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My Dad died suddenly 9 months ago - I can't get over losing him.......

(142 Posts)
barney2 Tue 15-Aug-06 19:22:38

I'm still so devastated at losing my lovely Dad - he died suddenly at home on his own, whilst my Mum was at work, almost 9 months ago. I rang to speak to him and a paramedic answered the phone - she told me 'he's had a bit of an accident' and to get over there immediately. I knew he had died because otherwise she'd have said he was ok. I drove over to find my Mum at the backdoor nodding from side to side and in tears. My Dad was lying by the phone, dead. He had to have a PM and they found he'd had a massive heart attack. I saw him the day before and he looked ok although said he didn't feel too good.

I just can't accept that I'll never see him again. I find it so hard to carry on sometimes and feel that even though I'm happily married with two lovely daughters that I want to be with my Dad. I was quite close to him especially during his last few months because he had a car accident three months before he died - he got hit late one night by a 19yo drink driver and Dad never really got over the accident - Dad has his car written off - he'd never scratched a car in his life. He died aged 76. He was such a lovely guy, always laughing and joking. I miss him so much. I just don't know how to believe I'll never see him again, hear him again and he'll never make me smile again.

Is there anyone out there that can help me?

KathH Tue 15-Aug-06 19:47:08

sorry to hear about yuor dad - I lost mine 8 years ago & still have moments when I cant really believe I'll never see him again, I saw him nearly every day as his & my mum helped out with the kids. I find it hard when I think he never saw me or my sister get married & he never saw 2 of his grandchildren.

I know its a hateful cliche but it does get more bearable over time but sometimes that makes me feel sadder to think its ok not to miss him.

I think 9 months is quite early to be hard on yourself that you're missing him like mad.

If it helps to talk about him then am a good listener.

FioFio Tue 15-Aug-06 19:49:46

Message withdrawn

WideWebWitch Tue 15-Aug-06 19:51:03

Hi Barney2, my dad died 5 years ago and I still find it hard and still dream about him, although it's easier than it was. It's very early days for you, so much sympathy, these first few years are bloody tough imo. Welcome to mn though.

mummy2jake Tue 15-Aug-06 19:55:48

hi my dad died almost 6 months ago also from a heart attack he had a heart attack without realising he had one thought it was just chest pain he was then rushed into hospital when he passed out having another heart attack, it was awful seeing him look so ill but they did an operation and said that it would stop another attack from happening and he was sent home he died from his third attack in his bed we found him the next day in his pyjamas. it hasnt really sunk in yet feel the same way you do if you wanna talk i will check this thread later.

Mercy Tue 15-Aug-06 20:25:17

Oh barney . My father died 20 years ago and although I didn't have a good relationship with him (far from it tbh) there are times when I would like to talk to him or ask him things, especially now I have children.

But there are different ways in which your dad will come back to you. As Fio says, 9 months is nothing, it can take years to get over the death of someone so close.

You may see aspects of his personality in your children, even in yourself - even if they are negative things! It's little reminders like that which can help you think that life carries on through generations.

Have you spoken to your Mum about how you feel?

Northerner Tue 15-Aug-06 20:30:41

Oh Barney, so sorry for you. Can't offer any advice as my Dad is still alive though I dread this day coming and no I will feel as you do.

A Father daughter relationship is very special and you sound like your Dad was one in a million. I thik counselling may help.

Take care.

PinkyRed Tue 15-Aug-06 20:47:04

Barney - so sorry for you

Just wanted to agree with what others have posted - 9 months is really early. Everyone grieves at a different pace of course, but I think it's still early days. You loved him, so it is going to be hard to live without him.

My wonderful dad died seven years ago, so he never got to see me get married, or to meet my dd, which is a real sadness to me. We're both Christians though, which I find a great comfort, but I know that's not necessarily true for everyone.

