Advice needed about grieving process

(6 Posts)
sherylshore Tue 27-May-08 12:16:11

I would appreciate any advice from anybody who has lost a parent. My father (who was in his early 60s) died 5 months ago of a terminal illness. We knew he was going to die for several weeks before he did as his treatment wasn't working. For the last few months of his life he suffered terribly - I won't go into details, but he suffered immensely and those images of him will haunt me forever. In that way, it was quite a relief when he went, because he suffered so much and we couldn't see just how he could get any worse.

Over the whole process of his illness and since his death, I've obviously had a few tears here and there, but I've carried on more or less the same as before. I've got a young family and a very demanding job (which I love) and I had no time off after he died even though I was told that I could. I can talk about what happened quite freely if people ask and am not in any state of denial. I was very close to my dad and he was somebody who I loved and respected immensely. However, I keep thinking that there is something 'wrong' with me - surely people who suffer such a loss have some kind of depression/ problems sleeping, etc?

I know there are a range of emotions that I could feel such as being incredibly bitter that he went before he 'should' have and left us all. Or, feeling so sad for him, as he certainly did not want to die. Or feeling guilty that I didn't tell him certain things before he went? I don't feel any of these things particulary although I do miss him alot. I was just wondering if anybody else had felt pretty 'balanced' after going through something like this? I know I can't actually sit and make myself cry, but on the other hand, I worry that life is too 'normal' considering what has happened.

Sorry to go on, just trying to make some sense of everything.

OP’s posts: |
fizzbuzz Tue 27-May-08 12:49:24

I think everyone is different. I remember that feeling though. When my mum died it was something I had dreaded all my life, yet I carried on. I was upset But still managed to carry on.

I thought it would affect me like a very difficult relationship breakup when ds was very small. I went under and was severly depressed. It didn't affect me at all like this. This has no reflection on my relationship with my mum which was close and loving.

Dp's father died last year, he too felt he should be more upset than he was, again he had a very close relationship with his dad.

Perhaps this is actually an indication parents did their job propely, and created a child who could survive without them. I do still grieve for my mum, and can cry anytime about her, but I do cope.

As I said I think it is an indication that they did their job properly. hth

cyteen Tue 27-May-08 20:02:59

Sorry for your loss sheryl

Not a parent, but my brother died last year of cancer. It was quite swift from diagnosis to death (2 years) and he too suffered a lot. We were with him all the way through his journey, and with him when he died.

I felt, and still feel, quite a lot like you - it is very disconcerting. I feel that I 'should' be in worse shape somehow, that I am on too even a keel. I was very close to my brother and am devastated to lose him like this, yet I seem to still be functioning and dare I say it, even happy sometimes.

I think that when you travel with someone through an illness, you do a lot of your grieving at the time - even when you don't know the outcome, you grieve for all the things that are being stripped away from that loved one by disease, all the things they should be doing, the things you should be doing together. When my brother finally went, we did all feel relief and it was awful. He had struggled so much and suffered so much, he deserved some peace. And I hated being made to feel relieved that he'd gone.

But my feelings about his death have been very different to those connected to my mum's death. She died very suddenly and the grieving process was violent then - lots of anger, guilt, self-loathing, raging emotions, all the things that seem to belong to the accepted notion of grief.

The most useful thing anyone ever said to me about the whole thing was this: In grief, we do as we must, not as we should. Whatever you are feeling, it's the right thing. And I agree with what fizzbuzz says - it clearly shows what a strong relationship you had with your father and what a good job he did

sherylshore Tue 27-May-08 22:22:04

Thank you cyteen and fizzbuzz for your kind words and so sorry to hear of your losses.

I do come from a very close, loving family and I guess this has stood me in good stead. Although my dad obviously did not want to die, he did not show any bitterness about what was happening to him - he just got on with it and I think this has rubbed off. My mum has also remained very strong - although she needs lots of support, she has largely remained positive about her future.

I guess I hadn't really realised, but perhaps my lack of guilt stems from the fact that actually, I don't really have anything to feel particularly guilty about! I always spent lots of time with my dad and he was alive long enough to see me achieve personally and professionally what he and I knew I was capable of achieving. I guess many people lose parents without tying up the loose ends, or feeling guilty that they hadn't spent much time with their loved one.

OP’s posts: |
cathcat Tue 27-May-08 22:52:16

So sorry about your dad. Just to say that someone told me that relatives start grieving from the day they have a diagnosis so you probably started your grieving process a long time before the actual death. Perhaps that is why you have managed very well and stayed very balanced. Well done, I think your dad would be proud of you.

dizzydance Wed 04-Jun-08 20:01:50

I lost my dad 4 months ago a year after he had been told he had cancer. He really did suffer and fought all the way. He was 66. I have 4 sisters and we are such a close family and we are all devastated but we have all dealt with it differently.
I am quite tearful at times and can't bring myself to listen to any music that reminds me of him, whilst one of my sisters listens to his music all the time as she says she feels closer to him. Mostly though, I feel exactly as you do sherylshore. At the moment I work hard and party hard, I suppose just trying to keep myself busy even though I don't realise that is what I am doing. I have 2 dss also and they miss their Grandad. I am dreading Fathers Day, but on the whole my life has sort of carried on.
I think I actually deep down don't believe that he has gone although on the surface I seem quite normal.

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