Bereaved family and friends

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

Dad

Dios
Posted by

Hi All,

I've been posting in the stomach cancer forum for the past 11 months throughout my Dads journey. 2 weeks ago my Dad lost his fight with upper gastric cancer. I still feel numb, even though the cancer and chemo took everything out of my Dad, his presence and words, were still reassuring and comforting. That little bit of hope always remained. Dad was diagnosed when he was 68, but a very young and healthy 68 year old. Still trying to exercise even the week before he passed away. He had so much drive and determination but also so much kindness and love. He loved each one of us and gave so much of himself to everyone he knew. 

The funeral was last Friday and Dad had a good send off, the church was full with friends, family, ex-colleagues and even though I am not religious in any way I knew it's what Dad wanted and that made me happy. Seeing the coffin there with my Dad inside did hit me hard, it wasn't an open casket but just knowing that it was him in there. I had to hold onto the thought that Dad was no longer suffering, that he may be somewhere playing his guitar and entertaining other lost family and friends. My whole life i have been a true believer of when you die that's it, you're dust, nothing remains or journey's on. There has been a lot of existential pondering and dreaming going on during the last 11 months. I truly hope that something remains beyond this life as Dad had so much more life to live. 

I have grieved since Dads diagnosis. Anticipatory grief, but when that moment comes, when you are there holding your loved ones hand when they take their final breath. That true feeling of loss hits you, it's overwhelming, like a ten tonne truck to the face. I've never felt that before and I never want to feel it again. Every morning I wake up i think about Dad, i talk to him, mutter sometimes, hoping that i'll get some mystical sign that he is ok, that he exists somewhere. Just to know that he is happy and keeping tabs on us and that he'll be there waiting for us when our time comes. 

I know Dads passing is going to take a long time to get used to. The grief will continue to have its hold on me for a long time. I have never known life without my Dad, how strange and sad it feels. He asked that we carry on and be happy. I told him that it would be very hard to be happy when he's not around but we will try our best for him, that I would look after Mum and do my best to make him proud as a son and a brother. 

The days will pass, the months will slip by, the years will follow, but I will always remember and love you Dad. You are a true hero in this world of charlatans. You gave your all to all of us.

  

Lou12
Posted by

Hi Dios,

So sorry that you find yourself here but you will find a lot of support here and a lot of understanding people. I find it helps a little to post here and have been on this site sometimes just reading and other times posting. 

I lost my mother 9 months ago to lung cancer which she had for 10 months, she was also 68. She also told us all to be happy and it is all she worried about during the time she was ill. How we would manage without her. She pushed herself to be with us as long as she could because she didn't want to leave us.

It is beyond hard but you will try and carry on I know I try to for my mother because I know she would be so heartbroken to know what we are all going through.

I still think about my mother every day and I know I will for a very, very long time certainly for the rest of my life. She was a true constant in my life, someone who was always there without fail. I think grief never goes away, you have no choice but to adapt your life around it somehow. 

I personally believe that there is more after we die I'm not a overly religious person but I strongly believe a love so strong cannot just stop existing. We had signs and I know some people will say coincidences but I don't doubt that it is my mother saying she is still with us in some form.

Your father looks like a lovely, kind man, thanks for sharing his photo. I'm sure he is proud of you as a son and a brother. It sounds like you were with him every step of the way.

I just wanted to say you're not alone here, take care

Louise x x

sarahlouise1973
Posted by

Hi Dios, 

It's so hard, isn't it? My Mum lost her fight 3 weeks ago. No matter how much you get yourself ready - I also went through anticipatory grief - nothing can truly prepare you when the time comes and you see the person you love fade away. I feel like I am just making it through each day, trying to carry on as best I can with my normal routine and then it hits me like a kick to the stomach. She's really gone. There are good days and bad days. 

I also talk to my Mum. I tell her about my day, or if I do something silly, I'll say "What am I doing Mum? That was silly, wasn't it?" She had a terrific sense of humour and would be laughing at my clumsiness or just forgetting something because I am just not with it. Catch 22 is that it's because she's gone. I have had some signs and dreams that tell me she is okay. Wishful thinking? I don't know, but either way it's a comfort. 

What you wrote about your Dad was from the heart and he sounds like a wonderful man. Keep that in your heart and keep him alive by talking to him now and again. Take each day as it comes. That's what I'm doing and just going with my emotions when I need to. I think it's the only way. You are definitely not alone though. You'll get some terrific support here.

