How long am I allowed to grieve?

bluedbuchananJuly 3, 2006

Can someone please help me. I lost my dad almost a month ago. It was quite fast.

I took him to the hospital Sunday, May 21 2006, he had a bad case of pneumonia. The doctor prescribed him antibiotics and sent him home. I called him the next morning to ask him how he was feeling and he said he was feeling a little better. I then went of to work another day on getting my hours needed in practical. I called dad at about 5 that evening and asked him how he was feeling, he sounded terrible. I asked him if he has to go back to the hospital and he said "yes, please take me". May 22nd I took dad back to the hospital and they kept him in and put him on oxygen.

Tuesday May 23rd the doctor came in and said he was looking at Sunday nights x-ray and was confering with the lung specialist. My father had lung cancer. They will make an appointment ASAP for a CT Scan. I put school on hold and my work experience to stay with dad and to give mom a break.

Wednesday May 24th, dads oxygen would drop whenever he exerted himself, so he had to take it easy. Dads health declined every day after that.

Thursday May 25th, dad and I went outside to get some of the country fresh air. He told me some stories and we laughed. He got tired and we went back in.

Monday May 29th dad and I went to town so he could have is CT Scan.

Tuesday May 30th, their is a large growth in the lung and the doctor is unsure if it is in the third bronchial, if it is there is nothing they can do. We will wait for an appointment for the specialist to do a biopsy on the lung.

Wednesday May 31st, the nurse on night duty suggested to me to give any family that is away a call and tell them that my father is very serious and if they wanted to see him they should come ASAP.

Thursday June 1st, one doctor told me no their is no hope for your father. There isn't anything they can do.

Friday June 2nd. Another doctor says, "I would like to send your father to the hospital in town, a 2 hour drive by ambulance. Dad wasn't getting enough oxygen so he wanted him to go on a ventilator machine or c-pat.

"Was there hope?"

Saturday June 3rd, the palliative care nurse went in to see my dad to explain everything that was truly going on. Dad said if there is any hope then yes he would go to town to see what it is they can do.

Saturday June 3rd, more x-rays done in town at the other hospital. The specialist looks at the x-rays. "No there isn't a thing we can do except for make him comfortable.

Sunday June 4th, the lung specialist goes in with mom and explain everything to dad. He wants to go back home to the hospital to die, he isn't dying here. But he wants the c-pat taken off so that he can talk to his family one at a time. We are all called in one at a time so he can talk to us. Then everyone is in so that he can sing to us.

"He sang beautiful dreamer" and he told us "He would see us on the other side." and "Debbie (that would be me) if I ever get up out of this bed, I'm going to kick you in the butt for being so bossy." That provided a great laugh for all of us.

June 4th early afternoon, dad is sedated, him and I board the ambulance to go back home. Dad is out the whole trip. I let dad know where we are and how close we are getting just to hang on till we get there.

"Dad we are home, I love you" Dad lets out a laugh and doesn't say another word until that evening. I told him again that I love him. The nurses put a special padding under him with the help of the abulance attendance to prevent pressure sores. Then the nurse inserts a butterfly to administer medication so that it would be more comfortable. he then turns without opening his eyes and says "You old b***h" to his favourat nurse. We had a great laugh, the nurse and I. Those were the last words spoken by dad.

Monday June 5, dad is heavily sedated. Everyone leaves at about 6pm except for mom and my little brother and myself. @ 10:35 that evening, I ask mom to call everyone back to the hospital as dad doesn't have very long left here.

10:35 the minister is called and he comes in and we all pray. 11 pm, we all sit around dad and tell our favourite stories. We all share and laugh. I know dad was laughing too.

Tuesday June 6 2006 @ 6:25 am dad takes his last breath. He is gone, surrounded by his wife and children, we are telling him we love him as he is taking his last breath.

6:30 the doctor comes in and removes the drainage tubes and pronounces death.

7:00 I go in and take care of dads post-mortom care and what comes on the radio, "Daddy's hands" (Holly Dunn) song, I said thankyou dad. And gave him a kiss and told him again I love him.

Thursday June 8 2006, A celebration of life is held in dad's memory. No funeral. I read a speach, telling some of dads stories, getting a few laughs. We have a glass of whiskey and water 1/2 & 1/2 in dads honor. "Dad is gone"

Friday June 9th -- life goes on. I'm back at school. Saturday and Sunday are a blur, but they are okay, not much crying for me. I'm strong, it could have been worse, dad could have suffered for months, but he didn't, he was only in the hospital 2 weeks and 1 day.

