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Author Topic: dealing with the death of a parent
SnailShells
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My father has been battling cancer for about three years, and we’re reaching the end of the road. He might have weeks if we’re lucky; they caught the cancer when it was already at a late stage, and he has exceeded all expectations. We’ve figured out hospice care and all that (he’s coming home from the hospital, ‘for good’), my mom’s parents and one of her sisters are flying out to California to visit and help us out for a while. Some days I feel like it’s happened, other days I’m waiting for the sound of the key in the lock and my Dad (not the quiet fragile old man in the hospital bed, but my Dad) coming through the door, home from work with binders of engineering under his arm or home from a Saturday bike ride, smelly and sweaty and smiling with his headphones leaking music. In some ways it has been like watching him go in slow motion, and not just physically; I haven’t heard him truly laugh for a long time. I can’t imagine my life without a person who has been so important in shaping it, who stayed up late guiding me through countless math assignments, who read to my sister and I every night and who bought me roses on Valentines Day after my high school boyfriend dumped me. I’m trying hard not to bottle things up but I hate fluctuating between raging, weepy, serene and numb. My sister seems depressed and is avoiding dealing with any of it. My mom is handling it better than anyone, has told me to come to her if I need to talk, but I still feel like I need to be 'strong' for her and keep being the level-headed one. Only my best friend has any idea of how serious the situation is. I don’t know who I should be telling—-old friends from school? teammates? coaches?--and I don’t know how (“Hey hope you’re having a great summer, by the way my Dad is dying” ).

I’ve never lost anyone close to me. I’ve never been to a funeral. I don’t know how I can possibly begin to handle this freight train coming at me at full speed.

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“I thank God I was raised Catholic, so sex will always be dirty.” --John Waters

Posts: 206 | From: Bay Area, CA | Registered: Oct 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jacob at Scarleteen
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Strangely, I think if you were to "handle it" completely, a lot of people might even think something was wrong, this is a really big tough thing happening, the fact that there isn't really a proper way to handle it is part of that... I think it's ok to feel as though you're not handling things perfectly... This, I imagine, must be a very difficult thing for you, though sometimes the most difficult thing is to accept your own needs.

If you would feel better saying "by the way..." to your friends then that's ok... but if it'd make you feel awkward at a time when you might prefer to keep some privacy that's ok too.

Taking time out to mull things over, going for walks etc can sometimes be nice... or the other way; being with people or even trying to help others. I know that it's helpful to me to feel involved in helping someone else sharing a difficult time we're having, it can be therapeutic...

I would say that maybe it's ok for your mother and your sister to be approaching this the way they want to.

However, dealing with these really emotional things means that actually it's unlikely we'll feel a lot of control over how we deal with it... you might not want fluctuating moods but that might be part of how you automatically have to deal with the varying aspects of the situation. All you can do in addition to that is be nice to yourself and see what helps to soothe and to also accept your own moods as much as you can.

It's also quite good for you to have felt able to write here about what you're feeling and what is upsetting.

I think of funerals and traditional things like that really as opportunities for people do to something all together and I think they can be something that can help rather than just another thing to handle.

I am so sorry to hear about your Dad. The very best of luck with getting through all of this.

Posts: 614 | From: Leeds UK | Registered: May 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Djuna
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Hi SnailShells. I'm really sorry you're going through this.

Talking is good, whether that's here, with your best friend, or with your teammates or coaches. If you feel uncomfortable talking about your dad to other people, though, that's fine and of course you don't have to. I'm hearing that you're unsure how to have that conversation, though, and I wanted to say that I don't think there's anything wrong with being as direct as "Hi, I wanted to talk about something - my Dad is dying," or words to that effect.

I'm hearing, too, that you're worried about not knowing how things like funerals and figuring out how to cope with grieving will work. If you'd like, we can talk about how to make sense of that, or how to find out about what's likely to happen when your Dad does eventually die.

Again, I'm really sorry that this is going on for you, and while I've never lost a parent, I can hear that this is really difficult for you. We'll be around if you want to talk, okay? [Smile]

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“In a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”

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Kayy
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Hey...I am really sorry have to deal with all of this.

I lost a younger brother when i was like 7 and im 17 now. I still think about him everyday. Its a long process and a difficult one when you try to go at it alone like i did. Myself and the people in my immediate family have kept this to themselves and it has torn our family apart.

I agree with patrick when he says talking is important. It is key! You do not want to keep everything bottled up it is not good for you and will eat away. I have kept the loss of my brother in me for 10 years and im messed up because of it. Find a very close friend or your mother or even you sister she probably needs help talking about it as well and just let it all out.

It is also good to try to find alternatives to try to channel what your feeling into. I ,myself, used poetry to help get out what i didn't want to talk about. So try to think of something you can do to get your emotions out in a healthy way.

I know you want to be strong for your mom but she is probably having a really hard time at it and trying to be strong for your and your family. Talking to her i think would help because i think it would allow her to let out some of the things she is feeling if she is keeping them in.

Again i stress COMMUNICATION is key. Don't keep things bottled in like i did. Talk to someone about what your going through, what your feeling, and anything you need to talk about.

We are all here for you if you ever need to talk. There is no light way of handling a loss. i just can't stress enough to not hold things in.

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"Do or Do not, There is no Try"
-Yoda

Posts: 53 | From: USA | Registered: Jun 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Djuna
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(KayChick, your advice is very useful, and thank you for sharing your experiences with this, but could I ask that you try to make sure you don't tell others what they "need" to do? I feel like you're coming on a little strong here, and if people plain don't want to talk to others as part of their grieving process, they're not obligated to, as potentially emotionally unhealthy as that may or may not be.) [Smile]

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“In a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”

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Kayy
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sorry... i just now started trying to help other people on here. it is like one of my first that i replied to. i wasn't trying to come on strong. i just know first hand how it affected my family that we all didnt talk about it and i just don't want her to have to go through that. i will try not to do that in that future thanks for telling me.

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"Do or Do not, There is no Try"
-Yoda

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AmityJane
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I am so sorry about your Dad, he sounds like such a nice man.

It must be a difficult situation to be in, i think you should talk to your mum and your dad about the situation. If you talk to your dad about all your good times together it might help bring back the father he was, in a way. Talking with your mum about how it is affecting you and your worries will help you through it. You don't need to mention your dad's illness to other people if you don't want to, talk to your close friends about it but just focus on your feelings, not other people's.

Posts: 26 | From: UK | Registered: Sep 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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