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Is this normal? What now?

Posted by kristina1999 (My Page) on
Thu, Sep 9, 04 at 23:43

I've been sitting at this computer, absolutely lost. I have no idea where or how to begin this. My father died suddenly the week after Spring finals in 1999. I was 21, and a senior in college. With graduation approaching in December, life was good.
I remember the day's events vividly. I walked into my home after my part-time job at an after-school program...My mother was standing there. Not unusual. My younger brother was doing dishes. Definitely unusual. Then it happened. The worst day of my life unfolded. My mother took hold of my arm and dropped the bomb on me...My father had died earlier that morning of a massive heart attack. They found him in the restroom. At 57, my father was in no condition to die. He was one of the healthiest people I'd ever met in my life. But it was true. I wanted desperately for it to be a dream, but there was no way to escape this. The denial took hold. My brain couldn't conceptualize it. I thought FOR SURE my dad would be there when I got off the plane in Colorado. Of course, he wasn't.
I "functioned" on absolute auto-pilot for probably a year. Looking back at photographs, I sometimes didn't recognize myself or why I was in a particular photo. What was I doing there? I really didn't remember. I do remember finding myself suddenly driving on the wrong freeway, things like that.
Being that I was only 21, none of my friends could help me. They tried to be supportive, but simply couldn't relate to my situation and didn't know how to handle me. Many people just acted like nothing had happened. I would break down uncontrollably at times, and I wasn't much fun for other 21-year-olds to be around.
Almost immediately, I began seeking the help of a psychologist. I honestly don't remember how long I saw her for. In retrospect, I really just think she must have thought I was crazy. I would totally freak out in her office. She had wanted to place my in a support group, but felt I wouldn't fit in, because the participants were so much older than me. There wasn't a group for people like me. Other than her, I was pretty much on my own. You're probably wondering about my family. Well, they ignored the subject more than anyone else. When I would bring up my dad, the conversation wouldn't continue if you know what I mean. I don't think they want to accept or recognize how much this has imacted my life. I really don't know.
At this point, it's been five years, and I still struggle with "this". Sometimes daily, sometimes weekly. I cannot talk about him without tearing up or crying outright. I've prayed for him to come to me and give comfort or answers. I have so many questions surrounding his death, and feel extremely saddened that he didn't see me graduate from college and won't be physically attending my wedding. I feel robbed, and I would really like to simply get on with my life and try to turn this negative into a positive...someway. Often times, I just don't know how. I've read all sorts of grief and afterlife books, but...........I've still not come to terms.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Is this normal? What now?

Kristina, I can understand your pain. I really do. Losing someone we love so much so suddenly is a hard thing to swallow and just "get over". I lost my 19 year old daughter and my mom.
I'm glad to hear that you WANT to get on with your life and turn this into a positive. That is the first step.
Only YOU have control of your attitudes and emotions. I'm sure that your dad loves you as much as you love him. You are his child and loving parents want their children to be happy and live long, productive, lives. Your dad most definitely wants that for you. He provided you with an education and a loving home. He showed you how to love and now you are marrying and will love a spouse and have a family as he did. Part of your dad is within you because of biology, but also your dad is within you because love does not end at death. You carry that love with you in whatever you do and where ever you go. Your dad will always be there with you, in your heart and his spirit beside you. I'm sure that it will make him very happy for you to live on and take advantage of the good life that he provided for you. Try not to waste any more good years of your life letting this grief destroy days of happiness that he would want you to have.
Being that you were a senior in college, your dad knew that you would graduate and I'm sure that he was very proud of you before he passed away. He knew that it would happen. He also knew that some day you would marry and have a family of your own, and he wants you to be happy with that too. I believe that he sees you and your accomplishments and it would not want for you to let his death dampen a day of your life. If you had a child now, you wouldn't want that for your child, would you? Do what he wants. You have certainly grieved for him, you have shown that you love him, now try to move forward and be happy that you were fortunate enough to have a wonderful dad as you did. He gave you life and now you have to try to live it again, happily.
Please continue to come here or email me if you need to "talk" more.
Sincerely,
Lulie Cosby

Here is a link that might be useful: Christin Cosby Memorial Web Site


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RE: Is this normal? What now?

