Topic: The Sorrow Comes In Waves

Today was 2 weeks since Daddy went Home. I was so lucky that Dad left me a letter for me to read after he passed. He did his best to explain why he was so distant and absent from my life during those formative years. He explained that it was difficult for him to see me go grow up, what was a natural progression for me, for him felt as though I was being torn from him. He was so sensitive and since my mom and him had a rocky relationship all those years he thought that here was his little girl who would love him unconditionally. And I did. That darling baby smiling back at him never to disagree or get upset with him. But then he watched me grow up (from jumping onto that school bus at 6 without a care in the world, to starting competitive figure skating, then moving many miles away to go to University) and it hurt him so much so that he pulled away more and more until he sat in the background of my life. In his eyes, I didn't need him and so he drank to numb the pain. Then after I left home, Dad got sober. He came around and we started to develop a relationship around the time I got married just 3 years ago.

I found out in April 2009 that my husband and I were expecting our first child. This overjoyed Dad to think that he could have a second chance with his grandchild. He would tell his doctor "You get to call me gramps soon!" I lost the baby June 28th. Dad really took that hard. He was hurt for me and just plain hurt that it would not be and that he would not hold his grandchild. I think that day we found out that our baby was in Heaven a large part of Dad yearned to be there too. After that I heard from him over the phone less and less. On my birthday on July 14th I knew the time was close. I never got a call from him, so I called. He tried to be brave for me and sing me Happy Birthday, but his little girl knows when her daddy is not okay. I was on the plane to see him the very next day. On July 31st Dad went Home. I find comfort in knowing that Dad has met our little baby and did get to hold him or her after all.

The funeral was bearable. My brother and I organized it as more of a celebration of dad's life. Dad was a true example of how God can redeem a person's life. An example of forgiveness, redemption, unconditional love. I said a tribute to dad--a sort of thank you for all of the little joys that he had given to me that I loved so much about him. I was never daddy's little princess in my younger years, but as a budding young woman I had become his everything and I soaked in it. Like he said in the letter, I was his rock as he battled this cancer. Wow, what a privilege it was. Dad's name is "Ted" and at the funeral I carried around the "Teddy" that we brought for him to the hospice the last few days of his life. He passed away with the teddy under his arm. Tonight I can't sleep and I squeeze that teddy because the pain is so unbearable.

I play over and over in my head the last weeks of his life. It had been almost 3 months since I saw him last and I replay my reaction to seeing him over and over in my head. I had always been so strong for him, never to shed a tear. But I just held his face next to mine and cried saying "I can't hold it in anymore, I just love you so much" He held both my hands in his as we connected for a few minutes. It was the closest I have ever been with him in my life. Looking into those eyes of his and telling him how glad I was to be there, how I came as soon as I could. I wish I could go back there now.

I have really attempted to be gracious with myself, but there are times when it is not easy. Dad put my brother and I in charge of his care and making the tough decisions. My brother was often absent from the hospital during those last days. From sedation, to liquids, to pain medication I tried my best to do what I thought was ultimately best for Dad. But I still play it over in my head and wonder if I should have sedated sooner, or not at all. If I should have said more when I had the chance. Was telling him how proud of him and how much I love him enough? Did he truly KNOW it? Was I convincing? He told me in the letter that he lived for those moments we watched the news together when I was a teenager, when I sun tanned and he sat on the back porch and made me laugh, when we sat by the lake in August and we counted the 70-something windmills on the distant island across. Did he know that I too lived for those moments? Until I was living just to hear his heart beat that last night. Until I couldn't anymore, and he was free.

Dad was severely agitated and fearful at the end and I wish I could relive those days and it be more peaceful. I didn't know that after watching him go through agony for 3 days that he would quickly slip away to be gone from me forever, hours later.

I tell myself "Ashlea, it's irrelevant now--He is in a better place, free from pain." But I still obsess. I told myself after every visit that if it were the last I would be okay with that for I had made the most of every second. But I still want more visits--to hold his hand, touch his face, watch his favorite t.v. shows with him. I told him that it was okay to let go---that mom and us kids would be okay. I know all of this is true, that I will be okay, but I don't feel okay. I feel this terrible void and sadness. I try to remember happy times--better times, but it is a battle in my head. The last days stick so clearly in my mind. I had a dream the other night of those last days that was treacherous. I never want to go through that dream again. I wonder if he knew I saw in the room with him when he passed. I was out of the room moments prior. I can't remember if I told him I was back. Did he know that he was not alone?

I knew I needed some guidance so I picked up the book "glimpses of heaven" and it seems to bring me some peace until I think "well Dad never spoke of seeing angels, Dad never died with a smile on his face--so how do I know it was peaceful? Because he didn't die screaming. Yes, of course this is where my faith comes into. I know it was peaceful because God came to take him home--period. But it's still not easy to wrap my mind around everything that has happened. Why can't God give me a sign? A sign that all is well. I try talking to Dad, but it's just not the same. I started to write him a letter and am finding that to be somewhat therapeutic. Are there any books that you found helpful after your loss? Anything that can guide me toward understanding God and his reasoning for this suffering that I am experiencing?

This is the longest post ever---and I still feel like I could keep talking. Not a lot of people understand what I am experiencing. My closest friends and even family don't even bring it up. I don't want to forget my Dad or pretend he never existed. It hurts me when people don't talk about it. It is the biggest part of my life right now. He meant so much to me.

