Losing my Dad

by Mercedes
(Sydney, Australia)

My dad passed away January 14, 2014, aged 58. It came as a complete shock to myself, my sister and my mum. Up until a couple of weeks ago my dad was fine. We noticed in December that he had lost a bit of weight and was perhaps a little pale. Mum urged him to go to the doctor to ensure everything was okay but he didn't go straight away as he felt fine.
Anyway on December 30, he didn't feel well after lunching with some friends. I took him to the hospital where they had to do some tests. They kept him overnight and had to give him a blood transfusion as his red blood count was very low. After this the colour in his face was a lot better and I thought he'd be okay.
The doctors kept him in the next night to run more tests. Turns out they had found nodules in his lungs and had to work out what they were.
We found out the day after that is was lung cancer. The news came as a complete shock. My dad didn't smoke. He had in the past but not for a long time and yes he had his bad habits but cancer?
We waited anxiously as they continued to do more tests. He had more blood transfusions as the blood cell count kept going back down. What was going on?
Then we found out days later following a PET scan that dad's cancer had spread. It was stage IV and no longer curable. I couldn't believe it. My amazing dad who until now had seemed fine to be told he would not live much longer. The cancer was in his bones, spine, ribs, skull, everywhere. I didn't think it could get any worse. Dad took the news so bravely and he said "Well that's the path I've been dealt with", he was so rational about it. I couldn't stop crying but I didn't want to cry in front of him. I could tell he was scared and I wanted to be strong for him.
Dad was discharged a few days later to be treated as an outpatient. We were awaiting the results of a test to see if dad could have the oral form of chemo.
That night dad went to sleep early as he was tired. We all went to sleep and then later in the night I heard my mum scream. My sister and I rushed in to see my dad collapsed on the side of his bed. I went to help him and he was not himself. We finally got him to stand but his left leg wasn't responding. Dad seemed not himself and vert disoriented. We called the ambulance. We were so scared.
Turns out dad had had a stroke. I couldn't believe it. How could the world be so cruel? He had a terminal cancer, he wasn't getting out of this. To then give him a stroke on top. It wasn't fair. I still cannot understand it.
Dad's platelet was too low at this time so they could not give him medication for the stroke. He would bleed if they did. My poor father. He was the smartest man, I couldn't believe what I was seeing.
He remained in hospital in the stroke unit and he seemed okay. He wasn't walking but he was talking and whilst he wasn't seeing quite clearly he was still okay. We had hope even after so much despair that maybe maybe he would come through.
The oncologist came to visit us and said that chemo was not an option now as dad was too weak and due to the stroke he would not be able to take chemo. All we could do is hope and pray, not for a miracle but perhaps he would live some more months yet.
Tuesday January 14. Dad seemed very tired that day. I gave him juice I had made and some vegetables I had steamed. Later he went for a brain scan which showed 1/3 of his brain had been affected. Poor dad :'(
After the scan he closed his eyes and just rested. A little while later he woke up and said to goodbye to me and mum and my sister and how much he lovefd us. Then he closed his eyes again.
As the afternoon/night wore on his breathing got more and more laboured. He was struggling to breathe. We gave him some oxygen which seemed to help. Later I noticed his fingers were going cold and his feet. The circulation in his digits was going. It was happening.
My wonderful father took his last breath that night will all of us around him. He looked at peace and I happy amongst all this pain that in his death he was not in agony.

I feel so angry that he is gone. Why my dad? He was fine until 2 weeks ago. He never let out that something was wrong. I don't know if he wasn't well and kept it from us or if he actually felt fine. How I wish I had known earlier. The sense of loss and guilt I feel is incredible. I wish I could have done more for him. I will never be the same again.

There is not greater pain in this world than the loss of a parent. I took my dad for granted. I thought he would always be there. But the reality is he's not and no one is. We don't know when our time is up. I know to appreciate more now but at what cost.

To those who have also shared their stories, my heartfelt condolences. I know the pain. I am sorry we have all lost our dads. The world was a better place with them here.

Comments for Losing my Dad

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Mar 09, 2014
Dear S
by: Mercedes

Dear S,

I am so sorry for the loss of your dad and for the similarities in your dad's case and mine. It was the worst time of my life and I am sorry someone else went through what did, I wouldn't wish it upon anyone.
I agree life will never be the same,
I am so sorry you found out tv a call, but I know you will find comfort knowing your dad is not suffering anymore.

Thank you for your kind words, I will certainly remember the good times with dad and he will live on with us all. I hope you have found peace at this loss and please feel free to comment if you ever needed any words of comfort.

