My Dad past away last month. Like everyone else, I am struggling with the surrealness of the whole "thing". He died from an abdominal aneurism(spelling?) that he had known about for 20 years. I have a sense or what I consider an intuitive nature about people sometimes, which I warned him about 5 years ago. The doctor's were "keeping an eye out." His surgery for the aneurism was scheduled for the week after he died. I am angry that they let it go too long and feel guilty that I should've been able to do something more, maybe I should have went to college to be a doctor and save him myself. Why didn't he LISTEN TO ME? I miss him so much, my teacher of respect, knowledge, humanity, and so much more.

When he died, my mother, sister and I discussed what to do about the arrangements. It all boiled down to the lack of money. I never realized how expensive a funeral could be. We were all pretty much broke. So we did what we could, cremation and a service at home. My Dad's ashes stayed in the bathroom cabinet for fear that my children would see and ask questions. Then after the service, a horrifying discussion of what to do with the ashes was before the three of us. Well, we could spread his ashes, but my sister said that the ashes are not as fine silt as you would think. Ghastly, terrible, face-rubbing unsuredness...none of us could do it. My Mom wanted to take his ashes and dig a hole next to her own mother's grave since he loved her so much. Obviously, this is illegal. But whatever she wanted I would do. It seemed CRAZY, INSANE the three of us digging a hole in the middle of the day in a cemetery. We came up with a scheme to take a plant with us just in case anyone questioned us...it was so riduculous, people make movies about this kinda thing. Then after hours and hours of turmoil, my mother said that she wanted to be buried by him too. This is leaving my sister and I to dig another hole illegally at some later time. And to top if off, my sister wanted to be buried next to my mom since she's not married. I just kept thinking...We are all disfunctional, poor, and mentally insane and I will be the one to bury them all since I am the youngest. I am scarred for life...At this point, I feel sooo guilty about not giving my family a decent burial, but my moral conscious just could't do it once let alone three times. THANK GOD for donations from other family and friends knowing the situation, we were able to bury my Dad legally but I just can't get over the whole situation. He deserved better even in thought...surely life doesn't end this poorly!

And then there was the cleaning out of his wallet and clothes just two weeks after the funeral. I guess I thought it was too soon, but my Mom had to do it so it wouldn't be a daily reminder of the hurt that she was going through. She wanted me to take the meat in the freezer because she's a vegeterian. I think I would choke in tears if I took it.

The overwhelmingness of guilt is making my hair fall out again...I have alopecia. My kids see me cry alot and it upsets them. I've been choking back the tears until they are in school. Then just let it flow. And then I feel guilty for being so self-involved with my own emotions. It seems to never end.

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Replies to This Discussion

First, I am terribly sorry for your horrible loss. My father died on August 22nd -- and I can honestly share with you that it has been the most incredibly painful experience of my life. My father died suddenly -- and I found myself questioning things I should have done, shouldn't have done, wished I had done... well, I am sure you get the picture. I think death is so final -- so terribly unpredictable -- that we like to think that we somehow have some control of it.

I can share with you something that has helped me -- with the sincere hope that it might help you, too. Whenever I start to go to the truly unhelpful thinking of "what if I had stayed there that night" or "why didn't I make him stay with me" or "why didn't he call me so I could help him" etc... I ask myself this: If I had known that my dad was to die that morning -- would there have been ANYTHING I would NOT have done for him? Anything? Of course not. I would have sat by his side for eternity holding his hand... breathed life into his body... given him years of my own lifespan... anything. We don't get to know when death will take those we love. That is not our fault. That is how I stop the negative "what ifs" that really don't help anything... because if I had known I would have done anything. How could you have known?

I am sorry that money was so tight. It sounds as though you did the very best you could with sincere love for your father and your living mother. No dad could ask anymore from a loving daughter. None of you sound mentally insane... just racked with grief doing the best you can.

It will be six months without my beloved father in a few days... and I still cry every day. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. My son sees my tears and I tell him honestly that I am sad because my father died. I tell him that I am grieving and that it is normal for someone when they lose a person they really love. I figure that if a person can't cry when they lose their daddy -- when can they cry? My son is only 4-- but he understands and has gained empathy for others sadness. I don't think grieving is self-involved. Rather, it is a healthy outlet for a terrible loss.

Your loss is still so raw. Give yourself time to feel, love and forgive. You sound to me like a wonderfully loving daughter. It doesn't ever go away but in my experience, it does get slightly easier to bear.

Hugs to you.

Kathryn
I am so sorry for your loss. My father passed away July 2, 2009 and I still miss him every day. Since I was a kid I would tell everybody all about how wonderful my father was and now I would rather just keep it to myself because as soon as I start up a conversation about him I get a big lump in my throat and then the tears start. What really did help with the come to terms with his death was a program sponsored by Vitas Hospice thru our church. The program takes you thru the since of "I should have....I could have..." and all of the other guilt associated with death. To the realization there are only so many things in this life we have control over, and death is not one of them. Helps you to realize there is a higher power out there and when it is your turn to go home..no matter what you have not accomplished here, nor how much money you have, or what you do or do not own, when it is time to go there is no negotiating. My father was 79 yrs old and still working everyday, able to take my mom on fantastic vacations and just so full of life. On one of their many trips he came back with Pneumonia went into the hospital and passed away about 6 wks later. Stop kicking yourself over your dads death and appreciate everyone else around you. Tell all the important people in your life how much they mean to you and how your life is wonderful because they are a part of it! Mostly tell your mom how lucky you are to have her. Don't stress over your dads death - you will see him again - if it wasn't for someone going first there would be nobody to meet us when we get there! I will be praying for you and your family.

sincerely,
pam
Thank you for your support. I am all about the "What if". You definitely helped me put things into perspective. Peace be with you and yours.

