Will I ever be okay?

Tomorrow will be 6 months since my Dad passed away.
6 months. And I'm no better now than I was then except
that I've learned to hide it. I hide it because I feel that if my Mom or my brother or sister knew how sad my heart was, I will interfere with their healing. So I hide it. I don't want anyone to ask me if I'm okay. Why would I be? Don't you know what I've been through? Don't you remember?

This is my story.

My Dad fought so hard. He was diagnosed with lung cancer and fought every single day for 4 years. 4 years. His doctors said that he had outlived the statistics. Then on September 23, my mom told me. They had given him weeks. Weeks?!? What happened to months? It was so out of the blue. I was completely devastated.

Then in September 25th, I got a text from my sister telling me to call home. I was not prepared for what she was about to tell me. My brother had been in a horrible car accident and was ejected from his car. He had to be taken to a hospital by flight. I remember hanging up the phone and walking to my supervisors office to tell him I had to go home and saying I was kick his butt when I got there.

Seeing my brother laying there like that... there are no words. I remember just looking at him laying there in ICU and all I could think was "He doesn't have any bruises." Not one. The doctors were pretty confident that he hadn't suffered any brain injuries but he did have a small 1 millimeter bruise on his brain. Don't get me wrong, he was in serious condition but that boy. Ugh that boy is soooo lucky. I threw up in the hospital parking lot that night.

My Dad wasn't doing great but either I was just so distracted by my brother or I just wasn't paying attention. He couldn't stay at the hospital with us for very long so we ended up going back and forth from the hospital to our camper at the lake which was closer than my parents house. I was soooo torn. I knew my mom needed help with my dad but I didn't want to leave my brother either. My sister, cousin and my brother's girlfriend never left the hospital.

On day 3, the doctors decided they were going to try to take him off of the ventilator. In order to do that, they had to slowly take him off of the sedatives. I don't know if you've ever experienced this but that was rough. I can't even go into detail about how awful that was. After that horrific day, they decided to wait one more day. Day 4, repeat of Day 3 looming in the future.

The next day, they brought him off of the sedatives again. I remember my mom busting out of the ICU door with this huge smile. She said he was using sign language and was asking what happened. He still the tubes in and couldn't talk. But he did have a deaf friend in high school so he knew sign language. But the fact that he was communicating using another language that he had learned so long ago just made me almost scream in relief. I knew he was going to be okay.

I can't remember what day it was but I remember my dad was there and he was telling me to make sure I came back to the camper in time to watch Alabama kick the crap out of Arkansas. We are all huge Bama fans! ROLL TIDE!

Nine days later. NINE. My brother walked out of that hospital. And we walked into nightmare part 2.

Even though my dad's doctor had said it would be weeks, it just didn't seem right. Dad was tired and stuff but it didn't seem all that much different than before. But it was different. Big time. This time the sleep was different. They had told us that his calcium levels would be getting higher and higher and that he would eventually go to sleep and not wake up.

Having someone suddenly pass in their sleep is not the same as knowing they will. There was total panic in my parents house every time we had trouble getting him to wake up. Then is was just a sigh of relief with "Dad, please drink some water. Dad, please eat a little."

I wasn't sure what to do. Hospice had said he may go on like this for months. They just never know. But that moment, in the living room, when my Dad said that he would hate to see me leave... I stood up and said I'm not going anywhere.

Then there were the nights. During the day, it seemed like people were there and there was always some distraction. But the nights... it was awful. My mom was a complete mess. She would make me and my sister read the end of life folder that hospice had brought. "Do you think he is doing this? Does he have these symptoms?" The whole thing was almost as traumatic as his death. It was just awful. To know.

October 23, 2012, I wake up to my mom and sister frantically changing oxygen tubes. His oxygen level had dropped and they couldn't get it up. Hospice was on their way. I don't remember very much between that and when I went outside. Actually the only thing I remember sitting on my parents bed, looking at my dad and asking the hospice nurse if something was going to happen. I'll never forget what she said. "Something is going to happen sometime". If I only knew. I stood up, kissed my dad on his right temple, told him I loved him, and I walked out. And never went back.

I just sat on the deck. Within hours it was over. I just sat there. Why did I do that? What if he was waiting for me? I relive that day over so many times just over and over but the ending can never change.

I hate myself. I was so selfish. I read stories about people who had wished they could have that last minute, that last breath. I had it. And I let it pass. You can't undo it. You can't rewind time and be in the room with the rest of your family. You will always be the one who was outside.

The last coherent thing my dad said to me was "What was the score of the game?" (Bama vs Tennessee) It was 44-13 Dad. We won.

This brings me to today, 6 months later. Still grieving. And back to my question, will we ever be okay?

Comments for Will I ever be okay?