I love you all and thank you for listening and understanding in my greatest time of need.


Re: The Sorrow Comes In Waves

Dearest Ashlea, of course your dad knew how much you loved him, he even saw this beautiful post. Because you questioned heaven I am repeating my little dad's story:

My dad at the age of 93 had gall bladder surgery. Came home and was fine. The next day he went in to a very deep, peaceful sleep. We could not wake him. I called the paramedics and they could not wake him. They did the infamous breast rub and he jumped awake. Mom sat on the bed and said, Norman, I was so scared you wouldn't wake up!"
At this point I have to interject that my dad believed in nothing he could not explain. Heaven, magic etc. He also was not very descriptive.
He answers mom, "I just had a beautiful dream, I saw Heaven." We went to ER and my daughter joined us there. She said "Grandpa, I heard you had a dream."  He said, "Yes, Robin, I saw Heaven and it was so beautiful." He came home and passed the next day. If I never believed before I sure did after that. Heaven is Beautiful!

Then....this last month I have been caring for mom who is now 93, mild dementia and falls. Its been very, very stressful. One night I woke up coughing, you know dry I knew I was awake. Laid there for awhile and all of a sudden I felt the strangest feathery light touching all over my face. Then it stopped. I truly believe my dad was thanking me.

What I am trying to say is your dad will be all around you, sometimes it just takes time and you have to be open to looking for the signs. I suggest reading Sylvia Browns first 2 books about  the beyond. Very interesting and soothing.

So sorry about your baby but at least your dad has his grandchild with him.
Be patient your "teddy" will come around, he's just still unpacking!


Re: The Sorrow Comes In Waves

Dear Ashlea,
I can so relate to the constant recall of the last days and what happened.  Sometimes I wish that part would just go away so I can just remember all the good times my husband and I had together, all the years we shared.  Grieving is such a terrible journey and a lonesome one.  I totally understand what you are experiencing and you are right...most people don't.  I am sending you hugs and prayers of comfort.  You were a wonderful daughter for your father.  How nice he left a letter for you.  I have often hoped to come across a letter from Rob, but he had a hard time coming to terms about how terminal he was...he felt too good.

Wishing all God's blessings!

Re: The Sorrow Comes In Waves

Dear Ashlea,

I too understand and feel your pain & frustrations.  I can relate to so much of what you said.  I know it is not easy, but try to think of the positives more than the negatives. The letter he left for you, knowing that he is now with his grandchild and no longer suffering.  You were there for him when it matter.  He is still with you in your heart & in spirit. 

Others do not understand, but everyone here does.  We have all been there and know better than anyone else what it is like to lose a loved one to this horrible disease.  We are all here for you.  Come here whenever you need to & post all you want.  Just venting your feelings sometimes makes a difference. Take care Ashlea.

Love & Hugs,

"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: The Sorrow Comes In Waves

Ashlea....I think the hardest part is the uncertainty of wondering whether we had done everything "right" by our loved ones.  These gastro. cancers seem to have a mind of their own, and they can be difficult to control.  In retrospect one can easily question the decisions made, things said or, not said but, deep down we know that everything was handled with the best of intentions and therefore, it was the "right" thing to do.  I am wishing for your heart to day at a time.


Re: The Sorrow Comes In Waves

Hi Ashley, I'm so sorry for your sadness.  I hope and believe that your Dad is with your little one in heaven, holding that baby tight and watching over you.  I too found it impossible after losing my Dad, to remember him before cc. I could only recall those last months, and final moments. I have found that the pre-cc memories do come back, and I hope that you too are able to find them soon, but grief is a difficult process to plan for. My  heart breaks for you as I read your message, and I wanted to remind you that you're not alone, and that you're right- it's ok to talk about it.

Best to you,

Re: The Sorrow Comes In Waves

Dear Ashlea,
   I'm with you on the constant recall. My husband took hospice here at home, and , although like you and your Dad, the very end was peaceful with him and I together, him communicating with his eyes,  the days leading up to this were not, and that memory STILL comes out and blasts me from time to time, even though it has been more than 10 months. For the most part, though, every time those bad memories start, I force myself to change to a happy memory, and it is working much better now than earlier in the year.

   I know what you mean about your Dad, too. My Dad passed away in 1995, and I got the chance to spend some time with him at the end, though he had suffered a series of strokes and was in a coma like state. He left my Mother here at home with two small children when I was 8 and my Brother 4 and he returned to Connecticut to live. I WAS Daddy's little girl - we were so close, and I can still remember - 54 years later - how abandoned I felt when he left. We saw him infrequently after that - two weeks in the summer, sometimes at Christmas, and I missed him so. When I grew up, I went to see him and he showed me the letters I had sent him - he had saved then all! He explained that, like your Dad , he couldn't handle the pain of separation so pulled away.  The day I went to see him at the end, I told him I forgave him, and that I loved him deeply. I was holding his hand, and I think he squeezed it -  I feel that we were able to communcate our love for one another.  So we both - you and I - got our Dad's back - actually, they never really left us, did they?

  I am so sorry about your baby, but sure that your Dad is up there - in heaven - holding that child. What a relief for you to know that they are together now, and that someday you will see them both.

  My thoughts and prayers are with you as you walk this path of sorrow.

Joyce C.