Kristina, your story sounds so very much like mine. I, too, lost my father suddenly at about your age. My life was a blur for months afterward. My dad was my hero, my best friend, the light of my life. I went thru the range of emotions - anger, resentment, hated life. How could he be taken from me like this, I would think. I even went thru a period i was angry with my dad - how could he leave me? I was numb for months, began to push the thoughts of dad out of my mind - it was just too painful. My poor mother worried as i sank in a depression. i would not talk about him, or go to the cemetary for months and if someone talked about him in front of me, i left the room. i did seek professional help to deal with my anger and pent up grief. it took a long time but i slowly began to move forward. i knew dad will always be with me and i finally faced my emotions the day i went to the cemetary. i firmly believe my dad came to me in a dream and told me he was ok and to let him go. it does take time and here , many years later, i cant look at pictures of him without feeling pain and the tears coming. but what i have learned was to let the bad emotions go and concentrate on the joy he gave me while he was here. i have learned it is better to not let the grief outweigh the happiness he gave me as a dad. you will always suffer in your heart and miss him terribly, but hang onto the wonderful things he gave you - it is what will get you thru this and keep you moving forward....which is no doubt, what he would have wanted for you. i am sorry for your loss and your pain....

deb


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RE: Is this normal? What now?

Kristina, I was fortunate to have my dad a long time (he died at age 90), but I lost my mom when I was nine, and three years ago I lost my 25-year-old daughter. I can't add much to the other responses except to reiterate that it's comforting to hold fast to the image of your father's spirit--very much alive and very much here, although in another realm, and live your life as he would want. Knowing without a doubt that my daughter wants me to continue to do and enjoy the things we loved doing together has helped me get through some very tough times.

Susan


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RE: Is this normal? What now?

First, I am so expert, and the above advice is beyond wonderful.
I am wondering if you aren't in a "Post traumatic syndrom" rut now, and might benefit from coucelling/group therapy in that vein. Sometimes, when I've been behaving one way for so long it is impossible for me to imagine behaving, feeling another way...

I totally undersand the "robbed"/ angry feelings, but I can assure you, that up in heaven your Dear Father wants you to live a full and wonderful life. In that way you honor him and ensure his continuing through you and your children.

May you be blessed with perspective and calm... AM


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RE: Is this normal? What now?

Anne Marie, thank you for your post though it was meant for someone else. It allows me to put my feelings into words. 'Rut' is the word. There are some things that I do now that I am perfectly aware that I AM in a rut. I choose to be in this rut and eventually I may choose to leave it. The only thing I make myself do is to attempt to make things not unpleasant for those around me who care.

Now, back to Kristina. The writings of Theresa Rando might be helpful to you if you've not read any of her work. She is a clinical writer rather than a 'pop' grief writer.

On a personal level, my father died when I was a young teen. I was middle aged before I understood from a clinical standpoint how that affects a young person; not just the feelings of sadness and despair.

It sounds as if you have a fiance who is very understanding. Appreciate him.

Nell


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RE: Is this normal? What now?

Thank you to everyone who's given some insight or support. It is really what I have needed for a long time but didn't know how to seek it out. It's been hard feeling alone and isolated in my pain, while trying to function like a "normal" person. Sometimes, I just need to talk about him: his soft-spoken singing voice, love and compassion for animals, marigold and zinna garden, and my connection to him. Yesterday, I watched the Denver Bronco game anxiously, just as he would have done. Cheering. Hooting. Hollering. Life goes on (I have learned), but it sure feels good to have connections that link us together...wherever he may be. I love you dad.


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RE: Is this normal? What now?

Kristina,

You have my deepest sympathies. I think part of the problem was that you weren't able to grieve "properly", (if there is such a concept) when your Dad died. You lacked the support and the outlet for your grief at the time you needed it most. I'm a firm believer that grief has to run it's course. We can postpone it, but it doesn't go away. The problem is that when comes back years later, it is even harder to understand or get others to understand what is happening to you. So, you continue to struggle through it alone. It's a vicious, damaging cycle. I hope coming here helps you begin to come to terms with it.

Somehow you need to shift the focus from that which has been taken from you to that which you were given. Do something positive to remember your Dad. Write down your fond memories of him. It will help you keep him close. Do something in his honor, like donate something or volunteer somewhere. It doesn't have to be anything big and you don't even have to let others know why you are doing it, but you will know. Make it something that would have pleased him or was special to him and all the better.

I hope this helps. Peace be with you.


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RE: Is this normal? What now?

Kristina,
Although I am older than you, I just lost my dad August 5th. My dad and I had something special. I miss him so and don't really have an outlet to grieve him. I've given my poor husband all he should have to deal with and there's no one else, except for all of you here, and I'm so thankful to everyone. I totally understand about feeling robbed. My siblings raised their children and grandchildren with my dad in their lives. My kids won't get the pleasure of knowing the smartest, loving, and most generous man on earth and I'm selfishly so angry about that. My siblings can't relate. My mom can barely get though each day herself. Sometimes there's just no where to go with your stuff. But I know my dad loved me and would want me to be happy. In fact, he would be so upset if he knew how we have carried on about him. He wanted everything in life for us and I know your dad would want that for you too. Everyone else has said such wonderful and true things to you here. Take them to heart and keep your dad close to you as you live your life. He would want that.
Joanie


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