

    Tonight my Mom and I were trying to get him into bed, and because I am taller and stronger I pushed him more forward then her backwards and he barely made it into bed. She kinda yelled at me, which is understandable, but it just messed with my head that I had almost hurt him. And then my Dad said that he was sorry for making us go through this - and made me promise I would be there tomorrow. OMG.

    All day today I start to cry, but then I can't because he does not need that. He needs my strength, so does my Mom. But now that I am alone, crying is all I can do. I just need this to be over, and for him to go fast. I have never been good with death - I cannot stand to see a dead animal, even a lizard - and now it is my Dad.

    I am not sure I have dealt with this in your face type of pain ever. The pain I have dealt with I was able to block and deny for periods of time - this is in my face - cannot deny - 24/7.

    i know many of you have gone through this - and I feel almost silly even posting about it because almost all of you have walked a mile in my shoes. I guess I just need to relate to those of you who have. For some reason I thought the death of my parents would be easier than this. It is a normal chain reaction of life - but it is not easy in any way shape or form.
  2. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member


    It is one of the most awful things you will ever deal with -- and you have had some awful things in your life.

    You are blessed to be able to be there, to leave nothing left unsaid. The love you have for your father is so very clear. Your family is in our prayers, may you find the strength to endure.
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I know Steely. I know. It is just so hard. One thing I would do is ask the Hospice lady if they have a therapist or chaplain associated with them who could come out to your dad's home to talk with you while your there. One came to my dad's house while I was there. I cant remember if she was a therapist or a chaplain. She talked to me and to Cory. She was really nice and helped put both of us to ease about our feelings. Cory was really having a hard time watching my dad. He couldnt understand why my dad wasnt being fed, why no one was inserting a feeding tube, stuff like that. She helped him understand that. Cory talked to her for at least an hour and a half. With me, she talked to me about how I had to know how much he loved me and stuff like that. It was a very good and cleansing talk.

    Im going to try to find my Eulogy and type it out for you. Maybe that will help you in this time. I was too raw when I came home to share it but now I can.
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I just posted it. I was asked to write it and read it at the funeral. It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life but also the best thing I have done in my life. It took me probably 25 times to write and re-write it but I said exactly what I wanted to say to and about it. I meant every word. I was able to get through it without crying too because I rehearsed a dozen times in my hotel room. I cried I had the people in the church crying though. It was a wonderful way for me to honor him though.
  5. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Steely, even long prepared for it, it is never easy to lose a parent. ((((hugs))))

    I ditto Janet in I'd talk to Hospice about having a counselor or chaplain come out to visit and talk to the family.

    My prayers are with you and your mom.
  6. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    It is surely in the "chain of life" as you say. It's part of what we deal with - life begins and life ends. But we are human, we have compassion and love. Loving someone hurts, at the beginning, middle, and especially at the end.

    Watching your father suffer is difficult, to say the least. I believe, for him, you stay strong and allow him to keep as much dignity as possible. For your mother, you stay strong as well. You may comfort and cry together when dad passes on. Find some of the down time when dad is resting for the three of you to share some memories. Share memories of your youth, funny stories, and include your sister. Death often has a side effect of bringing families together. Sometimes it can make you stronger.

    If you are Christian, take comfort that dad and sis will be together. That dad is just about to begin the promise of his faith. If not, focus not so much on dad's life ending, but his suffering and pain coming to a close. You and your family will be in my prayers.

  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Just sending hugs and good thoughts and strength your way....I am so sorry you are going thru this. It's hard under any circumstances.
  8. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    It is hard to watch, and then when it's over, you feel relief. And then you feel guilty for the relief, even though you know their pain is over. I spent so long watching my Mom do it that I took granted that one day it would happen, and when she finally gave up I took it at face value that she was ready to go. I wonder now if I had said "Mom, I need you, don't leave me" if she wouldn't have given up then (I was in my teens) but the thought didn't even occur me until now. I knew she wanted to go be with her mom and dad, I had already graduated high school a year early (for whatever reason she was afraid I wouldn't graduate at all) and I was relieved that it was almost over. And even now, almost 20 years later, I still get blind-sided by the what-ifs, the words I said, the ones I didn't apologize for, the things I wish she could have experienced. It still hurts, even though I know if the timing was different Dad wouldn't have met my wonderful step-mom, either.

  9. KFld

    KFld New Member

    I went through this with my mom a few years back and I feel your pain. She was in hospice in Florida and I was able to go say goodbye to her and it was horrible. Especially when I had to get back on the plane and come home before she passed. She hung in for two weeks after I left, but it was heart wrenching seeing her like that. It is something you will never forget, but time will heal your pain.