Mar 03, 2014
Dear Doreen
by: Janette

Thank you for taking time to read and reply to my comment your right in what your saying it will take time for the good memories to come cause I've tried so hard and it's still if not more painful today , yes the illness has effected so many people and it helps to know I'm not alone and we all have something in common . Yes I also have been worried because years ago my dad was on his own bringing up us kids and we weren't very well off , so my dad used to throw his big overcoats over us lot to keep warm in the winter nights and I worry about this as I've read so much about it , thanx again for your reply xxxx really does make a difference .

Mar 01, 2014
I feel your pain
by: Doreen UK

Jordan I am sorry for your loss of your Dad to cancer in 99 and also to have now lost your mom to this dreadful disease. There is nothing worse than losing one's parents and to suddenly feel so alone and lost. It takes a long time to heal from losing your loved one's and this pain is as you say UNBEARABLE. This is something we all have in common. We can address what this pain feels like even though we have different histories. I hope that you have siblings or extended family who are able to support you in your grief. Don't feel you have to go through this grief alone. If you find yourself struggling to cope you can reach out to grief counsellors for support. They are skilled to help one move forward from grief so it takes the edge off the unbearable pain.
Taking one day at a time is the only way any of us can cope with our loss. I lost my husband to cancer 21 months ago and I still feel so alone and lost even though I do cope from day to day I can still only take one day at a time. I can't make any appointment because I don't know what I am doing the next day. I can't think ahead of today. This is still so hard for me to do. Each of us will handle our grief differently, but go with your heart and how you feel. There are no rules or guidebook to tell us how hard it is going to be or how long grief will last. just be gentle with yourself. To lose both parents to cancer is such a cruel experience. May God comfort you in your loss and give you His Peace.

Mar 01, 2014
My poor Dad suffered lung cancer too.
by: Doreen UK

Janette I am sorry to hear that your father died of lung cancer caused by asbestos. This substance has caused heartache for so many families who are suffering the pain of the loss of a parent from asbestos. Many women die also when they wash their husband's clothing. Just shaking the clothes before putting them in the washer can cause the fibres to be inhaled and many a woman has died before her husband. Make sure that your mom or whoever washed your father's clothing gets tested for MESOTHELIOMA. This is a dreadful disease and the pain for the person suffering is great. My husband died of this disease. He was a young man in his 20's and he cut asbestos not knowing how dangerous this substance was. I nursed him for 3yrs.39days and he died 21 months ago. Part of grieving is allowing those painful memories to pass through you and not to bottle them up. ONLY THEN does the good memories come in. You don't have to force yourself to think of the good memories otherwise the bad memories will have nowhere to go. Be yourself and don't try to be brave because this is what people expect of you. I hope that you have good support from family and friends to help you through this journey, as the healing is such a slow process. Taking one day at a time is helping me cope, but I still have bad grief days.

Mar 01, 2014
I feel your pain
by: Jordan

I lost my dad february 10th of 99 from cancer. I wasn't with him when he passed and I acted like a callous dumb kid. His funeral was on my birthday and I was handed a card and was told he would have wanted you to have this. The pain i felt was unimaginable.. I went to my mom's truck and cried and screamed. Upset that he even thought of me or giving me ten dollars while he was on his deathbed. Fast forward to 2010 and my mom is battling cancer. It was hard to be around at first.. Nothing I said made things better. She went into hospice & passed shortly after that as I held her hand.. Losing a parent is something everyone takes differently. All I know is my life will never be the same

Feb 27, 2014
My poor dad suffered lung cancer to
by: Janette

It's so hurtful reading your comments so sorry for you all as my dad passed 30 dec 2013 it was horrible to see him go through the pain and suffering only because he also worked with asbestosis when he was young . I also felt all these feeling of anger and why me ect but that's grief , there's seven stages of grieving and we all go through this so it's normal to feel this way . We have to think of the nice memories to keep us happy as it does help us to talk about it and not keep it bottled up so I found this very comforting knowing I'm not on my own .xx

Feb 25, 2014
Losing my Dad
by: S

Dear Mercedes,

I'm so very sorry to hear of the loss of your Dad. I cried as I read your post because of the similarities. My dear Dad also passed away in August 2012 and even though the date is getting dimmer, the hole in our hearts, the emptiness, the sadness, the despair never goes away. We survive, we pick up the pieces and we try to create a new normal, but life for us will never be the same again.

Like your Dad, my Dad also had blood transfusions towards the end due to Pneumonia and Parkinsons, however the difference is we didn't know it was the end. Whereas you were there, able to say good-bye, that you loved each other instead we had the shocking dawn call that he was gone! Unexpected. The worst news. That is the worst thing that has ever happened in my life. That call and what it meant: the loss of my precious Dad, forever! Nooooooo

We all wish we could turn back the clock - but we can't. We can't change anything, but, we can be assured that our Dad's loved us!