Click here to add your own comments

Apr 23, 2013
Will you ever get over it.
by: Karen

We were told my Dad had two weeks and he died in 9 days! He didn't tell us he had been sick for over a year. It will get better, because you will have time in between the tears and sorrow after awhile. It won't be constant, but for me after what will be 10 years in August for my Dad and 2 years for my Mom in July, my grief and sorrow will increase until 7/31 and 8/3 when it will be the worse and then it will wain after about a month! My heart starts to feel heavy and I can't seem to think about anything but them! I want to eat my Mom's favorite dishes and listen to my Dad's favorite music or garden! Remember to take care of yourself! You will never get over it completely and that's as it should be! Whatever it takes for you is the way it works.

Apr 23, 2013
Dear Will I Ever.....
by: Pat in Missouri

To answer your question: will I ever be ok? The answer is you are ok now. Feelings of regret will torture you. Don't let it eat you up. You had your life with your dad. Whether or not you were there in the last few hours makes no difference. I am a hospice volunteer. I have seen many patients in their last hours actually wait to die, until certain loved ones are out of the room.

I lost my brother, father, and fiance' in 2011. I was not present when any of them died. My brother and father lived in another state. My fiance' was in a nursing home for rehab after a long bout with sepsis. He died early in the morning. They did not contact me, until they had sent him to a nearby hospital. The doctors in the ER did everything they could, but they told me there wasn't much they could do. He was unresponsive, when the nurses found him in the morning at the nursing home. At the time, I wished I had been there with him, but it would not have made any difference. When death happens, there is sudden unconsciousness. Some patients will actually, suddenly, sit straight up, say something, then die.

You said your good-byes before you went out on the deck. That was enough. There is no need to torture yourself. I can tell you and your father had a great relationship and shared many great moments. That's what counts. Your father was sick for a very long time. You had already witnessed what is frequently the case when a person dies in ICU. It is awful to see a loved one on a ventilator with multiple IV's and tubes. This is what I saw, while my fiance' was sooo sick in the hospital. He was on a ventilator twice. The second time he was alert enough to feel it until they gave him more sedation. He was beating his fists into the bed and was thrushing around his legs. It was horrible.

Think about it like this: your father did not have to go through all that awful stuff that your brother did and died peacefully at home. I think that was important for him. Since hospice was involved, I'm sure your father had made it clear that he wanted to die at home.

When you give up beating up yourself, you will be at more peace too. There is no such thing as a perfect death. You did what felt right for you. You are ok now. Bless you, my child. Be good to yourself. Pat

Apr 23, 2013
by: Anonymous

Every is a very long term. My husband and I fought hard from 1986 to Sept 2012. From June of 2012 to Sept 2012 he was gone from my life so quickly. We were told in June 6 months maybe a year. If I could rewind I would change nothing. Please do not misunderstand me. When we lose someone we love there are so many things that go through our mine. But in the end it is between the one we love and God. His children were torn between dad and mom both were having health issues. When my husband passed away both of his daughters had just landed and his son was on the way. I to tried to hide and put on a mask. Please hear me do not hide your grief or run from it. Embrace it and let your family and you heal. Grief has many paths filled with twist and turns but you will heal. Let your dad's love guild you in this healing.

Apr 23, 2013
No regrets
by: Lisa

Hello, I posted on here a week or so ago titled "if i could have one minute...hour...day with my dad" .Ive just read your story and my heart really went out to you. You seem like a really lovely person that has been through a tremendious amount of stress and to read how much you are beating yourself up about not being there at the time your dad died is heartbreaking. Please dont feel bad about anything you did right then, under pressure and emotionally distraught. At the time my dad was "dying" I kept going to the toilet in the hope that he would have passed before I returned. Sounds horrid but those last few hours are so hard and was the toughest thing ive ever encountered. I sat with him till the end and I believe he delayed his dying moment because he knew I was there and he wouldnt have wanted to upset me. I thought at the time I did the right thing but the memories of him dying have haunted me so much that I cant even explain. My 2 sisters and my mum were also with him but my brother who was a complete daddys boy as i am a daddys girl chose to leave before the "moment" happened. He just couldnt bare to see it and kissed dad goodbye.He said it just was not his thing and none of us felt any different about his choice. He loved our dad as we all did and we make these choices at times of great pressure and mixed emotions. I do believe that after a loved ones passing its natural to beat ourselves up about what we did or didnt do. I have done exactly that too but when I really think about it , I loved my dad and he loved me , simple. What helps me is when I think of the negative memories I turn them into positive ones . Think about all the good times and what I have learnt by him . His memories and teachings will go on forever.You are NOT selfish and must NOT hate yourself. I understand your saddness and I understand how hard that it was for you. What I said in the title of my post would not have been one more minute sitting at his death bed but one more minute of him being well and alive. You made no bad choices, you did all you could ,you loved your dad and he loved you. Take care and be good to yourself x

Click here to add your own comments

Return to Lost Dads.

[?]Subscribe To This Site
  • follow us in feedly
  • Add to My Yahoo!
  • Add to My MSN
  • Subscribe with Bloglines

RSS Feed Widget


Tap into the compassion, support and wisdom of the


Essential Healing Guide

Grief Relief

Free Griefwork

Free Stress

SBI Video Tour!