I Miss My Dad

by Michelle

My dad was a truck driver, and he took my mom on the road with him. I was at work when I got a text from my mom saying that they would be coming into town either that night, or the next day. My apartment was a mess so I begged them to not come until the next day. They listened to my request. The next day I was getting ready for work and my mom texted me that they were going to the ER. I decided to call out of work, and headed to the hospital where my parents were. My dad was still in the ER, and we were waiting for the doctors to come back with the details of some test they had run. We waited for an hour, joking around as we do. Finally the doctor came in, and he drew a picture on the whiteboard of my dad’s lungs, and of the mass that was wrapping itself around his lung. I don’t know how I didn’t fall apart at that moment, my heart didn’t even stop. Instead I listened and processed the information calmly, I asked questions, and then we prepared for my dad to be admitted to the hospital for a biopsy. Then the doctors were concerned with the possibility of a collapsed lung during the procedure. They referred us to a specialist that could do the biopsy without the danger of a collapsed lung. It took 3 days to find a doctor that could do the procedure that accepted my dad’s insurance. Only they wouldn’t do the biopsy without further testing. The biopsy was scheduled for nearly two weeks after he first went into the ER. During this time my father was sleeping (if you can call it that) on my couch, or in my bed. I was trying to get through finals and take care of both my mother and father. I remember laying in my living room hearing my father crying out in pain. I was heartbroken that there was nothing I could do for him, no matter how hard I tried. We ended up going to the ER again before his biopsy appointment because he was in so much pain. He was made to feel better in the hospital, but the pain returned with a vengeance after the meds wore off. Because we were only going to ER’s, and my dad didn’t have a primary care physician no one would prescribe him anything stronger than mild pain killers. Nothing worked to ease his pain. Finally I got him an appointment so he could get some pain medication that would do something for him. That doctor was amazing, and gave my father an actual narcotic, which still only dimmed my dad’s pain. I watched as my father became less and less himself, only I didn’t really see it at the time. I still had hope that we would be able to beat this. We finally went in for his biopsy. The nurse took his stats, immediately put him on oxygen, and the doctor came in. Before he even showed us the results of the scans that had been taken the week before he said that he was not going to be performing the procedure that day because my dad was so weak, and instead he was being admitted to the ER to be admitted to the hospital, most likely the ICU. At my mother’s request we saw the scans, and the doctor pointed out all the areas across my dad’s body that was covered in cancer. From there the ups and downs kept coming. We were told six months, no point in any kind of treatment. We were told treatment could enhance his quality of life, and give him a year. He went into the hospital on Thursday, and on Saturday I made the call to my brother and sisters that they needed to get here as soon as possible because the doctors had given him hours to days. We were able to be together with my dad while he was still alive. He passed away that Sunday.

I miss my dad so much. It’s been 2 ½ month, and it feels like it just happened yesterday. I cry, no I sob every single day. Sometimes it feels like I’ve punched in the stomach and a wave of pain rolls through my body. I’ve been told so many times, and I read everywhere that it will get better, but it really seems so unlikely. My dad is gone, and nothing will ever be the same again. There is no coping, no dealing, there is only accepting that he is gone. Forever gone. And I will be forever missing a piece of me.

Comments for I Miss My Dad

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Jun 10, 2013
Dear Carolina,
by: Pat in Missouri

I am so very sorry for your loss and the terrible pain you are dealing with everyday. However,I think you are being too hard on yourself. Since your mother had a heart attack 20 years ago, it is quite likely she could have had lingering heart problems for the rest of her life. What happened was not your fault. It probably would have happened anyway sooner or later. Having had a previous heart attack, your mother would surely have known the symptoms, if she thought it was her heart again. If she felt better later, it could have been a warning sign, but not necessarily a heart attack. If your mother did not feel like she needed to go to the ER, she must not have recognized the pain as the same as what she went through so long ago. When a loved one dies we all often think "I wish I had, if only I had, I should have ......" None of that will help. Those thoughts will only make you feel more miserable. In truth, your mother clearly had a history of heart problems. She actually lived a long time dealing with it. The way she passed was actually a blessing. She went quickly and was blessed to have died in her own home. You will feel more at peace when you can come to terms with these thoughts.

If your mother had gone to a hospital, she would likely have been taken to ICU, had multiple IV's and all kinds of tubes running in and out of her. She might have had to endure a lot of pain, while they did tests or surgical procedures. Think about it. Your mother died quickly and at home. When I die, that would certainly be my choice.

I think you are submitting yourself to more pain than your mother had. Please seek help through a support group or counselor. Social workers and chaplains with hospice agencies are specially trained in helping people work through their grief. They deal with dying patients and their families everyday. They can see you, even if your mother was not on hospice care.

I sincerely hope you can reach out for help soon. Grief is like an illness. You cannot tackle it alone. If you continue on your current path, you will make yourself sick and you don't need that. I send you hugs and warm thoughts. Please write back and let us know how you are doing. We care.

Jun 10, 2013
Dear Michelle,
by: Pat in Missouri

I truly believe that grief and the loss of our loved ones is the most difficult thing we humans have to face. I always felt so lucky that I had never lost any of my family until I got into my 60's. Then, it hit like a tornado. I wouldn't wish grief on my worst enemy. June 5 was the 2 year mark, since I lost my father. In 2009 I lost my mother. In 2011 I also lost a brother and my fiance'. With each loss it is like another piece of my heart goes. You are so right when you said nothing will ever be the same again. Trying to find your "new me" amongst all the pain of grief is really tough. I am still working on it myself.