Kathryn said:
First, I am terribly sorry for your horrible loss. My father died on August 22nd -- and I can honestly share with you that it has been the most incredibly painful experience of my life. My father died suddenly -- and I found myself questioning things I should have done, shouldn't have done, wished I had done... well, I am sure you get the picture. I think death is so final -- so terribly unpredictable -- that we like to think that we somehow have some control of it.

I can share with you something that has helped me -- with the sincere hope that it might help you, too. Whenever I start to go to the truly unhelpful thinking of "what if I had stayed there that night" or "why didn't I make him stay with me" or "why didn't he call me so I could help him" etc... I ask myself this: If I had known that my dad was to die that morning -- would there have been ANYTHING I would NOT have done for him? Anything? Of course not. I would have sat by his side for eternity holding his hand... breathed life into his body... given him years of my own lifespan... anything. We don't get to know when death will take those we love. That is not our fault. That is how I stop the negative "what ifs" that really don't help anything... because if I had known I would have done anything. How could you have known?

I am sorry that money was so tight. It sounds as though you did the very best you could with sincere love for your father and your living mother. No dad could ask anymore from a loving daughter. None of you sound mentally insane... just racked with grief doing the best you can.

It will be six months without my beloved father in a few days... and I still cry every day. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. My son sees my tears and I tell him honestly that I am sad because my father died. I tell him that I am grieving and that it is normal for someone when they lose a person they really love. I figure that if a person can't cry when they lose their daddy -- when can they cry? My son is only 4-- but he understands and has gained empathy for others sadness. I don't think grieving is self-involved. Rather, it is a healthy outlet for a terrible loss.

Your loss is still so raw. Give yourself time to feel, love and forgive. You sound to me like a wonderfully loving daughter. It doesn't ever go away but in my experience, it does get slightly easier to bear.

Hugs to you.

Kathryn
You are right. I know that I will see him again. Thank you too for your support. Just knowing that someone else cares enough to listen helps my grief. Peace be with you and yours too!

Pam said:
I am so sorry for your loss. My father passed away July 2, 2009 and I still miss him every day. Since I was a kid I would tell everybody all about how wonderful my father was and now I would rather just keep it to myself because as soon as I start up a conversation about him I get a big lump in my throat and then the tears start. What really did help with the come to terms with his death was a program sponsored by Vitas Hospice thru our church. The program takes you thru the since of "I should have....I could have..." and all of the other guilt associated with death. To the realization there are only so many things in this life we have control over, and death is not one of them. Helps you to realize there is a higher power out there and when it is your turn to go home..no matter what you have not accomplished here, nor how much money you have, or what you do or do not own, when it is time to go there is no negotiating. My father was 79 yrs old and still working everyday, able to take my mom on fantastic vacations and just so full of life. On one of their many trips he came back with Pneumonia went into the hospital and passed away about 6 wks later. Stop kicking yourself over your dads death and appreciate everyone else around you. Tell all the important people in your life how much they mean to you and how your life is wonderful because they are a part of it! Mostly tell your mom how lucky you are to have her. Don't stress over your dads death - you will see him again - if it wasn't for someone going first there would be nobody to meet us when we get there! I will be praying for you and your family.

sincerely,
pam
Nikki...I don't know if this will help. I'm not even sure if I'm the one who should try to give any advice because I've been living in depression since my mother passed away from pancreatic cancer last July, so I'm not going to try to give you advice. What I will do is tell you what I've learned. There is no way to feel better. I guess it just happens with time. I think you'll always feel it, but it does begin to feel slightly less suffocating as time goes on. What happened to you was very recent, and I'm so sorry for your loss. I can say I know what this feels like and wouldn't wish it on my very worse enemy. I will also tell you this. My mother had cancer, they operated on it and removed it "successfully". However, a small bit of the tumor was left mistakenly, and the cancer returned and that eventually took her life. I have been angry, no furious, about this for a while. We talked about this before she passed, and she didn't seem angry. I told her she should sue the hospital, and she said this wouldn't make a difference. I guess I understand, but I'm left with so many "what if's". We can be strong, and eventually find a way to come to terms with what's happened, but I've been learning that in weakness, there is strength. It's ok to cry, my mom also used to tell me, "it's better out than in." I understand though, I have three kids, and sometimes it's very hard, especially if they ask questions or talk about her, but I want them to always remember her. At the same time, I don't want to worry them by bursting into tears around them. This, I don't really know the answer to. I cry alone too. Just let me know if you ever want to talk. This is all so hard and so new. Just know that it's ok to feel anyway that you need to for as long as you need to feel that way. (Hugs to you.)
Nikki, I really can empathize with you. I lost my mom due to bone cancer, and then only four months later I lost my dad due to pneumonia (and of course a broken heart). At that time he also had an abdominal aneurysm that they were "watching".
One thing that really helped get me thru very intense grieving, and precious flashbacks was this one thought: If my dad or mom could talk to me RIGHT NOW what would they be saying and I realized this is what they would say: "Honey, you are a most precious daughter. We love you so much. Our earth journey is over, but your's is ahead of you. We want you HAPPY! Live each day to the fullest. Savor each relationship each and every day.
Nikki, your are left here and have a definite purpose. Make the most of your life while you are here. Be joyful and positive and look at the brighter side of life. Your dad would want you to be happy. My thoughts and prayers are with you,
Lana

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