January 8, 2016 at 4:40 pm #467
As hard as it is for me to post, I think it’s important to share my experience when my father was dying. When my father’s cancer came back, we knew that meant it was terminal. More horrifically (almost), it had spread to his brain. While I knew that he would not survive, I was incredibly hopeful that we might have months, maybe even a year. I was also very naïve to what death could be like – how long and drawn out a process like dying can be. Unfortunately we were told to begin preparing. I remember beginning in June, my mother would come to me and ask me to write a eulogy. I felt angry but I understood that she concerned I wouldn’t be able to when he actually passed. However, every time I tried to sit down and write, I just couldn’t. We took it day by day meaning I was not able to ever feel safe. My father was constantly in and out of the hospital. In the end, he remained there for about a week. This is about that last week.
For the first few days he was incredibly ill – unable to walk or stand by himself, swollen with fluids, pale in complexion. He looked nothing like my father. Just seeing this ripped me apart. Then suddenly, something changed. My mother told me and my siblings not to come to the hospital to protect us. She sat us down later and explained that he had in essence “lost his mental capacity”. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would lose my father before he actually died. The following few days will remain etched in my memory forever. When I walked into his hospital room he was unable to speak, uttering a few words and heartbreakingly blowing us kisses. He was agitated, in pain and confused.
Those last few days seeing the smartest man I had ever known diminished to that state were the hardest of my existence. I pray they will remain my hardest. Unfortunately for my dad, he was in such top physical condition that his body lasted almost through the end of July. No one expected him to hang on that long and he suffered in those. They were not worth being able to say I love you to him. I know he never wanted me to see him like that. I know that was his worst nightmare and I am simply grateful that he no longer possessed the ability to know that it was happening.
When he finally passed I felt relief along with sadness. I also felt confused. I was unsure of life without him. I was unsure of life without a sick parent. My old life before he was sick felt like a lifetime ago.
Now to turn back to positivity. it took a bit of time but soon enough I found myself able to laugh, to feel happy in moments. And now almost 4 years out, I can promise everyone that you can be happy and you will find life again. I can also promise that the way in which you imagine your parent after loss will not be them in their sick state. You will go to the happy memories. The image of them in your head will be them when they were healthy. I love my father very much and he remains one of the most important people in my life. This was a very bad experience and memory for me but I promise that it is one of few in comparison to the number of happy ones.January 9, 2016 at 8:07 pm #470
Reading this made me tear up. Thank you for your honesty, you sound amazing. I’m so sorry you had to go through this, I can’t imagine it. I know that putting this out there will help others though <3January 9, 2016 at 8:17 pm #472
My father’s passing was also entirely shocking and drawn out. I am so inspired by your bravery to share this with us. Thank you for this
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