Monday June 12th I am back to school and keeping busy with my practical work. I will be all finished on the 28th, all I have to do is keep busy. And that is what I did. I kept busy with that, taking care of the kids, visiting my mom and younger brother and telling her I love her every night before I leave.

July 3rd, almost a month after dad has left us. I am a mess. School is finished, and I am not working. I have had four days off, a first since November, and I don't know what to do with myself. To make matters worse, my husband and I had a great argument yesterday. 1. I don't have a job 2. I have been grieving my father for way to long.

Yes, yesterday was the third time I cried. I asked my husband, "When does it get better?" His reply "When you let it" Needless to say, that didn't make me feel any better.

Today wasn't much better. I am angry. Angry at my dad for getting sick. Angry at my dad for dying and leaving us alone. Angry at my mom, she has cleaned out my dads things. Angry at them because they are going on with life, as if dad hadn't existed. And last, angry at myself for crying so much.

I am asking you. "WHEN DOES IT GET BETTER?"

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Honey, your dad died a month ago? That's just a blink of time in the grieveing process. You have kept yourself so busy that you have not allowed yourself time to grieve. You need time to yourself to remember your dad and cry, allow yourself to cry all you want. Eventually you'll find you won't be crying so much.

Your anger is natural. Both my parents are gone, and I found people to be angry with in both cases. Don't find fault with your Mom; she's handling your dad's loss as best she can, in her own way. She's hurting too. And you can tell her and your siblings how very, very sad you are.

Remember that even though health care is a familiar world to you, it was still a very traumatic time for you and your family to go through the ordeal of his being in the hospital, all the tests, moving him, not knowing how much longer he would live, the memorial, back to school. You've been through a lot! You need time to recover from this.

Treat yourself gently, talk to people about your dad often. Your husband seems not to understand; consider grief counseling or be in touch with a good friend to share your heartache. Talking is so important.

Are you job hunting? Could you take a week or so off from that to just rest and have some time to yourself?

I'm so sorry you've lost your dad. That's a very special memory, him singing Beautiful Dreamer. Hugs to you.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2006 at 9:10PM
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As Socks said, a month of grieving for someone you love so dearly is NOTHING. NO time at all. I'm in my second year of grieving for my mom and my eighth year grieving for my daughter. I will ALWAYS miss them. There are times when I am sadder than others. I imagine that this will be true for the rest of my life. You need to be allowed by your husband to grieve for as long as you need to. You need to be able to talk to him and let him know when you are sad without told that you are grieving for too long. I can guess that your husband has not lost his parents yet. He doesn't know what you are going through. I'm so sorry.
You do whatever you need to do to grieve for your dad. If you don't it will manifest itself in other negative ways in your life.
I also agree with Socks for you to try not to be angry at your mom. She has her own issues and is also grieving and has to deal with it as best she can.
I think it's really neat that you heard that song. I would definitely take it as a gift/sign from your sweet dad.
The love the two of you share will last forever. Love never ever dies. I believe that you will see him again. Try to hang on to that if you believe it and it will help sustain you for the rest of your life.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2006 at 9:44PM
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I lost my dad 7 months ago. I lost him very unexpectedly to a stroke. He was only 68. He was my best friend and he was the glue that held our family together. I am in a different stage in my life now. Trying to learn how to go on without him here. There is no such thing as crying to much or grieving to long. Its very natural to hurt when someone whom you loved dearly has left. I still cant talk about him without breaking down and crying. Give yourself lots of time and take quiet time just for you. Sit on your porch or go for a walk. Give yourself time. There is no magic cure. Your dad sounds like he was a good natured person. I am sure that he is always watching you, especially when that lonely and sad feeling overtakes you. Anger is ok. I still get mad at the hospital for not doing more. You will go through emotions you probably never even new existed before. Everyone told me to think of the good memories, but it seems that just made me cry all the more, because there wont be anymore good memories to make. In time I am sure we will find a comfort zone, but for now do whatever it is you need to do to help yourself get through, day by day. Keep posting here and reading. These people in here are wonderful and there stories helped me alot. They know how you feel. I hope you find comfort. God Bless

    Bookmark   July 4, 2006 at 10:08AM
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Nikkiandjacksmom and Lulie, you both make good and helpful suggestions. It's so true--when you lose a parent, it does put you in a different stage of your life. Even more so when they are both gone.

One thing that helped me several months after my mother died was to call her friend and say, "I was thinking of you and mom, and thought I'd call to see how you are..." It was definitely a connection with mom.

