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Losing my dad soon and needing support

Discussion in 'Spiritual Growth & Development' started by Sapphire, Sep 15, 2015.

  1. Sapphire

    Sapphire Member

    Hi Afterlife friends,

    It's been a long time since I've posted here, but I've returned often for perspective and guidance. A dear friend from this board has been very supportive of my journey.

    For the past couple of years, I had been caring for my father as he gradually declined due to prostate cancer and Alzheimer's. His clinical depression also complicated things. The short version is that it's been extremely emotionally challenging, staying on top of the tasks of overseeing his medical and financial affairs, not to mention his daily needs. He lived with us for 13 years.

    My dad has always been such a strong person, an example to all. He was a tireless caregiver for my mom, and after he lost her to metastatic breast cancer in 1986, he was somehow able to go on and rebuild his life. Theirs was a great love, and it showed me what marriage is truly about.

    Dad has been under inpatient care of the VA since the end of July, and has now moved on to hospice.

    Each time my husband and I have visited, his condition worsened, as expected. This once brilliant storyteller is now unable to communicate, gesturing instead ... silenced by Alzheimer's and crippled by cancer. I can't understand what he's trying to say. My heart has been breaking for months, but it's been especially difficult in the past couple of weeks, witnessing the decline and knowing what's coming.

    His doctor has maintained that he could pass on at any time. Dad is hanging in there for some reason. I have said all that needs to be said, so when I do sit with him, I just provide a presence, make him cozy and stroke his hair and speak softly. I make sure Mom's nursing portrait is close by and visible to him, as well as the photo of him cradling me as a baby. I hold the hands of a Daddy that once cared for me, and worked so hard to provide for our family.

    Now it appears that the end of his 88 years here is near. His work is done. But my grief is just beginning, growing since he was first hospitalized.

    Dad is a man of great faith; he often spoke of being together again with Mom, his brother, parents, etc. in Heaven, and that we will all be reunited again some day. I have always reinforced that belief, and we spoke of what we think Heaven will be like. Dad always thanked God every day for a good life, his talents and accomplishments. I have asked him several times to please send me signs from Heaven, as my mom has.

    I know that the pain of losing him is part of being human. I'm trying to approach this in a spiritual sense, and I do OK with that for a while, then at home I see all the empty spaces ... his things, visions of his being there, and interacting with us in good times (and later, in turmoil). My phone will never again light up with his handsome Army photo, as it used to when he called me. Now he cannot even pick up the phone by his bed. He will soon be with my mom again, and I will be grateful for that ... but it hurts so much.

    Mikey's words and the contributions of everyone here have helped me a great deal. I'm still struggling, though, and I know I'm just going to have to get through it. Thank you for reading.
     
  2. Flossie

    Flossie Member

    Hi Sapphire

    I am so sorry to hear you are losing your dad and I wish I could say something to take your pain away but I'm afraid I can't. I can only empathise with you as my dad, although coping ok at the moment is suffering prostrate cancer which has spread and his treatment has stopped working. The new one has affected his breathing so I think he will be taken of it tomorrow and I am worried there won't be anything suitable for him to try. He seems to be going down hill quite quickly so I dread to be going through what you are now.

    I also lost my mum last November and it was a rough time which seemed to go on and on, similar to how you explained above.

    Mum said she saw her mum and dad and family who had passed waiting for her during the weeks up till she passed, which was a great comfort. That helped enormously but even when we believe in the afterlife it is still so, so sad for us left behind. It is so hard to lose their physical presence.
    I wish you great strength and comfort at this difficult time and my heart really does go out to you.

    Sending big hugs too ((((HUGS))))
     
  3. Flossie,

    Condolences. It's so tough. And it's different for everyone.

    Hopefully, reading about the afterlife will make it a little easier, but I still long for the physical in the flesh contact.

    David
     
  4. Sapphire

    Sapphire Member

    Thank you so much, Flossie. I can really understand your pain, as well.

    I have been grieving for quite some time now, in anticipation. Though we have a strong spiritual perspective, we know the physical loss is going to require so much strength of us. The thought that our remaining parent will soon be gone (from the physical realm, and therefore, from "us") is mind-boggling. The feeling of impending separation (no matter the joy and healing we know exists on the Other Side) is sometimes too much for me to bear.

    I was sitting next to Dad on his bed on Saturday night, and at times he looked up at various places toward the ceiling, and at times he glanced down at my husband, who was sitting on a chair on the other side of the bed. I asked Dad, "Who is it? Do you see anyone?" Dad could not reply, unfortunately. His ability to speak had already been compromised by his illnesses. I'd like to think he might have been seeing our loved ones who have passed, my Mom in particular.

