No relief from this grief

by Erik .J
(Stockholm,Sweden)

Hi everyone,
I just want to say that i am actually Swedish so there will be some errors in the grammar.. mostly its just little things like writing its instead of It's. Sorry.

When my dad died,i died. I am 23 years old today, and it was just before my 18th birthday that my dad died.
I know very little about his life before my birth and especially his life before our family. I only know that both of his parents died when he was 18 and that his brothers took the inheritance and left him with almost nothing and no place to live.

Around the same time as i was born my father who was already relatively depressed and also suffering from diabetes and asthma,was diagnosed with heart failure.

He was given 5 years to live. On my 6th year in this life he told me,he promised me he would live to see me turn 18.
He nearly made it too, but in the end no matter how strong his will was his body could not go on. For pushing himself so hard to stay alive despite multiple organ failures later on i dont care that he was unable to see me turn 18. That he was around at all is a miracle.


I have fond memories of my father but everything seems to carry this overwhelming shadow of death,looming and waiting just outside of the picture. Before i really had a concept of what death truly was,my older brothers and my mother were already suffering in their own privacy, trying to deal with the reality that any time dad might die. There are tons of pictures of my siblings and my dad but almost none of my dad ,or me and my dad,or anything with my dad after i was born.

It had a profound effect on me. This whole life and death experience. One of my worst memories is when i was around 5 years old i think, it was just before christmas. I wrote a "wish list" and it had only one item written on it. " I wish i had another dad ".
This was not meant to be found but my dad found it and i remember hearing him arguing with my mom,not loudly,but very quietly as i listened outside their bedroom. He was trying to convince her to leave him and take us away.

I know it was because of that note, because i brought it up when i was older. I also remember walking around in the woods outside our home when i was maybe 7 or 8 and i would watch the animals and pretend that i had no life to go back to. That i just..was. School was not great.

Never had any friends and i still have absolutely nobody.
At home my dad required alot of time and care. When i was 6 i knew all of his medications and all the specifics of his illness and i guess i just kind of ended up trying to please everyone around me.
Like i mentioned,i knew all of his medications and what dosages so that me and my dad would be able to go out and drive in the car (The only way he could leave the house,he could hardly walk at all). I had to know these things incase he went into a diabetic coma,or had a heart attack.
By the time i was 8 or 9 i would recognise some of the people that would come to our house after 911 calls.

This was the story all the way up untill i was 17.
To that day i still had no friends,never kissed a girl never even held a girls hand, just no connection at all with any other human being on an emotional level. I should also mention i quit school when i was 14 to take care of my dad and also because i was bullied not only by my peers but by my class mentor who would read my grades to the class as a bad example.

Nobody ever thought to ask me why i was ignoring school and hardly ever showing up even as the years went on.

Most of what i know infact almost everything i know i was either taught by my dad or i aquired the knowledge myself due something he had told me or shown me.

If you recall i mentioned he was left on the street at 18 by his older brothers after their parents died. He managed to start his own company selling varius automobiles and even designed a safety system that was used in public transportation here in Sweden. And to all my questions he seemed to have the answer. He was the google and wikipedia before google and wikipedia existed. I have never met someone who knew so much about so many different things. And he taught me. I could watch and understand english spoken in movies as early as 7 years old thanks to him.

So anyway,
In very bad shape as a 17 year old teen and with no hope for a good life i come home after a long walk in the woods ( dad was in the hospital again but it had become routine ). I was planning to go visit him sometime soon but i know i had figured that it would be as it always was, he would tell us he was alright and that we shouldnt see him in such a bad shape and wait for him at home so i waited at home and told myself i would visit soon simply.

When i open the door my mom is standing in the hallway with a phone in her hand and asking me very seriously if i can come in and sit down for a second.
And i have to admit i greatly admire her ability to mask her emotions and have me in a safer place than in the hallway with my shoes on,i might have just took off running.

She told me dads heart had stopped.
We had a DNR on him, by his own request due to his severe illness. The last thing dad wanted was to die in a hospital.
Sadly, there had been a junior doctor tending the ward that night and he had managed to bring my dad back to life and now we had to go to the hospital,sign papers and get him off life support and slowly watch him die.

I was so mad i punched a wall and crushed a knuckle so bad it still sits in the wrong place. I remember sitting for 3 nights and 2 days straight by his bed,sleeping on the hospital floor and refusing to seek treatment for what i considered an unimportant injury,not wanting to be anywhere but at my fathers side incase he ever showed signs of anxiety. Whenever he did i would put my hands on him and my face near his and slowly rub his shoulders and talk in his ear so he would hear me and feel me. And it would calm him down.

Eventually i sought treatment for my finger thinking nothing would happen while i was gone. I should have known better by now.
The doctor asked how the hand had got injured and i simply said i had punched a wall. She laughed and kind of mocked me saying i should be old enough to know that against a concrete wall,i will always loose. They broke one of my fingers and put the bone in a better position to heal and then sent me up for an X-ray.. On the way to the X-ray a nurse came and she only said this one sentence: Your family has asked that you come right away.

From there its all a fog in my mind but i remember rushing into my fathers room and noticing that he was most definetly dead.


