Michael

I'm 44. My Dad was diagnosed suddenly with stage 4 lung and 5 mets in his brain on February 13.

I was his primary carer and he never complained. He did well with treatment and care yet in his last 10 days of life I believe he 'switched' himself off. He was very clinical in his thinking as he was an Associate Professor of Biochemistry at a leading University.

Both he and Mum are only Children and my only sibling (brother) lives a 20 hour flight away.

Mum doesn't drive nor could Dad. It was me. We lost him peacefully on July 12 this year. He spent just 3 nights in palliative care - Mum and I supported and loved him all the way through until we could do it no more.

Since then I have had counseling from an amazing psychologist yet my anxiety levels and wanting to hide from the world has been bizarre. I avoid people, want to be on my own. I have gained weight (15kg) this year and have drunk too much alcohol to numb the pain.

Is this normal? The lack of motivation, the numbness, the wanting to hide from the world....my adrenals are exhausted and I now have to support Mum. She is doing ok yet December was a tough month with her birthday and Christmas and NYE.

I want to not drink as I never did for forty something years and need to regain my fitness and lose weight I gained this year...any suggestions to find that spark to make 2014 a time of readjustment would be appreciated.

Thank you so much for reading,

Love and light,

Michael

Comments for Michael

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Jan 11, 2014
Wishing you all the best
by: Anonymous

HI Michael,

I am glad that you are making changes to your life. Exercise does help us feel better and we all have to start somewhere.
I wish you all the best in the grieving process and I suppose we are all going through the same feelings so we understand each other. Take care of yourself and your mum.Kate
.

Jan 05, 2014
Thank you so much...
by: Michael

Dear All,

I left my post for a few days and have just read the most amazing and comforting responses.

Each one of you have given me the generosity of your spirit and your compassionate honesty.

I guess the new year was quite symbolic so without setting myself up for failure I have embarked on a small start of walk/run/walk for 30 mins a day. I feel out of shape yet it certainly lifts the mood and helps to strengthen my resolve to make better lifestyle choices.

I'm also acknowledging that it's ok to cry when waves of memories and disbelief hit.

I've never been a drinker and really hate how it makes me feel so I gave myself a number of days with just sparkling water and the days now seem so much clearer and manageable. I am not a man of prayer or faith yet a person who essentially believes in kindness, compassion, giving, paying it forward and listening to and understanding people.

I've shut people out during my last 6 months and I can certainly relate to '6 months on the couch' although as I am working full time working has helped. I'm just making small changes whilst not trying to deny the pain in my heart. Some days are better than others and I can see by reading all of your responses that every situation is different and should never be compared.

I am so terribly sorry for all of your losses and for your courage to write back. I feel quite blessed. I know it's one day at a time and I need to start to reconnect with friends I have unintentionally shut out of my life. Some actually I had to let go due to the inability of them to understand why I gave all to Mum and Dad...I don't regret that for a minute.

Again, my heartfelt thanks for taking the time to write. Your kindness is immeasurable.

Michael :)

Jan 04, 2014
Thank you
by: lost in AZ

Dear Michael,

Since losing my husband to liver failure 9 months ago, I have had exactly the same feelings. I never really stopped to feel my pain because I have two children and bills to pay.

It is just now that I am coming to terms with my grief and the manifestations of it. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It let me know I am not alone, and I wanted you to know you are not the only one who feels this pain, as well.

Take care and keep being strong one day at a time.

Sincerely

Jan 02, 2014
to Michael
by: Jean Bee

Please stop your drinking as it only makes it much worse for your Mom when she needs all the clear minded thinking you can offer. You asked if it was normal for you to grieve in this way....YES!!! I lost 2 sons and had to go thru the same feelings as you. It will take time but as my late son told me, "Live life every day to the full, Mom, it is so precious". He was dieing and still he wanted me to go on living. It will take time but you will survive if you let God handle the hurt and go thru it with you. He is there to comfort you. Are you a man of prayer ? Talk to God and He will help you to realize your dad would have suffered more if he had lived.

Jan 01, 2014
Weight gain and grief
by: Candace McCutcheon

Curiously, I gained weight when my brother, aunt and father died in rapid succession back in 1995. It seems like when you've had a loss, somehow it turns into a gain somewhere else, to fill the void I guess. The weight I gained at that time came off easily later. Good for you for caring for your father, and good luck to you in your recovery from your grief. It can be an up and down process, though it seems to get better over time.