    Please know I'm also sending you hugs, Flossie, and thinking of you on your own journey with your dad.
     
  5. marmaladecat

    marmaladecat Member

    ((((Sapphire))))

    My deepest condolences in this difficult time
     
  6. Sapphire

    Sapphire Member

    Thank you, marmaladecat.
     
  7. janef

    janef Moderator

    My condolences as well Sapphire. I went thru similar 2 years ago with my Dad and then my Mom. What helped me so much was Roberta's book "The fun of Dying" and my 100% belief that they are not really dead, just in another place, a wonderful place together, where we will reunite. I think of them almost everyday, having a wonderful time there. I hope you will find some peace knowing that.

    Flossie... sorry to hear of your Dad too. Love and hugs to you both.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2015
  8. Sapphire

    Sapphire Member

    Thank you, janef. Knowing what is to come for all of us has indeed given me a lot of comfort. It's the human aspect of loss that is really throwing me for a loop. I don't even use the term "dead" anymore, with regard to passing into the Afterlife, because I know that we do in fact live eternally. It's the earthly "death" that is so hard to deal with.

    I feel so weepy at times, despite knowing that we will be together in Heaven again at some point.
     
  9. Flossie

    Flossie Member

    Thank you TD, Sapphire and Janef for your kind words.

    Sapphire times like this are just so awful seeing loved ones suffering and it is understandable you are feeling weepy. As you said in your post it is so painful to think of the physical parting of our parents. I am sorry you have suffered this too Janef and anyone else who has been through this. It almost feels like you are an orphan. I think that is what I will feel like if something happens to dad. We have been at the hospital for around 5 hours today for scans and routine clinic but have found he has a chest infection and lower than should be kidney function. But we are back home and he still has his appetite so that is something.

    When you said your dad was looking at the ceiling, Sapphire, this is what my mum kept doing. She said she couldn't explain what she saw but it was so beautiful and it made her feel so happy and loved. Maybe this is what your dad is seeing too. Mum also kept saying she wanted to go home - not home here as she was there - but 'home' as in the afterlife. It wasn't an expression she used up until this time and she was adamant this was where she was going. I hope this helps you.

    You are going through a terribly difficult and emotional time with the immediate situation as it is. I hope that you are able to the find strength and comfort you need. It's weird and can even become a blur and surreal, I found.

    xx
     
  10. janef

    janef Moderator

    Flossie and Sapphire, I guess I was really ready for both my parent to pass, it was so sad the last 10 years of their life. It killed me to see them decline and lose all dignity, to be spoon fed and have diapers changed. My dad could not talk for 20 years because of a stroke. My mom had alzheimers and sometimes didn't even know who he was. They lived to 93 and 97. I was actually happy when they 'transitioned' as I like to view it, because I don't believe in death. Whenever I start to miss them, I think of them as if they are just in another part of the world. I talk to them and remember our lives together. And they will be waiting for me to join them someday. Peace and love to both of you.
     
  11. Sapphire

    Sapphire Member

    janef,

    I think I can understand what you said about feeling relieved after their transition. It's so painful to see the decline knowing what vital people they once were.

    20 years of your dad not talking, that's mind-boggling -- I can't imagine how challenging that must have been for you and your family. Frankly, I don't refer to it as "death" either, because I know we are eternal, but it's the waiting that poses such a monumental task.

    They may have lived a long life, but somehow it still seems "too short" because we're never really ready to say goodbye, even when we know that it's truly best for them.
     
  12. Sapphire

    Sapphire Member

    Thank you Flossie,

    Dad and I had talked about seeing loved ones appear when it came time to go to Heaven, so when I asked him about who/what he perhaps saw, he wasn't able to vocalize it. I hoped it was my mom, his brother and parents, maybe, but I'll never know. I'm glad that your mom got some comfort out of the visions!

    My dad frequently said he wanted to be in Heaven, with my mom ... especially n the past 8-9 months when his life became unbearably tough and unpredictable. It hurt me to hear that, but I knew I couldn't (and shouldn't) invalidate his feelings. What I did do was bring him to specialists who might be able to help his depressed emotional state, but I certainly understood the underlying reasons.
     
