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Dad died of cancer a month ago

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  • #19553
    Cassatruopia
    Participant

    Dad was diagnosed with a rare type of stage 4 lung cancer towards the end of 2019. He was hospitalized for what we thought would be a short stay on the 22nd of December 2021. He was becoming delirious with extreme lethargy. Because it was near Christmas, a lot of the hospital staff were in and out for holiday leave. I know it was none of their faults. They tried their best to make sure they did everything for dad. They thought it was sodium-related. They also questioned whether the metastatic parts of cancer had spread further again, possibly to his brain. Mum was the only one allowed to see him in person until he went quietly on the 27th. We were going to see the home team of the oncology doctors that morning. But the nurse said that when she went to check on him at around 12am, he was no longer breathing.

    I feel so guilty for not seeing him more. There’s so much that I wanted to say to him. Us kids were so busy with work or school, and then driving mum to hospital every day after the 22nd that we didn’t have time to buy dad a Christmas gift. One of his last coherent sentences was ‘Did the kids not buy me anything?’. I miss dad so much.

    Tonight I drove an hour or so to the hospital where he died. I sat in the car park across the road and cried. I’ve been trying so hard this past month to do normal things and to stay occupied. I called BeyondBlue and they said to check this site out.

    I really miss him. I know I’m luckier than a lot of people. I knew that the chances of him walking me down the aisle and holding my future kids would be slim after the diagnosis. I knew that I wouldn’t have him there for when I would graduate from all the other degrees I wanted to study in. I knew it was going to be hard losing him. But I thought he’d be able to pass at home, it was what we were going to go and discuss on the morning of the 27th.

    I’m so sad he died alone in a room so far from home. I know the hospital did everything they could.

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  • #19599
    VM – OnAJourney
    Participant

    Dear Cassatruopia

    Losing a parent prematurely is such a challenging experience. And I can imagine that it is even harder with the additional challenges you had to go through with not being able to see your dad anymore and also the fact that it all happened around Christmas.

    Even though we can rationalise some of what was happening, and we knew that it was inevitable, we are still left with a lot of ‘if only…’. And the pain of the loss is there in all force, together with all the other quite common feelings of sadness, regret, guilt, sometimes anger. In my experience, those feelings can come and go in waves for quite some time. Sometimes it felt to me like they just want to be acknowledged and taken care of.

    I know mum (she died of cancer as well) wanted to die at home. And I felt guilty at the time that we took her to hospital. Now I think it was better for her (and probably us as well), as in hospital she had the best palliative care and I know now that it would have been very difficult to manage her pain and the gradual dying at home.

    I hope you have people around you who can hold you and sit with your pain, where you can just let go of your emotions, even those more difficult ones. Whether it’s family and friends or professional services like Griefline or a counsellor, I found it very helpful to talk through what I was going through. Or sometimes just have someone sit with my quietly without trying to fix it for me. Take good care of yourself.

    #19600
    AnnieRose
    Participant

    Hi Cassatruopia,

    Thank you for sharing. I can relate to what you’ve been through, it’s incredibly similar to my own experience of the last few years. I’m from London, where i grew up and lived for my first 25 years, after that i met my husband and moved here to Australia to live with him. My entire family & friends were all still back in the UK. I had last managed to fly over to visit in April 2019, and the Covid happened.

    My dad was diagnosed with lung cancer at the end of 2018, his began treatment a few months later and ended up having two rounds of chemo, radiation therapy and immunotherapy throughout the following 2 years or so. It took a lot out of him, he’d already have multiple other health issues throughout his life. He was such a strong man. His cancer spread to both lungs with a few spots showing on his liver too. At the start of 2021 his health really declined and he had regular palliative care visits to his house, as well as a hospital bed installed to make his life easier. By mid may his care team strongly recommended that he go in to stay at the hospice so that they could help monitor his pain and give better care. A week later, i got a call from my mum to let me know he’d passed away. He spend 2 1/2 years battling this cruel disease, that took him too soon.

    I feel eternally guilty that i didn’t see my dad in person for the last 2 years of his life and that i hadn’t been there with him and the rest of my family to help with everything and to just be there. I havn’t forgiven myself for that. For the most part, i couldn’t help that, we weren’t allowed to travel and covid was making life hard for pretty much everyone. My mum and older brother (who lives at home still) were the only two that we able to visit him due to regulations, he was only allowed 2 visitors. My mum was caring for him at home for most of his illness and up until the last week of his life when he went into the hospice, she also cares for my older brother who is disabled.

    My husband, who has been simply amazing, and myself tried everything we could to get over to London for the funeral which was mid June 2021 but we were unable to make it so attended a live stream. I don’t remember a lot of those few weeks, just moved through the motions and let others make all the decisions. We were finally granted a special exemption to be able to travel to the UK in August 2021, finally able to have some much needed healing with my family.

    I don’t think i’ve fully accepted what has happened or the way it happened yet, it kind of feels like i’m living through an alternative life, in a small way. I know it takes time and i’m not going to rush it. There is no right way to work your way through grief and all the emotions that come with it, do what feels right or helpful to you and your situation. Know that you’re not alone.

    #20170
    Moon
    Participant

    Hi there, just wanting hold out a hand of empathy, I hear you.
    I too feel robbed of not being there the moment my father passed. I’d been by his side throughout everything.
    Nurses sent me home (check on my kids/get a change of clothes briefly) and he passed whilst I was gone for that short time.
    I remember hearing, but not really listening to them telling me ‘our loved ones often wait for us to leave the room, so they can’.
    I didn’t find those words comforting, I wanted to be there, holding his hand.
    You’ll see posts from me here and there on the forum, I’m new, but the same thing just happened with my 19yr old son.

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