Grief, surviving, my life, and the memories of my dad's death


I sometimes find myself looking in the mirror and wonder if," life is about surviving, surviving the losses in life and being able to move on and live without those that have been in my life." I am afraid to look at myself sometimes, because I can see the pain in my eyes and the saddness in my soul, an empty void that only I can see. I fight the memories of the hospital's in my dreams and in my thoughts.

I remember my mom coming in the door and asking me,"where were you? I tried calling and looking for you." I remember asking why and seeing the expression on her face. "The doctor told us 'Dad' has cancer and there is nothing they can do for him except lessen the pain." She started to cry and I went over and hugged her. Then we stood there and cried. We knew it was the beginning of the end when they told us he had cancer and that he was going to die. We knew because they asked us to tell him it was to far gone and what he wanted to do. He chose not to take chemo just the pain killers and wait.

I had just come home from university, there was an ensuing strike which was a blessing because during most of the strike my dad was in the hospital. He died on December 7th 1996 from either the complications of his cancer, and/or the complications of his diabetes, and/or kidney disease.

My dad was not the greatest father, we used to fight and curse each other at length about whatever we were arguing about. Until October of 1995, we argued about me taking him to the hospital, because his best friend told me,"he is not well...I think we should convince to go in."

We argued and I almost left the house in frustration, but I thought how would I feel then, if something was really wrong. I called 911. I took him in and I argued with the emergency department and the ambulance attendants that he wasn't drunk, there was something wrong. They put him to the side until he flat lined and went into seizures. He almost went then and there. The doctors told us it was his sugar and his kidneys were what caused the seizure, but there was hope that he could get a transplant in the future.

From October of 1995 to November of 1996, he lectured me and became the father that I always knew he could be. We still argued but he told me for the first time in a long time that he loved which was second last time when I took him into the hospital.

On the last night in the hospital I remembered the advice and suggestion that a good friend made. Because I told her that I saw how much he was suffering and I wondered why he was hanging on. He was in so much pain, pain that creased his face, a face that never used to show or admit it was in pain.

My friend told me that I needed to tell him, that my mom, and my only sister, needed to tell him it was okay. It was okay to go on without us and not worry about us that it was okay to die that no matter what," we would be okay." My mom told him it was okay, but my sister and I remained quite. It was until I took his hand in mine and I talked to him and told him that I loved him and told him it was okay. He stopped breathing for a moment and then my sister told him that he could go and that she loved him and not to be scared. And he died, with the voices of the three of us telling him it was okay.

I was happy because he wasn't suffering anymore, but I was stunned that he left after telling him it was okay to do so. Sometimes I wish it had of happened sooner.

Now I miss the dad I had in the last year. I miss our arguments and disagreements. I miss fighting with someone who I know will love me no matter what, that is what I miss the most.

I think the hard part was letting go of him, but the hard part now seems to be how do I move on without him there and how do I grieve? I have always been my father's daughter, quick to anger and quick to not show my pain. But now that has changed as I look in the mirror. I see me wanting to share and relate, but no one around to listen and share. Yes, I am still very much like him but know I need to let go of the pain, the pain I did not show in the hospital that is where I am at. I am looking in the mirror for when the pain will not consume me. So I can move on and thrive and be proud of the good things my dad left for me that is what I want most.

I miss him....


You can send email to Robin at: [email protected]
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anniversary date 12-07-96
date of post 05-19-97

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Crisis, Grief, and Healing: Tom Golden LCSW