My Dad - My Champ!

by Bob
(Kingston)

My Dad was too young when he died (61) - but there's no age limit on death I suppose and there are many who go younger. He was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer in February 2012 - he had radiotherapy/chemotherapy in Apr/May 2012; 'they' said it would be a curative treatment; I thought he'd get better - he died 15th May 2013 in a Hospice.
From the dark, gloomy, February day he told me he had cancer to writing this now, it feels like I'm on the world's biggest rollercoster....but this ride doesn't stop to let you get off. My mother, who was divorced from my Dad but they always remained best friends and spent great times together in their later years, moved to Scotland (where I live and work) to care for Dad (and me, as I was 6 months pregnant) whilst he had his initial cancer treatment. She thought she would only be with us 3 months - 18 months on she's still here, given up her life which she had but now has a new one with her grandson.
I would've done virtually anything for my Dad, so having him live with me whilst he did battle was a given, as he lived alone 'down south' and we wanted to get him the best care possible. It didn't matter that I was pregnant at the time, going through a messy break-up, working full-time....we just did what we had to do to attempt to beat the Big C. The treatment came and went, the scars that remained were vicious - like being sun burnt on ones neck 24/7, and the initial noises from consultants were positive - they thought, and we thought, the treatment had worked. Dad had a relatively normal summer back at his home but started to feel really quite poorly around Sept/Oct. A fully MRI scan in November revealed that the cancer had spread to his lungs, liver, lymph glands and still remained in his Larynx. Dad told me over the phone whilst I was traveling back from London from a meeting that 'they' had given him a year with the option of palliative chemo. I'm sure every commuter on that train that day heard my screams of 'no!' and thunderous tears! I found out yesterday that they had actually only predicted 2-6 months - but that was my Dad, always trying to protect me. He died nearly exactly 6 months later.
Its the hardest thing in the world to watch someone who you've always looked up to, someone who was always been immensely proud and independent, fade away into oblivion. I was privileged enough to be with him when he took his last breath in the Hospice - it had been a lovely day so I had just come back inside from lying on the lawn, having a break from the vigil. I'd settled down into the recliner chair next to his bed ready for the night shift. Dad was unconscious by this stages - partly due to the body shutting down and partly due to the cocktail of drugs keeping him calm through a driver. I had only been back an hour or so when I looked across at Dad as I heard his breathing change (I was listening to U2 on youtube at the time!) 3 long slow deep breaths followed by a short, sharp gasp.....and that was it....all over red rover. I could tell he was dead as his facial skin colour had gone a strange kind of grey colour. He had his hand resting on his chin, like he always used to when he was dozing. It was amazingly peaceful. However, at this point in time this is all I can remember about my Dad - his last breath and how he looked like he was a concentration camp victim - god rest them. No matter how hard I try I cannot remember any good times, which there were many, nor how he used to look before he got ill. I suppose this is the curse bestowed on carers - haunting images of loved ones who have morphed into something completely unrecognisable to you.
I have asked the question many times - is knowing a loved one going to die more favourable than just have them gone, run over by a bus etc. Watching what Dad went through I would go 'bus' every time. People say that at least you could spend precious time together - well let me say this, in and out of GP surgeries, Consultant Clinics and A&E departments is not precious time. People also say that at least you can say all the things you wanted to say - well I say no you cant, when the disease takes hold and the body is shutting down the person is nearly permanently asleep or when awake, they are whacked out on so many drugs to manage the pain they can sometimes not even string a sentence together. People have all these romantic notions, I suppose I did at the time, like the process will be similar to Michael Keaton's film 'My Life' and the poor unfortunate will make poignant home movies for their loved ones when they're gone and write journals to educate their off-spring left behind. Not what I experienced.
Im going through that angry phase right now - Im in physical pain and crying a tremendous amount, BUT - inside I'm raging. Why him, why such a good person when there's so much filth/scum walking the earth - teach them a lesson. I hope this phase goes soon as I dont want it to eat me, inside and out.
RIP Dad x

Comments for My Dad - My Champ!