One thing that we did which I found incredibly helpful, was that we all got together as a family on the first anniversary of his death, and we climbed his favourite mountain (he was a great hiker) and we scattered his ashes in his favourite spot. I was dreading it beforehand because I thought it was going to be really depressing, but in fact we walked up talking about Dad and laughing and swapping our favourite Dad stories and it ended up being really warm and life affirming. It felt like the end of the first part of mourning him, and a move into a more positive phase of remembering him. Is there something that your family could do to celebrate your Dad?

RubyRioja Tue 15-Aug-06 20:56:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FioFio Wed 16-Aug-06 08:20:31

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RubyRioja Wed 16-Aug-06 08:23:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WishICouldGiveUpWork Wed 16-Aug-06 08:39:37

Oh BArney-really feel for you.
I lost my Mum 15 months ago and like the others agree that 9mts is such a short time compared to the 30 or 40 he was in your life.
Fio-interesting point about casting a shadow-I feel that way too.Every morning dd who my Mum never met rushes to the end of her cot and "chats" to Granny-should make me happy but actually makes me so sad.
Barney-wish I could help,I personally found getting through the first anniversary of everything-birthday,Xmas,Mother's day (boy was that awful)etc helped.Once through all of those things gradually got better.
You never get over it you just learn to live with it....

Wilbur Wed 16-Aug-06 09:13:58

Barney - I'm so sorry for your loss. It's a terrible thing when someone has gone for good - my dad died three years ago now and it is still hard, on some days, to accept that he is not coming back. But things have got easier, and my dh and kids are a great comfort as it truly feels like part of my dad carries on through them. FWIW - 9 months is around the worst time for loss, I found, it was def worst between 3 months (after shock has worn off) and about 1 year when things started to calm down and I could think more clearly. Have you considered bereavement counselling? Sorry if someone has already mentioned it, but Cruse or your GP might be able to help you. It's worth doing, if only to get a few things off your chest. Or just keep posting here. Take care. xxx

barney2 Wed 16-Aug-06 09:15:29

Crikey, am I crying now!!! I've read all your notes and you're all so lovely and kind. I agree 9 months is still only a very short time but I do find that time isn't a healer, if anything I find it harder and harder to deal with as each day goes by. I know that 9 months of not having him compared to the 38 years I did have with him is nothing but he's left such a massive void in my life. I've tried talking to Mum about how I feel and all she says is 'oh well, never mind, he's not coming back so get on with your life'. Yet when she is down I feel I'm expected to help her and be sympathetic. I've a younger brother and he's pretty low at the moment and mum is constantly fussing over him and telling myself and my elder sister how depressed he is etc etc.

I know also that I should be grateful that he wasn't ill for long but what I simply can't get out of my head is that he would have panicked when he was having the heart attack and that I wish I'd been there for him and atleast held his hand and told him how much I loved him (the tears are coming down again now...) - I never told my Dad I loved him apart from in cards etc and I wish I'd had the chance to say it and to say goodbye etc - he died all on his own with no-one and I think that is so cruel. He was too nice to die on his own. He obviously tried to get help because he was found by the phone but why die on your own? He must've been so scared.

We've had a Christmas without him, his birthday and a Father's Day and each one has been awful. I try to remember the good times and try to keep up-beat especially for the sake of my children but its so hard especially when I hear someone else moaning about something and think to myself 'what have you got to moan about' or even if I see someone laughing I think 'what you go to laugh about because I haven't'.

I find going to the cemetary really really difficult. His headstone has just gone up and that was the worst visit ever - it makes it all so definite to see his name on a headstone. I can't bring myself to talk to him because I know he's below my feet (he was buried) and its hard to believe he's down there - its as if I want to dig him out and bring him home with me.

I keep wondering 'if only' because the day before he died we got talking about where he'd like to be buried etc because he and Mum had just bought a headstone for his parent's grave and it was due to go up within the next few days. Why did I ask this? What if I hadn't? Would I still have him?

He was the one person in my life that would ask all the questions that I would take great pride in answering - he was especially interested in schooling and what the eldest was doing and also how my youngest (18mths at the time of his death) was up to. I don't have that now.