The loss is with us forever but we go on, with their precious legacy. Every time you speak of him, you honour him. Every time you think of him, you keep him alive, in your heart, mind and soul. They are gone but not forgotten. O

You are right, there is no greater pain in this world than losing a parent. Hear Hear!

Live life fully as though there is no tomorrow. As you go through this valley of the shadow of death, you will experience blessings in disguise. I never understood the "beauty through ashes" until I realised the blessings of discoveries about my Dad after he was gone, which I would not have known or realised before. Those are blessings. People will surprise you.

You will smile again, and even laugh, because you will want to remember the great man your Dad was. This weekend I was looking at photo albums of the early years, and I laughed out loud at so many of my Dad either smiling or laughing or being funny in the pictures, and my mom said: "laughing and remembering is LIVING" Take your Dad's memories with you, and may they comfort you as you go through this difficult time. Know you are not alone, we have walked the same journey and continue to do so, encouraging each other through it all.
God Bless you and your family, our deepest condolences. May you find peace during this most difficult time. Love S

Feb 24, 2014
Dear Doreen
by: Mercedes

I am truly so very sorry for the loss of your husband. Life certainly is unfair.
Isn’t it the worst thing ever? I will never forget the look on my dad’s face. Lung cancer is a silent killer as you say and affects too many people who are diagnosed in the late stages. Yes I know I cannot blame myself for it but I do feel at times I should have realised. At the same time I have never experienced a person with cancer until now.
The worst thing I feel is that I am only 22 and I did not think I would lose dad so soon. He’ll never see me do the things a dad sees his children do. It’s the most unbearable reality. But it is my reality.
I am sorry that your husband’s cancer was a slow cancer. It would have been as hard for you as it was for him. I wish there was something I could say to change things but I can’t. We can’t change what was meant to be. We can only take comfort that they are no longer suffering and really are at peace now. I am certain my dad is with his parents, grandparents and friends who passed before him. Regarding your loneliness, I hope you are okay and have some good friends and family to keep you company. Even though I don’t know you I will have you in my thoughts.
Thank you for reading and for commenting.

Feb 24, 2014
Dear Barb
by: Mercedes

Hi Barb
I am so truely sorry for your loss. Our only comfort during this time is that at least they did not suffer too long and death came quickly. (Terrible as that sounds we would hate to watch them suffer).
I hope you also can feel better as time goes on, we will never be the same but I'm sure in time we will learn to live without our fathers. I have a lot of regret too which I try to tell myself not to as at the time we didn't realise death for them was right around the corner.

Feb 24, 2014
Dear Mercedes
by: Anonymous

I am sorry to hear about your father. I lost my father on January 14, 2013. He died suddenly, from cardiac arrest, and like you, I was not prepared for it. No warnings, nothing. I took him for granted and always envisioned a world with him in it. He was part of my daily life and there is nothing but a huge hole there now. It has been a very hard year, full of guilt and regrets, but I feel like his spirit is with me now more than ever, and I have no choice but to go on. I hope you will find some comfort and peace in the days ahead, I know how you feel. I miss my father so, so much. Barb

Feb 24, 2014
Losing my Dad
by: Doreen UK

Mercedes I am so sorry for your loss of your dad to lung cancer so quickly.
Be assured there was nothing you could have done. Lung cancer is the one cancer that is hard to diagnose until it is too late. The shock of the diagnosis is the most painful moment to endure.
My husband was diagnosed with MESOTHELIOMA in 2009 and survived 3yrs.39days. His cancer was lung cancer caused by working with asbestos. He cut asbestos in his 20's as a young man and the fibres lodged in his lung and developed an incurable, inoperable malignant tumour over 40yrs. A long time to live with a slow cancer. He had an MRI scan 5yrs. earlier and it did not pick up even a hint of the shadows on the lung which shows up in lung cancer. I call it the silent killer. Your father may not have felt unwell or that anything was wrong till it was time for him to suspect all was not well and to get it checked out. I nursed my husband for over 3yrs. and he died 21 months ago. He was 65yrs. of age and missed out on his retirement. Your father was a young man. It doesn't seem FAIR. But such is life. CRUEL. Your mother will be going through the worst unbearable pain from her loss of a husband. The best way forward is ONE DAY AT A TIME. I still have some bad days. My grief is hitting me more now due to the loneliness of him not coming back. I still don't know what to do with my days. They are so long and empty despite me doing so much that I am able to do to fill my day. I am doing it ALONE which makes it harsher. You will feel many regrets, but know that this is part of grief and should pass in time. It is such a shock to the system to lose a father./husband. Having a good support structure in place does help, but saying this many of us face a loss of friends and family at such a time and this seems to become the norm for a lot of people. You are in the early days of grief and 6 weeks is such a short time to feel any healing. But the healing process will have started and may be on going for many months/years. Don't be afraid to cry and show any emotion. I hope you have better days ahead with good support.

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