Topic: Death and Grief

My Dad has been gone a week and I deeply miss the caregiver / cc-fighter club.  There was a point in life, when I grieved for my 'healthy' pre-cc Dad, now I miss going to Dad's appointments, hearing him tell me how tired he is, filling his drink, hearing about his ab discomfort, & desperately seeking answers to the problems of the day.  I don't want Dad to be sick anymore, but I want him to be here.... at least I knew where he was and could see him everyday. There is something so lonely about not being able to see him, or know what he's doing, or what he's thinking.  Today, for the first time, I'm very scared & questioning what the after life really consists of- and what if he's alone or afraid.  What if his heart hurts as much as mine?  Before, energy was focused on finding solutions & options, then pursuing treatment, then keeping Dad comfortable, then staying close so he didn't pass alone.  I thought I would avoid this pain, per the daily tears of anticipatory grief..... but it is different.  The comfort that I first felt, when the suffering was over, is fading.  Now it's just deep sadness ....

-Tess

Re: Death and Grief

Hi Tess,

I have thought of you often in the last week and wondered how you are doing. Words seem so inadequate at times like these.

Friends of mine who have suffered losses (one of a partner, one of a child) found comfort in their afterlife questions from several books: Conversations with God, Forever Ours and the Tibetan Guide to Living and Dying.

I wish you peace,

Jan

Re: Death and Grief

I felt a big void when my wife died.  Not only was Kathleen missing from my life but I had lost my "part-time job" as her caregiver.  That role gave me a purpose and losing her also meant losing that role.  The result was a lot of open time to fill and nothing seemed to adequately fill the void.  Maybe your experience is similar.

It does get easier with time.

Re: Death and Grief

Tess - my heart goes out to you as I read your post with tears flowing down my cheeks.  I totally get it - I lost my Daddy on January 14 of this year and I still turn into his house and park before I realize, What are you doing???  I have always been a Daddy's girl, talking to him daily, taking him meals, visiting, but when Daddy was diagnosed with cc 16 months ago, the role changed and I became caregiver.  Like you, I went to all the appointments, had the conversations with the doctors, made sure he had what he needed, and now......what am I suppose to do with myself?  I will tell you this, I keep myself very busy - not that I am doing anything constructive - I am in a major fog and totally screw up everything - but I am busy.  Now when I go to my Daddy's, I am able to sit on the swing and remember the sweet, sweet memories - not those tragic last months.  So Tess, it does get better, it will get better.  Just know that what you are feeling right now - you just have to feel it and live it to get through it.  I do believe though, my Daddy is my guardian angel - I feel his presence so close sometimes, I can feel his hand on my shoulder.  He took care of me here on this Earth and he continues to take care of me now.  I want to share a poem with you that I read daily, sometimes every hour and it helps me immensely.  Please know that I am praying for peace and comfort for you.....Coming to this site has been my life-saver during the last 2 months.  I have posted more since my Daddy passed away than I did when he was sick.  Knowing that others understand my pain and my Daddy's pain is very comforting.

He is Gone
You can shed tears that he is gone,
Or you can smile because he lived,
You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back,
Or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left.

Your heart can be empty because you can't see him
Or you can be full of the love that you shared,
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember him and only that he is gone
Or you can cherish his memory and let it live on,
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back,
Or you can do what he would want:
Smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

Re: Death and Grief

What a beautiful poem!

Tess,

I ask that God continue to hold you tightly in his hands and give you peace. 

I believe this part that you are working your way through now is also part of the CC journey and I know you will soon find your way and be sucessful. 

Your Dad was so lucky to have you with him and I believe he is still with you in spirit as you begin to navigate this new bend in the road.

You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Hugs,
Pam

My Mom lost her one year battle with CC on April 3, 2009.

"A prognosis is simply an audit of how truly precious each day is.  Live each day to the maximum, celebrate what was, and what is - Don't spend your life looking forward to what will or might be." .... words of wisdom from my beloved son on hearing of his grandmother's CC prognosis.