Your loss is still very new and you are in shock and feeling regrets and things like "I wish I could have." I suspect that your father had been quite ill for much longer than anyone knew. In retrospect, you might be able to see his death as a blessing that he did not live long, after they found that large mass on his lungs. Just think of the pain and difficulty in breathing that you may have never seen, since he travelled so much. I hate it when doctors do not have enough caring to prescribe heavy painkillers for patients who are so obviously in extreme pain. It must have been horrible for you to hear your father's painful screams.

I am so sorry you had to go through this, but now he is no longer in pain. He is at peace. In time you will find peace too. It might help to go to a grief support group. They are wonderful because everyone there is going through the same thing. You can hug and cry on shoulders of people you do not even know because everyone else is looking for peace too.

In time, you will come to realize that loss is a part of life. All of us will die one day. I wish someone had written a manual on how to deal with impending death. I am a volunteer for a local hospice agency. Hospices provide counseling for those who are experiencing grief, even if your father was not a hospice patient. I would encourage you to seek help from a hospice agency. They can help you understand what you are going through and what your father went through. Hospices are especially good at helping people in grief because they work with dying people and their families everyday. Their nurses, counselore, social workers, and chaplains are real angels.

I send you many hugs. You will get through this. Take care of yourself. I hope you will write back later and let us know how you are doing. Your friend in grief, Pat

Jun 09, 2013
Wrong Decision
by: Doreen U.K.

Carolina soon after losing someone Guilt kicks in and throws us off course to the point that we can't think clearly. We assault ourselves with all the things we could of or should have done. BUT. In reality when you take the time to process LIFE and OUR LIMITATIONS you will see that your GUILT is MISPLACED.
As the doctor said. Your mother could have died the next day. BUT she lived 5 days. What does this say to you? You can't fight with nature. Especially the HEART. My mother ignored her pains and I know that it can damage the heart muscle. Time is of the essence. But in her case she didn't want to trouble anyone. My mother has 6 children. 4 living in this country and any one of us could have acted by phoning regularly and even got her to a doctor sooner. She died 10 yrs. ago. She was 77yrs. BUT. We were happy that she lived to this age. None of us beat ourselves up over what we could or should have done. There would be no point. In time you have to let go of your guilt. JUST PERHAPS! God stops us from doing something because in the end HE is the one who has the final say.
I STILL feel ANGRY that my husband didn't live longer or get a HEALING from his CANCER. I don't know why? I don't plan to be angry. I don't want to be angry. BUT I am. It springs out of such deep disappointment at losing the Man I loved and was married to for 44yrs. I can only give my ANGER to God and I know it will work itself out of my system in time. Give your Guilt to God and let him help you lose it and find FREEDOM. I lived most of my life with guilt. I went into counselling for help with this. I AM NOW FREE. I know the difference from REAL GUILT. and FALSE GUILT. If you are guilty then you will have to find a way TO FORGIVE YOURSELF. Ask God to help you with this. You deserve to live with FREEDOM. You loved your Mom and you would have done everything in life to save her. But life happens and often we have no control over this.

Jun 08, 2013
I feel your pain...
by: Anonymous

I'm sorry for your loss! My Dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer in June of 2011. He made it thru the first 3 chemo sessions, then he was too weak to take anymore. This horrible disease finally claimed him on 7 Feb 2012. In just 8 short months, he was gone. After nearly 1 1/2 years, sorrow and grief are still my constant companions. I know it's hard to imagine right now, but tomorrow, the sun will rise once again. You'll get out of bed and go about your life, because that's what your Dad would want for you!

Jun 08, 2013
Wrong decision!
by: Carolina

Be glad you did everything you did for your Dad and that you were able to spend his last few days with him. I lost my mom one month ago today and I know what you mean about getting almost sick to your stomach, like someone punched you. My pain is unbearable! I cry every morning and a lot throughout the day. My mom used to live with me. She had a previous heart attack 20 years go. Few days before she died, she was moving furniture and felt nausea, back and chest pain. She then vomited and I thought she had indigestion and the pain was from moving furniture so I didn't take her to hospital because she said she felt better and five days later, I found her dead! I wanted to die myself because if I would've taken her to hospital maybe they would've seen if she was having a heart attack. Her doctor said that if she had heart attack on that day that she would've died the next day and not five days later. He told me she had some heart trouble and was at risk at anytime for heart attack. I don't believe him and blame myself everyday for not taking her to ER! I have so much guilt and remorse for not doing something because it may have saved her! I feel like I failed my mother! At least your dad didn't suffer. I wish you find peace and comfort that I still search for! God bless you!

Jun 08, 2013
I Miss My Dad
by: Doreen U.K.

Michelle I am sorry for your loss of your Dad to lung cancer. Your mom will be especially sad for having now lost her husband.
My husband worked with Asbestos and cut it on a saw without knowing it was a deadly substance that grows slowly in the lungs when you inhale the fibres and takes 40-60yrs. to develop into a tumour. It cannot be detected and is incurable, inoperable, and aggressive. My husband died a slow painful death over 3yrs. and I laid him to rest 13 months ago. We were married 44 yrs. and this is the worst experience of my life. I feel my grief more and I was very upset today being a Saturday the day of the week he died. Life will never be the same again. How can anyone enjoy life now when they have lost someone close and loved deeply. We are expected to accept our loss as a part of life and just go on as if nothing has happened. Grief is a very painful experience. Unless someone has gone through this they will never know how we feel. We can never get over this. It is hard when living with someone for many years and then they are suddenly gone from our life as if they just vanished without a trace. This is how it feels. You will miss your Dad for a very long time. Grief is a very slow process. Stay close as a family and help each other through your loss. let this loss strengthen all of you as a family this is the only way you will cope with such an immense loss of your father.

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