Dealing with it in pieces.

by Katie z

My dad died nov 26th of 2013. It's been about four months now. He was only 54, I'm only 25. He passed away in the front seat of his car. I was driving him to a doctor appointment, but we didn't make it out of the driveway. His health had declined rapidly over the last year. About 4 years ago he had his leg amputated due to osteomyelitis and from then he lived with me on and off. In the last months before his death I became his primary care giver. His heart was failing and he suffered severe edema which had to be bandaged and treated. The day he died I sent my kids (2 and 4) to stay with great grandma and then arrived an hour early to help dad change bandages and get ready for his appt. Despite his constant pain and not being able to catch his breath we talked, even joked, made plans and I did what I could to make him more comfortable. I helped him into the car, not sure how I would ever get him out, he was so weak. I turned the car around behind the house but he asked me to stop for a minute. I thought maybe he forgot something. But he just took a puff from his inhaler and then looked at me and stopped breathing. I did everything I could to resuscitate him. Paramedics arrived. But he was gone. It was probably under a minute.

I've hidden the details of that day from myself. I buried it deep because I couldn't escape it playing over and over in my head. I've cried and grieved for my father but never allowed myself to revisit the emotions of watching him die. Until yesterday. I sold his car. In the middle of signing the title release papers I started having a panic attack. My heart was racing, I couldn't sit still or escape the feeling of panic that was overwhelming me. And i feel foolish to say, I couldn't understand WHY selling the car was affecting me so badly. I had buried that day so deep that I didn't see the connection with the car until my mother pointed it out. How obvious and natural that I would have anxiety related to the place where my father had died in my arms. After making the connection, I sobbed, and then felt calm. However I find that the loop of memories is wound up once again and it feel like every few minutes I'm seeing it all happen again. I don't know what the next step in rebuilding is, but I'm thankful for a place like this website to share my story. It's hard to keep talking about it with family that can't understand the trauma of being there with him an yet, I feel as though I have to talk about it if I'm ever going to process and rebuild.

I loved him more then I can ever explain in words. And I am eternally great flu that I was able to be with him that morning, even though it is a trauma that has rocked me emotionally and physically. I was with him. He was not alone. It was a beautiful morning. And I know exactly what happened, which provides a piece of mind that some people can never have. Now I just hope that sharing can help me accept this and maybe also help someone else who's struggling.

Comments for Dealing with it in pieces.

Click here to add your own comments

Apr 01, 2014
Dealing with it in pieces
by: Doreen UK

Katie my initial post was too long. I wanted to address your question. " I don't know what the next step in rebuilding is?" Taking ONE DAY AT A TIME is the best way forward and you don't need to push yourself about what to do next. I think that Grief dictates how we move on due to the slow healing process. Deal with things as they present, and you won't have to feel the pressure that there is something you have to do to make things better.
It is only TIME that will help all of us heal from our loss, and that time could be years for most of us. Just don't think too far ahead which is why ONE DAY AT A TIME is the best way forward.
All those awful memories will unwind and you will feel them for some time before new memories replace the old one's prior to death. There are no guidelines about what to expect from grief, but we learn from each other. Even though we have different experiences, the grief is a common experience for all of us. The PAIN is so UNBEARABLE one feels they will never recover. This is the time to not make any major and some minor decisions if this is possible. I made some that was far too soon and I regret. But I learned that if in DOUBT. DO NOTHING. Each day is different and when you have a bad day it is just that BAD for that day and is not an indication that the next day will be the same. WE get breaks in between the bad days. I hope this helps.

Mar 31, 2014
Dealing with it in pieces.
by: Doreen UK

Katie I am so sorry for your loss of your Dad to a sudden death. It is so easy to stuff the feelings down inside so we don't have to deal with too much. This is one of the biggest mistakes one can do, but a lot of us do it not realizing the consequences. It is much harder to deal with this later on and one day it starts pressing for resolution. Often we can't get at what is troubling us to deal with this because we pushed it down so far. Best thing you can do is go and see a good therapist/counsellor whilst it is recent and they may be able to use their skills to bring things to the surface so they come out of you. I have done this grief work so know it can be painful if left too long. You may feel this is not necessary. If you notice that you are feeling unusually depressed and things don't change for the better you would then need some professional help to move you forward otherwise you can become stuck in grief and it will go on longer than necessary.
I lost my husband to a deadly cancer 23 months ago and the cancer journey was horrendous. My husband really suffered a lot of pain and I nursed him and made him as comfortable as possible. this caring for just over 3yrs. he suffered and in a lot of pain. It would take too long to tell my story. My husband really suffered from blood clots, daily injection in his abdomen, pneumonia, vomiting blood with clots and flesh and much more. I was screaming down the phone for a doctor to come and give my husband an injection for the pain and he had to wait 3hrs whilst the staff finished their morning clinic. Such a disgrace for a man dying of cancer and in severe pain. I have these bad memories to deal with. I have had the anger at the lack of good care for someone dying of cancer. One good doctor said it was disgraceful and sent an email to the GP to simply get his fingers out and treat my husband with better care. It was a battle I couldn't take on. I felt drained from dealing with the cancer and watching my beloved husband die slowly. My husband felt abandoned. I made up for the care he should have received. I kept him at home where he wanted to die, when all the staff wanted was to put him in the hospice. My husband said he wouldn't forgive me if I left him in hospice. I gave my husband his wishes above the doctor and they left our home. WE can only do our best for our loved ones. But the grief journey is hard and painful. Healing is a slow process. You can write back for more support.

Click here to add your own comments

Return to Lost Dads.

[?]Subscribe To This Site
  • follow us in feedly
  • Add to My Yahoo!
  • Add to My MSN
  • Subscribe with Bloglines

RSS Feed Widget


Tap into the compassion, support and wisdom of the


Essential Healing Guide

Grief Relief

Free Griefwork

Free Stress

SBI Video Tour!