Re: Death and Grief

Tess,

I am so sorry you have to go through all of this, but I have come to find out that there is no short cut. It is part of the journey & the grieving process that we are all going through.  All of our time & energy for so long went into taking care of our loved ones & now we have this hugh void to fill. I too try to keep busy, but nothing can truely fill the void. It is always there.

I also have that beautiful poem & read it daily & sometimes more often when I am feeling really low.

I get so much strength, comfort & support from the great people on this site. Stay with us as I am sure it will be very helpful to you too.

Take care & remember we are all here for you. I will keep you in my thoughts & prayers.

Love & Hugs,
Darla

"One Day At A Time"

All of my comments and suggestions are just my opinions and are not a substitute for professional medical advice.   You should always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care providers.

Re: Death and Grief

Oh Tess,
Big hugs to you.  I can feel your pain in your post.  When Mom first got sick I remember thinking about how much I missed the mom that I had before she was sick.... how much easier life was for her before the big C word.  Now a couple of years later how we have adjusted to our new life, how I feel it has brought us so much closer and made us cherish each other more.  I don't even want to think about when the time comes that she is gone and we don't have a drs apt every week and so on. 

Thank God we have each other to lean on.

I am praying for you.

This is such a tough journey........

Amy

Re: Death and Grief

You've been there from day one Jan, thanks for that.  There is definitely a void of our 'part-time-job' & loved ones Bill, that simply can't be filled. We only get one Daddy Brookerpt, like you- I'm running in circles lately, getting nothing done. Thank you for the beautiful poem, and I hope one day I can focus again on the pre-cc times with Dad. I am very sorry for your loss.  You're right Pam, it's all part of the cc journey, which I guess never really ends, even in death.  Darla, the site has been a blessing for myself as well- wonderful people such as yourself to help all the way! Thanks for the hugs Amy, cc definitely makes us slow down, find appreciation for the small things, and cherish moments together that we may have otherwise overlooked.

Thanks for the support everyone!

Love to you all,
Tess

Re: Death and Grief

Tess-

You know it sometimes gets harder before it gets easier.  And then there are times, that it sneaks up on you.  There are times that you miss them and can't feel it, and there are times when the tears come in the middle of the night. 

It's a process, and the fact that you are feeling it is good, despite the way it feels.  I encourage you to allow anything to come, at any time, and be ready to be blown away by grief.  I was.  But it was good and it is way better than not feeling, not processing, or worst of all not loving.  Be willing to do whatever you need to to process it.  You become more human by allowing that space and reality into your life. 

To your Dad!  To my Mom!  It is good to feel and okay to be deeply sad and miss them.  I sure am today.  (((hugs)))  -ljg

Re: Death and Grief

hey tess

i feel sorry for you,that you lost your daddy,but remember he's always with you. and think of the good times that you chared. i feel sad too for you hope you wil find some peace with it.
best wisches and hugs for you.

moon

Re: Death and Grief

Yes, ljg, it's a long road... it snuck up on me this AM when I heard an old message from my Dad on the answering machine & saw an old cigarette butt of his still in the patio ashtray. As this small town is the same one his parents grew up in, he grew up in, I grew up in & my son is growing up in.... there are memories (literally) at every corner. But the tears are for love, that is for sure.

And thank you Moon for the well wishes & hugs. Dad is most definitely always with me & I too hope that peace will come in time.

love,
Tess

Re: Death and Grief

Hi Tess,
   I am thinking of you each day, and know that it will get easier as time goes on - it IS a process, and it moves at is's own speed. We all just have to go with it, and learn the life lessons as we go, and, yes, remember all the good times we have shared over the long years with our loved ones.  I find, as time goes on, I remember more and more good times, and those memories have replaced many of the later unhappy memories. When I start to think about the final days, I try to remember happy times we had together, and it helps me a lot. I think Bill is right - at first, we even miss that caregiver role that gave us such purpose. ANyway, we are with you, and hoping for peaceful thoughts for you and your family

