Struggling to come to terms with the traumatic way my Dad died

(40 Posts)
Truckingalong Sat 24-Sep-16 12:40:40

He didn't die peacefully and I was with him when it happened. The doctors wanted to help but there was nothing they could do. I can't quite bring myself to say the way in which he died, as I find it too traumatic but no amount of support or counselling will ever erase what I witnessed. Is it just a case of time passing by and fading/dulling the memories.

Bobochic Sat 24-Sep-16 12:45:39

I'm sorry.

Death is often awful, unfortunately. TV and cinema portrayal of death shields us from the grisly reality.

missyB1 Sat 24-Sep-16 12:48:02

My heart goes out to you, I cannot imagine the pain you must be in, I'm so sorry you are going through this.
What I would say is that you might not be ready for bereavement counselling now but maybe one day that might help. And yes I think time helps bring about a certain amount of acceptance, but there's no fast track to get there unfortunately. Coming to terms with any loss is difficult but when the circumstances were traumatic it's going to be harder, don't completely write off seeking help with this.

Lunar1 Sat 24-Sep-16 12:48:33

I'm so sorry for your loss, how long ago did it happen?

rhiaaaaaaaannon Sat 24-Sep-16 12:54:11

So sorry trucking, sounds very traumatic for both you and your dad sad
Time is the biggest healer. It's cliché but true. Right now I can imagine it's all you see when you close your eyes but in time you will have new experiences in your life that will distract. Something will make you laugh, something else will make you cry and it'll all help you gradually put what happened to your dad in a different spot in your mind.
I don't think these events ever truly leave us but hopefully you'll be able to make peace with it.

The main thing to keep in mind is that your dad isn't suffering now.

Have you got some good support around you? Have you has any counselling? Like you said it won't erase your memories but it can be very helpful to just get out everything you are feeling in a trusted place.

simbobs Sat 24-Sep-16 12:57:29

Horrible. Been through it too, but still feel awful when I think about it. The only way I can deal with it is to focus on the person he was. I tell my kids some of his favourite sayings and we talk about things that he used to do with us. We keep the positive alive. We have to go on for them, don't we?

BakeOffBiscuits Sat 24-Sep-16 13:20:32

I'm so sorrysad

I've been through that too with my Dad and I have to say it took several years for me to get to grips with it. I didn't even like seeing my dh asleep in bed as it made me think of my dad.

In my experience it just takes time. How long ago did you lose your Dad?

NovemberInDailyFailLand Sat 24-Sep-16 13:22:07

Trucking, how much time is it since it happened?

My own father died of a serious illness over about a year. It still upset thw whole family and we found it hard to cope with. So, a traumatic and unexpected death will be much, much harder. Even a year or two is nothing.

Yes, it does indeed take a long time. You can contact Cruse, they can discuss things with you if you want to talk about it. Time helps, but to be honest, it never completely goes away. What does happen is that you learn to live with it, rather than get over it, as such.

As Henry Scott Holland says in his beautiful poem All Is Well...smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it ever was.

We keep Dads memory alive in the little things and as time goes by you may find the same happens for you.

ThumbWitchesAbroad Sat 24-Sep-16 13:23:02

If it happened in hospital, since you say doctors wanted to help, then you may be able to get a debrief from the medical team to explain things - this may or may not help you come to terms with it but it's an option.

If you don't want to think about it at all any more, and it's still highly traumatic, then you might want to investigate some of the methods used to counteract PTSD - www.emdr.com/what-is-emdr/ this is one that is gaining popularity, so might help.

So sorry you had to experience that, I was with my mum when she died (as were the rest of my immediate family) and although it was managed, it still wasn't entirely peaceful, so I do feel for you xx thanks

Truckingalong Sat 24-Sep-16 13:27:17

My mum died 18 months ago (a horrible shock and awful and I'm crying now thinking about it but far more peacefully). My dad died 5 months ago. I tried a counselling session a few weeks ago but it just felt artificial and a bit daft really - sat in a room with a stranger telling her stuff that ultimately can never change what happened. I just don't feel equipped to deal with what I saw and what happened. It was brutal and horrific and I sometimes feel like I've got PTSD, if that doesn't sound too dramatic.

Truckingalong Sat 24-Sep-16 13:31:44

It was in hospital and the staff were beyond brilliant and a doctor friend went through it all with me. I will have a look at that ptsd link. Thanks all for your kind words. I feel really isolated about it all and nobody wants to hear a gruesome story about death IRL.

ThumbWitchesAbroad Sat 24-Sep-16 13:39:54

Oh trucking - that really is hard, to lose both parents that close together and in such a way too. Big (((hugs))) for you x

fortifiedwithtea Sat 24-Sep-16 13:54:02

OP sorry for your loss flowers

I'm wondering if your Dad's death was similar to my Great Uncle's death. He was in hospital and suffering from bone cancer. His death was expected and my Great Aunt was called in. Unfortunately in his dying moments he haemorrhaged. My Aunt lost her nerve and ran from the room. Doctors were there and did what they could. It was not a death you'll wish for. They had no children so my Aunt rang me and we took her home.