Also, talking/crying with my sister on the phone helped a lot. Three years have gone by and I still cry occasionally (like now). When you are ready, you can go to restaurants or visit places your loved one liked.

I got a little book called "Healing after Loss, Daily Meditations for Working through Grief." I found it a private and personal way to address the loss of my mother. It contains a thought for each day. Today is July 4, and here's the thought:

"As I repeat some of the patterns of our life together, I can almost sense the presence of my loved one."

Bluedbuchanan, please stay in touch and let us know how you are doing.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2006 at 12:33PM
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Thank you all so much. Just reading the stories here, make me realize I am not alone. I will keep in touch. Today isn't as bad as yesterday. Guess we just have to take it one day at a time, and cry if we have to.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2006 at 8:13PM
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I can relate to how you are feeling..My dad just passed on June 22. He was taken in 4 months by cancer that invaded his body..
I'm a mess! I find myself asking the same questions..and having the same feelings.
I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone..

    Bookmark   July 5, 2006 at 8:33AM
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It has been 1 month today since dad has left. It is unberable at times. He was my best friend. You know, he had a really bad accident back in February 2006. He was driving to Ontario and hit some slush. He hit a tractor trailor and got drivin into the snowbank. Then the trailor of the truck slid into the back of my dads truck. Needless to say, his poor old truck was a right off. But guess what? My dad walked away without a scratch. Why? I don't know why. Was it so he could come home and say goodbye to us all? Was it God giving us time with him and him time with us to say goodbye? I don't understand. Granted I wouldn't have survived the news of loosing my dad unexpectedly. At least when he left us in June, we had a chance to say goodbye, I love you and share stories.

Oh I miss him so much. There is a huge void in my heart. It hurts.

I will be graduating on the 15th. My dad was suppose to be here for that. This was a huge achievement, going back to school after 20 years. I'm not looking forward to it at all. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I am finished. But I figured I could help people. What use was I to dad?

My little brother misses him so much. He tries to be strong for us all, because dad told him to. It breaks my heart.

Do we go the rest of our lives with this pain? Dad accepted his dying. Why can't I?

    Bookmark   July 6, 2006 at 1:08AM
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Its hard to except because we love them so much. I think the pain we feel, is just to let us know that the love is still very much alive. That is one thing that never dies. I know the VOID you feel. Its a horrible feeling. The only thing that helps me when I feel that void is, I know my dad has been reunited with his loved ones that are in heaven. They are probably looking down on us and wonder why are we crying for them. They are surrounded by complete love and happiness. Keep posting. God Bless

    Bookmark   July 6, 2006 at 8:10AM
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My Deepest Sympathy to you for the loss of your dad. Its a huge loss that no one will ever understand until they walk in your shoes.
I lost my dad 14 yrs ago on June 12 and I also lost my only son June 4th, 2005. I still cry every day. It feels like there is a huge hole in my heart every minute of every day.
I stumbbled across a grieving sight that had a few words I really related to. Grieving is a four step process.
1.Accept the loss.
2.Work through and feel the physical and emotial pain of grief.
3. Adjust to living without the person.
4. Move on with life.
Rember, this is a process and take the time you need. Im still on phase 2, and 3 with my son and I dont know how long this takes and it feels like it will be forever, but you are not alone.
Bless you and your family!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2006 at 3:46PM
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You have my deepest sympathy on the passing of your father.

The 17th and the 29th of this month will mark eight years that both my MIL and Mother passed away twelve days apart. Even though it has been that long, every July I find myself feeling very low. As everyone has stated there is no time limit to how long you are allowed to grieve and if anyone tells you that you should be over it by such and such a date is just plain dumb. I had (note had) a friend who made the incredibly insenstive remark after two years had passed that "Wasn't it time I moved on and stopped thinking about them!"

One thing that helped me was a grief support group. We had people who had lost mothers, fathers, husbands, wifes, kids you name it, we all lost someone close. It was really a great help being able to express my grief and sometimes to just sit there and cry. Maybe you can find a group like that where you live.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2006 at 8:47AM
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Thank you all so much for your responses. It is helping me quite a bit. I am getting on day by day. I miss dad still so terribly. I will continue to come back here and read the stories. They help so much.

I am now in the process of creating obituary-memorial cards for the family. This also helps.

Also I have put a copy on my website.

Have a look and meet my dad.

Thanks again everyone!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2006 at 8:04PM
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What a wonderful memorial to your Dad. Very, very nice, and beautiful music too. Thank you for sharing it.