  13. RobertaGrimes

    RobertaGrimes Administrator

    Dear Sapphire and all, as we approach a natural, planned exit point, the veil very much thins. Often those who are dying won't vocalize all they are experiencing, but they will see and hear loved ones and have bits of memory return; Mikey talks about this in his upcoming book in reference to his own grandfather's imminent passing. So please don't be hurt, dear, that your father talks about wanting to go! He is speaking not from depression, but from these reawakening memories, and perhaps even from actually seeing your mom but not discussing that with you.

    And please do ease your father on his journey, as best you can! If you show him your own pain, it can be harder for him to leave. I'm sorry to put this burden on you of your need to encourage him to go - and I know that indeed it is a burden! - but what he needs from you now is the same kind of love that a mother shows to her child who is leaving the nest. It is time for him to be free, to head on to better things, to resume the best part of his life!

    My own mother was terrified of death (the ironies abound!). She hit her last planned exit point when she was 88, but she refused to leave. I hadn't known before this happened to her that you even could do that! And it was a terrible decision. It took her five years of living in a body that was falling apart before she actually could die: by then she was a vegetable physically, and becoming one mentally. The first thing she said to me when I contacted her through a medium two years after her death was that she couldn't imagine why she hadn't wanted to die, it was terrific where she was now, I had been right! Oy. Dear Sapphire, watching the body of someone you love so much die by default is the worst experience that I can imagine! If your much-beloved dad actually were reaching any sort of ending, then that would be another matter; but what he is coming to is something so far beyond wonderful that human words cannot begin to encompass it! Big hugs, darling, for you and for him. His death day will be his birthday. Please try to focus on the joy of all those beautiful reunions about to begin!
     
  14. Sapphire

    Sapphire Member

    Thank you, Roberta,

    My dear Daddy passed away yesterday morning. In tears, I told myself, "He's happy now ... he's with Mom." Yet the tears kept coming.

    I spoke with my Dad many times within the past few years about what Heaven would be like, and how the reunion between he and my mom and other family members would be glorious. He'd been raised Catholic and had a few deep-seated beliefs, but I happily repeated Mikey's words, and others I've read on this board. He really did want to go during his last 1-2 years because his body was failing him, and his heart was so beyond broken from losing my mom in 1986.

    It was extremely painful to see his decline as the cancer took over, and his mind become compromised by the Alzheimer's. A double-whammy for this poor guy who for decades was the vision of fitness and mental brilliance.

    Toward the end, when Dad was in hospice, I acknowledged his yearning to pass on and I assured him that when it was his time, he'd know it, because our departed loved ones would begin to appear. I said I promise he'd see them coming for him!

    I hugged him and kissed him and tried to make him comfy when I visited, reinforcing my feelings as a grateful and loving daughter, and telling him what a wonderful and hard-working father he'd been.

    When I kissed his cheek and he kissed mine, I gave an extra squeeze during our hug because I believed it might be the final goodbye on this earth. And it was.

    Dad will be buried tomorrow with full military honors, with some family at the site. I have no doubt he and my mom will be there, in spirit, because I've read that they draw near at such gatherings (joy and sadness).

    I will be watching for signs ... as I'd asked Dad to send some from Heaven when the time came. I shall be so grateful.
     
  15. RobertaGrimes

    RobertaGrimes Administrator

    Oh my dear, you have done so beautifully and been such a wonderful daughter, and now your parents are so happy! Thank you for your constant love and kindness - it surely made the last part of his life here on earth so much better. Be comforted, darling, and know that all of us are hugging you now!
     
  16. Sapphire

    Sapphire Member

    Thank you so much, Roberta!
    I've gained so much hope from what I've read here. I'll continue to read as I progress through my grief. And I'll imagine my parents, young and in love once again, now reunited in the splendor of Heaven!

    Thank you and everyone for the hugs. :eek: I was so blessed to have them as parents.
     
  17. janef

    janef Moderator

    Sending you loving thoughts and wishes....
    Jane
     
  18. Sapphire

    Sapphire Member

    I appreciate that very much, Jane. Thank you.
     
  19. Flossie

    Flossie Member

    I am also sending you wishes of strength and comfort, Sapphire. (((Hugs))) xxxx
     
  20. Sapphire

    Sapphire Member

    Thank you, Flossie. It will take a while to manage the human sorrow I am feeling.

    It's very comforting to know that Dad is playing pool again, because Carol said that Mikey is skateboarding. Dad is driving and bowling and doing all those things that he enjoyed here.

    Best of all ... he's again with his one true love, my Mom, after being apart for almost 30 years.

    I am joyful for them. But the physical pain will take time to abate.
     

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