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Grieving for my dad and feeling alone

(16 Posts)
whereisvioleta Tue 30-Sep-14 11:19:00

Hi there,

I'm posting here as I am finding this really hard to talk about IRL. I am sure my DH, DM and DB would talk and listen, and I am not usually one to keep my feelings hidden, but for some reason I just cannot seem to bring myself to talk. Possibly because I'm scared that I would start crying and not be able to stop, and possibly because (and this probably sounds awful, so apologies, it's not intended to be upsetting) I feel like talking is so pointless as it won't do the one thing I want, which is to have my dad back.

He died from cancer early in the spring, and had been ill for around six months before that. At the time, I managed to cope quite well, it didn't seem to really hit me, even though of course I was sad. All through his illness he had managed to be very pragmatic and encouraged us to do the same; to accept what was happening as we couldn't change it. And I think I sort of took that mindset on board a bit after he died. I also had a young baby to look after and a house move to deal with, so I just sort of had to keep going.

But now, six or so months later, it is really hitting me hard. I feel sad all the time, and keep thinking back to him being in the hospice, I have really vivid pictures in my mind of the tiniest little things from the hospice, or conversations etc. Yesterday I heard, whilst out with my baby, totally unexpectedly, a piece of music that was played at the funeral, and I almost immediately burst into tears. There are so many times I would just like to pick up the phone and call my dad to tell him what we've been up to, but I am so painfully aware that I can't, not now and not ever.

Please can someone tell me I'm not alone in feeling like this? And does anyone empathise with the feeling of not being able to face talking out loud IRL about how I feel. Should I be brave and talk to someone, will it help? Does anyone share the horrible feeling that talking is just so futile, because however much it might help, it won't change the horrible facts that he is gone?

Sorry that this was long, it has helped to write it down. Thank you

Asteria Tue 30-Sep-14 11:49:25

Oh whereisvioletta I'm so sorry for your loss. Writing it down is a really good start and it will get easier, but grief can spring up and bite us when we least expect it. You may find that having a bit of bereavement counselling will help you to move through the grief, but that will involve talking about it. I totally understand your reluctance to talk it through, the floodgates may well open and what is there to guarantee that you can shut them again? Sadly bottling it up will not make it go away.
Perhaps baby steps for now, talking here gives you space to shut the page and process bit by bit, rather than sitting in a room with an hour to analyse. I do think that talking will help you in the long run though.
Let's not forget you have a lot on your plate - with a baby and a house move being stressful enough alone, it is a lot to deal with combined and on top of losing your father. Have you considered visiting your GP and asking for help? You may need an antidepressant to get you through the next few months, I'm usually a bit woo but sometimes we need to just have a bit of help getting through things.
I do hope that you find something useful in my clumsy post. It would be much easier to offer advice over a coffee so please just take what you like and ignore anything you don't! Be kind to yourself, the world will keep turning if you stop and have a good cry.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 30-Sep-14 11:56:16

You are certainly not the first to think this. My little girl was a babe in arms when I lost my Dad to cancer, my son a toddler - just the routine day-to-day stuff kept me going, blindly, robot-like. You have possibly found the same, it seemed important to keep going, not so much stiff upper lip, just worried if you started to let go you woul;dn't stop falling?

Asteria is right, you could talk to your GP. And keeping a small journal or diary just to log thoughts or dreams or wishes can be a help.

Also, it might be worth turning this on its head. What about DM, DB and DH. Maybe they feel the same way. Maybe they think whereisvioleta will feel awkward/embarrassed/exasperated if I talk about this, after all what good is talking? Don't stay silent if you need to let it out.

I do think it helps to air this. It's a major major loss. Those who have shared that same loss have said, nobody knows what it's like until it happens to them. In the natural order of things we expect our parents to leave us first. Life goes on and now just as you emerge from the numbness of shock, everyone around you who isn't family whilst sympathetic has moved on.

You can talk to The Samaritans 24 hrs a day tel. 08457 90 90 90
or just say you need to open up and sit there mute, while you gather your thoughts, a stranger at the end of the phone who doesn't know you can be a welcome ear.

Look at www.cruse.org.uk/ for where you might access bereavement help in your area.

flowers Take care.

LittlePink Wed 01-Oct-14 17:01:36

I can totally relate to your post. My dad died in the spring too from cancer and was in a hospice at the end. Its coming up to 6 months now and I cant believe where the time has gone. Ive spent a lot of the time robot like going on taking care of my toddler and feeling numb a lot of the time. Its really hitting me now as his birthday approaches at the weekend and it also marks 6 months at the same time that we lost him.

I just don't know how to go about talking to my siblings about how I feel. I don't know what I would say. Mum and I talk about him sometimes but its mainly about what he would have thought and said about certain situations etc, rather than talking about how we literally feel.

I had a good old cry earlier on, cleaned myself up and went out to a friends house not feeling like going at all but forced myself to and she asked what the matter was and if I was ok, she knew as soon as I walked in there was something up but I just said I was tired. I couldn't bring myself to talk about what was really wrong. I would have just balled my eyes out as i was on the edge as it was and it wasn't the time with 2 toddlers to dredge it all up in front of them.

