Question from Babs35: Hi, I lost my Dad in September. He was diagnosed February last year. The night he passed away my Mum was in shock so I tried my best to look after her. I didn't want to cry in front of her as I didn't want her to worry about me. I took a few days off work but went in for a couple of days before his funeral. I did a reading at his funeral and naturally I cried. But my grief keeps coming and going. I don't know if it was down to me bottling it up. I suffer from occasional nightmares and flash backs where I can see and hear everything in his final days. I worry if I was right to ask for him to be completely sedated as he started to haemorrhage . I know there's no set time for grief or answer to what is right for 1 person. I know life goes on but it feels surreal that he has gone. I try and stay strong as I have a 6 year old so force myself to get on with it but sometimes I feel like either hiding in bed all day or running away. I have asked for counselling (I wasn't allowed to be referred for bereavement counselling until 3 months after) I am still on a waiting list which is 22 weeks long. I can't afford to go privately, the hospice my Dad was in is too far away and by my Mum's. I also wouldn't want my mum knowing that I was having counselling. I hope this all makes sense? Thanks Babs35.
I'm sorry to hear of the loss your dad & I can tell from reading your post how emotional the whole experience has been & still is for you. As you realise grief is individual, there is no time frame for how long you grieve or how you grieve. You describe initially how important it was [& still is] for you to hide your own emotions from mum- to protect her- which is very natural to do. It is normal to put on 'a mask' to the outside world function as if you are coping well - which enables you to function on a practical level i.e. look after your 6 year old; go to work etc..., but underneath 'the mask' hides your emotional vulnerability- which I am pleased to hear you will be in the future able to access counselling to talk through your emotions.
It is very normal to have flashbacks/nightmares, which can be very vivid when they occur & can appear out of the blue, and is your unconscious mind working to make sense of what happened. In time these will fade. You were witness to an awful experience of dad haemorrhaging. it is normal to relive experiences now, and question if the decisions you made were the right ones. In this situation- although you asked for dad to be sedated- the professionals would have done this, for dad's comfort, not just because you asked. Whilst your waiting to access counselling support, it might be helpful when these happen to write down in a journal what you experience & how they make you feel.
Grief is not static or linear, as you yourself are experiencing- it ebbs & flows. You can expect to have bad days when you want to hide in bed & not feel the emotional pain and not so bad days, in time the bad days will lesson. The struggle for you right now is learning to live this very different life without dad physically being here- he will always live on in your heart & your memory's of him.
Thank you for getting in touch at this very difficult time and I hope knowing that what you are feeling- as painful as it is, is normal and you are not going mad! helps.
Marie Curie Cancer Care