I miss him so much. I still love him so dearly. I've tried asking for help from my GP - ie in the form of anti-depressants but he refused me because he told me it'd be far harder to come off them at a later date. I've considered counselling but I feel I should be able to cope but life is so hard and I just don't know.

What do I do? How long should I feel like this for? I feel this is a huge burden on my shoulders and its weighing me down so much. I've even had the awful thought of joining him because I miss him so much.

WishICouldGiveUpWork Wed 16-Aug-06 09:21:49

Barney-I am with Wilbur-for me 9 months was the worst time,hate to say it bu t9mt though to abotu 13mts and then gradually things started to feel a little better.BUT-we are all different and grieve at different rates.
I think counselling would be good-I know we are all supposed to be able to cope but if we can't-there is nothing wrong with asking for some help.
I wish I had some magic answers for you

barney2 Wed 16-Aug-06 09:28:32

Thank you. The other thing I found really hard was I'm lucky, I've got lots of lovely mates BUT not one of them has been through this, yet. They've all got their parents and whilst they were great at the time and full of sympathy they simply didn't know what to say etc and I found they were avoiding talking to me/seeing me because they were scared of saying the right thing. Then I found whilst talking to someone who was someone I knew but wasn't a friend at the time had also lost her Dad in very similar circumstances - her Dad died in bed due to a HA. Since finding this out we get on quite well and always have a chat.

What I'm trying to say is that unless you've been through losing a parent its really hard to understand how much of a huge blow it is, especially if like in my case where I was close to my Dad. I guess its a fact of life that we all have to lose our parents some time but its something I was dreading and now having had it happen I can honestly say I'll be there for the next person who needs a shoulder because I know how lonely it can be grieving on your own. XX

barney2 Wed 16-Aug-06 09:42:30

The other thing I find really hard to come to terms with is finding him lying on the floor, shirt ripped open where the paramedics had tried to bring him back, his head covered with a blanket with his shiny shoes sticking out from underneath another blanket. I was asked to identify him because Mum was too upset and I did this and then said goodbye and gave him a kiss and it shocked me as to how cold he was. His eyes were wide open and they were still the lovely piercing blue that they were but fully bloodshot. I tidied his hair and told him how much I loved him. We then had to wait for just over 3 hours for him to be taken away because it was a Saturday and the undertakers were busy. To get to the loo I had to go out the back door and back in the front door because he was lying in the hallway. After over a week he was then moved to the Chapel of Rest in the town that I live and I went to see him in the hope it would remove my last memory of him lying on the floor. I walked in and I could immediatley see how very different he was - because he'd had a PM not only through the chest but also through the back of the head his face was distorted beyond recognition - his nose, for example, was on the side of his face and they'd put make up on him and glued a smile on - that was not my dad in that coffin. Of course it was but the only way I knew it was him was by his hands which were freezing and the clothes he was in because we'd dressed him in his favourite trousers and jumper etc. I don't want my lasting memory to be either of those moments but I can't seem to shift them out of my head. People tell me to remember the good times and forget what I saw back in November but its so incredibly hard to. Now I wonder if it would've been better to not have seen him in the Chapel of Rest because it did not help me one bit. Why did I put myself through it. Why didn't I think at the time how much of an effect it was going to have on me and here we are 9 months later and I'm still crying and still pushing people away - my husband being the first victim on that score - been married 13 years and despite him being open-armed with me I push him away - if I can't have my Dad I don't want my husband either.

