REALITY CHECK......The loss of a parent...

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 02, 2012 2:27 PM GMT
    Over the Memorial Day holiday, my dad was in the hospital. His blood work, various scans/images and biopsies have revealed that he has pancreatic cancer. Dad is 76 and has always been in great shape, very active and strong. In 2 weeks he has slipped into a major depression, lost a lot of weight and muscle and is now a very frail and old, near invalid, that seems to have given up. He is scheduled for surgery to remove what they can on June 7, with 2 weeks in ICU and then 4 to 6 weeks in a recovery facility. The docs are being honest and not sugar coating the survival stats....they are not great or long.

    I have never thought about not having my parents alive. I always figured I would die before them, because of my multiple suicide attempts in the distant past and my ongoing fight with obesity, diabetes, apnea and depression, etc......I always assumed I would die before my parents or siblings........ I don't know how to process this or how to prepare and support my step mom or my kids or my siblings......I think I am still in shock and maybe in some strange stage of grief or denial....God knows I keep my therapist busy......but I am still at a loss and feel very ill-equipped and unprepared for this.....it feels like some sort of worm hole into an alternate universe and the answers I need to know aren't possible until after the fact....I don't expect anyone has answers or insight.....I just need a place to vent....icon_cry.gif
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    Jun 02, 2012 3:41 PM GMT
    Im sorry. I struggle with the though of losing my parents. Im sorry that this is acutally happening to you. Stay strong
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    Jun 02, 2012 4:17 PM GMT
    Just know that it is a part of living. Its the continuum of life. Make sure you go thru ALL of the emotions. dont stuff them, dont 'deny' them. feel them and savor what time he has left and when he is gone (in physical form only), he'll always be an integral part of you until you leave the planet!
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    Jun 02, 2012 4:26 PM GMT
    I'm truly sorry.

    Big Hugz... icon_cry.gif
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    Jun 02, 2012 4:30 PM GMT
    No one is ever prepared. The best you can do is be there for him. Hold his hand and tell him you love him.

    P.S. Some do not have the chance for that sort of closure. Their loved ones died suddenly. Consider yourself fortunate.
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    Jun 02, 2012 4:32 PM GMT
    Sporty_g said
    I have never thought about not having my parents alive. I always figured I would die before them...



    I can totally relate to this. The thought of losing my mom always caused me such great anxiety that when I was a little kid I prayed repeatedly to God to please let us die together. Each year when we took our annual road trips, I felt certain that God would cause us to be in a deadly car crash so that he could keep his promise to me. Well, he didn't keep that promise. Four years ago I had both my parents. Now they're both gone. I won't lie to you....it's not going to be easy. Just know that you do have friends here, including me who are willing to talk to you anytime you need a friend.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Jun 02, 2012 4:37 PM GMT
    Very very sorry to hear this..... I know when I lost my mother when I was 24, it was very difficult, despite the fact she had been ill for some time. Certainly keep us informed (and send me a note on FB too) and keep me updated on how things are going. My thoughts and prayers!

    icon_cry.gif
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    Jun 02, 2012 5:00 PM GMT
    So sorry to hear this , i am feeling your pain . I lost my Mum when i was a teenager , and 40 years later i still miss her . My dad and I are very tight , he will be turning 86 in July and his in pretty good shape . But the fact that he is aging anyhow , keep me sometimes awake at night ..
    Hugs to you mate ....
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    Jun 02, 2012 5:46 PM GMT
    My dad passed away in 2009 from complications of the H1N1 flu. It all happened so fast. He was admitted to the ICU on a Saturday, we made the decision to stop life support on Wednesday, and we buried him the following Saturday.

    I was a hospice nurse for over 10 years. I'm well versed in loss, grief, mourning, and bereavement. The ironic thing is, I couldn't seem to apply this knowledge to my situation. At times, I still feel like I'm wandering and trying to find my way.

    I can only share with you what is working for me. Believe it or not, my dogs and cats have been a godsend. I can't tell you how many times I've hugged them and cried. It's very therapeutic. I did take an anti-depressant for eight months. It helped. I went to a counselor for a short time. It helped. Overall, be patient and good to yourself. Take care of yourself. Surround yourself and draw comfort from the people, animals, and things that you love. Talk if you need to talk, even if no one seems interested. Cry if you need to cry.

    It's a process. There are no timeframes for the various stages you may experience. If need be, one minute at a time, one hour at a time, and one day at a time.

    Hugs!
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    Jun 02, 2012 6:00 PM GMT
    I'm sorry you and your family have this sad situation before you. My grandparents raised me and my grandfather found out he had pancreatic cancer during his annual physical. He'd had no indication or pain at all. He was given about six months but lived a full year and a half (most of it looking and feeling very well). The time is different for each person. Luck, attitude and general fitness and health play a big part.