This is exactly what you should be doing to help yourself heal, things to maintain the connection yet acknowledge the loss.

And remember, part of him still lives on, within you and your siblings.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2006 at 10:36PM
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When does the pain stop?

I'm sorry to bother all of you. Today is really bad. I just can't stop crying. I miss my dad so much. Tomorrow is graduation and dad isn't here to go. I am not looking forward to it at all. Mom said dad will be there. That doesn't help. I have checked into grief councelling but there isn't anything in my area. The nearest place is a two and a half hour drive. I don't know how much more of this I can take. I have lost my best friend in the whole wide world and it is so lonely without him.

Someone please help me.

Here is a link that might be useful: Meet my Dad

    Bookmark   July 14, 2006 at 1:03PM
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Oh you are having a tough day. Wish I had some words or wisdom to help you. Your dad would have been so proud to see you graduate, so in his memory, I hope you can get through it tomorrow. Grieving can be a rollercoaster process, so if today is horrible, maybe tomorrow will be better.

Take care.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2006 at 3:53PM
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I am so sorry..
The pain is still fresh for the both of us..
Your website is beautiful! He would be proud of it, I'm sure..
Remember that he will be with you during graduation. Right next to you, look for a sign, I'm sure you will see something today..I have to remind myself that Dad wouldn't want me being sad..He didn't like that..He would always try to cheer me up..Remember those moments..
I'm facing a birthday party on Sun. that I'd rather not have..But I'd have a very disappointed 6 yr old little girl if I don't do it..He loved the kids and the parties, the kids were his drive in life, one of them..He would drive 2 hrs each way to come and visit sometimes for an hour and go home..Christmas will be tough too... We had the picture perfect Night before Christmas ritual going on. He would read that story, I would put the cookies in place and hang the stockings. He would hang around while I wrapped the presents and he would help me eat cookies.
Last Christmas he was sick and in the hosptial from the 14th to Jan 5th or so..Little did I know, it would be his last..I questioned it, but everyone said I was overreacting, he'll be fine..Then in April, they tried to take out the cancer and found all through out his body! I was right!!! I'm having my moments too...Good luck today..
Keep in touch.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2006 at 7:44AM
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Nell Jean

Blue d, you might check with the hospital's social work department to see if there's a local grief support group that they know of.

If not, check with the nearest Hospice to see if they offer a support group. Most will open their groups to the community, not just families of patients they've served.


Here is a link that might be useful: Sorrow's Bread

    Bookmark   July 17, 2006 at 5:57PM
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Thank you all for your kind words and support.

Fox, I have checked with our hospitals social work department and no there isn't a support group, and our nearest Hospice is in the city 21/2 hour drive. However our Paliative Care Unit needs volunteers to give relief to families, or to sit with someone who doesn't have family in the area, I am going to sign up to be a volunteer. I find I am at my best when I am helping someone else. Maybe this will help me heal.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2006 at 8:40AM
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How long are you allowed to grieve? Until you're done. Part of you will always miss your father; at times the grief will rear its ugly head again and you'll have a down period.

The first month, you're still numb. Things haven't sunk in yet. You're operating on auto-pilot sometimes. I, too, didn't cry a lot for quite a while after my mother died. I had grieved deeply and profoundly for her while she was sick, and slipping away a little bit each day, so I thought I had done most of my grieving. I was actually a little concerned for myself, thinking I was having a delayed grief experience. But eventually, the tears came.

I am dating a man who lost his wife 3 years ago, and he still grieves tremendously. He's used the expression, "I'm grieving as fast as I can" to some people who have offered unwanted comments.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2006 at 3:27PM
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There is no time limit on grief. You dad was very special to you and a huge part of your life. You will miss him terribly but it will eventually get easier. My grandma died recently and even though it was unexpected as your dad was, it is still very hard. I miss her every day. I had a dear friend who was killed in a car accident 11 years ago this month and to this day I still grieve a little and a part of me has been missing ever since he died. You will have good days and bad days, trust me, You will wake up one morning and feel much better and think of your dad with smile and not with tears. But then the next day or the next week everything will come crashing down again on you and you will feel awful for awhile. It does get easier though. That is a beautiful web site that you dedicated to your dad. I remember my grandfather dying a week before I graduated high school and in the hospital he said to me "I'm sorry I'm goign to miss your graduation but I want you to know I"m proud of you." I'm sure your dad would be proud of you as well. Its good that you are volunteering, I've found that being alone is when the grief is the hardest to deal with.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2006 at 2:13PM
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