fairyjay Wed 16-Aug-06 10:17:00

I think you've got a whole host of mumnetters in tears.
My Dad died over three years ago. He was 78, and although he was not in the best of health, until the last month of his life, he had a good quality of life.
He was so proud of my brother and me, and our families, and I so miss being able to tell him ds's exam results etc.
Every night in hospital he would tell me to go home to the children, and not hang around there. He also made my Mum and brother go home. Which meant that when the time came, he was alone when he died. I think he knew that we would have really struggled to cope with that.
I saw him the next morning, and he looked just as we had left him. When dh and I saw him at the undertakers, he wasn't my dad any more. Dh checked the name on the end of the coffin, because he couldn't believe it was him!
None of us ever will get over losing someone we love so much, but i. how lucky were we to have Dads loved us so, and were so loved in return, and ii. we owe it to our children to live our lives in the way our Dads would want.
You will have vile times - we all will - but you will find the strength to move on.
You didn't need to tell your Dad you loved him - he knew that

ninah Wed 16-Aug-06 10:36:49

I lost my dad on 3rd July and my mum 18 months earlier. I don't feel as if I'm grieving but I'm not coping too well. My dad was ill for a long time although they did not diagnose him with cancer until 4 days before he died, so we assumed that some of the symptoms (weight loss etc) were down to him missing mum - who died very suddenly of a heart attack in the middle of Malaga airport, while he was having a nap on a bench. He was woken up by a bystander who asked him 'it that your wife? she just died'
Grief is very isolating. I can see that you and your Mum are very different people and deal with it in different ways but you have both suffered a loss - could you try to reach out to her?
I agree with a dead body no longer being the person, I saw Dad's last breath leave him, by this time we were begging him to let go. I miss him awfully too and with two young children have little time to work it through. Have thought about AD's etc but then again it's supposed to be depressing, isn't it.
I don't think there is a lot that can help you. The best thing is to focus outwards not inwards, I hope you and your mum can become really close over this.

heiferjamese Wed 16-Aug-06 10:38:28

I lost my dad 4 years ago after he had diamentia (which was awful). It was very hard to begin with but did get better, although I am not sure I realised it at the time. I always felt him around the 1st year or so then realised one day that I didn't.....

But I also lost my mum 7 months ago which has completely flatten me... She had cancer and only lived around 6 months from finding out...

I miss her so much, no idea how I am going to cope without her, but I do.. My DD 2.7 really helps although sometimes she has me in floods of tears by asking do you miss your mummy....

The thing that really makes me cry is not how much I have missed her already but that I may live another 40 or so years and still not see her etc.....

Also in the same position that none of my friends have lost their parents yet and I get quite jealous when they slag their parents off, I just want to shout at least you have them around, but of course I don't cause I am sure that years ago I would have joined in with them.

Both my DH parents have also passed away and DD got no grandparents which also makes me very sad as I know how big a part they would have played in their life (as they did my nephews lives)...

Anyway, sorry this probably hasn't helped anyone - but it has helped me write it all down.

I do know that I did get over my dads death, still feels sad and still miss him, but guess that time does heal a bit, just mums death is so raw so hopefully time will help there also....

DumbledoresGirl Wed 16-Aug-06 10:53:54

barney, i have not lost my parents yet, so I guess I would come into the category of people you can't help resenting at the moment, but I just wanted you to know that I have read all your posts here and they are so moving.

My knowledge of grief such as you are experiencing is only what I have read but I see some people here would agree with me when I say that 9 months is still a short time. As I understand it, you cannot expect to start to come out of the grieving process until you have at least gone through every anniversary, eg Christmas, birthday, and perhaps most importantly, the anniversary of his death. Please try to go easy on yourself until such times have passed. I am sure that in a years time from now, you will be feeling a lot brighter.

One thing in particular about your posts has really stuck with me. You said "I just don't know how to believe I'll never see him again, hear him again and he'll never make me smile again." Believe you me, you will see him again, hear him again and he will make you smile again. I am not talking about an afterlife here. It is just that I know that people don't die as completely as that. their bodies may be gone, but he will live on in your memories, in your family around you, and in your own heart, and there will come a time when you can remember him and the things he said and did that made him so special, without tears of sadness but instead with a great comforting blanket of warmth and affection.

