Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Losing my Dad

I haven't posted on here in so long, I think almost two years? A lot has changed in that time, but I can save those details for future posts.

I actually opened up this empty page to talk. I want to talk about losing my Dad, who sadly passed away just over a week ago (5th March 2020). I don't want to spam my Instagram every day with deep and emotional posts and captions as I don't want to worry people, but I need an outlet to which I can vent, somewhere I can write my feelings down. Sure, I could write it in a diary, or write it here and never post it, but for the few people that may read this, it may resonate with them, maybe comfort them to feel like they're not alone or maybe they can help me? Either way, I'm happy for this post and future posts not to have a definitive goal or purpose, simply for me to vent my feelings at that moment.

So as I said, it's been just over a week since losing my Dad, my world. He passed away from cancer, (multiple myeloma). I felt excruciating pain, particularly in the week leading up to his passing. There's a lot to be said for 'anticipatory grief', and not enough said about it. In the month leading up to Dads passing, I was told not to be so sad as he was still here. For anyone who has lost someone to cancer, or to anyone losing somebody to cancer, you know the pain and the fear for the future. It's crippling. Seeing Dads perfect happy smiley face, his usual wonderful sense of humour and knowing that one day it would be taken away from me was so painful. I would have the happiest phone calls with him every evening, I just loved hearing his voice and what interesting things he had to say, I'd come off the phone feeling so happy but then I would break down in tears with the knowledge that this wasn't forever, and probably not for long either and I just wanted those phone calls to never end. I get the whole 'enjoy the time you've got' approach, but if you haven't experienced it you can't fathom the pain and process of losing someone to cancer, (or any terminal illness).  Don't get me wrong, I hugged my Dad that little bit tighter every time I saw him, I hung on to every word he said and I would always tell him I loved him, but feeling as though his life was on a ticking time bomb was heartbreaking every day. 

Anticipatory grief is beginning the grieving process of a loved one before they have passed away. I felt a lot of guilt and trauma over this because it felt like I was giving up on Dad by being broken about him not being here when he was still here. It's not something I wanted to talk about very much either because I didn't want to upset anybody else, plus I was ashamed of thinking in such a negative way. I opened up a lot more about it in Dads final days when we were given the sad news that we would only have a matter of days with him. The Macmillan palliative care team came around and chatted with me every single day whilst I cried and talked. I told them this pain was ripping me apart because a part of me was desperately holding on to the fact that Dad was still here and I begged God, the Earth, anyone that that was all I wanted, I just wanted Dad. The other part of me could see how much he was suffering, this is not what he wanted and it was crippling to see him in pain and my heart was trying to make peace and accept that he couldn't be with us in any other way and that he would have to leave us. From further researching this, I believe this well sums up anticipatory grief. It got so bad for me that there was no other option than for me to go to the GP for some medication, one to slow my heart down and a sedative to let my body rest. (I hadn't eaten, slept and barely drank anything for days). I felt immense guilt about everything I was feeling and I know I shouldn't have, but if you have felt this pain or feel this pain, you are not alone. People don't talk about it enough and it can be a very lonely place when you're experiencing it. I hope to continue this painful conversation, not because I can change the process, but so people don't feel alone.

Losing Dad wasn't a blur. I remember it all very clearly. I screamed. I couldn't walk. I held him. I asked him where has he gone. I kissed him and made promises. What is a blur, is time. The distance between now and the last time I saw Dad is becoming greater and greater and that is something I'm finding very difficult. I'm experiencing grief as textbook as you can expect to right now. I'm numb most of the time. Completely useless all of the time. It truly feels like a piece of me went with Dad as I feel a constant emptiness like something is missing. I want to add that losing somebody to cancer does not prepare you for their actual death by any means. There is no way to explain the shock and pain that hits once you receive that news. There are no more questions, no more possibilities, it's final and I physically felt my whole world crumble around me in that very moment. My heart was ripped out of my chest.

I guess this is where I am. Anyone will be reading this right now thinking I'm crazy and would tell me to give myself a rest or whatever. I talk about my feelings and I'm told it takes time, or be strong or many other stifling comments. I don't resent them because I know that it comes from a good place and often a place of 'I don't know what to say', but I wish people knew it's okay to talk about the things that hurt. It's okay to say 'I can't believe this happened, this hurts so much and I can't bear it' without needing resolution. I don't expect to be healed and I don't expect anyone to have the words to heal me, it's okay not to be able to. 

I have a long road ahead of me, in fact, that road is the rest of my life. I'm very much in a state of disbelief. I can't get my head around the fact that Dad isn't coming home. Every day I have painful reminders that he really did pass away and they come as a shock, they make me cry in pain and desperately long for him, long for his voice and his hugs. It still isn't real.

Writing all of this out has been the most therapeutic thing I've done in the last week or so. Just emptying my current thoughts with nobody to stop me, nobody to tell me to be strong and nobody to tell me it's too soon to expect to feel any different. Very freeing for a short period of time. 

I'd like to think I'll continue to write about my thoughts and feelings as they develop. I will never stop talking about Dad, that's for sure. He was the most amazing, kind, loving, intelligent man and I will spend the rest of my life trying to find his energy within myself. I loved him and will continue to love him with every beat of my heart forever.


1 comment

  1. Beautiful words at such a sad and painful time. I remember your dad years ago when you were at St Joseph’s school and he was a lovely man and I’m sure he was very proud to call you his daughter x love to u all x


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