Dios
Posted by

Hi Louise and Sarah,

Thank you for your lovely replies. Sorry to hear that you are both going through this as well. It's 3 weeks to the day since Dad passed now and it's still so hard to believe that he is gone. I imagine that you both feel the same way too. Having to get used to the 'new normal'. I really don't care for that phrase, one that the oncologists were throwing about when my Dad was diagnosed.

I will still talk to Dad as if he was here, ask him for his help and advice. Tell him that I miss him and that I love him. That he needs to keep an eye on all of us and gently guide us through the rest of our lives. A Dads and Granddads work is never done! He'll get no peace from us that's for sure

Sarah,  it's so nice to hear that your Mum had a good sense of humour, it's something that she shared with my Dad. He was still cracking jokes with us and the nurses even in the days leading up to his passing. He was a big daftie as we say up here. Growing up we used to sit with Dad and watch Monty Python, Black Adder, Spitting Image, Only Fools and Horses and many more. He loved comedy and was always the family comedian and entertainer.

Dad certainly was a kind,generous and wonderful man, he looked after everyone and was worried about all of us throughout his journey. He was thinking about how this would impact on each of us rather than himself. The only thing I wish he had done was to write a wee note to each of us or made a little video but that's just me thinking about coping with this rather than anything Dad needed to do. 

I'll be back home this weekend to see my Mum, Sister and family. I can't wait to see them but i know it will be hard. The first time I will have gone up North and Dad will not be there. It's all these firsts that hit home. Please let me know how you are getting on.

Dio x

DaddiosDaughter
Posted by

Hi Dios,

just wanted to post and check in. Your post really resonated with me, I've been using these forums the last 6 months to help my dad with his battle against kidney cancer. He found his eternal peace on Aug 16th and I feel utterly lost, this new normal is not normal at all and I hate it :(

People are telling me time will help, I am hoping it will. I hope your trip to see your mum and sisters has gone well, making new memories in your dads honour x take care of yourself x

Daisy

Dios
Posted by

Hi Daisy,

So sorry to hear about your Dad and I totally understand how you are feeling right now. I read through some of your early posts on here and although the cancer was different the pattern was very similar to what happened with my Dad, from getting the news to no surgical option to palliative care and the rest. The only solace we can take from this is that our Dad's are now at peace, no longer struggling with the disease, the treatment or the emotional torment. 

It's now been three weeks yesterday since my Dad passed away and I had to take last Friday off work, it had been a week since the funeral and it was all getting a bit too much. I stayed in bed Friday and Saturday most of the day. I just had to process the thoughts and feelings I had and think about Dad. It's not any easier now than it was the day he left. I think a long time will have to pass before I feel human again and even accept what has happened. Everyone grieves and heals in their own way. I'm going through phases of being incredibly sad and then angry at the world. 

I'm going up this weekend to visit my Mum and family, it's been extended another day as I came in and worked the bank holiday in an empty office to get more time off.

Please let me know how you are getting on. What are you doing with yourself? How are you processing all of this? 

All the best,

Dio

sarahlouise1973
Posted by

The new normal sucks. It isn't normal at all. It is hard to believe, you are right. Sometimes I just sit here and have the same thought "my Mum is dead, my Mum is dead" going over and over in my mind, and it just seems so surreal. I had a dream about her the other day. She was on the other side of the road and I couldn't get to her. I caught her attention and she smiled and waved. She looked so healthy. I want to believe that she was giving me a sign. She did joke that she'd come back and haunt me. :) 

Your Dad sounds like he had a great sense of humour right to the very end. My Mum told me a few days before she passed that she'd pretended to be asleep so the nurse she didn't like would stop bothering her. :D  She always had a smile for everybody else and was still smiling at the doctors and nurses with a collapsed lung, sepsis, a feeding tube and all the other bits and bobs she had attached to her. How can it really be the end when they were such wonderful characters no matter what life had to throw at them? 

I also wish my Mum had left a letter or something just telling me it would all be okay. It seems a bit selfish to be thinking that, but I'd give anything just to have something from her. I don't know about your Dad, but my Mum didn't know she was going to die. She thought she was getting better and then they found her cancer was untreatable and put her in palliative care. They took her off the machines and put her under sedation. We just sat around her bed waiting, holding her hand and telling her it was going to be okay. It was awful, but she died with so much love around her. I try to cling onto that thought.

That's great you're not going to give him any peace! Keep talking to him. I've had a couple of days where I've been busy and while I've been thinking about my Mum I haven't spoken to her. I apologised today and filled her in on what I'd been up to, but then I said "Wait, if you can see me, you probably already know this!"