Hugs,

Joyce

Re: Death and Grief

Tess,
So sorry you are suffering such sadness and loss.  I, too, was hoping that when this journey with my father ends I will feel relief b/c the suffering would be over.  I suppose you can feel relief and yet feel an overwhelming void where your dad used to be.  I can only imagine it is time that heals that kind of wound.  Tess, I think of you everyday, and you are my example of strength and courage.  You are helping me a lot, and your father must be so proud of the daughter you are. 
Take care, you are in my thoughts and prayers
Barbara

The  Lord is my shephard

Re: Death and Grief

Tess,

I am so sorry to hear of your dad's passing. I just couldn't believe it when you sent me an email about getting 2nd opinions for my mom. I felt so much hope. I saw everthing you did for your dad and knew right then that I had to learn so much more. To be the one to fight for my mom. Ofcourse, I had no time (she was gone in 5 weeks). But I learned so much from everyone here. You especially. I want to thank you for that.

I know how you feel about missing taking care of them. I tell people, I know it was hard, but I would have gladly taken care of her for the rest of my life. I did hate seeing her in pain, but I always prayed that the next day would be better.

I am thinking about you, what a wonderful daughter you were and how much strength I could feel you had. I often thought, I need to be more like that.

Love, Steph

Re: Death and Grief

So sorry    Janet

Re: Death and Grief

Dear, Joyce, Barbara, Steph and Janet. It is so good to come here and hear from my old buddies. Thank you for that! I simply don't know how people do it without such support systems.  It is amazing how much has transpired over just the last few months, the immense amount of loss & the growth of friendships.  Gosh Steph, you're right, there was just a couple weeks between the passing of our parents. I thought of you too as I prepared for the funeral arrangements (per your earlier posting) & how much I too wanted to 'call in sick' that day.  For those of us that have lost our loved ones, I hope that they connect (on our behalf) on the other side....   And Barbara, we're thinking of you and your Dad everyday, hoping for peace in your heart to get through one chapter at a time, and comfort for your Dad. 

Love to all,
Tess

Re: Death and Grief

Dear Tess,
I know how you feel and I'm so sorry for your loss. Sometimes I have a question about my childhood or something that happened a long time ago and I realize there's no one to ask anymore - the one person who knew me for my entire life, knew everything about me, shared everything with me, is gone.  Or I hear a song that my mother loved, or hear a phrase that used to be part of our little inside jokes, and it makes me smile, but no one else knows or remembers (even my sister). Then I get all weepy and I allow myself to wallow in it - why not? Even after 2 years, I'm allowed to be a wreck sometimes.

I miss being the caregiver, miss knowing that she's SOMEWHERE and I can see her every day. When she was taking her last breaths, I told her "It's okay to go, it's okay" because I wanted her to be at peace, but as soon as she died, I said, "I lied - it's not okay - don't go!" And I still kinda feel that way.  I spent a year being very busy, restoring her house, putting it on the market, straightening out all her affairs as executor of her will, and as soon as that was over, I had nothing left to do for her. I would so love to have something I could do for her, to feel close to her.

Sorry for the maudlin post - your words really struck a chord, and I'm feeling maudlin today. I wish you some peace in your journey through this grief.

Joyce M

Re: Death and Grief

Thanks for sharing Joyce. Yes, you're always allowed to be a wreck when it happens- what choice do we have.  You're right, it's difficult to know what to do for someone when they're gone, and yet we want to.  I made Dad brownies and a cup of coffee the other morning, and took the food & two cups of coffee out to the garden.  I just sat and 'talked to Dad' for awhile & then burried the brownie with the coffee.... a tangible offering to let him know that I still want to do things for him.

You know, I could never tell Dad "it's okay to die", even as he sat dying in my arms. He was so adamant that he was going to get through it, that we were never even allowed to cry in front of him. I was afraid that he'd snap out of it and yell at me for suggesting he was dying.  So I wrote him a special note & put it in his suit pocket at the funeral home.

It's true, it's not OK when they go. It is a maudlin day on my end too Joyce....

Thanks for your thoughtful post, you're in my thoughts.

Tess