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Losing my mum and now my dad is dying, I’m 28.

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Home Forums Loss of a loved one Losing my mum and now my dad is dying, I’m 28.

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  • #13944

    I was 6 when I lost my mum to breast cancer. My dad went it alone to look after my sister and I, along the way battling alcohol abuse and mental illness. Because of this, our relationship with our dad was tumultuous, however we love him dearly and often turn to him for his advice and wisdom. He now has cancer and the prognosis isn’t good. I’m 28 now, and my sister is nearly 30. We’re looking down the barrel of losing our dad in early adulthood and it scares the hell out of me and saddens me tremendously. He won’t experience the joy of seeing us get married, have children of our own, nor grow into the adults he wished for us to be. We’re going into adulthood without a rudder and I’m so afraid of the future. I know of few people my age who’ve lost a parent let alone their second. If anyone has a similar experience I would appreciate hearing it.

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  • #13945

    Hi @j21405, welcome to the Griefline online forums and thank you for your bravery in sharing your story.

    It seems you experienced a profound loss at a very young age and then had to rely on your Dad who despite trying his best, may not have always been fully present due to his own challenges. All of these factors are likely to have developed in you a deep fear of bereavement and yet now you face the loss of another parent.

    You may have heard of anticipatory or pre-loss grief which sounds like what you’re experiencing. It can bring on symptoms which include fear, sadness and anger – a lot like the symptoms of grief after the loss has occurred.

    Many people find that preparedness can be helpful in reducing the intensity of your pre and post-loss grief. It can decrease anxiety while also bringing feelings of reward and hope. Preparedness can involve having accurate on-going information about your Dad’s condition and also having practical arrangements in place such as financial matters.

    Social support is also very important. The way you talk of your sister, the challenges you shared growing up and your shared love of your Dad shows a strong and special bond which will be a real resource and strength as you navigate the difficult journey ahead.

    Already you are showing such strength in your approach to your father’s illness. By reaching out on this forum you’re engaging in help-seeking which can be very effective in managing your grief. There are lots of other ways to access help such as one-on-one or group counselling but becoming a part of our community is a really positive first choice. There are sure to be others within our community who can identify and share their stories and maybe even ways of coping.

    A warm welcome @j21405, we are here for you as you travel on this very difficult journey.



    I am sorry for what you are going through. I recently lost my Mum and lost my Dad when i was 24 years of age. I can never and still don’t understand loss but want to tell you that it’s important you look after yourself and take the time to tell your Dad what you feel is important. Living with regrets is painful or living with what you ‘should’ have said or ‘could’ have said but don’t can make grief so much harder as well. Losing one parent is hard enough let alone two! All I have to say is value the time you have left with your Dad- tell him what you feel is important to tell him- not only what you think he wants to hear but what you want to share with him. It might be a favourite memory or something funny he always says or a funny look. Most of all- if you are a hugging type- hug him lots. I would do anything to be able to give my Mum and Dad just one more hug or to see their smile just one more time. Grief sucks and is exhausting, but I feel through the grief if you can hang onto living with no regrets regarding the connection you have with your loved one I feel it helps the grieving process so much more. Amongst all this uncertainty and grief you are experiencing please look after yourself. You cannot give to someone else if your glass is empty and you have nothing to give.(I hope that makes sense). Take care. I feel your pain.


    Hi Everyone,

    Thank you both for your insight. It’s really helpful to bounce these feelings/thoughts off other people and understand better why I have them. Also, it’s reassuring to know there are other people in the same boat. @Danij, thanks for sharing this and that you’ve experienced this loss too and at such a young age. You’re absolutely right that you should make the most of the time you have left together. I guess in some respects it’s almost fortunate that your loved ones might pass from cancer as opposed to something without warning. It gives you the chance to appreciate the time you have left and really make the most of it.

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