I'm going to see my Dad on Friday. I've been back home since my Mum passed, but not since the funeral when we were planning things and had the distraction of making decisions. I hope it all goes well for you this weekend and you all get comfort out of being together. Like you say, it's all the firsts, but I'm hoping it all gets easier with time. xx

hopeisallaround
Posted by

Hi Dios, 

I just wanted to say a few words, and also to say i'm so sorry for your loss. 

The new normal does suck, I lost my Grandma over a month ago to pancreatic cancer, and it's hard to get into a new sense of normal, the world continues to spin and carry on oblivious to the fact, however we have to try to remind ourselves that our relatives wouldn't want us to be upset, they would want us to carry on as normal, or whatever normal maybe. I've recently found myself laughing and having fun thinking should i really be laughing, when we are emptying my Grandma's house. However it's nice to be able to laugh and smile at some of the things there, and reminisce about what each little trinket means. 

I hope all goes well for you, and sending you strength, 

XxX

Live Every Moment
Laugh Everyday
Love Beyond Words.
Kelly Sparkles
Posted by

Hi Dios, 

I am so so sorry for the loss of your Dad. He looks very cool from the photo :) I lost my Mum 24 hours ago and I just wanted to say that you explain the feeling of pre-grieving during the illness and then that 'truck to the face' feeling at the end. 

I don't know how days or even minutes are going to go by without my Mum... I just know that at the moment they are going by extremely painfully. 

I hope you are finding a little relief as time goes by.

Kelly x

sarahlouise1973
Posted by

Hi Kelly, 

I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your Mum. My Mum passed almost a month to the day and time that you posted your message and I can tell you things do get a little better. It's so good that you have come on here seeking a little comfort and support so soon. I did the same. It's really helped to know that I'm not alone and it's even helped giving others support through the very little experience I have of grieving myself. I don't know about you, but because of the anticipatory grief, I haven't had a big outpouring of emotion. Instead, it comes in waves depending on what I'm doing. I'll be doing something in my normal daily routine and then bam, it just hits me out of nowhere and I have to stop what I am doing and have a cry. I just go with it when it happens and then feel better afterwards. If you ever want to chat, I'm here and lots of other kindhearted souls will be here for you too. Sometimes it's good to come on here and just pour it all out knowing that somebody will soon be along to help. :) 

Take care. Xx

Kelly Sparkles
Posted by

Hi Sarah, 

Thanks for replying. You're absolutely right. I really have had some form of grief for around a year now. I remember last New Years being absolutely grief stricken even though Mum was still alive. It was more about losing her as a person before physically saying goodbye. My grief is coming in waves so far and I hope it stays that way or a while as at least I can get a few things done in between the bad moments. 

I hope you are continuing to cope xx

Dios
Posted by

Hi Hope and everyone,

Thank you for your message and so sorry to hear about your Grandma. Dealing with her belongings must have been tough, those moments of laughter are good for the soul, so please try not to beat yourself up. Grieving is not about just being sad, crying etc. I think that's what others think it should be? I don't know. For me it's processing a whole load of emotions, sadness, anger, fear but with that joy and happiness from great memories and little reminders of Dad.  

I'm back in London after a weekend up in Glasgow visiting my Mum and family. It was tough, first time I've been home and Dad wasn't there. I can't really explain how i felt, a little bit empty i guess. A big part of life is missing. I spent a lot of time thinking about Dad and his presence in the house. As in, where I would normally see him, talk to him before all this happened. The house seemed huge without him there.

I'm still processing everything, it's now been 4 weeks yesterday since Dad passed and it still doesn't feel real. I found a video of him on my GoPro of him making some soup in the kitchen and talking to me, he didn't know i was filming. I caught him being him, it's such a mundane thing but i'm so happy I have it. Watching it really hit me hard. It made me realise i'll never see him or talk to him again. How is that even possible? For someone just to be gone?! This is something I'm going to struggle with for a long time as i imagine most people do. 

I hope you are all managing as best as you can. It may never get easier but our love for the ones we have lost will never diminish and they live through us and our memories. Let's keep their image strong in our minds and hearts. 

Lots of love,

Dio xxx

Dios
Posted by

Hi Kelly, 

So sorry to hear about your Mum  How are you managing? I often wonder what to ask people going through the loss of a loved one, even though I am myself nothing seems to be appropriate. Just know I understand your pain and that pain hurts to the core of your being.

Those first few days, weeks I felt numb. I still do to a certain extent. The days and weeks just seem to pass, the pain doesn't, not yet anyway. There was so much to do and organise after Dad passed, it was like a whirlwind. It's once the funeral was out of the way that I came crashing down. That was nearly 2 weeks after he left us. 

On a positive note, Dad was very cool, funny and an all round top bloke. Check out the photo below. Catalogue man!

Dio xxx