Wilbur Wed 16-Aug-06 11:18:01

Barney - the things you have said about the "if only", the cemetery, the chapel of rest and the day he died, are so familiar to me. It took a long long time for those pains (horrors, even) to recede but they rarely trouble me in the same way now. My father died in hospital with my sister and I beside him, so in that way it was a "good" death, but the day he died and days after still haunted me for a many months. My mother, however, died suddenly in her sleep and I found seeing her in bed the next morning was the most shocking and terrifying experience, but it has gone and I promise you will find a place for all these things too. Do consider counselling, you don't have to cope all on your own. I had terrible insomnia after my mother died which went on for years, and I wish now that I had just accepted the few months of sleeping tabs I was offered, just to get through the worst, instead of building up a greater problem for myself in the long run. I would say that where you are now is probably the right time to seek some kind of help, if you can. xx

barney2 Wed 16-Aug-06 12:47:36

Good grief. I don't think I've cried so much in just a few hours having read all your lovely words. Every one of you is so sweet. You are all like a group of friends I've just found and I'm so so grateful for all your amazingly comforting words.

If I'm honest with myself I'm no better mentally than I was when I saw him lying on the hall floor. Not a day goes by when I don't think about him. One of you said (I'm sorry, I don't have your names to hand) that you've still got another 40 years or so to live and still not see him. This is exactly why I say I look forward to dying so to see him again. I often wonder if he's lonely - if he misses me, my kids etc and I wonder if he is looking down crying or laughing. I know if he is watching he'd be telling me to get my act together, especially for my kids sake - he only had the three grandchildren, two of which were my kids but just before he died he'd often refer to them as his 'special girls' - something he'd never done before. I just wish that had he had any warnings at all at being so ill he'd have told either Mum or indeed anyone but I don't think he would have done because he was always scared of going to the dentist let alone the doctor/hospital or be given bad news.

I never knew losing someone would completely change my life. Nothing is the same. My whole life has taken a complete full circle. I get very down at the most stupid things - and find that if I have a disagreement with someone (like a mate) I fester and don't talk to them for days whereas before I'd have been 'oh lets sort this out etc' - my mates have learnt to be very tolerant of me and have got used to me arranging to meet up with them and cancelling at the last minute cos I just can't face going out. Then I apologise and they say its ok etc.

I think about my Dad at the oddest times too - I can go to bed and dream about him. I wonder what he's doing now - is he with his Mum and Dad or just sat somewhere on his own staring down wishing he was still with us.

My biggest fear is (and I've already said this so I'm sorry for repeating) what did he do during his last few minutes - he must have panicked - he wasn't the easiest patient if he even had a cold and he'd have paced up and down the hall not knowing what to do/who to ring. When Mum found him (he didn't go to pick her up from work so she walked home and initially walked past him calling his name and then found him by the phone) he was in the tiniest floor area possible so must've died sat in the chair by the phone and fell to the floor. But in doing so he must've hit his head so hard on the neighbouring wooden chair and I worry that he didn't die sat upright but died after hitting the floor in which case he'd have been in so much pain.

The other worst part with the Chapel of Rest is touching him and he'd been stuffed with loads of paper - he was like a scarecrow - it was all so false. Horrible. The funeral was as good as funerals go - the church was packed with people standing - the buriel was the most awful time - I threw some lovely fresh yellow roses in on top of his coffin and told him I loved him. Within a few minutes of him being laid to rest it began to snow. Weird.

Do any of you sense your parents around you? Have you ever felt they are close by. My sister is sure he is always around. I hate going to see my Mum for the simple fact that her house is so quiet - my Dad was quiet chatty, always had music/tv on and that I still look for him. I feel I can still here him, his keys jangling in his pocket, the smell of his tobacco (he smoked a pipe) and the banging of doors etc. I do try to remember the good times but they always seem so overshadowed by the dreadful two weeks in November - in between him dying and laying him to rest.