    You are in my thoughts and prayers
  10. amazeofgrace

    amazeofgrace New Member

    Oh hun <<<hugs>> know I am praying
  11. Star*

    Star* call 911


    I can't offer much comfort, but perhaps a distraction if only for a moment. ~

    When our oldest son Kary; age 18 passed eleven years ago, I know none of us were truly ready to say goodbye. We were called to the hospital ICU where we were ushered in and out for three days while doctors and nurses did their best to make choices none of us wanted to make. Finally it was decided that the anyeurism had caused too much damage and life support would be stopped. We were told all the cliche things that I'm sure you are hearing now with your own Father, none of which really make you feel better, but people for some reason either feel the need to say these things to comfort themselves or it's a form of pre-death ettiquite. I'm still not sure. Honestly? I think I would have been happier if the same people would have just said wonderful happy things and left it at that. I begged our Minister at my Fathers wake to NOT say "Oh death where is thy sting." and guess what? It was like the first thing he said.

    So at Kari's funeral - we had a Christian service and then we had a Native American service outside in the cemetery with our entire tribe. Women were dressed in ceremonial funeral wear and men sat dressed as well, and beat a drum, and sang/chanted and everyone danced, lit sage - and it was as it should be. Solemn, beautiful, honorable. The weather was lovely, the skies were blue as could be - and I stood there looking up trying not to start crying for myself again, because I had been thinking about how it was watching him lay there in that hospital bed trapped. Kary was such a happy child and he was always on the move free. Then as if on que there in the sky was a hawk - flying East to West. It's a good omen in Native culture. The minute I saw it - the drums stopped, the hawk circled, swooped, and soared high and then away. The Chief said it had come to take Karys spirit. It was a good omen. I had no more tears because I knew where my son had gone he was free.

    My fear in worrying about his pain while here on earth just lifted because while I'm of small mind -of this world, I know there are better things and better places once we leave here. So while you are hurting over these next few days for your Father, keep in the back of your mind that when his spirit is gone from the painful body that keeps him here? He'll be free. Maybe that's the joy people speak about that they find from death. I've lost two sons - and when I think about it? That's what makes my heart smile. Knowing that it's not about me and my pain of missing them, but that they won't ever hurt again, and that they are free. When it's our time? We'll see them again.

    Stay strong, smile for all the good times you remember.
    Hugs & love
  12. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I'm glad that you have the caring and experience of hospice support. Although I have not gone through this trauma everyone I know who has found real comfort having a trained outsider there to guide them through the difficult journey. In the long run the pain you are feeling now will likely ease the burden of loss and greif after his passing. Sending very caring hugs. DDD
  13. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    We just went through this with husband's mom. It's very difficult to watch life just whittle away from someone who had so much impact on your owln life. I hope for your sake, as for your family and dad that this is quick and the pain is less.
  14. cubsgirl

    cubsgirl Well-Known Member

    I'm so so so very sorry for all you and your family is going through.

  15. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Many, many hugs...and my prayers are with you all.
  16. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Sending support and strength your way. I lost my dad before I was 30. He was not a great dad and I never imagined the feelings that would come out of me. But, they did. And it was good for me. You will be so thankful to have his last days in your memories. No matter how sad they may make you. If you can, sit and look at a photo album with him. You will both enjoy that activity. HUGS!
  17. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Thank you guys for all the wisdom. Janet I did not see your eulogy, if you want to post it again, I would love that. I did the same thing for Heidi's memorial, spent hours on this poem, and it was so cleansing to share with everyone how deeply she impacted my life. I did cry when reading it, and had to stop several time to re-compose, but I made it through.

    Star I had no idea that you have lost 2 sons. What intense pain that must have been. However, like you said, you know where their spirit is now, and that is how I feel with Heidi. For us, it was a bald eagle that flew over the day after she died.

    The added issue I think to this particular situation is 3 things.

    One is that my dad is a devote atheist. I asked him yesterday if he believed he would see Heidi after he passed and he said no - and for some reason that just broke my heart. I want to imagine them in peace and harmony with each other in the spirit world. I guess I still can imagine, but I don't know, it seems unsettling that he does not believe it.

    Two is that as one of you mentioned he was not the best dad. There was abuse. Yet he loved me, and I have forgiven him for the abuse, I cannot forget. I am left with the scars. I want to hug and hold him, but I can't because the former abuse makes me feel not comfortable being that intimate with him. So as he is dying, my hope for ever having that dad I really wanted is also dying. A fantasy I did not realize I even had until now, is gone forever.

