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Dad, VAD, Mum, and more…

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Home Forums Loss of a loved one Dad, VAD, Mum, and more…

  • This topic has 3 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 1 month ago by vm-phoenixrises-84.
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  • #31156
    susiej11911
    Participant

    April 29th my dear Pa (Dad) passed away peacefully, with dignity. He asked me to help him, be his advocate and VAD tas explained what that meant, and why it was important, so of course I supprted Pa in any way I could while he considered his options. He’d dealt with the cancer, was in remission for 2 years, then seemingly out of nowhere it was back and within a matter of a few weeks, he was gone. He was mum’s primary carer too, and while Pa was in hospital mum had several bad falls, fractured her pelvis and was also hospitalised. I spent weeks beside them, going from ward to ward, and once mum was strong enough I’d wheel her down to sit with Pa of an evening. They even let me bring our family dog in. Amid the chaos, the heartbreak, shock, surreal experience unfolding there were many amazing professionals, far away family and friends who rallied around to help me. I didn’t just come to this forum to talk about my experience tonight, but I also need help. I have not stopped much since late February as it all unfolding so fast. Now as mum’s trying her find her way in life without her beautiful husband to care for her I’ve been trying to get help at home for her. Thankfully help is coming in that way soon but it’s been so hard working out what ACAT, MAC, HCP etc and all their jargon and assessments meant, which took weeks, but we’re getting there.

    My query, or “thing” is… I don’t feel I’m truly grieving… I’ve broken down crying organising Funeral matters, but in seconds I stop, focus, got to get it done, got to drove another 60 km to make sure mum’s OK and help her get into bed… sleep on the floor to be sure she’s okay in the night… go go go… tonight’s my 6th night in my own bed home and now I feel afraid… afraid that a big boulder of grief is going to roll at me… when it feels like you had to delay grieving because so much needed to be done… I’ve memorialised him, remember med him, but I am not sure that I have really faced the grief yet…

Viewing 3 replies - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)
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  • #31158
    VM-Tzimisce
    Participant

    Hi @susiej11911

    It’s only been a little over a month. We don’t grieve on a linear timeframe even though society would really, really like us to. We look at the stages of grief and we go ‘why aren’t I going through these?’ Because they’re the stages of grief, right? We’re meant to go through them as we process what happened. Right? But the Kubler-Ross 5 stages are only one theory of grieving amongst many, many more.

    Grief is non-linear. It may be that, right now, you simply don’t have time to properly grieve. Your mother is frail and going through her own issues which means you cannot focus on the process of grieving your father because you must put all your time and energy into caring for your mother. But now that you have things set up with ACAT, MAC and HCP, you may find that your body will start to allow you to grieve. Maybe not quite yet – everything is still fresh with your mother – but once things settle down, it might start really hitting you. Or it might not. There’s no one true way to grieve. Emma next door might wail and gnash her teeth in the immediate aftermath but Carol 2 doors down might not appear to react at all. But everyone is going through their journey. It’s simply that not all journeys follow the same path. For myself, it took me a good 4 years before I could properly mourn the death of my father as too much was happening at the time of his passing. Likewise, it has taken me almost 20 years to begin really mourning the loss of my mother. Now, I’ll admit, I’m probably a bit unusual, but I just want you to know there is no timeframe. We mourn when our bodies – not our minds – believe it is safe for us to do so. And right now, despite the sadness you feel, your body may not be ready to process what is going on because your mother still needs a lot of your care.

    Give yourself time. It doesn’t have to happen immediately, and VAD can make the process very different to that of typical mourning. You may have already done some of the grieving you’re expecting to happen now prior to your Pa’s death. That is also entirely normal. But it can make us feel like we’re not doing the work in the aftermath. This happened very recently in my own family when my partner’s grandmother died. We had known she was sick for a long time and were expecting her to die at any moment. And when she did, my partner was quite distressed by the fact that they weren’t experiencing the grief they had expected. But that was because they had done their grieving while she was still alive. It is possible you, too, have done some of that grieving already.

    Have a look around at our resources when you feel up to it. I’d specifically like to point you towards https://griefline.org.au/resources/coping-with-grief-after-voluntary-assisted-dying-a-guide-for-family-and-friends/ as I believe it will be the most helpful for your situation. I’d also like to remind you to give yourself time. Nothing happens instantly and we all walk the path of grief differently.

    If you would like to chat to someone on the phone, our Helpline volunteers are available between 8AM and 8PM AEST. You can call us on 1300 845 745 between these hours and someone will be there to listen.

    Please be kind to yourself during this time.

    #31282
    VM-pink1
    Participant

    Hi @susiej11911,

    It sounds entirely understandable that the very early stages of your grief were consumed by practical tasks. I hear many grievers feel this way at the start. Let’s face it, it is tough and almost unimaginable to have so many tasks to do when all we may need to do is rest and feel (our experience). Grief is often felt in those moments when it is quiet (I find anyway, from my experience. I had young children and a business to run when my sister died and grief would hit me late at night when everyone was in bed and the day slowed down enough). How have you been since posting this?
    Have you been able to feel into your grief?
    Have you also been able to make time for yourself (for breaks from grief)?
    As mentioned in the last response, we are here for you. Reach out when you need…
    Connection and compassion always.

    #31331
    vm-phoenixrises-84
    Participant

    Hi Susie, condolences for the loss of your father (Pa). Grief can show up in unexpected ways and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. We all process these situations and our emotions differently. It sounds like you have been managing many responsibilities and have been a tower of strength and resilience for your family. When we are consumed by the daily tasks it can distract us from our thoughts and feelings, especially when we are always on the go.

    If you feel like you need to express grief and emotions for your loved one, you can create a special space and time where you can sit with the thoughts, feelings and memories of your loved one. You can play their favourite song, eat their favourite meal, look at a photo of them or something that reminds you of them. Another suggestion is writing a letter to them. Sometimes our mind can block thoughts/emotions because they may be too painful or sensitive to face. If feelings or thoughts rise up, allow them to be present, and be with them until they pass. If you want to have a cry, that is okay. If you don’t that is okay too. Sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to grieve and to process the emotions and thoughts that come with saying goodbye to a loved one.

    I hope you find some of these suggestions helpful.

    I know that I connect with my mother through music. Sometimes I’ll have a cry and sometimes it may be a laugh as I remember her.

    Take care and if you ever want to have a chat, please continue to use this chat service or you can also call the Helpline on 1300 845 745.

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by vm-phoenixrises-84.
    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by vm-phoenixrises-84.
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