To this day i have not recovered at all.
My life is a downward spiral. The economy being shit doesnt help. Unemployment in Sweden is quite low except for my age group, 18-25 unemployment is at around 25%. So i got nothing and nobody.

The hurt in me is just..profound.
I feel as if i was born into a world of hurt and sorrow and it just never leaves me. I can never be a child again or be a child at all. I can never be happy. I never have been.
Tried various types of therapy and in my journals i am described as being very polite and always being well dressed, but emotionally cold.

I think that its very true and in many ways i know that i hide my own scars behind this shell. Because thats essentially how i feel. All i have inside me are these broken dreams,sadness and to be honest when you start to grow older even just at 23 society and people around you dont exactly appreciate you carrying around and refusing to let go of "childhood traumas". Well,i cant let go. I can only be what i am. So i am quiet,i am polite and i always try to make sure nothing about me can be gleaned by looking at me. A person who sees me should see nothing of my history.

To be able to grieve for my father would be the most wonderful thing. But i dont think i can.
I am always drawn to people and mostly women who will fall in love with me but i never fall in love with them and all friendships die out rather quickly. I just cant connect with anyone and so to be able to share my grief or my feelings is just not possible. There is no one but me.
When im sad,i comfort myself. When i hurt,only i know.
Suicide has never been an option for me but sometimes i dream of it. But i live only because of my belief that a life of pain is better than no life at all. I love only for the pleasure of seeing and hearing,there is nothing else that i have found so far that can make me whole.

I included short poem wich i believe is Swedish originally, but i have translated it. I included the Swedish version as well.
My father suffered through most of his life. As a child,as a teen,as an adult and as a father.
His death was no different.



Jag sover gott, ej mer jag
Smärta känner
Tyst dödens ängel viskar
sov i frid.

I sleep well,I am no longer
In pain
Quietly the angel of death whispers
rest in peace

If i love nothing else in life,not even myself. I will always love you,father. Im certain that any other man put in your position would not have done half as well and it is because of you that i keep fighting and keep trying to find peace in life. I know that one day,far from now,i will be allowed to rest peacefully too.

Comments for No relief from this grief

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Jun 26, 2012
I Understand
by: Diego

Hi Erik, there's nothing I can say to help you or to relief the pain you are going through, the only thing I can say is that I understand you because I lost my brother 3 weeks ago, he was only 26 and died from a heart attack...at this point life has no sense anymore, everyday is getting more difficult than the day before, I just can't imagine my future without my brother, he was my best friend...the pain is unbearable, life now feels like a movie in black & white, not sure if someday I will recover from this...the only thing I can do is wish you all the best. This is my e-mail descobarledesma@gmail.com if someday you want to talk or something. Regards.

Jun 25, 2012
Your English is amazing
by: Helen

Erik I would like to apologies for writing in the last sentence. "enviable death" instead of "inevitable death".
Please accept my apology, even well educated people make English mistakes.
Your English is truly amazing especially when you learnt it from watching TV and your father.
I thought about you today in how you didn't enjoy school and how you where bullied.
None of the children in your school would ever have experience what you have, the fear and worry of loosing your father would have made you a very unique individual and because of this, they may have been scared of your individuality. Children can be cruel when they don't understand what another child is going through.
School is not the only way to be educated and you have learnt a lot from your life experiences and your wonderful intuitive and intelligent father.
Wow your father was a clever man to invent something which is a mechanical lifesaver for humanity.
Your mother is a truly amazing woman who loved your dad dearly, and realized he was a very sick man, and knew each day with him was precious,
Your sensitivity for your dad is absolutely beautiful, and I know your dad understood this and always wanted the best for you and he wanted you to be happy.
Please try and reach out to your mother and brothers for support, and if they are finding it too difficult to understand you, seek outside help, either from counselling or from your church.


Jun 24, 2012
Live, Life, don't just survive
by: Helen

O Erik, my heart bleeds for you, your confrontation with the reality of waiting for a death at such a young age, has emotionally shut out the joy of living.
leaving school at such a young age to care for your father, has given you the time to be with your father, at the expense of enjoying your teenage years.
I can understand you not wanting to be at school when you had this looming probability that your dad would die, at any moment in time.
Your Understanding of death is beyond your tender age of 23 yrs has polarised you, you have matured before your emotions could to catch up to your thoughts.
For example, you know how your feelings are stopping you from enjoying the steady relationships and the company of woman, however you cant help it when you loose them.
I would say this is my opinion, women would love to be around you as you would be such a wise old soul, who would initially come across as understanding and having a lot of depth in your character.
You are sensitive and would have the characteristics of your father, not wanting to hurt others, do you think some of your aloneness is because you are frightened of living and enjoying life, or is it because you know death so well, you think "I don't want to enjoy it."?
As you are so like your father, find something that takes your fancy and go for it, e.g. Night school, computers, cars etc., in other words become involved, get so absorbed that time runs away with you.
Erik, you are a thinker, e.g. So many walks into the forest, great philosophers are made that way.
your walks with nature have been a godsend for you, it's your peace and meditation time.
My wish for you, is to have as much peace and joy in your life as the last 23 yrs has been a long waiting time for the enviable death of a love one.


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