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Jun 12, 2013
Wishing you comfort
by: Anonymous

Bob, I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my father five months ago to Sudden Cardiac Arrest, and I am still reeling from the shock if it. I struggle with the fact that he died suddenly and unexpectedly, and we had no time to "prepare" or say "goodbye". I still cannot believe he is gone.....he was fine! My father was gone before he even got to the ER, (I am sure of that), but with the machines and medicines that were being pumped into him, he had a pulse, but was never conscious. I think he was just artificially alive for a bit. He was not home when he suffered his SCA, so the last memory my mom has of him is walking down the driveway. I had seen him two days prior at my son's basketball game. I cannot get the vision of him in the hospital bed out of my head, and it haunts me. I am comforted that he didn't suffer, but I am so, so devastated that I never got to say "goodbye". I still cry all the time and I physically ache sometimes. Just one more moment to talk to him, to say goodbye...anything. I don't understand why some people suffer, and others exit this world so quickly.I guess we are not meant to understand. I believe that our loved ones are where they are supposed to be. God has called them home and one day we may know the reasons and get answers. I hope this website helps in your healing process. I wish you comfort and peace.

Jun 11, 2013
Sorry for your loss! Anonymous - MI
by: Doreen U.K.

Dear Anonymous - MI Thank you for your words of encouragement. I am sorry for your loss of your husband to a sudden death at 65yrs. You believe in Jesus. I do also. I understand His ways but won't understand this side of the earth why some people are healed and some are not. When I prayed for Healing for my husband from Cancer I sat pensively waiting for him to rise up from his bed of cancer and instead he drew his last breath. It was so hard to cope with this loss. But in Life God always taught me not to hold on to anything too tightly because He could prize it from my hand anytime he wanted. God taught me to hold everything loosely. That is what I am having to do now. At the end I was holding onto my husband so tightly. I was not ready to let him go. It was when I said. "God if you can't Heal my husband then take him." He died a few hours later. It was hard releasing him to God even though I know God owns it all.
As you say we will see our Loved ones again according to God's promises in his Holy Word. "I go to prepare a place for you and I WILL COME BACK AGAIN FOR YOU that where I am there you may be also." I claim this promise and hold on with HOPE for that day when Jesus comes back for us all who accept Him as our Lord and Saviour. The day my husband died was the day he was anointed for Healing but died 8 hours later. It is just so hard loving that person so much and having to let them go. You have a great acceptance of your loss with a Spiritual Maturity. Your Adult Children have lost a father and this will be a hard journey for them to cope with. As mothers we do have insight that helps us through our grief. Our children have a journey all of their own. All we can do is support and encourage each other so we get to the other side of our grief where we find Healing. If this life was all there is then we would all give up now. There would be no point to going on in life with no Hope. It is the BLESSED HOPE that we cling to whilst we go on in life each day. May you and your children be Blessed by God each day you are grieving and may you be comforted and find Peace. Best wishes.

Jun 11, 2013
My Dad My Champ!
by: Bob

Thank you both for your kind words of support and in a strange way its comforting that we are not alone in our feelings. You are both inspirational and I hope I can be as strong.x

Jun 11, 2013
Doreen--UK
by: Anonymous--Mi

Doreen---I echo your feelings of grief and loneliness of the loss of your dear husband. All I can say to you is that you are doing a great service to others with your words of truth and encouragement. God Bless you and God help us all in our sad journey of grief.

Jun 11, 2013
My Dad - My Champ!
by: Doreen U.K.