Jan 01, 2014
Michael
by: Doreen UK

Michael I missed parts of your post I address now. You have turned to alcohol and this is normal. STOP!. Try and stop if you can as this will cause worse problems for you. Alcohol numbs the pain but then the grief starts pressing for resolution and your pain will feel worse. I tell you this from experience. I feel your pain and what you are going through. So I do understand why people turn to alcohol in order to cope. You are also probably comfort eating which is why you have put on weight.
You have responsibilities in caring for your mother. But remember to care for yourself also. You could try at least 10 minutes exercise a day or less. Just making the start will help build up your self esteem and make you feel you are doing something positive. BUILD ON THIS. Exercise is also a great stress reliever and gives one a sense of well being. Some form of exercise is also good for depression. One good exercise I like is standing still and putting my body forward and flopping forward as if like a rag doll, as if I was trying to touch the ground only I just hang forward. Hold that position for as long as you feel comfortable with. It is the most peaceful feeling ever. This is a Yoga exercise. Another one is lying on the floor with your feet slightly apart and arms slightly apart and just relax in that position. It is the most amazing feeling. Let this be Your time for yourself. "ME" TIME. You will soon find ways to help yourself. Build yourself up this way by nurturing yourself each day. You will soon start to feel better. Best wishes.

Jan 01, 2014
Michael
by: Doreen UK

Michael You described accurately what emotions and feelings we all go through when we lose a close loved one. There is nothing wrong with you. You are going through the normal process of grief. No one can tell us what to expect as each persons experience is different but the pain of loss is the same. But for some people this can alter in severity due to the bond and close relationship one had with the loved one who passed away. Don't compare yourself to other people. Don't let anyone tell you that you should be over your grief. Take one day at a time and Nurture yourself by doing many good things for yourself each day to build yourself up. This is the best foundation to healing from grief. Healing is such a slow process most of us get fed up with this. You have done the best thing for yourself by getting good counselling from a psychologist. Feeling numb, and losing one's motivation is normal. There is nothing bizarre about this.
I lost my husband of 44yrs. to terminal lung cancer 20 months ago. I nursed him for over 3yrs. and had to watch him die slowly of a painful cancer caused by working with Asbestos. I did the counselling bit many years ago with an excellent psychologist. I then gave back 8yrs. in voluntary work. I gained skills from this work and I feel positive and Healed from my depression and have never gone back to feeling the same way again. I coped better with the loss of my husband due to this healing from counselling. I applaud you for doing something positive to help yourself. Don't give up. Grief is long, and a very painful experience. Taking one day at a time is what helped me move forward. For the first 6 months I lost my motivation to do anything and took to the couch for 6 months and bathed my sorrows with T.V. I then nurtured myself back each day and now going through the healing process. You will in time get your life back and recover from grief. The process is slow and the journey long. Just don't give up on yourself or Life. You will have good days and bad days. I have a strong Faith in God so this gives me the HOPE to go on each day knowing I will see my husband again. Best wishes.

Jan 01, 2014
I know how you feel
by: Anonymous

Dear Michael,
The first thing that strikes me is that my mum died the same day as your Dad.My mum had heart and lung problems and like you I knew she wasn't going to survive much longer but her death has affected me in ways I never knew possible and I am plunged into awful grief. Likewise I don't want to socialise and I just want to sit around and wallow in my own grief and misery. I feel it is necessary to take the time to mourn. I am planning to go to counselling in 2014 as I know that I need to talk through my feelings.Most of my friends don't really understand but if you have a friend who does then try and talk to him or her.Also talk to your mum she will appreciate it and it will help both of you heal. I agree that it is difficult to get into a routine of exercise etc but maybe you could start with a short walk and build it up from there.I try to walk a few times a week it is good to clear my head and put things in perspective.
All of your feelings are normal and they show what a kind, supportive son you are.If you didn't love your dad so much you wouldn't feel like this. My mum also switched off so to speak during the final week of her life, although we didn't know she was dying at the time. Mum sort of withdrew in to herself sleeping more, eating and talking less and less.This must all be part of the dying process. Please be gentle with yourself knowing that you were there for your Dad and try to focus on yourself and your mum now.All the best.Kate

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