I know my Aunt felt awful but I think she concentrated on the thought that her husband was at last out pain and at peace.

I was with my Dad when he died too. The body shuts down. Makes me think of a caretaker walking a round a building turning off the lights. You were with your Dad at a most important time. Take comfort that you were with him.

sussexman Sat 24-Sep-16 13:55:34

I'm so sorry.
It is true as others said that time helps. It's also, probably, true that saying that doesn't help very much right now. I'm glad that the doctors were there for you and talked it through, it does sound like a safe place to talk it through would help, so I'd encourage you to take advantage of cruse etc. You might find that the doctors/hospital staff who were there could make useful recommendations as well.

Truckingalong Sat 24-Sep-16 13:57:40

The caretaker comment just made me smile. It's a nice way of looking at it.

No, he didn't haemorrhage. The fact that I was with him should bring some comfort but it's drowned out by how he died. It was horrendous.

VashtaNerada Sat 24-Sep-16 14:04:21

So sorry to hear this flowers Don't assume nobody wants to hear about it though, I would be more than happy to listen to a friend talking about this, no matter how awful it was.

Ginkypig Sat 24-Sep-16 14:10:49

One way to look at it is yes his death was "a not good death" but that was the tiniest part. Try to focus on the life he had the joy he felt and gave others!
His death is obviously never going to be forgotten by you because you loved him and would never want to see him suffer but it was only one part of his life as a whole don't let it ruin all the other better longer parts of his story and your memories!

My dad had a stroke which affected the signals to his lungs that meant that out of the blue the signal didn't sent and he began to suffocate in front of our eyes. When he was on the ventilator it would kick in and work his lungs but in the end we had to remove the machines so ultimately he had a horrid death. He suffocated to death because his body could not breath for him.
His death was horrific but it's done now and he is free of the pain (is what I have to tell myself)
It's only us (you,me and others) who suffer now. I don't be they would want that for us

I think you may have ptsd or at the very least are finding it hard to cope with the trauma, there is no shame in that but I do feel that even if you think it's silly you should seek out some help to deal with the fallout of this.

Good luck op!

Oh and if you can't share in irl I promise we can bear the details if you need to spew them out only if you feel it would help of course.

Ginkypig Sat 24-Sep-16 14:11:23

Belive they would want that*

ThumbWitchesAbroad Sat 24-Sep-16 14:18:04

Ginky - that's horrendous, I can't understand why they removed the ventilator? My mum wanted to remove hers before she died, but the docs explained that she'd drown in her own fluids and it would be horrific, so they refused (luckily!) So sorry you had to go through that thanks

Ginkypig Sat 24-Sep-16 14:35:08

Thankyou thumb. There was no choice he was never going to recover and he would never in a million years have wanted to live like that. He may have stayed on the ventilation for a couple of weeks until somthing like infection took him but ultimately his body was failing because he also had bacterial meningitis and bacterial pneumonia.
It was awful but I think it was better than the alternative.

Truckingalong Sat 24-Sep-16 14:36:47

I just can't bring myself to say how. It feels like a betrayal. It was so horrific that it feels too personal to share it. That's so daft isn't it, given that it's anonymous on here but it's how I feel at the moment. Friends IRL know and in fact, in the first few days after it happened, I had this compelling urge to tell anyone in the most graphic of terms how he died - almost like I was trying to shock them. That soon stopped though and I reckon I was in shock myself at the time. Has anyone else ever had that urge?

Ginkypig Sat 24-Sep-16 14:39:50

Yes truck I do! It's ten years now and not so much now.
I think it's the brains way of purging the details as they are like a poison we can't recover from.

We won't force you but are here to hear them if you need ok! You can never betray him you know that don't you.

Truckingalong Sat 24-Sep-16 14:40:23

Thanks again to everyone for acknowledging my post. I'm going to go outside for a while and get some fresh air. I don't often allow myself to wallow like this or even think about it at all, as it's just so distressing but occasionally it spills over.

Ginky I'm so sorry for your loss and the trauma that you've all had to endure.

ThumbWitchesAbroad Sat 24-Sep-16 14:42:20

Trucking - that compulsion to tell is normal.

I found something about it a few years ago, after I witnessed a car accident involving a young girl - she flew over my car, pretty much, and was knocked out but luckily survived with a broken leg. ANyway, I was ok for a bit and then so wobbly I couldn't drive home - got in and cried, and then phoned people to tell them. Turns out this is part of the stress response - the hormone oxytocin, one of its functions is for "social bonding", and as it's released in stressful situations, it drives the compulsion to tell people about it, to try and get some social response that might be soothing.

Don't tell anything you don't want to - it's entirely up to you how much or little you reveal, but anything you want to say about it will be treated with kindness and sympathy. x

Oh Ginky - I do see, the poor man! sad

NovemberInDailyFailLand Sat 24-Sep-16 14:49:42

Trucking, please don't feel you are 'wallowing'. You're processing, and that shows you are on the right track.

I agree with previous posters; if you choose to reveal more details, that is perfectly fine, or if you prefer not to that is also fine.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now