Bob I ran out of space and continue to say that it is early days for you in losing your father. You are going through the worst time ever in life. Because you are working it will help you cope better as you will have this diversion. When you have your quiet times it is then that grief will assault you and keep you crying and upset and even as you say ANGRY and in a RAGE. Most of us feel like this also. 13 months later and I still feel ANGRY. Some people will say to me but at least you got 47yrs. together. 44yrs of them married. The answer is NO. My husband spent 47yrs. working 6 days and sometimes 7 days a week all over our country and over the world as an exhibition carpenter and he didn't get quality time with his family. This was to come in retirement. But instead of him enjoying time he earned. HE DIED. Now this is enough to make anyone ANGRY. My husband was angry about this as he had plans for his retirement to make furniture and also to travel. Instead I get to live alone and in retirement without him here in my world. This is the INJUSTICE OF LIFE. A man works hard all his life and then he dies before he can enjoy the time he has earned. As time went by my husband passively resigned himself to his fate that HE WAS GOING TO DIE. and he couldn't change a damn thing about this.
Be Angry, Scream, and cry often as this is the best Healing from Grief. Healing is SLOW. Nothing we can do about this. But remember there are grief counsellors who can assist us with our grief if we get stuck in grief or it is too painful to cope with. Just remember that the days now for you will be rough and painful. But it won't always be this way. You will Heal and be able to go on with your life. You will get your life back in TIME. Hold onto this thought. WE do survive our GRIEF. But it is a Hell of a journey with unbearable Pain. I wish you well in the days and months ahead.

Jun 11, 2013
My Dad - My Champ!
by: Doreen U.K.

Bob I am sorry for your loss of your dad to cancer. Your story is much like mine. I was born in Scotland and now live in London now for over 49yrs.
I understand exactly how you feel and what you are going through. With Cancer you will always wonder if it will come back and how long a remission would be.
In my case my husband as a young man in England worked as a carpenter and cut asbestos on a band saw. It was not known that this was a dangerous material. When cut the fibres lodge in the lung and 40-60yrs. later a slow growing tumour develops which is incurable, inoperable, and aggressive. This is what happened to my husband. I was his caregiver for 3yrs. 39days. I had to watch a man who was a body builder turn into a skeleton. The cancer journey was horrendous it would take too long to write. My husband was totally ill from the first day of Chemotherapy and then Radiotherapy and lost all quality of life. I have asked the same question as you. "Is it easier for someone to die quickly or slowly?" It is a myth that you get to say all the things you want to. One doesn't as the dynamics change with the Cancer journey. You can't find an appropriate moment to say what you want to as living with Cancer dominates your life. With a sudden death the person goes into shock and denial and some can't cope with this. With us a slow death is harder because all you have is the memories of the cancer and all the hospital visits and scans. With each hospital appointment you worry for days before wondering what the results will be. It is like a punishment and more grief with each appointment. My husband died 5th May 2012. It has been 13 months and I feel my grief more. I am losing some of the cancer memories and new memories are filtering through. It is like our memory tape is unwinding and fast forwarding at times and you never know which memory is going to assault you next. But I am sure that once the memories come they leave us. I worry about never having any memories come back and there is just a blank nothing. My husband had a rough time with no quality of life and felt unhappy and miserable living the way he did with this cancer that he couldn't explain how it felt. Every day he lived with this cancer was a cruelty in itself to all of us. For him to go through the suffering and for us as a family to see him suffering and not able to do anything to help relieve his suffering. It would have been his 67th Birthday yesterday. He died at 65yrs. 16 days before his 66th. So he never got to enjoy any retirement just like your father. Life is cruel. Days ahead will be rough but only Time will Heal You from your loss.

Jun 10, 2013
my dad--my champ
by: Anonymous--Mi

Let me say that you have been through a very difficult time these past months and that you are able to write your thoughts on this site is commendable. I am so sorry for your dad dying. My husband died suddenly at age 65---strong and healthy and active and then Sudden cardiac arrest took his life in a matter of 5 minutes. I have two grown children who now suffer as you are--they loved and admired and respected their Dad beyond words. If given a choice as to how we would want to die---I think most people would choose a fast sudden death and be gone and up and away to God. However, many folks linger as your Dad did; we do not know the reason why some are taken suddenly and some must go through a long illness. I have great trust and faith in God, although I do not understand His ways. But I know He makes no mistakes and all we and our loved ones have suffered is for an eternal home in heaven with God and then to see our loved ones. This is a roller coaster ride--the worst that we can be on--just when we think we can endure the pain we come crashing down. We must try to think of one day and only one day at a time. Get through the minutes and asking God for strength to do what you must do. We must now think of the loved ones who are living and counting on us to help them and show them that God is good and He will help us. Please know that while life can never be the same we do have joy in our family. God Bless You

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