Why can't I get over this quicker. I've got a lifetime ahead of me yet I don't feel I want to live it. I just want to be with my lovely Dad. Sorry. I'm a useless case. Can't stop crying today. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea putting this subject on MN. Its brought it all back to me and I'm so sad. But thank you to all of you. You've been absolutely lovely. xxxxxx

heiferjamese Wed 16-Aug-06 13:16:05

barney I think it will definately help you by posting here. I often read posts but did add to them as I thought it would be too hard etc, but have found it helpful writing down how I feel (or some of it as I can't really express how I really feel)....

I asked my DH the other day (whilst sobbing in bed) why does it hurt as much now 7 months later as it did when my mum died???? surely it should be better.....

But why should it. I am 38 so had 38 years of living with the most wonderful mother anyone could ask for (and also 34 years with my dad), why should it be ok within 7 months etc....

I am at the point with my dad that I can remember the good times in the past without having that stabbing pain in my chest....

I am not at this point with my mum. Everyone time I think about her it really hurts, an actuall physical pain in my chest.. and all i can see if how she looked when she died (which after having cancer and not eating or drinking for the last 10 days was not good)... She was such a stunning looking lady, very proud of her appearance, and it frightening me everytime I saw her the last week... I just can't get it out of my head. and can't talk to my brothers as they didn't see her the last 2 weeks as they couldn't handle it....

I am hoping that one day I will be able to think about mum and smile not cry, just as I can with my dad, but until that time, I still like to talk about her and think about her (although sick to death of having a headache from crying)....

I am sure things will get better for you...

Also I am not the most religious person but my mum was a sundayschool teacher and I am now going to church every week and do get some help from that - but my point is that you are scared that your dad died alone etc. I don't think he did... I really believe (having been there when my mum died) that they are not alone etc, something happens to make them feel ok and safe... I don't really have the words to explain how I feel but I really don't believe that he was alone and certainly not alone now....

Hope my post helps a small bit....

barney2 Wed 16-Aug-06 13:28:30

Thankyou. Your post does help. The last 9 months have been the hardest to live, as far as I am concerned. My brother, for example, has been a complete pig. The way he behaved when Dad died was dreadful. He is younger than me, I'm 38, he is 34. My sister is older then me. She is 42. Between my brother and my sister they literally took over everything when it came to the plans for Dad's funeral - I would try to get involved and each time I would leave Mum's place in tears. A few times I would say to the two of them - please let me do something because he was my Dad too. I tried not to get angry because of Mum but the two of them are very alike and it got so bad that I would leave saying 'i'm going home to do what I'm best at - be a mum'. My brother is still the same - everyone says how he is so like my Dad - he is not. My brother TELLS Mum what to do - tells her how to deal with her finances and even calls her by her christian name which I find very difficult to deal with and have asked that he does not - but he's a determined so and so and will always do whatever he chooses, regardless of who he upsets along the way.

Maybe one day I'll wake up and think, 'hey, this is going to be a good day and I'm going to be happy, for a change' - because I don't think I could get any more miserable than I am now.

I should be happy - I've got my health, two lovely kids and a great husband. We're settled and we're ok. I've still got my Mum and yes, I've got closer to her since Dad went, but not close enough that I can cry on her shoulder - she's always been one to say that women deal better with these things than men, hence why she is so sympathetic towards my brother and should he get upset/tearful she's far more comforting towards him than me. I try to do my crying on my own but sometimes it can catch me out - doing the simplest of things like walking the dog and seeing a grandad out with his grandkids or just driving past the cemetary.

To make myself feel better I think about all those people out there whose parents are seriously ill/terminally ill etc and KNOW they are going to die. I didn't have that - I'm not sure which is the easiest to deal with but a friend of mine has just had her Dad sent home from hospital because he has incurable cancer. Atleast I lost my Dad suddenly and nobody knew how ill he was - the shock is extremely hard to deal with but atleast we didn't know but then had we known I could've said goodbye. But if Dad had made it alive to the hospital how would I have coped going to see him not knowing if that was the last time I would see him alive?

Oh, I don't know anymore. xx

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