    My parents are still alive but one day I will face what you're facing with them. You have some great advice and caring comments here. Know that this is part of life, and I believe we'll be reunited with our family and friends in eternity. Hope that helps comfort you too.
  • suedeheadscot

    Posts: 1130

    Jun 02, 2012 6:09 PM GMT
    As I lost my father on January 2nd, all I can say is that there are no rules to grief, everyone does it in different ways. Best wishes to you and your family.
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    Jun 02, 2012 6:24 PM GMT
    I think you can already tell you're not alone. I lost my dad when I was 12. It's unfortunaly a part of life, but I think death is a very nice thing. That helps deal with it a little.
  • hdurdinr

    Posts: 699

    Jun 02, 2012 6:35 PM GMT
    It's normal to feel anticipatory grief and a sense that you are out of sync with the rest of the world - everyone around you might seem 'normal' and functioning and unaware or unable to feel what you are experiencing but the reality is that we have all experienced pain and grief and unfortunately there is nothing we can do but accept what we are feeling. I lost my father and longterm partner within 8 months of each other and it seemed impossible at the time that I would ever be able to deal with all the challenges, but I did and I made it through the other side of very dark emotions. Stay strong and find support wherever you need it!
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    Jun 02, 2012 7:24 PM GMT

    Our Dads died within 6 months of each other. My Dad dropped down dead at breakfast, Bill's went slowly from cancer.

    Swift was good for Dad; hard on everyone else. Slow was hard at times, good at times for Bill's Dad, and hard at times and good at times for everyone else.

    Hang in!

    *hug*
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    Jun 02, 2012 7:29 PM GMT
    My dad died 6 years ago. It makes you face your own mortality and that of everyone you love. My advice: be kind to yourself and allow your family to lean on each other. Going through this kind of thing really brings people closer.

    Wishing you strength.

    --S
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    Jun 02, 2012 7:54 PM GMT
    Been there bud, it takes time but still 9 years on, it can still hurt but talking with family and friends and being there for each other got me through and never being afraid of saying 'I love you' to any of them at anytime! Really sorry for your loss but life will get back on track and in my case, I know he's still around looking out for me, big hug!
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    Jun 02, 2012 8:31 PM GMT
    I am sorry to hear about your dad. hugs

    My parents are in their late 70's and both have many health issues, so I understand your worries. I try to steel myself for their eventual departure. I don't like the idea, but I can't deny it.

    Yes, it is something most people go through, but that doesn't make it any easier for anyone. I'm glad you have a therapist to talk to. This isn't something you need to go through alone. Do your siblings feel the same?

    I'll keep you and your dad in my thoughts.
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    Jun 02, 2012 8:41 PM GMT
    I guess something else we have in common guys.

    As you know my Dad passed away in a fire in March of 2011. What you didn't know was that my partner's Dad passed away in July of 2011 after a month of being in a coma. He was like a second father to me, I loved him very much.

    In any case, Sporty_g my thoughts are with you.

    There is no easy way to cope with the loss of a loved one. You simply have to allow yourself to go through all the emotions and allow others in your family to share in your pain.

    I found it very helpful to talk about what I was going through with my family members, given they were also going through the same pain.

    For now, just be there for him and know that he knows you are there for him.


    meninlove said
    Our Dads died within 6 months of each other. My Dad dropped down dead at breakfast, Bill's went slowly from cancer.

    Swift was good for Dad; hard on everyone else. Slow was hard at times, good at times for Bill's Dad, and hard at times and good at times for everyone else.

    Hang in!

    *hug*
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    Jun 02, 2012 9:35 PM GMT
    One of the hardest things which gradually one realizes is that no one ever talks about the deceased person that often as the time passes. As fewer and fewer of one's new friends and acquaintances knew of your departed loved one, there are fewer and fewer with whom to converse about the deceased.

    On Science Friday one show there was a discussion about the various definitions of death over the centuries. One mentioned which I had never before heard is that a person is not truly "dead" until the last time that person's name is ever spoken aloud on earth. Quite an interesting philosophical notion!
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19119

    Jun 02, 2012 9:42 PM GMT
    Sporty, I am so sorry to hear about your father. I lost mine on June 7th 2004 to prostate cancer that spread to the bone. I know how hard it is to come to terms with the reality of a parent passing, but try to take comfort that, hopefully, it will be as quickly and painlessly as possible. My father suffered for nearly 10 years, and it was almost harder to watch that than it was dealing with the death itself. Prayers for you and your family, and hugs from Arizona
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    Jun 02, 2012 9:44 PM GMT
    No one gets out alive. Fact of life.

    Nevertheless, I'm sorry for your pain.
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    Jun 02, 2012 10:08 PM GMT
    I am so very sorry. I guess it makes it harder when you didn't expect it.

    My dad died at age 73. We had less than 24 hours to prepare. Yes, it is hard, but I think it was easier for me to handle it knowing he didn't suffer for a long time. I thank God that his death was sudden. I honestly think it made it easier on my mother as well.

    You will be in mine (and others') thoughts. Please keep us updated.

    hugs.
  • LJay

    Posts: 11612

    Jun 02, 2012 10:09 PM GMT
    TropicalMark saidJust know that it is a part of living. Its the continuum of life. Make sure you go thru ALL of the emotions. dont stuff them, dont 'deny' them. feel them and savor what time he has left and when he is gone (in physical form only), he'll always be an integral part of you until you leave the planet!


    Excellent advice!

    Sporty, try to do what you can for your Mom and the other members of your family. Pancreatic cancer is rough stuff, but your Dad still has some time. Talk to him and ask the questions you need to. Make sure that he knows you care. Just be there. It will help you both.

    As his life comes to a close, do not hesitate to speak with hospice counsellors for your own sake. They are true saints who want to help.

    Sending good vibes from here.