I know how you're feeling though, your circumstances sound almost identical to mine with the timing and the hospice and all the feelings about talking about it to people in RL. Its really hard, I feel for you.

AMumInScotland Wed 01-Oct-14 17:16:40

Would it be so awful to cry? I know it can feel like you'd be opening a floodgate and it might never stop again, but letting yourself express it out loud does help.

Grief sneaks up and catches us, sometimes it's when the funeral is over and the immediate practicalities dealt with, sometimes it's when we are slightly less busy, sometimes it's an odd thing or significant date - there's no right or wrong to it, you feel how you feel.

You can always talk on here - we can't bring him back, but we can let you remember him, and talk about how it feels to miss him.

But real life people are good too - just take a chance and tell your DH that it's hitting you now and you could do with a hug, or whatever. Your mum and brother would probably be glad of a chance to talk about him together too.

whereisvioleta Wed 01-Oct-14 19:58:13

Thank you so so much for these kind replies, and for sharing your experiences, I'm very sorry for your losses, it sounds like there are lots of us in the same boat, sadly. I do wish in a way I could be brave enough to try and talk to DM or DB, I just would be worried about upsetting them over the phone or FaceTime and then DM being alone after we've said goodbye, and I just hate the thought of her alone and crying because I instigated a conversation. But maybe they are feeling the same too and it would be a relief for us to talk about him a bit, and about our feelings.

sunnyrosegarden Wed 01-Oct-14 20:37:58

Oh, I wish I could just give you a huge hug!

I lost my dad to cancer in 2008, after a 6 month illness. He was pragmatic, asked me to hold it together for mum. I work with bereaved clients and I thought I was handling it ok.

Then, around 4 months later, I just crashed. It was hurting so much not to cry, I was so scared of giving into it.

Oh, and I also had a one year old, and a four year old.

I saw my gp, as I thought I was having an asthma attack. She referred me to the most wonderful counsellor, although I fought against it.

To this day, the counselling was probably the most positive thung I have ever done.

Please speak to your gp and ask for a referral. thanks

MairyHinge Fri 03-Oct-14 09:29:54

Hi, I understand what you're going through x
I lost my dad to cancer on 15th June, and for the first month or so it didn't hot me, I think i mainly felt relief as he had suffered so much.
Now though, I constantly feel like I've got a huge know in my stomach. I miss him desperately, and keep remembering his last week.
He never made it to the hospice, he died 10 days after his terminal diagnosis. The last 4 or 5 days he was so dosed up on morphine that we'd lost him anyway. We never really got to say a proper goodbye and had no idea what music etc he'd have liked at his funeral.
I'm an only child so I'm supporting mum, but also feel like I don't want to talk about him with her, cos then she will be upset and when I leave, she will be alone again.
Anyway I've discovered my local hospice have bereavement groups, every other Monday morning. It's a little bit like a drop in/ coffee morning, but there are volunteers there who greet you, and sit and chat with you, and reinforce that it's ok to cry,and grief is good.

I've only been once, this week, but although it was hard going in places, as you get into a group and talk ( if you want to, otherwise just listen to others) it was very rewarding, and I felt a release.
I was with other, recently bereaved people, and we all had tales to tell.
Perhaps you could find out if your hospice can offer this?
They will almost certainly have some counselling help on offer.

Don't know about you, but I felt that after dad died we were just left to get on with it....
Abandoned almost.
I hope my story helps, and know that you're not alone xx

MairyHinge Fri 03-Oct-14 09:31:08

knot in my stomach!

whereisvioleta Wed 15-Oct-14 19:00:29

Hello again. I know it's very bad form to leave a post for so long, and I apologise for leaving such kind posts unacknowledged for such a long time. Thank you again to you all for sharing your advice and stories. It is really good to know that counselling and bereavement groups have helped, and it is interesting to hear that others have also found that the grief tends to hit really hard later on and not immediately. I might try and pluck up the courage to look into counselling, although as Asteria said it is quite useful to be able to type here and try and process things that way.

I have tried to talk to my DH since I posted, but still the words won't manage to come out of my mouth :-( I think he does know why I've been down though, and has been very sweet in letting me know he's here to listen if there's anything I want to talk about.

This week was awful as the Apprentice started again, and I remember sitting with Dad earlier in the year when an advert came on for it. He loved (to hate!) the programme and was really pleased when he saw the trail for the new series, except suddenly we both realised it was actually an advert asking for people to apply for this series which has just started, and the realisation that he wouldn't actually get to see the series itself just hung in the air between us, it was awful, and just seeing Facebook timelines full of Apprentice posts (which of course people are more than entitled to post!!) is just turning me into a complete mess. Such a small and silly thing to get upset about, but it's really got me.