    The third thing is that my Mom's mother died 4 years ago, and Heidi died 3 years ago, and my Mom has never cried over either. Not once. Now she can't stop crying, which I knew would happen, it is like the dam breaking. I am going to try to get her to talk to the social worker from hospice, but it is so hard to see her finally break into a million pieces.

    He is now choking, severely, on all foods. He just choked so hard that he pooped all over himself, and my Mom is in there trying to clean it all up. I am not sure anymore what we feed him because he is choking so badly. His tumor is on his brain stem, so it is just shutting down the part that swallows. Soft foods make him choke, hard foods, everything. Like you said Janet, there will be no feeding tube, so you have to accept that life is ending, and this is how it ends.

    We have decided he will no longer get out of bed, because it is literally too hard for all of us. So no more of last night where we both almost dropped a 200 pound man on his head.

    I think I will remain in Oregon until this ends. This is why I did not want to take that job yet - my Mom needs me. It is just the 2 of us to get through this and go forward with life - and I am very grateful I am here - it is just SO painful.

    My Dad wants his ashes scattered where Heidi's ashes were scattered, on a mountain. That will be another gut wrenching moment, to scatter to the wind his ashes upon hers. God I miss her so much right now. Unbelievably miss her and wish she was here.
  18. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip


    I have not lost a parent, but I have lost my grandparents. And as I was an only grandchild - and my mother an only child - we were closer that my Dad's family.

    It hurts, still. No, it isn't as bad; but it will always hurt (as you know with Heidi). I'd give you all the cliches, but you know they don't help.

    What does help is knowing you have someone who cares about you, and that you have here. Sometimes it's a little easier talking to people who are a bit removed from the situation. Crying is good.

    And though your Dad may be an atheist - it's telling that he wants his ashes near Heidi's. He wants to be as much with her as he can. Your beliefs are yours, and if you feel you need to pray, do it. If not, if you want to rage, do it. Cry. And come back here and unload on us.

    We love you, sweetie.
  19. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Ahhh Steely, so you have a combo of both of my parents in one. Sigh. Tough situation. Ya know, even though I loved my dad with all my heart, he wasnt a saint. He did some bad stuff to me too. I have just come to terms with it as an adult and forgiven the man because I know he didnt know any better.

    I also had to deal with my mom dying 5 years ago and that was not easy on me either but it wasnt as hard as my dad's death. Of course, I didnt have the whole funeral show thing going on either. It was just Tony and my kids and we kind of sat here and looked at each other and said...well I guess thats over huh?

    I really think I sort of felt the weight of both my parents deaths when my dad died because so many of the people who knew both of them were at his funeral. Many didnt know my mom had died so I kept getting asked about her. It was hard.

    I have no idea what we can think about for those who dont believe. I dont know about my mom. With everything she did to me, where is she? Ya know? Who knows. Im not really religious.

    My step-mom just kept us all going at the house while my dad was sick and then after he died while planning the funeral, so none of us would start getting teary...she said we should be like Tara in Gone with the Wind...We shall think about that tomorrow! Said with a smile.
  20. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Well Steely,

    This is as Janet said - tough. I'm not sure what else you can do at this point, but the best you can in the moment. My thoughts are with you and your family for continued strength. Dude is my only natural born son - Kari came into my life when Dude was around 4 and passed away when Dude was 8. Kari passed away at 18 shortly after being married, as a result of a bull riding accident after 3 days in ICU.

    Steven and Dude were sworn enemies in 7th grade - nearly killed each other in school and that following weekend Steven followed him home on his bike and basically never left. He was 18 also, and he was driving, burned alive behind the wheel of his car on Friday the 13th - 2 February's ago, along with 2 other young men. That was sudden, tragic - and quite a shock.

    We didn't get to say goodbye to either boy - in a way I'm glad because with Kari - there was all the drama of the life-support, and ICU. It was too much. Not only did we have to deal with turning off life support, but then his bio-Mom was there and she had a heart attack. With Steven? It was decided for us - but we never even got a chance to see him period. I'm not sure if there is a worse - both were crippling in their own way, but like I said - the part of death that you have a choice in is when you realize that you can't do anything about it, if you could? You wouldn't want them to suffer because you love them, and whether they believe or not - as long as you believe? You will see them again. When I tell you my boys are in a better place? My body and mind believe it - my heart has a time with it sometimes - because I'm human and I'm selfish - but my I know what I believe and it's true.

    Take things - one minute at a time. Don't forget to breathe. Deal with what you can as you can. When you can't? - Repeat.