Bereaved family and friends

For anyone who has lost a family member or friend to cancer to share their feelings and support one another.

I feel im forgetting him

Posted by

Hi everyone.

I hope you're all okay. 

I wanted to start this conversation because I need help. 

I lost my father 1 year and 7months ago. He was previously well, had an MRI scan about 2 years before diagnosis and an endoscopy about 3 years before. But his left leg started dragging behind him and became weak and my mum (thank God for her) took him to the hospital (he didnt want to go). They thought he had a stroke and did scans. We were then told he had neuro endocrine tumors and it was very bad to the point that they couldn't really do anything. 

This was such a shock. Where had this cancer come from, which is apparently meant to be slow growing, when it hadn't been picked up on the previous scans. It has spread from his bowel to his lungs, liver and brain.  He was given 6 months to live.

He had brain surgery to remove the tumour which was succesfull. And he survived 3 and a half years, with multiple hospital admissions, infections, being told he may die numerous times, that hed never walk again and other things. He defied the doctors each and every time and I couldn't be more proud of him for how much he fought. Even though he was scared, he fought. 

He got weaker, and the infections started to take hold. He ended up passing away in hospital due to sepsis as his body wasnt strong enough to fight anymore. That was the worst few weeks of my life. 

When I remember him, I only seem to remember him in hospital or when he was ill. I'm finding it hard to remember him how he was. The amazing father I knew and love. I'm struggling and it brings tears to my eyes every day. I work in a hospital and I see patients like him everyday, it's a struggle. I feel like I'm forgetting his memory. I'm getting married soon and I want his memory to be with me and I want it to be happy. But i cant seem to get him being sick or dying out of my mind. I feel my memories are fading. 

Is this normal?

Thank you all for your help 

Posted by

I’m very sorry for your loss. If you’ve watched someone die from cancer it can be incredibly difficult to push these memories from our minds - I have struggled with this too. Unfortunately we will always remember certain memories we wish we could forget (the feelings of helplessness and love seem to go hand in hand with particularly strong  memories), but I have found them less painful and in time started to remember far more random, good memories of my Mum.

The human brain is a strange thing, and sometimes we like to torture ourselves with things we think we could have done differently (even though we couldn’t) - this can skew our perceptions of the love for our loved ones and mean we replay the bad memories instead of remembering the many good times. Fight for the good memories when you can. Is there a song, place, book, film etc which spark thoughts of good times with your Dad? Don’t be scared to enjoy them. Is there something you could have with you on your wedding day to remind you of the great bond you share with your Dad? It’s still there despite how things may seem. 

I hope you have a wonderful wedding day x

Posted by

Hello Miss.r,

I am not massively active on these forums but your message was so relate-able that I wanted to take some time to reassure you and write to you. 

1 year 7 months is still very fresh, If i look back over my own grieving process I realise just how early on this stage is, everyone seemed to tell me that the first year is the worst, and I got it in my head that I would be so much better by this kind of stage, but the pain is huge and I recognise that 1 year 7 months is still very early on in the whole grieving process. And with you getting married this year and the significance of fathers at weddings things are bound to be with you even more. What I am trying to say is that thoughts of his last few years and days, a fear of loosing memories of him and the daily pain you feel are all very normal and relate-able. I lost my own dad about 5 and a half years ago now, also to cancer, and I recognise just how different things are now to the first few years. Time really does have some significant effect on healing. 

I remember points when I was scared I would loose memories of dad and I thought I would forget what he looked like and would obsess over looking at photos of him and worrying I had forgot details. It was more a fear of forgetting him, because hes written on my soul and into me genetically and I could never really forget him, I know that now.

When I was 14 I lost my best friend in an accident and I was terrified I would loose all my memories of her, so I wrote everything down, I have pages and pages of random memories that I was so scared I would forget. But I never have. I also made a memory box for my friend with some of her things in, letters I wrote her mum over the years, stuff to hold on to her. I kept a few of my dads things too. I think the fear of forgetting is so normal lovely.

Finally I want to end by saying that I do creative sessions with people dementia in care homes and I find that these individuals do remember me, not my name or specific things we may have done. But when I come in something about my presence, the way I am and move often resonates and individuals may show they remember me by getting ready for the creative sessions, saying and doing relevant movements. I am trying to say that if part of my presence, my energy, soul, or whatever you like to call this is to stay with these clients. Then how much more will that part of your dad stay with you.

Big love and hugs, best wishes

Take care,