How's everyone else doing? flowers

Solastyeardotcom1 Thu 20-Nov-14 20:35:29

So I'm not sure if this will be read by anyone now as it's now November. I agree with all thats been said here. I lost both my mum and dad this year. It's been so so hard. It's really weird as you talk about it, but I came to realise that you just go round and round in circles and like you say , it doesn't change anything. I tried counselling 2 sessions but it made it worse . I felt so uncomfortable but maybe it was the wrong type of counselling? The hardest thing for me is the isolation I feel - mum and dad were my best friends so if I ever needed to talk id pick up the phone and of course now when I feel down with it all, i cant do that! My husband been good but he says you just have to pull yourself out of it. It's sounds harsh but I think he's right. Some people have been very understanding but others just think it's like sticking a plaster on it and it'll be fixed - mainly people who haven't been in this situation. The bottom line is things have changed for ever, but gradually I think you will focus on the happy memories. The thing i don't like is not being able to control my emotions - usually I'm ok but it can take you by surprise at any time and that's hard. Not sure if thus helps - perhaps more therapy for me !

femaelstrom Fri 21-Nov-14 13:04:43

Hi Solastyear, so sorry about your mum and dad. Really tough to lose them both in a year. It's several years since I lost my dad but I still get taken by surprise at how much I miss him. I also didn't find counselling very helpful - agreed, it might just have been the wrong counsellor for me - but I do find it useful to talk to other people who've lost a parent or a loved one. Love to you and everyone else here.

DorisIsALittleBitPartial Fri 21-Nov-14 23:58:40

Sorry to post so late, and I do hope you are feeling a bit better, if that is possible.
Grief does have a nasty way of hiding until it thinks you are ready to deal with things and then out it comes. When I was in your position I found it useful to post on bereavement forums. Anonymous, writing rather than talking, communicating with people that weren't close to me. It helped a lot. I would sit up late after DH had gone to bed posting and crying or not crying, just purging.
3 years later and today I had my first session at bereavement counselling.
I know exactly how you feel, and I hope this doesn't upset you, but on Wednesday it was the anniversary. I went to the crem and stared at the grass feeling so angry and numb at the same time - I didn't want to stare at grass I wanted to speak to them (DF and DM), see them, make them tea, all the things you do with the living.
Solasty - you don't have to pull yourself out of it, let it be and it will pass, but if that helps then do what is right for you, that's all we can do.

Solastyeardotcom1 Sun 23-Nov-14 20:22:20

Thanks for both replies they really help. On the waiting list now for other counselling by a charity so give that a go. Dorisalittlebitpartial - how did yours go last week? Was it helpful? If you don't mind me asking, why after 3 yrs ? I'm sorry you had the anniversary last Wednesday. It must have been very hard. I know what you mean though - I would do anything to get back to normality - how things used to be. A bit like when you were a child, no worries or sadness. I'm not really religious, so perhaps that's why I can't get my head round things - this sounds so stupid, but where they've gone. It's just like one minute they're here, next gone? It's really weird. I've even been to some physic for answers !

DorisIsALittleBitPartial Sun 23-Nov-14 23:43:53

Hi Solastyear, I'm glad to hear you are now on a waiting list, you know when it is time. The reason it took 3 years was because I was on ADs which helped me to get through it. It was so tough, dealing with probate, selling his flat, sorting his belongings, but earlier this year I felt settled and ready to come off them. I came off them too quickly and the grief caught up with me. Or maybe I didn't come off them too quickly and not dealing with it caught up with me. Either way, the counselling last week was an assessment (and I have been referred) but that initial assessment did help. Everything just came out, all the jumble that has been in my head. It was emotional, of course, but to finally say it all out loud was quite cathartic.
I understand wholeheartedly about how you felt as a child - your parents protect you and without them, I feel vulnerable and a bit lost, even in my 40s. And I'm not religious either - so no waiting for me in heaven.
It is so hard to comprehend - must be especially for you to lose them both so close together. I'm hoping counselling will help me find acceptance. Not closure, that's not possible is it?

Solastyeardotcom1 Mon 24-Nov-14 00:36:24

Hi DorisIsALittleBitPartial - you're up late too lol! Uum that's interesting about the ADs. I've been thinking of that. Always said no to drugs - apart from the occasional smoked stuff when I was early 20's - never agreed with me anyway! Anyway bit nervous about getting hooked on them, and like you crashing or becoming too dependent. I've had the most awful time though - sorry not after sympathy! I had an assessment on the phone doing the bloomen school run! Starting blubbing! It's awful though as been told about 12 wk waiting list - I just thought that must be so awful for people who are at rock bottom and have no family - they can't wait that long. I've still got the house to sell and all their stuff. I'm dreading it. I keep visualising me going through their stuff - uuh just awful. How did you cope - do you just switch off? There's a lot of other stuff to which I can't say here makes it a lot harder. Did you get upset with other people ? I was really angry when I had a few letters back from their friends - one just said thankyou ofr your sad news, then proceeded to babble on about themselves and how many bloody holidays they'd had - no mention of what nice people they were, you must really miss them! Bloody people!

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